Being that it is hashtag Throwback Thursday, I thought that I would revisit an interesting job and opportunity that came my way ten years ago at a time when I was moving from Salt Lake City to San Francisco. I was reminded of these posters the other day when I was showing a series of Walter Moseley book covers I illustrated in 2002 to my students. All of this work feels a bit distant from me now because of how my approach has changed over the years. I am not painting in acrylics so much anymore, I am doing more carving and cutting these days, but I am proud that my work appeared in the Michael Mann film “Collateral” which was released in 2004. Up until most recently I have not enjoyed looking at my work I did from that time because I was wanting to really change where my work was going. Maybe now I can handle looking at it again because I feel like I have finally allowed myself to explore new areas and move forward in my work. I was really just starting out when I did these paintings, and I also have ten years of brush mileage between now and then that helps as well.
These posters were created for a job that had a rocky start, so when DreamWorks called in early fall of 2002 inquiring on whether or not they could reuse these and blow them up large on the wall of a fictitious Los Angeles jazz club, I was more than happy to listen. When my agent explained to me that it was for a Michael Mann film, I was even more excited. I got the phone call while having lunch at my favorite restaurant in Salt Lake on literally the day before I was to leave Utah for California and join the rest of my family. I was sitting there in the restaurant having doubts about leaving Axiom design (now known as Struck) where I had worked for six years, and was even more nervous on whether or not I would ever really make it on my own as an artist and illustrator. Sometimes when we are in those moments we don’t see the good things that are just around the corner, and having the perspective that I do now, that move was one of the best decisions I have made. As a result of that decision, I have been in a position to meet many illustrators and others who I have admired, and these people have been great friends and mentors to me. Many of which are fellow members of Drawger.
I had the pleasure of viewing Collateral for the first time with my friends and fellow students in Syracuse’s ISD Master’s program in the summer of 2004, and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that my posters were in the back of Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx for almost an entire scene.