Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Jack Nicholson...

... does not feature in this blog.

Here's my entry to the Penguin Books Design competition. I didn't win owt but I really enjoyed doing this one and it was a really good excuse to finally get round to reading the book, and what a flipping book!
I wanted to really amp up the aspects of the novel that don't make it into the movie, which largely comes down to the fact that all the events and characters of the story are contained within the narration of 'Chief' Bromden, the apparently deaf and dumb, half-Indian patient.

Because the story is filtered through his drugged and assailed consciousness you get these amazing hallucinatory sequences in which people's features warp and distort, particularly the terrifying overseer of the ward, Nurse Ratched,
"So she really lets herself go and her painted smile twists, stretches to an open snarl, and she blows up bigger and bigger, big as a tractor, so big I can smell the machinery inside the way you smell a motor pulling too big a load."

The Chief's narration also places the story within his wider paranoia (or is it?) about the world. He sees society as 'the Combine', a relentless factory that bludgeons people into passive acceptance of their place in the machine. He hides from this horror in the mist that descends on his brain when he swallows the drugs that Ratched and her staff dispense.

I tried to get across something of the Combine and the mist in the background of the image. After trying a few different approaches this finally involved collaging photos of the inside of my old busted digital camera, and then attacking a print-out with chalk dust.
I assure you Officer, it's only chalk dust!

I don't think it's ultimately a successful image (so I forgive you for not picking me Penguin Books). There's maybe three too many ideas that I've tried to cram into the piece! Still, I learned a lot doing this one, and there are aspects of it I really like.