Gardening at night, Cig Harvey
Head in the clouds, Stephan Schmitz
Cool kids (live forever), Delphine Chanet
Hockneyville, Daniel Heidkamp
I’ve been creating pop culture art professionally for 20 years, and have always shot my own photo reference, usually with the greatest model I’ve ever met, my dad.
Most of my work, which includes movie posters, toy packaging, art prints and advertising art, relies to some degree on photo reference. Some of that reference includes screen grabs or press photos of the subject to achieve a proper likeness and correct costume details. The rest is made up of photographs that I take myself, of my father, with appropriate lighting and costuming. I reinterpret these photos, mixing them together with shots of the movie characters to create a new, unique image.
When I have a concept sketch for a piece worked out, I pop over to my parents’ house and get my dad to dress up like the character while I set up lighting to match the scene. He’s very accommodating, and willing to pose in all sorts of ways, and always manages to get into character. He never says no to a request and is always enthusiastic. I have yet to meet a better model.
More info: jasonedmiston.com
Thirty years ago on my first of many visits to India, I saw a form of architecture entirely unknown to me. Called a “stepwell” (but known throughout India by many other names including “vav” and “baoli”). I was stunned after peering over a low stone wall to find the ground disappear beneath me. A man-made stepped chasm plunged six stories underground, full of ornate stone columns and sculpture that seemed to disappear into murky shadows.
Talk about dramatic: it was thrilling, subversive, and disorienting to be staring down into architecture rather than looking up at it. I’d never experienced anything like it.
I’d studied architecture and art, so why hadn’t I ever heard of a stepwell? Turns out very few people have, even in India, and consequently these unique subterranean edifices have largely slipped off history’s grid. Four years ago, with that indelible memory still haunting me, I began seeking out more stepwells and found myself utterly obsessed. Now, I’ve seen about a hundred and twenty in seven states, with more soon to come.
The purpose of a stepwell was simple: provide water 24/7, all year long. But in India’s dry desert states, accessing groundwater might mean digging a hole nine stories deep, and the only way to reach the buried water was by long stepped corridors. When torrential monsoon rains eventually moved in for weeks or months, the water table rose significantly and many of the steps – if not all – would submerge, gradually revealing themselves again as the water level subsided.
Last year, the largest, costliest, most grandiose stepwell of all – Rani ki Vav in Patan, Gujarat – finally became a UNESCO World Heritage Site after many years on the waiting list. Hopefully, this will stimulate more interest, and perhaps in the future, stepwells will appear on tourist itineraries rather than on an “extinct species” list.
Shadowlands, Jose Luis Barcia Fernandez
How it Works, Ladybird books
Once upon a time in the West, Tyler Carter
Black light, Slava Thisset