Friday, April 13, 2018

Monthy Python's Life of Brian

In June of 2017 I received a correspondence from Gallery1988 about participating in a show dedicated to the classical comic stylings of comedy troupe 'Monty Python'.  I began checking into their catalog of works, and after some grueling research (i.e. watching movies), I had a few sketches/ideas to work with.  Ultimately I ended up basing my work off of the 1979 film 'Life of Brian' (a parody of the Christian messiah story, and tale of mistaken identity). 

This show, unlike any of the previous ones I have done with the gallery, required that I submit a sketch for approval prior to working on the actual illustration.  The sketch was due in September, and I had several ideas, so I set about seeing how I could translate my 'vision' into an image that would properly represent the film.  Initially I was going to illustrate the song lyrics from the end theme song, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", but then changed directions when watching the film.  The movie itself, intelligently tackles many issues, from religion to politics, and during a scene where the lead 'Brian' is being pursued by his followers, it came to me.  In this particular sequence, our protagonist 'Brian' is trying to escape the zealots through the city market, and during the chaos, a gourd becomes a mistaken relic in his honor.  Moments later, during a segment where 'Brian' tries to avert his mob, he loses one of his sandals.  It is then, that the two factions are born.  One group begins to 'gather the shoe', while the other believes they should 'follow the gourd'.  The humor wasn't lost on me, and I knew what I was going to make propaganda posters dedicated to the two religious factions that evolve during this event.  I set about making new sketches, developing one for each of the groups ('shoe' and 'gourd'), and sent them to the curator of the show.  When I received a response in October I began working on both images.

Follow the Gourd
Shortly after submitting the sketches to the curator, I set about looking for color schemes that would work best for my designs, and identified references, tutorials, and other various resources for the project.  The first design I worked on was the '...Gourd' piece as it was the design I liked the best between the two of them.  I went into Illustrator, created all the shapes/designs I needed, and then reconstructed the image in Photoshop.  I found a font during my research that really work with the direction I was going, and after some layout manipulation, had my design locked in.  I then wanted to make the image look distressed (afterall the film was from the late 70's, any poster existing would be weathered from age by now), so I set about looking for filters I could use to overly on the final product.  I had to do A LOT of research and troubleshooting during the final distressing phase, it was a good learning process.  The final product is below, and prints are available on Gallery1988's website here.

Gather the Shoe
Upon finishing the first image, I started out working on the second design which was molded after the Russian constructivist movement, known for it's Communist propaganda posters.  I already had the color scheme lined up, so it was just a matter of arranging all the elements I designed in Illustrator, in Photoshop, and making the necessary adjustments.  Similar to the first poster, I found a proper font that fit the art movement from above, and then went about looking for another image to use for the distressing process.  Upon resolving the final step, both posters were done.  Prints for this image are also available on the Gallery's website, here.

The pieces are both digital, done almost entirely in Illustrator, with some manipulation done in Photoshop.
The posters were originally on display in the gallery during the 'Monty Python' show which ran from February 2nd to the 24th, 2018.

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