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Shutterstock’s 2016 Oscars pop-art posters share theme of endurance

Thousands of fans have begun to prepare for Oscars parties to find out which actors, actresses, and movies of the 88th Academy Awards will win a gold statue. As part of the celebration, Shutterstock’s company designers have worked again this year to create fascinating pop art-inspired posters for popular films nominated by the Academy.

Like the many of the different types of movies nominated for the Best Picture award, Shutterstock says its posters share a theme of endurance and testing how far you can stretch the lengths of human nature. When you think of many of this year’s Best Picture nominees, movies like The Revenant, The Martian, and Mad Max share a common theme of strength, resilience, determination, and power. These themes are stunningly carried over into Shutterstock’s pop-art posters this year.

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Posters featured include Jordan Roland’s Warhol-inspired Mad Max: Fury Road, which offer a take on Warhol’s “subversive dictator portraits to shape this poster of Immortan Joe,” says the artist. “On the surface his work simply looks cool, but this shallow analysis misses the irony behind his cultural representations.” In Cristin Burton’s Flirst-inspired Oscar Pop 2016 The Revenant, the poster includes assembled pieces the artist used to “create a vast, sinister, and lonely landscape.”

The pop-art posters include a fun view of movies but also of topics that aren’t so fun. In Flo Lau’s The Big Short, inspired by Keith Haring, the artist chose a comedic approach to the dark subject of the bursting of the 2008 housing bubble. “I wanted to portray the same witty chaotic vibe in my poster,” says Lau. “ … the alligator represents the main characters in the movie.”

Read the artists’ inspirations below (courtesy of Shutterstock).

The Revenant (Artist Inspiration: Flirst) by Cristin Burton.
The Revenant (Artist Inspiration: Flirst) by Cristin Burton. Cristin Burton/Shutterstock

The Revenant (Artist Inspiration: Flirst)

By Cristin Burton

Flirst is a collage artist who assembles disparate pieces to explore how he can change the harmony of the whole. For my poster, a homage to The Revenant, I assembled pieces to create a vast, sinister, and lonely landscape. The poster features a figure with very few people on his side; this represents the film’s main character, Hugh Glass, who was brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead in the winter wilderness.

The Martian (Artist Inspiration: Mario Corea Aiello) by Brandon Lee.
The Martian (Artist Inspiration: Mario Corea Aiello) by Brandon Lee. Brandon Lee/Shutterstock

The Martian (Artist Inspiration: Mario Corea Aiello)

By Brandon Lee

In his “Barcelona” series, Mario Corea Aiello forms a grungy collage of newspaper and magazine cutouts and heavy paint strokes. I felt this style would parallel the vicious storm that left Mark Watney for dead on Mars in The Martian. For the color scheme, I deferred to Eric White’s cover art from the original novel by Andy Weir to capture the characteristics of an otherworldly storm.

Spotlight (Artist Inspiration: Roy Lichtenstein) by Michael Wong.
Spotlight (Artist Inspiration: Roy Lichtenstein) by Michael Wong. Michael Wong/Shutterstock

Spotlight (Artist Inspiration: Roy Lichtenstein)

By Michael Wong

My inspiration for this poster is one part Roy Lichtenstein and one part Stefan Sagmeister. Spotlight is about journalists uncovering a massive scandal in one of Boston’s oldest institutions, and I found that the perfectly contradictory homophone “pray/prey” encapsulates the shock and horror felt by the community when this scandal was made public. To illustrate this, I pixelated an image of a priest, then tore off his head and replaced it with an image of a wolf.

Mad Max: Fury Road (Artist Inspiration: Andy Warhol) by Jordan Roland.
Mad Max: Fury Road (Artist Inspiration: Andy Warhol) by Jordan Roland. Jordan Roland/Shutterstock

Mad Max: Fury Road (Artist Inspiration: Andy Warhol)

By Jordan Roland

I looked to Warhol’s subversive dictator portraits to shape this poster of Immortan Joe. Warhol had a remarkable ability to distract from the meaning of his art with flashy colors and iconic styles. On the surface his work simply looks “cool,” but this shallow analysis misses the irony behind his cultural representations. Mad Max: Fury Road has the same effect: The stylized nature of the film gets more attention than the meaning behind it. I chose to feature Immortan Joe because he is a terrible person, but his iconic look makes him instantly recognizable.

Room (Artist Inspiration: KAWS) by Abbey Katz.
Room (Artist Inspiration: KAWS) by Abbey Katz. Abbey Katz/Shutterstock

Room (Artist Inspiration: KAWS)

By Abbey Katz

When I first read the plot summary for Room, I envisioned lonely, sterile characters, who had been institutionalized by their secluded environment. Of course, when I saw the movie that perception quickly changed; the characters are full of life, love, and joy, and the audience instantly empathizes with them on a raw, human level. KAWS’ statues play on a similar deceit. Initially they have a sterile, robotic feel, but when you view them in their human-scale sizes and see their playful aesthetic, you experience an unexpected sense of connection.

The Big Short (Artist Inspiration: Keith Haring) by Flo Lau.
The Big Short (Artist Inspiration: Keith Haring) by Flo Lau. Flo Lau/Shutterstock

The Big Short (Artist Inspiration: Keith Haring)

By Flo Lau

The Big Short takes a comedic approach to a dark subject, and I wanted to portray the same witty, chaotic vibe in my poster. Keith Haring was my inspiration because his high-contrast, brightly colored political work, which touches on grim subjects like rape, death, and war, hinges on the same contrast as the film. The poster is based on the film’s alligator-in-an-abandoned-pool scene; the alligator represents the main characters in the movie, who took advantage of the 2008 housing bubble and left the world in desperation when it burst.

Bridge of Spies (Artist Inspiration: Sots Art movement) by Jordan Roland.
Bridge of Spies (Artist Inspiration: Sots Art movement) by Jordan Roland. Jordan Roland/Shutterstock

Bridge of Spies (Artist Inspiration: Sots Art movement)

By Jordan Roland

I chose to focus on the muddy gray areas and loopholes within Bridge of Spies. The Cold War was fueled by each side’s increasingly dire hypotheticals, causing mass paranoia among citizens and governments alike. A large part of the film’s narrative focuses on the extent of protection under the law, especially for a Soviet spy. I reimagined Lady Justice, mixing her blindfold with the American and Soviet flags to represent how both countries were tied to their individuals’ principles of justice even while locked in an unending battle for the upper hand.

Brooklyn (Artist Inspiration: General Pop Movement)

By Alice Meichi Li

Set in the eponymous 1950s borough, Brooklyn features then-contemporary imagery that now exemplifies the commodification of Brooklyn as a global brand. Just as the Pop Art movement utilized mass advertising and irony to re-contextualize commercial art, I drew from today’s vintage, artisanal design trends, which are inspired by that era and setting. In that vein, I applied the animated footage and vector elements to illustrate how the contrasting settings of Brooklyn and Ireland re-contextualized the protagonist’s identity through a fluctuating sense of “home.”

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