Sunday, 29 November 2015

Space Oddities - The Shining

Stanley Kubricks “The Shining” (1980) was classed as a disappointing Horror film when first released (NY times 1980), Stephen King detested how the film adaption of his novel was lacking the original story. “ He gave him good source Material for Kubrick just to throw away”. But now in modern day “The Shining” is  considered as a film masterpiece. But not for the reasons people may think, the film does have all the signature shots, angles and beauty of all Kubrick’s previous films, but it has been said that Kubrick was bored of making films previous to The Shining and he was looking for something new. “ Kubrick has a 200 IQ, he is bored of making masterpiece after masterpiece, so began working on a new kind of film”  (Geoffry Cocks)

The film is littered with political metaphors and subliminal images, ranging from a German typewriter that Jack works on and the number 42 that is used throughout the film on jumpers, number-plates and rooms, signifying the time of the Nazi holocaust in world war two and how mechanical and orchestrated the genocide was that took place. On the movie poster the quote of the film said “A wave of terror that swept across America” juxtaposing Calumet Baking Powder cans (Calumet is a native Indian ceremonial pipe) and Native American apparel on the walls of the hotel, and lines in the film referring to ancient Indian burial grounds beneath the hotel all linking to the genocidal armies that terrorised the native Indians across America. This metaphor is strengthen through the film by the multiple scene of the blood gushing from the elevator but the doors remain closed, signifying that the governments responsible for the acts of genocide don’t like to admit to their actions, but the smell of blood will eventually seep through. 

(Fig.01)   (Fig.02)   (Fig. 03)

There are also very strong subliminal hints to the involvement of Kubricks alleged fakery of the Apollo 11 moon landing. “1969 Moon landings were indeed a hoax, and were staged by Kubrick using the special effects  techniques developed for the production of his masterpiece 2001”  (Jay Weidner 2011). Though this is a conspiracy theory, Kubrick changed the haunted room of the Novel 217 to 237, and a scene from the Shining shows a key thob  with the pseudonym Moon Room (Fig .01) and 237 was the actual number of the sound  stage where the alleged fakery was shot.  The pattern on the carpet (Fig. 03) also mimics and the actual pattern of launch pad 39a (Fig. 02) where Apollo 11 launched.

(Fig.04)   (Fig.05) 

The experimentation that Kubrick tested through “The Shining”  was the mirror metaphor used throughout. Danny speaking and writing backwards only for the mirror to show the correct message, in the maze Danny also back tract in his foot prints to escape Jack. But the mirroring of the film goes far deeper.  Jay Weidner 2011,  heard the rumours about watching the film in reverse, and set up a screening of  the film to be played in both forward and reverse whilst overlapping. Whilst watching the Key symbols of the film all interacted throughout, from Jacks psychotic stare in-twined with the murder of the two girls (Fig. 05), to the relationship between Wendy and the two girls (Fig. 04)....  

Stanley Kubricks version of “The Shining” could be said to be a intentional dis to Stephen King, “as the Torrence family use a red VW beetle in the novel, but in the film a yellow beetle is used. Only for a later scene in the film, a Red VW Beetle has been crushed by a lorry in a road traffic accident” (Bill Blakemoore 2013). Altogether this is not “The Shining” from Stephen King, this is the “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick.


•  (2013) Room 237. London: Metrodome Publishing

•  (2015) Forteantimes. London: Dennis Publishing

Illustration List:
•  Fig. 1,2,3,4. (2013) Room 237. London: Metrodome Publishing

What if, Metropolis - Test Model

Having a few issues with modelling the windows on this one, so left it simple for the moment

Monday, 23 November 2015

Space Oddities - Black Narcissus

The provocative psychological thriller “Black Narcissus” (1947) by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is a powerful study of colour composition, Film trickery and erotic symbolism. Following  five protestant nuns  setting up a convent school and hospitals for the inhabitants in the Himalayan village far below. Setting up their refuge in a Old monastery that  was once the Kublai Kahn’s pleasure dome. Erotic images line the walls glistening in gold leaf, adding to the frustrations of this odd group of missionaries who have abandoned their worldly pleasures for the devotion of their religion.  Black Narcissus is infested with sexual symbols,  from blooming flower buds to phallic objects and mannerisms. The introduction of the hero of the film further enhances the repressed sexual feelings that the nuns have, causing violence through passion.
“that the sexuality that is "repressed’ between the hero and heroine gives birth to a monster, which ‘returns’, archetypal, to attack the heroine” (B Walker)

(Fig. 01)

The Chromatic blue colour schemes at the beginning of the film give a sense of  tranquil religious peace, but as the film progresses and the feudanisms start to overwhelm the nuns, the technicolour shifts to vibrant strong colours enhancing the film to deeper places. Technicolor is stunning. The introduction of the more vibrant hues dominate the film. The use of red is feverish and is as effective and foreboding. (Roger Ebert). As the villain “Sister Ruth” succumbs to her feelings she is bathed in deep red hues that light up the scene enhancing the rage that she feels. Her mannerism also shift, as though she is possessed her movement up the stairs as she is stalking the hero, is non humanly and jerky suited to many of today’s horror films. "because she is a nun, her resurgent sexuality is rendered as a sort of demonic possession". (NY Times)

(Fig. 02)

Black Narcissus has all the atmosphere and altitude of a real Himalayan Monastery. But through cinematic trickery , Matte paintings and imported props. But the whole of this film was filmed in a studio set. Meticulous attention to detail from the production designers, a scenic film was created with the true feeling of a himulayan population. "poetic evocation of a country is created in the studio". (Roger Ebert)

(Fig. 03)



Illustration List:
•  Fig. 1.
•  Fig. 2.
•  Fig. 3.

