Monday, August 22, 2016

Anthony Petrie's Charts 2 Interview

Property: Rocky
Medium: Acetate Print in an LED light box frame
Size: 24” x 36”
Paper: Acetate

Anthony Petrie, accomplished artist takes us on another trip through cinema and pop culture. Anthony Petrie's Charts 2 will be opening for public consumption Sept 3 at Gallery 1988. He finds a way to make a film seem like a stylized infographic like no other. Dropping bits of info in a beautiful looking piece that must adorn any cinephiles screening room.

You've probably seen his work at Gallery 1988 before or for advertising name brands. We interviewed Anthony, way back in early 2015 for his first solo show and are happy enough to get to ask brand new questions about his life, but more importantly on his art.

Anthony Petrie
TTDILA: What a great show, back in 2015, were there any major events in your life since then? Should we really even dwell on that or go right into questions about the art?
Anthony Petrie:Biggest major event after chARTs1 was the beginning of work on chARTs2 [lame]. Aside from that, I started showing my work at conventions in the past year, starting with New York Comic Con last October, and most recently San Diego Comic Con in July, both of which were exhausting but really lucrative and fun.
Ya bastard, you did the art for the special edition Snatch Steelbook Blu-ray? That's like my favorite movie visually. I don't know what happened to Guy Ritchie after that, Madonna, but he sure can't make'm like he use to. How did that come about? Look at the Blu-ray cover online for the regular version, it looks like they cut-out the cast and put them together. So nerdy about that right now, I know, but please go on.
The project came about from a marketing initiative between Sony and Gallery 1988 called “Project Pop Art” wherein artists were commissioned to re-design the DVD Blu-ray covers of popular movies for sale exclusively at Best Buy. I got lucky with Snatch and Kung-Fu Hustle, and it was awesome seeing that artwork in a commercial space for such big movies.

You bring up a good point about the regular DVD artwork and most movie marketing materials in general. It’s terrible. It’s always been terrible. And it’s the reason why the surge of underground pop culture inspired artwork has become so popular. It’s a response to the cut-and-paste generic and uncreative imagery that studios employ to advertise the movies we all love. I think this project in particular shows that studios are finally starting catching on to that creative response and are now providing opportunities for artists like myself to infuse creativity back into a lot of the artwork used to sell movies.
“Flight Plans"
Property: Up
Medium: 3-Color Screen-Print on Stock White
Size: 24” x 36”
Paper: Stock White

On fandom and I hope you can agree, most cover art looks like garbage, you know as well as I, the studios is like, "Get the actors faces on the cover!"  Ughhh, I hate that! Now buying physical media for me has to deal with not only extras, but the cover art. Your thoughts? If Blockbusters existed anymore would you make mock covers and tape them to the front of DVD’s?
For the most part I agree, movie key art is there more to fulfill requirements of actor’s contracts and so people know that “oh this is the Bradd Pitt movie”, and a lot of the time key art and marketing materials suffer for it. However I would also say there has definitely been a noticeable infusion of “alternative subculture” art concepts and aesthetics into the mass marketing of pop culture brands and movies. Production companies and design firms look to the sub-genre of alternative movie posters for inspiration in mainstream marketing projects. Additionally, the more popular and skilled a traditional/freelance artist gets, the more mainstream work opportunities they will receive, allowing that artist to infuse their own vision into the property.  I think that the overall modern poster movement serves as a trendsetter for all printed material in graphic design, illustration and marketing worlds, and that influence is being seen particularly in the Snatch DVD project we just discussed.

When working on your pieces, how hard is it to really design and finish them, because they're quite intricate. I'm going on two levels or more than that: time it requires, forethought, I mean planning them out must require many skills. If it's too long to explain in general you might want to go over one piece and it's development.
“Carte Concierge"
Property: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Medium: 2-Color, Double-Sided Screen-Print on Pop Tone Pink Lemonade French Paper With Metallic Shimmer
Size: 24” x 36”
Paper: Pop Tone Pink Lemonade French Paper
For chARTs, the work is 90% research, 9% execution and 1% cursing out loud. I don’t usually sketch them out beforehand. Instead, I do a lot of writing and researching and lay out all the information I’ve gathered onto my computer screen. Then it’s just a matter of connecting the dots and composing. I don’t usually know what the final piece is going to look like in my head before I start. I let the information come together organically through the research process, or until it just looks cool...
Last time, we saw a lot of older favorites, do you mainly stay in very beloved titles, no cult stuff. will any of the films used be from the last five years? Is most of the modern slate of films just not that great? I would disagree and would love to see you do a Nurse Office's sexually transmitted disease chart for It Follows.
Ha, and It Follows chART would be great, I’m going to steal that. I think the first chARTs show was a proof of concept more or less. I stuck with properties that had really iconic and recognizable elements so people would understand what the point of these posters were. They don’t have the convenience of having a big title block and character faces on them, so that the viewer immediately knows what the movie is. Because of their subversive nature, they rely heavily on iconic elements and color palettes for immediate recognition. There’s still a lot of those “ conic movie moments" in chARTs 2 but there’s definitely newer properties being explored as well. I think at this point, people understand what the concept of chARTs is, and are able to pick up on the visual clues that are hidden in each poster.
Given the chance now, we seemingly only went over the surface of the genres you like in film. Is there any films you love, but just can't figure out to get down in your style. Are there some films you love that shouldn't be tackled, you said last interview, "I like movies that most normal people hate.”
I think it’s less about movies that are difficult to nail down in this style, and more about how to make the poster unexpected. If you heard I was doing a chART for the movie Star Wars, you might assume that it’s a technical drawing of the Millennium Falcon, or a map of Tattooine. I don’t think anyone would have guessed a star constellation chart of Star Wars characters. I think the best chARTs are from movies that you wouldn’t expect...

