The ability to capture the world around you as exemplified by illustrators, fine artists and designers is still a very rare and celebrated talent. An artist can interpret the world that we inhabit and present it on a variety of mediums in a manner that allows us to view the world we share in a fresh and provocative manner that also stimulates our imagination. One such artist is Douglas A. Sirois who consented to be interviewed by this Examiner.com columnist.
Douglas A. Sirois is an artist who continues to have his hands in a wide variety of assignments ranging from pre-production artwork for motion pictures, illustrated novels and movie poster reinterpretations. How did this talented artist begin his journey? Sirois begins, "ever since I was into comics as a kid with some of the first comics that I read-Daredevil and Spider-Man. I was really into Frank Miller's Daredevil and from there I was just really hooked!" Douglas amusingly adds, "I just really wanted to stop going to high school and just do art all day!" Douglas Sirois received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in illustration from the Art Institute of Boston. He further went on the receive his Master of Fine Arts in illustration from the Cal State University in Fullerton, California.
His childhood love of comic books would continue after his graduation. Most comic book fans dream of working in the industry and Sirois eventually found his way into the industry. Douglas explains, "my first professional gig in comics was a couple of years ago for Radical Comics and was called Hercules. I actually worked on the second series and they are making a movie out of the first series!" These close encounters with projects destined to become motion pictures seemingly foreshadowed his own eventual entrance in the business.
A fascinating talent that Sirois has developed is reinterpreting the idea of the traditional movie poster that would be used to sell a film most typically associated with the lobby of a theater. Douglas speaks, "when I was in grad school, I took a class in entertainment art. A good friend of mine was also in the class and she ended up opening an entertainment graphic design studio before I even done with the class! The company specialized in DVD covers and theatrical stuff for movies. Her clients included Universal, MGM and 20th Century Fox. Those were big jobs that she got and I did a lot of the illustrations. The idea to repaint an iconic image was an awesome experience. I learned so much from working on those posters and from that style of painting from those particular eras of movie history." Sirois continues, "this led to clients calling me up to do book and magazine covers."
Douglas Sirois discussed the idea of the using an illustrator as opposed to using a photographer for the movie poster that helps sell a film. Sirois states, "I think photography has really taken over. One of the problems is that not every illustrator out can do likenesses. I think the public need to embrace illustrators like the poster god, Drew Struzan more. The reality is that it probably costs more to hire an illustrator and the companies are churning out more stuff quickly-that is part of the problem." Douglas adds, "studios and marketing companies want changes done, so it goes through a whole array of people before it gets approved. There are a number of paintings out there that we have never seen because they have never been approved!"
How does an artist make the leap to working on a film project as a conceptual artist? Douglas Sirois details, "I had a portfolio on my website demonstrating my movie poster work. People need one sheets or movie posters to help sell their film and the movie poster is essentially really developing the visual concept of the movie." Douglas continues, "this led me to do character and environment design to help with the pitch of a film."
One of the most intriguing projects that the artist was involved with is the resurrection of the Roger Rabbit character for a series of shorts and a possible prequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Sirois speaks, "In 2008, Erik Von Wodtke had produced an art show for me, Charles Fleischer had come to the show and I didn't know who he was at that point. He introduced himself to me and I immediately noticed that 'Wow! Who is this guy-he is a character!' I found out he was the voice of Roger Rabbit. We stayed in touch since then and Erik came up with the idea of trying to bring back Roger Rabbit. Erik's idea was to bring back Roger for a bigger audience by making him more kid friendly and more suited for today's audience. He came up with the idea of remaking the film, The Stooge as a Roger Rabbit movie. I did the poster for it and Erik had sent the proposal package to Gary K. Wolf who is the creator of Roger Rabbit. He loved it and suggested that Erik spearhead this thing. We packaged it as a series of three to five minute shorts and that is how it began!"
As an artist that is in demand, Douglas A. Sirois continues to juggle projects. One such project is about to be released to the general public. The project was the illustrated book, Apollo written by Erik Von Wodtke which is being published by Markosia Enterprises Limited. Apollo cleverly mixes iconic figures from Greek mythology with that of beloved creatures that were found in the seminal works of the late author, H.P. Lovecraft. Douglas discusses his work in the novel, "I was rather new to H.P. Lovecraft and I just started reading him in 2005. It has been a subject that I have been interested in-the whole idea of these Elder Gods that Lovecraft wrote about. Erik came up with this idea of Greek mythology and combining it with the H.P. Lovecraft mythology, the history and even more! That is what caught my attention. The challenge was coming up with these two worlds and two mythologies and fusing them together." Douglas adds, "I think it is the beginning of something bigger!"
Speculation is a tricky business, but it is human nature to indulge in this behavior. This columnist suggested that the book, Apollo seems to be a natural for a possible future motion picture. Douglas responds, "the publisher is pushing in that direction as well. That would be a dream come true and that would be cool!"
The book, Apollo was well received by fans at the recent New York Comic Con. Douglas A. Sirois speaks, "it was cool and it was fun! It is definitely a growing show and I was really impressed by it." Douglas reveals a humorous encounter at the show. Sirois remembers, "I went up to Max Brooks(author-World War Z) and asked him if he could review the book. He sat back in his chair with the book and we traded business cards!"
Peering into one's own future is tricky and it is a loaded question. Douglas A Sirois dives into it. Douglas concludes, "eventually I want to focus on one thing. I feel blessed to be able to do the things I love doing. I love doing it and eventually I would love to write." Douglas enticingly adds, "I would love to develop a universe for a film from scratch. I would love to develop a fantasy with a touch of Science Fiction that is family oriented. It would be along the lines of a film like The Goonies."
Readers, fans and lovers of fine art will be able to judge for themselves when Apollo is released on the 27th of October. The book can be ordered through Amazon or directly through the publisher, Markosia Enterprises Limited.