Birmingham students’ reimagined movie posters go on display in Los Angeles gallery

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A group of Birmingham students have gone from Harborne to Hollywood after their reimagined posters for iconic 80s films went on display at a Los Angeles art gallery.

Nine Visual Communication students from Birmingham City University won the opportunity to have their creations put on show at Gallery 1988 in the City of Angels’ Melrose Avenue, after being tasked with creating new imagery for films from the year 1988.

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The pieces were put forwards to gallery owners Jenson Karp and Katie Sutton in a bid to be selected to feature in the 30 Years Later: Artwork inspired by the films of 1988 installation.

Students based their work on films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Rain Man, Beetlejuice, Child’s Play, The Land Before Time and Hellraiser, with the winning entries now on display alongside the work of acclaimed artists from across the globe. 

One image shows Toontown bad guys holding Roger Rabbit aloft by his ears, another shows Child’s Play’s Chucky poised to attack an unsuspecting victim and another reflects the parallel relationship between twins in Bette Midler film Big Business.

Student Elina Virdziniece who designed a reimagined poster for Big Business said: “It feels amazing to have the opportunity to be involved in an exhibition like this, particularly as I have never been involved in anything as high profile.

“The thought process behind my artwork was to illustrate the film in a more contemporary style but to still keep the feel of the year it was created.

“Because I was not familiar with the film before, it made the research and my approach to the design process more interesting and challenging.

Student Andrew Birney who designed a poster for John Carpenter’s cult sci-fi horror classic They Live said: “This project has given me a lot more confidence to produce work in an area of graphic design that I love but haven't really tried out yet.

“Seeing my work recognised in an art gallery for the first time was a great feeling and something I want to try again.

“I wanted to suggest a motif or idea in my selected film, but quite subtly and in a clear minimalist style. My outcome wasn't just a poster, but an artefact that could've been taken from the world of the film itself.”

The exhibition is now on display to the public to mark 30 years since the films were released.

The opportunity for students to get involved in the project came as a result of Birmingham City University lecturer Martin Donnelly’s previous work exhibiting in the gallery. 

Martin Donnelly said: "Since my time at Birmingham City University I’ve always thought it would be great to get the students involved in these kinds of projects. When the 30 years later brief came through I contacted the gallery founders to propose the students get involved and they loved the idea.

“The owners were very impressed with the response from our students. They understand that this kind of relationship offers them fresh talent and provides them with new and exciting work to feature in their shows.

“Importantly, it also gives our students the opportunity to exhibit alongside and on a par with some world-class artists, really kick-starting their creative careers with international notoriety.”

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