From left: “Crichton Leprechaun” by Katie Vogtner, from “Leprechaun”; “Moonpie” by Paige Garland, from “Moonlight”; “Mobile” by Megan Cary, from “Metropolis”; “Mardi Gras Encounter of the Third Kind” by Brendan A. Gibbs, from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”; “MAWSS” by Gin Mathers, from “Jaws.”
Area graphic artists reimagined famous movie posters with an Azalea City focus for a contest renewed by the local chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). The results adorn the walls of Optera Creative (5 N. Jackson St.) through the end of November. Last year’s version focused on musical album cover art.
While AIGA board members opted in on the fun, Events Coordinator Katie Vogtner said their submissions were ineligible for awards. She relayed the winners as follows:
First prize was for “Bridge” by Amy Busbee, a takeoff on the poster for the film “Airplane.” It not only transmuted the original’s airplane fuselage with Mobile’s proposed Interstate 10 bridge, tied into a knot, but included the tagline “What’s slower to be built than a speeding bullet, and able to connect the Bayway in a single bound?”
Of the runners-up, one was Amanda Pritchard’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” taken from the Fred Rogers documentary by the same name. It kept all the elements as the original but supplanted Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s head atop Mister Rogers’ body as he dons a red cardigan.
The other was Brendan A. Gibbs’ “Mardi Gras Encounter of the Third Kind,” from the obvious Steven Spielberg classic filmed in the Mobile Bay area in 1976. Gibbs gave us a twist, though. He discarded the original vision — a road leading from the viewer into a mysteriously glowing nighttime horizon — and employed elements of 1996’s “Independence Day.” A giant alien craft is parked over the Mobile skyline, its glowing shaft of energy showering the RSA Tower. The tagline? “A new guest is coming to Mobile this Mardi Gras.”
Artifice favorites begin with Vogtner’s own “Crichton Leprechaun,” modeled after the film “Leprechaun.” She went the extra route, supplanting cast and production crew names for such Mobilians as Tallulah Bankhead, Eugene Walter, Danny Lipford, Billy Bangs, Sidney Phillips, Richard Tyson, Winston Groom and Joseph Paul Franklin.
Just as humorous was Gin Mathers’ “MAWSS,” pulled from Spieiberg’s “Jaws.” Its titular shark ascends toward a swimmer, a warning tag for sewage in its teeth. Between prey and predator is a manhole surging with rainwater overflow, a familiar sight during local deluges.
Paige Garland’s “Moonpie” was another nice offering, inspired by the film “Moonlight.” The artist kept the original design scheme, changed the dominant palette to green, purple and gold and employed a captivating photo portrait. Like Vogtner, Garland altered production credits, using Carnival entities Joe Cain’s Merry Widows, marching bands and revelers.
The most striking was perhaps AIGA member Megan Cary’s “Mobile,” inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece “Metropolis.” It channels German Expressionist sensibilities into a local frame, where the Mobile skyline looms in gold-and-black contrast behind the Maschinenmensch. Cary also injected Mobile names into the credits, with Jimmy Buffett, Hank Aaron, Lonnie Johnson, Bob Grip, Mel Showers and Laverne Cox joining others.
The only fault found was that the show wasn’t far, far larger. I’m already looking forward to next November’s rendition.
For hours and viewing opportunities, call Optera at 251-287-0958.