Above image – still from Batman Returns, 1992. Image source – pintrest
Inspiration can come from anywhere and anything. Being an avid viewer of films, it was only a matter of time until I found inspiration for my Art practice in a movie. A few days ago I re-watched the 1992 superhero film; Batman Returns, directed by one of my favourite film creators; Tim Burton.
My current area of focus for research is text based art and neon signs. I had completely forgot about the iconic neon sign (pictured below) that features in the film. In this scene, Selina Kyle; played by Michelle Pfeifer, is enraged when she is pushed out of window after learning of her boss’ plans to empower the city of Gotham’s electricity supply. Kyle is then resuscitated by a swarm of cats. In her rage, she creates a suit to find revenge on her boss and becomes Catwoman.
In the scene, that can be viewed below (SKIP TO 2:15), the neon sign is on her apartment wall, the firstly reads HELLO THERE, but in her anger and turn to darkness, catwoman smashes the letters O and T, leaving HELL HERE illuminated.
What drew me to this was how quickly pleasant material like ‘hello there’ can be manipulated into something as sinister as ‘hell here’. The context and meaning of the phrase is changed so dramatically yet done so simply. This changing of the words context is what I want to achieve in my work, reminiscent of Bruce Nauman’s art piece ‘Eat death‘.
I like how easily words can be manipulted and placed together to create new meanings, that may not have been thought of before, doing this adds an attitude to the words but also to the person who’s created them, it puts you in their thought process, which is what I want to achieve in my word/neon sign works.