A magic of effective art can be a drawing that appears to be a movie still, clipped from a film narrative, evoking a powerful sense of storytelling— and the viewer wants to know the rest of the story. This phenomenon has recently manifested itself on deviantART— and in a big way— once again.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will produce a movie based on a drawing (“sweet Halloween dreams”) by deviantART digital artist *begemott. The drawing depicts a tiny teddy bear with a tiny wooden sword and shield defending a sleeping child from the advances of a hideous beast sprung from the child’s nightmare.
The drawing was spotted on deviantART and brought to the attention of The Rock, film company, New Line, and the production company that produced The Rock’s successful movie “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.”
“Begemott’s gallery is full of wildly imaginative art works... We want to become a part of that world and find out what happens next.
Begemott’s gallery is full of wildly imaginative art works that succeed in capturing the moment in an idea’s “story” that represents a portal into a separate world. We want to become a part of that world and find out what happens next. Almost any of the images from this artist’s gallery could serve as a more interesting story platform than the mostly stale stories released every Friday in our movie theaters. So what at first blush might seem a bit crazy— constructing an entire film narrative from a single artist’s image— becomes much more understandable.
Even within short viewings, the striking and evocative story possibilities of *begemott’s artworks spark the imagination. But so many of these paintings deserve longer viewing sessions offering even greater reward by allowing the constructed tableau to percolate and truly come to life. Sensing the dilemma these characters are facing becomes the core focus when viewing these works. Empathy for the subject and situations and the just occurred events comes easily as the scenes unfold and the characters’ relationships with themselves and others become clear. These newly familiar characters exude more identity and personality than the scripted clichés populating too many a screenplay.
The creativity, imagination and resonance with seekers of art that is always next-level, delightfully wicked and yet thoroughly human, always the portal moment of a story we want to enter, is what makes begemott’s art so special. And as a moment of captured “living narrative” his work is drawing in those in the entertainment businesses charged with finding life buried in the stacks of deadheaded old-thought pitches and submissions.
DeviantART's great proletarian aesthetic is infusing media. Presented for your consideration: the likeness of a central character in Bioshock Infinite was sourced from a prominent cosplayer on deviantART, *ormeli; and the recent suggestion by a snarky critic that the key art poster for The Great and Powerful Oz must have been made by a “14 year old on deviantART”— it certainly reflects deviantART because that’s what the world wants to see.
This community is the dominant aesthetic.
DeviantART is becoming known as the place to come to, where the imagination for the new millennium and the new narrative spaces of the Internet are to be found. And begemott is the newest example of the narratives being discovered here.
Deviants should be made aware that this phenomenon of Hollywood finding movie ideas in the galleries of deviantARTists is not novel. This community’s impact on the aesthetic and narratives of all media is substantial and constant though frequently invisible. This event is distinguished by the high profile acknowledgement of the artist and of deviantART as the source of his work.
How integral was your network of friends and watchers on dA in the “discovery” of this artwork?
I think it was crucial. It is only a guess, since I cannot know the people who posted the image on reddit and facebook, but I would expect that it started from people watching me on dA. Same for the people who posted links to my page in comments when the image appeared without attribution. I'm very thankful to them.
With so many screenplays competing for the attention of movie producers, how surprised were you that your drawing was chosen as the basis for a feature film?
It was very unexpected. I guess it shows how social media are changing the landscape. I think that recently another movie project was based on comments on a thread in reddit. It is certainly exciting to have such opportunities offered to outsiders. I would guess that one attractive property of picking up an idea from the internet, is that it has already received feedback from people.
What do you think it was about your drawing that so intrigued a producer looking for a unique story to tell?
I think that the drawing implies a larger story, and it's probably easy to relate to. The night is scary when you are a kid, and I'm sure many children have comforted themselves by imagining that something in the room protected them from all the imaginary dangers in the dark.
There are so many elements balanced in your simple piece – childhood fear and wonder, heroism and loyalty, the safety and the terror of one’s own bed. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about achieving desired balances or effects, or do you just construct “story narrative platforms” instinctively? What can you tell us about your process?
I try hard not to think! When I do try to think about such things explicitly, it all goes wrong. I don't have a process as such. What usually happens is that at some point, usually late at night, often after listening to music for a long time, I have an idea, and I make a quick sketch on a piece of paper to remember. These quick sketches are very rough and probably totally incomprehensible to others. At some other time, when I have time to spare, I go through these sketches, find one that seems like it's worth the effort, and finish it.
Have you been approached by Hollywood about obtaining film rights to your other artworks?
Can you share with us your preferred tools when creating your artworks?
I usually draw with a mechanical pencil on plain paper. When I want more detail, I may use larger Bristol paper. I then scan it and do the coloring on the computer using a Wacom pen.
There is an ongoing rash of movies “updating” classic fairy tales that all seem to fail by losing all sense of childhood as adult themes are added to the mix. Do you think the “Rock” might succeed in creating a gem like “Time Bandits” amidst the current mishmash affairs like “Snow White and the Huntsman?”
I don't really know much about the movie. I will not be part of the creative process, but I certainly hope the end result will be enjoyable. I don't think that adult themes are necessarily a bad thing in a child story. I think that the problem is that in many recent movies revisiting fairy tales, the adult themes are simplistic and inserted in a forceful and explicit way. On the other hand, many good child stories have real underlying adult themes, without losing their magic.
Questionsfor the reader
Is there a particular artwork, or an artist’s work in general, in which you notice this “moment from an unwritten story” phenomenon?
Have you ever been intrigued enough by a “narrative moment” artwork on dA to ask the artist in a comment to tell the rest of the story? Would you like to do that?
Do you think the Hollywood studio trend in seeking more imaginative narratives in dA’s “unwritten stories” will increase?
Is this because audiences in the Internet age in general are demanding more full spectrum or multifaceted platforms for their narrative entertainment?