Monday, 16 November 2015

What if, Metropolis - Concept Paint @ Phil

Hi Phil, Im trying to visualise the Metropolis scene, but seem to of hit that brick wall - I liked this comp as a pencil sketch, but not sure now I've started to paint, what do you think? I don't think it conveys the city very well at all.

sorry for the @phil tag :S

Sunday, 15 November 2015

What if, Metropolis - Travelogue

There was a new beginning starting to form in the world, form follows function and the in the eyes of some, modernism was failing to capture their hearts. A colony was formed to fabricate a new city in all the luxurious that they enjoyed and to continue their exuberant lifestyles and escape the new modern forming world.

The inhabitants of Lapis, where extremely gifted bohemian craftsman and artists, carving their way for a very lucrative economy. Setting up a world class industrial enterprise providing their exquisite artistry to the worlds appetite. With the abundance of fortune to spare, Lapis was fabricated as though it was a fine piece of Art Nouveau in itself. No expense was spared on the aesthetics and lifestyle that this new city provided.

The city of Lapis (Brilliant blue) was designed to maximise the pleasures of life, through exquisite decor and lifestyle. A city of endless sustained pleasures, flamboyant architecture and  excessive splendour that stimulates ones sensual conscious to all the excitement. With a abundance of fine drinking establishments, Dancing theatres, boudoirs and smoking rooms the civilians of Lapis had all the elements to destroy this once beautiful city 

Due to the society mixing with the more vicious elements of life, the degeneration of this city is at full steam. The Dandies have turned into drunks, the dancer have turned into prostitutes and the artist smoke far to much opium. What once was a well maintained sparkling city, it is now run-down and mottled with dirt, like a decaying body losing its colour of life.

Through the day Lapis seems to be a ghost town, odd silhouette’s in top-hats and tails dishevelled from the nights exuberance, can be seen staggering between the buildings, their skin looks dull, exhausted and sickly. And this seems to be reflected in the decaying architecture of Lapis. The once gleaming glass domed buildings, seem to have a translucent sickly pale colour cast, as though the life is dying from this city.

However as night falls and the lights are turned on, something beautiful emerges from the decay Like a rose growing from a grave. Although Lapis is in social degeneration, There is something fascinating to see here when the life-switch is flicked on in the city and the eccentric and troubled inhabitants come out to fill their desires and habits. 

This was a city of glass domed structures and exuberant entrance halls, with jewelled façades that glimmer in the light. Though the jewels where not the most expensive, they where picked to give the most romanticised aesthetic pleasures. One can only imagine that when this city was in full bloom it would have been very pleasing to ones eye as the symmetrical forms and pearlecent glass work blend into something that would comfortably sit in the worlds best galleries. But today, the glass is tarnished and some of the jewels are missing due to the thieves and the need to feed their habits.

The heart of this city, is the entertainment district, located along the riverside, complexes of Café’s, Restaurants, Cabaret theatres and boudoirs that line the dockside, Neglected walkways decorated in the flamboyant flowing lines of art nouveau railings guide you down to the main complexes building with other stair wells effortlessly gliding of to the other establishments held within. When these formations where seen from above by the sight seeing balloons that used float high up knocking on the sky, they could classed as a piece of art in itself. These once grand viewing balloons are still lofting in the sky, clawing at the clouds trying to stay afloat.

A series of elaborate decorated bridges seem to effortlessly suspend the river linking the decadent metropolis  providing easy access on cobbled streets that when wet look like gems from the reflections of the glass.

In the distance Huge arched towers loom high up into the sky, that are the entrances to what used to be the most exotic parks in the world, the huge domed greenhouses used to exhibit some of the rarest botanical plants adding to the exotic pleasures that this city held. Though today they are abandoned and derelict, what once where shiny large gems that sat on the horizon are now skeletons of their former self.

The streets these days are filled with dancing females, dressed in jewls that eccenturate their eroticism trying to tempt the curious eyes of the passing dandies on the way to fuel dependency of alcohol and drugs. Their eccentric dress is in full bloom, acting as a gentlemen should before the debauchery sets it. Only for the females to wait for the easy pickings on the dandies return journey once they have had their evenings fix.
Once these Cabaret Dancers where celebrities, entertaining the public in the passionate theatres, But as the decadence of the city took its grip the boudoirs where becoming more popular and more profitable, so the cycle of the dancers progressed into escort and prostitution.

