I am proud to present my poster for the upcoming MiraCosta theatrical performance, The Graduate.
I believe that the story has been presented for some time as a coming of age movie, and a story that represents the anarchic attitude of youth. However my poster adaptation will focus on my opinion for promoting a more current theme opened by the story, our cultural fascination with “the cougar”. You see, I’m a person who has watched many a teen age hormone directed movies, from Animal House to American Pie, and TV shows that objectify the sexual yearnings of the mature women, like you don’t remember Golden Girls’ Blanche Devereaux!
My original thumbnails focused on the exploits of Benjamin, but after watching the movie again, I found him to be unrealistic, and quite a simpleton. He is not a character that as a young man I would in no way have sympathy for, but in fact would argue is a moronic portrayal of sexual confusion and hormonal instability. This is not what attracts the audience. Instead I will support my choice with the lyrics made famous by Fergie,
“My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they're like
It's better than yours,
Damn right it's better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge.”
Mrs. Robinson is a dynamic; some would argue an iconic character in film history. So simple in fact that the leg is a symbol that alone continues to sell the story. I find her, and the mental state of the modern day “cougar” to be a sad reflection of women confused by the roles of femininity, motherhood, and the very definition of beauty in society. All too often I see a reflection of Mrs. Robinson in so many areas of our modern life. Anti-aging cream, plastic surgery, even Junior sections of department stores filtered with women well beyond the target age barriers. I am particularly disturbed by the idea of mothers being teen daughter’s best friend in more than relationship, but in dress, language, and, as so well portrayed in the story, engagement with men. So much in fact that I jest that if a woman of a certain age uses LOL or OMG in any context, I believe that device should self-destruct.
So, now that you understand my political stance, please allow me to describe my vision for the piece. I wanted to play up the duality theme that is prevalent in the story. I found there to be an agreement in my interpretation at http://www.filmsite.org/grad.html, “The two different generations are also reflected in other dualities: the two rival women (young innocent doe-eyed daughter Elaine and the older seductress Mrs. Robinson), the two California settings (Los Angeles and Berkeley) and S. and N. California cultures (materialistic vs. intellectual), and the division in Benjamin's character (morally drifting and indecisive vs. committed).”
I combined a few thoughts from my thumbnails to design my image. I thought a profile image would best reflect the showcased character; my original was focusing on Benjamin under the water. Profile by its play of the definition, is an examination of a character both externally, but more importantly, internally. What is the mindset of Mrs. Robinson? She is callous in her behavior, the immoral choice of breaking down her marriage, the manipulation of her daughter’s life as a consequence of her own choice, a clear denial of accountability for how her choices are reflective to the lives of all those caught in her web.
I created an image that shows a person more concerned with the ash that may fall from the light of her cigarette, a woman whose vanity is based on the proper flip of her bleached streaked hair, than the foundation and unity of her family unit. I wanted a painting that showed the strokes of life on her face. I made the decision to layer thick painting to showcase the caking of unsecured makeup that is cracking from within. All the meanwhile, her shadow looms largely over those caught in the weaves of her hair, the lies, the redirections, the false statements of responsibility to a moral code promised between two caught in sin. Lost in the tangled strokes, is a face of a young woman, silenced by the dark barrier that was created not by her own choices, but by those of one she has been disciplined to honor and respect.
My decision to create the starring image of my poster would be a contrast to the samples presented for previous class selections. I wanted this to appear as a street art, near graffiti throw-up that slanders the reputation of the woman, therefore the destruction to a story that supports any opportunity for the fairy tale, happily ever after. I imagined the text as classically written, placed on traditional horizontal and vertical grids. The text and the strong black background would serve as a backdrop to a time long gone. In its place is the offset image which I simply transformed with a rotation, like a graf sticker wobbly placed with little thought of presentation, therefore a statement on the impassionate presentation of the female image. This took some experimenting, as my original idea was to have the image placed vertical and center. I chose the title to be from the font STENCIL. I could imagine that the text was sprayed over the image like a scarlet letter. I would have had a drip to up play that concept but I liked more how my painting splashes off the negative space and up into the title.
Overall, I believe that my image and the choices I made in using the text and framing within the InDesign program create a story that draws a new audience to look deeper into the meanings presented by the drama. I think it is visually attractive from afar equal to the appearance up-close. The street art choice speaks to a younger audience, while the angst created in opposition to some of the classical elements will provide intrigue to the mature viewing members. Step back, and then ask yourself, “Do you ever really graduate into the person God intended?”