Sunday, April 30, 2023

Blood and Steel

This piece was done for the cover of a violent martial arts epic from celebrated Hong Kong film director Ringo Lam. BURNING PARADISE offers another tale of young folk hero, Fong Sai-Yuk, battling the forces of evil - this time in a labyrinthian underground prison lair where one wrong move spells sudden death of an extremely "uncomfortable" nature.

The extreme violence of the movie naturally dictated the color palette. Blood is everywhere. Inside and out. The Chinese character for "fire", rendered in blood red, looms large and splatters everything in sight. It's emphasis is heightened by reducing all other colors down to a monochromatic grayscale wash of character action/reaction.

It's a strange dichotomy. It's a constant back-and-forth, as I struggle with the tools of the trade to render physical my vision for each piece. I wouldn't say I ever get fully comfortable in any given style. But I'm also aware of the fact that I never want to exhibit a recognizable style. I don't want to be a "style". (The art direction of the thing I'm marketing should dictate the style if it has any at all.)

If I feel I'm getting too comfortable, repeating myself, I immediately attempt to move from on it. Unless I'm doing a series where all the items need to match, I want to welcome each new design job with a set of fresh eyes not relying to previous works to guide me.

If I'm not stretching, I'm not growing. (And I've got a long, long way to grow.) That's the dichotomy. I try to improve in a certain direction, but then if I feel I'm approaching that goal, I immediately move on from it to try to pursue a different direction. I never stay in any comfort zone. The compounded effect is I'm never fully happy with the work. 

I think this comes from decades of working for hundreds of different clients, all wanting something different. So I have to be everything to everyone. So my own vision takes a backseat. But that's life as a graphic designer. Do your best. Hopefully learn something in the process. And onto the next one. 

See you on the next one. 

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