General art-related discussion.
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Artist: Laurent Durieux
24" x 36"
Artist: Laurent Durieux
24" x 36"
We've had this piece in development with Laurent for quite some time. We were instantly taken with his first concept for it and there was nothing further to discuss, this was the one. It had power, resonance, notably more than meets the eye, and Laurent Durieux storytelling elevating the piece to something quite serious and in line with our Seminal Film Series. Please see the interview we arranged, below, with our friends at Blurppy and Jack and Laurent Durieux to see where Laurent was at with this piece.
Thanks so much!
- Godzilla is one of those iconic characters that has been done in numerous films and is a favorite topic for many artists. What is it about this character that resonates with folks some 60+ years after he first hit the screen?
Well I can't really speak for others, but as far as I'm concerned, I've always been fascinated by the early days of Monster/Science fiction movies, the early days of special effects most particularly. In retrospect, they are naive in the execution, yet I'm sure when they hit the screens some 60 odd years ago (or 80 years ago as it was the case for "King Kong" or even further in time with "Trip to the Moon" by Georges Méliès in the 1902), they must have been so scary, fascinating and "realistic". And that's what touches me in a way; the many different generations of visual wizardry and ingenuity and how the respective audience responded to it back in the days. Who knows, one day, 50 or 60 years from now, we'll be "smiling" looking at Jurassic Park and find it "cute"? As for the character itself, Godzilla really is the japanese alter ego of my favorite Monster, "King Kong" but with a twist that I will elaborate in the next question and which I find extremely interesting.
- What was your approach and process like for this print?
The hardest part for me was to come up with an image that would go beyond just a city destroying monster flick. I believe that though Godzilla's first goal was to scare the audience in a entertaining fashion, the movie theme goes deeper than that just that. The movie was released in 1954, so 9 years only after both Hiroshima and Nagazaki nuclear blasts. Imagine that! So for me, Godzilla (who became a destroying monster because of the submarine nuclear tests) conveys an entire and more poignant message. What if "Godzilla" was some sort of catharsis about the atomic horror the Japanese have suffered? A way for the Japanese to turn the page and move on. It also most definitely is a way of saying, Hey Nuke power is dangerous when it goes out of control, it backfires at the humanity in most devastating ways, trust us, we've been there!
So rather than depicting a monster spitting flames and destroying the city, I wanted to emphasize this angle, the historic/social interpretation of the movie. Naturally "Gojira" was born out of a nuclear blast and that's exactly what I drawn. I wanted to depict a contrast of the quiet landscape of the ancestral Japan with the modern day horror at its worst.
- Personally I find myself being drawn to the person walking, carrying the lantern, is there any special significance for this person?
Me too! The lantern in Japan is used mainly for celebration, 2015 is the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagazaki disaster. So I wanted to include that in the poster as a subtle hidden message. I love the way the man holding the lantern is walking quietly, he is not running or panicking, he seems to be serene about this. It also emphasize the contrast. The bottom of the image is an ode to the wonderful work of japanese woodblock prints artists and more precisely to Hazui Kawase who is my absolute favorite. Again, tradition is very important in Japanese culture and I wanted to somehow show that in the image too. Tradition vs Modernity, pretty much how it still is today in Japan.
- Out of all they years and many versions of Godzilla, what is your favorite and why? The Tojo Company version, or the Legendary Pictures take?
I couldn't say as I haven't seen the recent remake. I'm usually opposed to any sorts of remakes as they are rarely better than the originals. For the reasons I explained in my first answer, I will always be attracted to the more expressionists and first takes on a subject. Also, like it was the case for all of the Universal Monsters movies whose posters I designed a couple of years ago, I had never seen Godzilla before. I'm a bit embarrassed admitting it but that's the truth. I am grateful to have been asked to work on such a fantastic movie as it has allowed me to discover yet another seminal movie and hopefully bring a fresh take on it.