What once was the underpass network of the city, Where a gentleman could stumble his way back to his abode and not de-gentrify himself to much in public. Has now formed a place for the prostitutes and degenerates who have given up on the fundamental cultural needs of a working city - a underworld of addicts caused by the endless pleasures that Lapis provides, a city of its own destruction. Showing that the fabric of society which was the key for Lapis’s creation, has lead to the cities cultural decline and this once blossoming city, will suffer the same fate as the autumn leaves.

What if, Metropolis - Colour Development

Some more colour studies of Laliques work and key building development

Space Oddities - Edward Scissorhands

Would you share your home with a spider that wanders the hallways alone in torment, Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands” (1990) depicts the psychological barrier between societies need of acceptance in todays  culture, even though everyone thinks they are individual with their own choices and thoughts.

Edward Scissorhands is set in a fashionable 1950’s suburbia, in the brink of modernism, everything is clean, uncluttered and rather lifeless. All the residence having the same material objects but with the ability to pick their own unique “individualism” but in reality they are all living the same artificial world,  trying to find the latest gossip to add any kind of excitement to their average lives.
“a goofy sitcom neighborhood where all of the houses are shades of pastels and all of the inhabitants seem to be emotional clones of each other”.

Juxtaposing the “Goofy Suburbia” is a haunting Gothic castle set high above the suburb on a mysterious dishevelled hill. (Fig. 01) creating a strong visual boundary between Edwards world and the society beyond.


Edward lives in sollitude, creating his own unique asthetic, creating magical sculptures and thoughtful collages of newspaper clippings. Though himself a creation, Edward seems to have a childish naiveness, and plaintive expressions that contrast to his fright hairdo, abundant scars and potentially lethal hands. When he is integrated into the pop culture of the suburbia below, there is a sense of sorrow to his awkwardness with his adapt ion to the new lifestyle and  tries to express himself through sculpture and the arts “the ability for all to connect with Edward for acceptance in the real world the ability for all to connect with Edward for acceptance in the real world, maybe through creativity(Fig. 02)

(Fig. 02)

Through the film Edward is classed as a misfit and a outcast, alienated to the world through his difference, but as the film unfolds his character shows how he is gentle and sincere and that the everyday civilisations has the power to corrupt the innocence he has within. What started out as curious fascination and false friendships towards the novelty act of Edward, then when the suburbians did not get what they wanted the nasty nature of pop suburbia came out, making up stories and gossip to alienate him once more. “that it is the freak who seems real,and all the human denizens of the comical flatland suburbia below who seem false and grotesque” 


•  Page, E. (2007) Gothic Fantasy: The films of TimBurton. London: Marion Boyars Publisher


Illustration List:
•  Fig. 1.
•  Fig. 2.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

What if, Metropolis - tests

The hero building in my set is the Absinthe, Opium and Bodouir complex. The scale and designs of the buildings are just positionals at the moment.
Seeing as the residents would be High on fun and their vision would be slightly off, I wanted to see how trippy I could get the colours - please help me and say if you think it is too garish, as I'm not sure.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

What if, Metropolis - Test Modelling

Testing Maya, to work out my compositions and what will be a render and what will be the matte painting.

What if, Metropolis - Initial Thumbnails

Building Development for new city - these are the shorter of the buildings

After a rethink on my travelogue, I needed to do some more thumbnails, so I could rethink the composition and atmosphere of my city.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Space Oddities - La Belle et la Bete

A Poets fable, Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et la Bete” (!946) shows how the artistic mind of a painter, sculptor and poet can use the medium of film to produce a surreal cinematic experience of a sexual fairy-tale fantasy.  
“It is a fabric of gorgeous visual metaphors, of undulating movements and rhythmic pace, of hypnotic sounds and music, of casually congealing ideas”.

The Surrealism of the film was enhanced with the atmospheric effects such as fog/smoke, swirling curtains, and haunting furniture. Dreamlike images of Belle floating down corridors with no movement of her body (Fig. 01), Magical hands that serve as waiters and candle holders. “When bodies appear through walls or fly up into the air, it is almost as if Cocteau’s camera has miraculously recorded a dream”

(Fig. 01)

Freudian symbols suggest how the dreamlike subconscious underpins the sexual nature to the film
As Belle awaits her first introduction to the Beast, he moves in silence and approaches her from behind. She senses his presence, and toys suggestively with the knife on the table. The image of a scared woman playing with a phallic object burns with both desire and fear, excitement and anxiety”.

Though perceived to be a beast, as the beauty gets to know his chivalrous side, her attitude changes from seeing him as a frightening monster to a more caring individual, though still adamant that she will never marry him. She seems to become the more dominant of the couple, the beast following her around like a lost puppy and even drinking from her hands and feeding him. (Fig. 02)

(Fig. 02)

Though the sexual connotations seem to dominate the film, and a lot is read into the Freudian-ism. This is at heart a magical fairytale fable where adults have the opportunity to escape their everyday lifes and enter into to a childhood wonder.



Illustration List:
•  Fig. 2.