Monday, April 16, 2018


At about the same time as I was designing my 'Stranger Things' tribute piece(s), I was also working on some concepts to immortalize my adoration of the great 80's dark-comedy/drama, 'Heathers' (which also stars 'Winona Ryder'...weird).  The film takes place in the late 80's and stars our adolescent narrator/anit-protagonist 'Veronica' (Ryder), who spends her days (and nights), at the beck and call of a trio of troublesome teens all by the name of 'Heather'.  The Heathers consist of: 'Heather Chandler' ('Kim Walker'), 'Heather McNamara'('Lisanne Falk'), and 'Heather Duke' ('Shannen Doherty').  Led by 'Chandler' the group wrecks havoc on the school until 'Veronica' decides, with the aide of her love interest and new student 'JD' ('Christian Slater'), to grow a conscious.  The film is a great commentary on the social structures in society, that on some levels is still relevant today.

The initial concept (not featured), was one of a completely different direction..somewhat, I'd share it here, but it's something that I haven't really finished beyond the concept drawings, and I haven't decided if I want to develop it personally, or possibly commercially, so I'll keep that under wraps for now (stay tuned)!!!

While I was still kicking around with what I was going to do for the film, I received an email from Gallery 1988 with a list of shows they were recruiting artists for.  One of the shows happened to be a tribute to films from 1988 (their namesake), entitled '30 Years Later:  Artwork Inspired by the Movies of 1988'.  The list of films associated with that year had 'Heathers' attached to it, so now I HAD to create something dedicated to the was the perfect excuse.  After talking with one of the curators at the gallery, I decided to scratch my original idea, and instead, try something different.  I wanted to capture the essence of the film, which, for me, was it's brutal humor.  There are so many quotable lines from the film, many of which are still used today, which embody the film's soul.  With that in mind, I made the choice to design illustrations with a typographical focus for each of the main characters in the film.  The tricky part here was finding a singular quote to represent some of the characters who's onscreen presence is either overabundant, or borderline background actors (I'll let you determine which is which).  Normally I would begin designing something straight away, but seeing as I've had so many issues with framing availability, I decided before I begin creating a layout, I would find a frame that worked for my purpose first.  I had originally planned only four designs (one for each of the main female leads), but upon visiting my local art supplier, I came across the most perfect frame (shaped like a filmstrip), however, it had seven spots, which meant I was going to need to create three more images to fill it out.  I contacted the gallery to make sure the frame would be okay to use (due to it's unorthodox shape), and upon receiving confirmation, I began to develop the remaining three quotes.  I decided I could include the characters of 'JD', the fictional band 'BIG FUN', and another memorable quote from the most diabolical of the trio, 'Heather Chandler' (she really does have the best lines in the film). 

While I had seen the film many times before, I needed to do some research and find elements from the movie that I could include into the quotes (and I also needed more quotes).  The majority of the lines from the film I selected were already kicking around in my head, but I wanted to do them justice, and make sure I represented them as directly as possible.  I also need imagery associated with each of the characters to include some visual representation for each one.  The main cast is intelligently associated with a specific hue, and in order to stay true to the film, I wanted to include each particular color scheme with it's corresponding actor (red for 'Chandler', yellow 'McNamara', green 'Duke', and blue 'Veronica').  I initially toyed with hand-lettering the quotes, but instead opted to use fonts ('Honey Script' and 'Stymie Black'), that were similar as the ones used in the film to represent the typography.  I already had the layouts done in sketch form, so I took them into Illustrator and began designing them accordingly.  Once I finished the initial layouts, I created the accompanying character specific illustrations for each design.  The biggest struggle I ran into with this project was the orientation of the quotes.  Many of them were designed to be horizontally formatted, but due to the frames orientation, had to be adjusted to a vertical format. The final step was taking the images into Photoshop, and adjusting them so that they best fit within the frames requirements. 

The illustration is entirely digital, laboriously made in Illustrator, painstakingly adjusted in Photoshop, and some details done in Painter.
The pieces were originally on display at Gallery 1988 during the aforementioned show ('30 Years Later:  Artwork Inspired by the Movies of 1988'), from April 6th - 21st, 2018.
A limited number of prints for each design are available on the gallery's website here.
The collection is titled 'Myriad' (which if you've seen the film you'd know EXACTLY what that is a reference to).  The individual prints are subtitled below.








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