In my last post I mentioend the popular street artist turned fashion designer, Shepard Fairey, in a sell-out sort of context (I’ve always hated calling creative people sell-outs, regardless of their actions. I’ll have to return to this thought in another post). Well, checking out the trailer for the upcoming film, Walk the Line about the life of Johnny Cash, I noticed the art credit on the promotional graphics was none other than Mr. Shepard Fairey. Alex may have said it best with, “Huh, he can actually do something other than Andre the Giant.” Indeed, the promotional graphics include a poster, desktop image, stencils, stickers, and the essential AIM buddy icon, all based on the same stylized image of Cash and his guitar. I like the design and style, and the movie itself looks quite good (Joaquin Phoenix learned to play guitar, and sings all his own songs, and sounds dead-on in the trailer).
But… and there’s always a “but,” stencils as part of movie promotion? I doubt even the king of viral stencil design himself can pull that off. I do think it’s a good sign that movie studios are getting more experimental, at least with their marketing, but they’re still a few years behind. I see it as similar to the “virals” that advertisers have attempted. The very nature of a meme or viral in this sense is almost that it’s accidental. Trying to create one from scratch is oxymoronic. I don’t think we’ll be seeing too many of these Johnny Cash stencils around, Shepard Fairey designed or not.