The Johnson family from “rags to riches comedy” The Jerk (1979)
Kirk Demarais makes portraits of famous families from cult films. Until 8 August, his latest coloured pencil tributes to movies like The Jerk and The Lost Boys can be seen at the Crazy 4 Cult show at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles (via BoingBoing)…
Demarais’ art stems primarily from his love of these particular films – where the family unit (functional or disfunctional) plays a large part in the story – and also his fascination with the photographic codes inherent in the construction of the ‘family portrait’. As he explains on a post on his blog:
“The family portrait format felt perfect since this type of photography is basically a study in pure affectation. And what’s great about them is that the veneer of smiles is always too transparent to disguise the strain, the physical discomfort, the uneasiness, and often the volatile emotions bubbling beneath. Amazing how we don our most painful clothes and stand under all-illuminating heat lamps in a vain attempt to appear natural, happy, and ‘at our best.’ Then we send this piece of fiction to everyone we know. I vividly recall the agony of being forced to rest my hand on my sister’s shoulder for literally minutes at a time!
“So when you drop these familiar movie families into the equation you’ve got a double layer of irony. Anyone who’s seen these films gets flashes of the horrors each tribe is destined for. I also liked the idea of creating would-be movie props that could be at home in the families’ respective fictional dwellings.”
Three classics from last year’s Crazy 4 Cult show, featuring the families from Poltergeist, The Shining and the National Lampoon films:
One of his new additions is this portrait of the Emersons family from The Lost Boys:
“I wanted to see what it might look like if mom would have talked to the boys into a photo shoot in an effort to redefine their post-divorce family unit,” writes Demarais on his Secret Fun Blog.
“I could see Sam (Corey Haim) getting into it (he may have had some say in the cheesy curtain backdrop) while Michael (Jason Patrick) would have had to struggle to tolerate such an outing. Keifer Sutherland’s character David might have provided more visual interest, but the notion that he and his dad would ever get together for a photograph was too far fetched.”
More of Demarais’ portraits are here.
The full listing of work on show at Gallery 1988, including sale prices and availability, is here.