Reference Artist – Henn Kim.
Henn Kim is an illustrator that i’ve been following way before we even got assigned this project. I have always loved her minimalistic designs and how she interprets quotes very directly in her images. Below are some examples of a few of my favourite works.
In this design, she interprets the quote “Be bold or italic, never regular” with a simple image of two pairs of feet. One pair of feet is straight, symbolising “bold” while the other pair is crossed, symbolising “italic”. This is a very strong image as the viewer can immediately associate her illustration with the accompanying quote.
Here, she illustrates the quote “New love, same old mistakes”. In this design, she uses fresh flowers vs. withered flowers to symbolise new love vs. old love. A woman stands in the middle. She faces the new flowers, held by a man’s hand. It clearly delivers the message of repeating past mistakes in a new relationship and hence is very effective.
This is a design i particularly love. She illustrates the quote “thinking sharp” with a simple image of a girl with her head in a sharpener. Albeit slightly morbid, It directly links to the quote and the strong imagery speaks to me.
Overall, I love her visually narrative style. I think that her way of designing is very effective. Her literal representation of things is not only clear, but it is also done so cleverly that it does not tell the audience what to think. Instead, it intrigues the viewer and leaves much room for further interpretation of the image.
Hence, I drew from her way of looking at quotes and directly interpreting them in my development for my final designs. I made sure that every image was in my design for a reason, and that everything was symbolic to my quote.
Quote #1 – Some men just want to watch the world burn (The Dark Knight)
Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night. Assuming responsibility for the death of Harvey Dent, Batman sacrificed everything for what he and Gordon hoped would be the greater good. However, the arrival of a cunning cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) and a merciless terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy) force Batman out of exile and into a battle he may not be able to win.
Here are my designs:
The quote some men just want to watch the world burn immediately delivers this image to my mind – a crazed man with the world burning in his eyes – he is literally watching the world burn.
I chose design #2 as my final design. Compared to design #1, it looks more old – fashioned (as per project brief).
Quote #2 – I’ve got some bad ideas in my head (Taxi Driver)
Synopsis: Suffering from insomnia, disturbed loner Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) takes a job as a New York City cabbie, haunting the streets nightly, growing increasingly detached from reality as he dreams of cleaning up the filthy city. When Travis meets pretty campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), he becomes obsessed with the idea of saving the world, first plotting to assassinate a presidential candidate, then directing his attentions toward rescuing 12-year-old prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster).
In this scene, Travis Bickle hints at his plan to assassinate the presidential candidate.
Here are my designs:
The quote I got some bad ideas in my head immediately drew my mind to this image of a man with a literal bad idea in his head. I used the hand in the shape of a gun instead of a real gun to allude to this scene in Taxi Driver where Travis Bickle puts his hand to his head, representing a gun.
I chose design #2 as my final design. Unlike design #1, design #2 references the old woodcut style and does not look too modern.
Quote #3 – You couldn’t be ordinary if you tried (American Beauty)
Synopsis: Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a gainfully employed suburban husband and father. Fed up with his boring, stagnant existence, he quits his job and decides to reinvent himself as a pot-smoking, responsibility-shirking teenager. What follows is at once cynical, hysterical, and, eventually, tragically uplifting.
In this scene, Lester Burnham tells insecure Angela, who fears being ordinary the most, that she is special and couldn’t be ordinary if she tried.
Here’s my designs:
American Beauty utilizes roses to symbolize multiple things, including beauty. In the quote, Lester is trying to tell her that her inner beauty is what makes her special, not her looks.
In design #1, I chose to superimpose the rose onto a girl’s naked chest to symbolize the inner beauty that flourishes within. It sprouts out physically. The girl cannot hide it even if she tried. That image is a pictorial description of the quote to me. However, after receiving feedback that the design was too obvious & direct, i tried to make it more abstract and use other forms to represent the character.
I chose design #2 as my final design. Here, i used withered flowers to represent the “ordinary”, and a blooming rose to represent Angela. The blooming rose embodies inner beauty. I referenced the old woodcut style in this design to fit the brief, and made it more abstract by ditching the human form completely and used symbolism to get my idea across.
Quote #4 – I wish I knew how to quit you (Brokeback Mountain)
Synopsis: In 1963, rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and ranch hand Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) are hired by rancher Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) as sheep herders in Wyoming. One night on Brokeback Mountain, Jack makes a drunken pass at Ennis that is eventually reciprocated. Though Ennis marries his longtime sweetheart, Alma (Michelle Williams), and Jack marries a fellow rodeo rider (Anne Hathaway), the two men keep up their tortured and sporadic affair over the course of 20 years.
Here’s a link to the 1 min scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf2ftEnWzDQ
In this scene, Jack Twist delivers the quote I wish I knew how to quit you in frustration over their tortured affair.
Here’s my designs:
In design 1 , I use two men stuck in a cigarette pack to deliver the message I wish I knew how to quit you. The gay men represent the estranged relationship behind the quote. The cigarette pack symbolizes addiction and inability to quit. This was the first image that came to mind when I thought of this quote. I also specifically chose Marlboro as that is the brand of cigarette that they smoke in the movie Brokeback Mountain. However, I got feedback that this design promotes Marlboro and hence distracts from the main message.
I chose design #2. Here, I add a female hand shaped in a gun pointed at the men. In the movie, they are unable to live they life they desire as they are bound by their marriages to their wives. Their wives pose a huge threat to their affair. The female hand represents their wives as the threat, and the gay men who are locked in embrace delivers the message that they are unable to let go despite the threat that they are in. Hence, the image shows that they wish to be able to “quit” each other and end their relationship but are unable to.