This is the first work in progress pic for the latest piece of whiteboard art. This one, hopefully, will be Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘In The Car.’ I have been trying to find the right piece of pop art to do and a friend (thanks, meeulk!) pointed me in the right direction. I’m a big fan of comic books so I was bound to get to some sort of panel art at some point but I really dug this image when I came across it. It’s such a great composition, with lots of subtext. It’s also a four-color piece that I think will actually translate to dry erase marker in color so I’ll give that a shot. I went in and roughed out the shapes of the people and I’ll start refining the outlines soon. I’m just trying to put the big shapes in their right place first. So here’s the humble beginnings….
Well, here’s Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’ as finished as I’m going to get it. I like the nice serendipity of the light source over my cube sort of matching the where it is in Hopper’s work. He started working on this painting right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and knowing that adds to the sort of depressing scene in the work. Maybe the timing is what makes it one of the most famous American works of art. The painting currently resides at the Art Institute of Chicago, a great museum that I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance. You might remember it from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’ They actually show the ‘Nighthawks’ painting briefly in the movie if I remember correctly. When I first saw that movie I remember being blown away by the scene where they zoom in on Cameron looking at the Seurat painting so you get to see the detail and work that went into it. If I can find a super-duper extra ultra-crazy-fine point dry erase marker maybe I’ll take that one on.
Do you remember that scene in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ where Dorothy opens the door from her black and white world to the color world of Oz? For those of you listening to Pink Floyd with it, it’s right when ‘Money’ comes on. 🙂 That’s what the next undertaking will be like. I’m not forsaking the black and white by any means; this next one uses a very simple color scheme that I can actually try to replicate with dry erase markers, so I figured I’d try. There are definitely a couple more color ones I’ll get to eventually but I’ll probably go back to black and white immediately, just to keep the people around here guessing. The translating of color pieces to grayscale is a nice challenge and a good teaching tool for me to learn more about shading. For now, it is time to change gears for some good old-fashioned pop art. Stay tuned. Farewell, Hopper, enjoyed it.
Let’s just say you have a little bit of extra cash lying around and want to go see a movie this weekend. Go see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Now, I will readily admit that this movie is like a grooved fastball right down the middle to a geek familiar with the early days of Nintendo. Only that kind of person can truly appreciate how awesome it is that someone turns into coins when they ‘die.’ Aside from having a built-in appeal to that particular audience it also deals with universal themes in the movie, such as love, loss, and ass-kicking. I would put the fight scenes in this movie up against anything The Expendables has to offer. They are absolutely crazy. Like the Matrix on some sort of hallucinogenic. Edgar Wright (director) is really one to watch. Between this and Shaun of the Dead, he’s earned my trust.
Speaking of battles to the death, here is the latest progress on Cubicleism Vs. Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Pardon the glare from the standard issue oppressive halogens overhead. It’s getting down to brass tacks at this point. The finish line is in sight. Whatever cliche’ you want to use is fine but it means I’m almost done. The people are getting more refined (except the guy behind the bar) and the inside of the diner is beginning to come together. I think for now I am going to focus on getting the inside done. There are still some things on the outside of the building and street that I need to get to but those will be more like finishing touches. My markers are really starting to go south so I might have to make a special trip to the supply store very soon. Maybe I’ll get the ‘good’ dry erase markers, if there is such a thing.
This week there were two epic job quittings. One involving an out-of-his-mind flight steward, who pulled the emergency landing chute and geronimo-ed out of the plane after snagging some beer. The other was a girl who quit via dry eraseboard and email. The first one was funny and spontaneous. The second was calculated and involved some real pinache. It went viral quickly and the story of the girl who artfully shamed her boss and bolted a bad working environment captured a lot of imaginations. It also skillfully used the dry eraseboard as its medium so of course I was on ‘board’ with it. Heh. Unfortunately it was a hoax. I thought something was a little off with it, it seemed a little too well done. Nevertheless, the dry eraseboard hasn’t had that kind of run in a long time. Nicely done, interwebs. I can always count on you.
Here is another work-in-progress photo of Hopper’s Nighthawks for your Thursday enjoyment. I’ve begun to rough out things inside the diner as well as focusing on the outer structure. I really need to get a new set of markers, as these have been put through the ringer. There always needs to be one new-ish one in there that still has sharp edges and a lot of color. I have also picked out what the next piece will be after I finish this one so I’m already getting excited about getting started on it. It will likely have a little color in it.
All day today I have been listening to the scores and soundtracks of 80’s movie classics. I went heavy on the Carpenter movies since he likes to do his own music and comes up with these wacky synth scores that are totally dated but totally awesome at the same time. Perfect example is the ‘Big Trouble In Little China’ soundtrack. One of my all-time favorite films. It’s got everything…. Kurt Russell’s best role, kung fu, pre-cougar Kim Cattrall, Chinese black magic, a big-rig truck, and weird sewer-dwelling monsters. Add to that John Carpenter’s bizarro soundtrack and you have one of the strangest, yet somehow accessible movies ever. Russell’s Jack Burton belongs on the all-hero team with John McClane, Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Harry Callahan. Highly recommended.
So, this marks the first post of a work in progress. As I mentioned before, I am working on Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks.’ I tend to look at the piece overall and do what I consider to be the most annoying part first so I can just get it out of the way. By annoying, most of time I actually mean tricky. I felt like I knew how the foreground diner would get done so I went ahead and blocked that part out with the detail to come later. What I really needed was to find a way to make the background work. I think I have the general direction of how to attack that part now. I’ll probably have to go back and redo or tweak some spots but right now I’m just going to cover the board, see how it comes together, and go back to the problem areas.
Today’s addition was inspired by a good friend of mine, who has an amazing half-sleeve tattoo of a crazy-looking octopus and some crashing waves. The art style of it was based on Hokusai, a Japanese painter from the late 1700s. He has a very distinct, almost cartoony illustration style. Hokusai did a series of 36 views of Mt. Fuji with the famous Great Wave being #1 in the series. Funny, considering Fuji is almost relegated to being background material and likely the last thing your eye would fall on in the piece. I think this is one of the better translations to the whiteboard. If I could change one thing (and I can’t because it has been erased already) it would be to darken the boats a little to set them apart a bit more. Overall I’m pretty happy with this one and folks around the office seemed to really dig it, even if they didn’t know what it was or who originally painted it. That is kind of the point though.
This is the last of the ones I completed prior to starting the blog. My next posts will be in-progress shots of the ‘Nighthawks’ painting. You’ll get to see documentation of the process as well as the many screw-ups I erase and do over. 🙂 Here’s the latest, Hokusai’s ‘Great Wave Off Kanagawa.’