I'm looking at more of your production design side of work and see some breakout action design for Nickelodeon. Aw, Ninja Turtles! How is it designing or re-designing classic characters?
My inner 7-year-old freaks out while working on TMNT. Come to think of it, my inner 34-year-old freaks out while working on TMNT. If I had to think of a “dream job”, aside from working for myself, this would be it. I haven’t given TMNT the chARTs treatment yet, but hopefully one day I can get something official off the ground.

Do you draw anything from you design gigs? Do you ever think of the piece more for the masses than just your eye? Has it helped create pieces for your show?
Absolutely. Posters are products. They are objects with 3 dimensions, and I think the great thing about chARTs is that they are not exclusive to any niche of people. In a market that’s dominated by over-masculine representations of movies, I think chARTs are pretty gender neutral, and I feel that because of this, they are able to appeal to a larger audience. There’s no deeper meaning to them, nothing to speculate on. They are maps and diagrams, easy to understand and digest, but at the same time fun, non-aggressive and immersive. You don’t need to be a stuffy art critic to appreciate them, and if you love movies, you don’t have to have some actor’s giant face on your wall to decorate your house with that movie’s memorabilia.

On that, are you giving some love to TV, cartoons or gaming this time? I'll ask, but I'm sure you weren't given enough time. Is Stranger Things in there? * Black Mirror gets brand new episodes this October, thanks Netflix.
I totally meant to. There is one TV show in there. And a cartoon. There was a really long list of all kinds of properties including video games and books, but as work went on, and things got boiled down, it ended up being mostly movies [again]. Stranger Things came along too late to make it in, but I love Black Mirror, I’ll keep them both in mind for sure. I think TV shows and video games are SO expansive and encompassing, it’s really difficult to capture every Easter egg and detail into one poster, whereas a movie is a little easier to “package up” in a single poster.

How long were you given this time, last solo show you said it really helped you get your ideas together. Anything you want to discuss that you couldn't finish?
I started working on this one as soon as the last one ended. Actually there’s special a piece in this show that was started before even the last show. I feel good about the number of pieces, but there are definitely some concepts that I didn’t get to explore for this one. I don’t think there’s going to be a chARTs 3 anytime soon [I need a break], but I’m hoping to be able to continue this concept throughout the year intermittently, so I think a lot of those unrealized concepts will start to emerge.

Andrew DeGraff and his new book, Plotted: A Literary Atlas. Is he a jerk?
Andrew is awesome , we met at the Star Wars event at G88. We’re in the same genre, but our work is so different I don’t think there’s any overlap. There’s a lot of mutual respect there, and I’m a huge fan of his work. Where as his Plotted work is solely based on his mastery of maps, I try to broaden the definition of what chARTs is and what it can be, so that maps is just one part of the definition. I think it’s part of a bigger story that is being explored in the ‘infographic’ space, by not only myself and DeGraff, but Tom Whalen and Kevin Tong [Info-rama], and a lot of other artists who are starting to pick up on some of those more graphic and informative themes.
How about your relationship with Jensen Karp, co-owner of Gallery 1988, we all know him now with his book, that I'm not going to plug. How's that, how did he get your work to his gallery?
Jensen and I are friends, and he and Katie have both been amazingly supportive of me and my work at Gallery 1988. He had been following my work online, and literally just called me out of the blue to work on a gallery show back in 2011, which quickly led to the official Breaking Bad show, which quickly led to the official Avengers show. And his book is great, I actually went to a book event he had in NYC, so if you’re not going to plug it, I will: Kanye West owes me $300 by Jensen Karp, available now! Oh, and chARTs2, September 3rd at Gallery 1988!!

As Anthony so casually plugged it his show:

Anthony Petrie's Charts 2
Opening Reception Sep 3, 7-10pm
G1988(West) 7308 Melrose Ave