Pretty in NEON Pink: film-inspired artwork and homemade prom dresses

As I’ve mentioned before, I love me some High School movie goodness. Several of my favorites are from the King of High School Movies himself—John Hughes. So, when the folks at Aperture Cinema asked me to participate in their Screen Club series, Pretty In Pink made the short list* of movies I’d enjoy creating an original poster for.

It’s one of the best in the Molly Ringwald / John Hughes genre, though I came to it much later than when it was actually released. For some reason, I never saw ANY of them till the mid 90’s, which is kind of hilarious. let’s just say there were some major gaps in my cultural consumption back then. Don’t ever pick me for your team in trivial pursuit entertainment edition. You WILL loose.

Anyway, what was I saying? Right. Pretty in Pink. Great movie. I admire Molly Ringwald’s character, Andie, for her determination and resourcefulness. She stands up for herself and knows her own mind.

If somebody doesn’t believe in me, I can’t believe in them.” – Andie Walsh

Isn’t that a great summary of how important it is to take all the “feedback” we get every day with a grain of salt? Paying attention to constructive criticism is one thing, but so many people are out there just trying to rip people down. In the end, you’ve gotta trust yourself and Andie’s a great heroine, in that regard.

Of course you can’t ignore her independent fashion sense, either. As someone who also designed and made her own prom dress, I identify with Andie on that level, too. Her dress is a great metaphor for identity crisis and personal growth. She takes these bits and pieces collected from the people she loves and turns them all into something that’s unapologetically her own. And then she rocks it.

prom_pink_vs_shelby93
Sisters from another mother: That’s Andie on the left, me on the right, just in case you were confused. (Note the similar collar designs even though I’ didn’t even know this movie existed at this point in my young, senior-prom-going life. Weird, right?)

I took Andie’s quote and her DIY prom dress as my inspiration. Like the first mark you put on a blank piece of paper, or the first sentence you write with that blinking cursor — the first cut into a piece of cloth is the hardest. You gotta grit your teeth and commit. No turning back. Focusing on the energy of that first cut in my poster design; I wanted to capture that feeling when it’s all still up in the air and you don’t know how it’s all going to end up, but you feel alive and in the moment.

pretty in pink poster concept
Here’s my concept sketch; playing around with possible color combos and paper choices.

I’d just read a Corita Kent book and wanted play with typography in a dimensional way, as she did in some of her early work, figuring that would be a great way to capture some of the youthful energy in the film.

prety in pink poster - in progress
Playing around with distressed type (literally!), inspired by Sister Corita Kent.
Pretty in pink movei poster design in progress
Not to be outdone by Andie, I had to get in on the ripping old dresses to bits action, too. Here’s the selection of fabric I used to create the abstract shapes in my design. (The green polka-dot skirt on the bottom left of the pile is an actual thrift-shop find from back in my HS days. I wore it all the time, paired with some low-top Docs, of course.)

And, to top it all off, let’s go with some neon pink ink. I mean, what could be more fitting for the 80’s right? Here are a few photos of the finished poster. At Wednesday’s screening, there will be a limited edition of 50 signed 18” x 24” poster prints available for purchase. (I’m told that eventually you will be able to purchase a poster from the Screen Club online, as well)

I’m thrilled with the final poster. It captures some of my favorite things about the movie AND about being a teenager. And did I mention Pink Neon?

Screen Club - Pretty in Pink Poster
The final “Pretty in Pink” poster design for Aperture Screen Club
Screen Club - Pretty in Pink Poster
A detail shot of Andie’s quote on the poster
signing - PRETTY IN PINK - poster design
Signing the limited-edition posters for sale.

If you wanna step into your time machine and experience Pretty in Pink with me, come on down to Aperture, grab some popcorn and let’s enjoy the movie! You’re gonna love it. I mean, I didn’t even get to tell you about the OTHER best parts, like – who didn’t fall in love with Duckie the moment they saw his Otis Redding impression? If you have just one friend as good as Duckie, life is gonna be bearable, no matter what. I think Pretty in Pink is more about friendships and family than it is about romance, and that’s what makes it a great movie and one that you can watch over and over again.

PRETTY IN PINK is showing at Aperture Cinema September 10, 2014 @ 7:30 p.m.

* For the curious, the rest of my list included: We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen; Bread and Tulips; Repo Man; Desperado and Raising Arizona. There were some limits on what we could choose, of course, but all of those movies are fun and if you haven’t seen them, I can recommend them all.

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3 thoughts on “Pretty in NEON Pink: film-inspired artwork and homemade prom dresses

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