September 18, 2005
I decided if we are ever going to do a gay cover, this weekend will determine just how gay we will go. On Saturday afternoon, I spent two hours looking at Western movie poster art books and then show tunes poster movie books (yes, I have quite a collection) then all of my Film Noir Movie poster books trying to find that odd, but zany angle that I can thread for the cover art.
This is to illustrate both our cover stories, one by Jana on homosexuality in the West and the other on the new movie Brokeback Mountain, which is getting rave reviews. Either way we need to cover the subject in some fashion on the cover and I have spent almost a year wrestling with how far to go with the concept.
Narrowed it down to two concepts, and decided on the ballsier one, of course. Projected Clint Eastwood’s head from the A Few Dollars More Italian poster, and then fudged it so that he has a crazed look in his eye. He’s looking down and behind him where three bandidos are lined up along an adobe wall (just like in the famous poster), only something is wrong. Two of the bandidos have started making out, and Clint is not amused, and has that “What the...?” look in his eye. Because of the First Friday visit I tried to push the color more utilizing a stronger triad color scheme, matching complementary colors rather than accurate hues and values to the old poster. I hope it looks accurate but with a tinge of modernity to it.
Today at about 4:30 I finished Clint’s face and it does look like him. Blocked in everything else but decided to illustrate the gay lovers in the morning when I’m fresh and gay myself.
Do you realize that in the Spaghetti Westerns the stories were almost exclusively on the Mexican border? They never portrayed the northern West, with Custer and the Sioux, Wild Bill and Dodge City. For some reason they preferred the grittiness of the El Paso to Nogales border region and virtually all of their stories take place in this no-man’s-land. Last night I watched a Spaghetti Western documentary on IFC (Independent Film Channel?) and evidently there is this entire genre of Mexican Revolution Italian Westerns, with titles like “A Bullet for the General” and many others. They loved the Mexican Revolution because it mirrored their political environment, evidently. We Americans have barely tolerated the theme in our Westerns and have delegated a subservient role to the Pancho Villa style Western and have made pretty bad caricatures of the entire time and place when we did deal with it (The Wild Bunch would be exhibit A if I was making a case, which I’m not).
But today, that is changing and the Mexican Revolution seems much more in tune with what is happening along our southern border. Get ready for a new style of Western protagonist, one that comes from Norteno, not the West, going South (ironically the title of an odd Jack Nicholson cocaine fueled movie).
Went for four bike rides today. Every time I’d get stuck on a painting passage I took off with the dogs. Burned it out, came back and bailed in. Feels good. I’m in a good place, feeling confident and strong. Art show is a week from this coming Friday.
”Nothing changes more than the past.”
—Old Vaquero Saying
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