Donnie Darko Soundtrack – Custom Artwork

Every now and then a project comes along which really gets you champing at the bit and which among other things, will pave the way for exciting creative possibilities, as well as the opportunity to encompass within it a good level of personal significance.  This is of course, is one of the main reasons I always wanted to be involved in the art world itself.

This was one of those projects

Earlier in the year I was contacted by Spencer Hickman, (manager of the legendary Rough Trade record shop) and offered the opportunity to create new custom artwork for the Donnie Darko soundtrack release.


Hickman has recently set up Death Waltz Recording Company, a new soundtrack label offering high end vinyl with exclusive artwork and ltd edition prints. Soon to be released are a collection of classic cult movie soundtracks, each with unique artworks from a selection of artists, with whom I’m damn privileged to be included, as well as bonus material and extensive notes from directors and composers. Tasty stuff indeed.

The Donnie Darko soundtrack, with artwork from yours truly, features the original score by Michael Andrews to one of the most loved cult films of the last 20 years. The vinyl release includes the no 1 hit ‘Mad World’ sung by Gary Jules.

The biggest selling point for me on this project (aside from the above) was of course the film its-self. The critically acclaimed Donnie Darko, written and directed by Richard Kelly, is undoubtedly a cult classic and a long standing favourite of mine. To be given complete artistic freedom on this was a dream project in many ways, a film which my own work unintentionally parallels on various levels, making the pill all the sweeter – the use of multiple/co-existing realities, exploring human relationships, concepts surrounding our subconscious and perceptions, questions on the bigger picture, to name a few.

So, on to the painting itself. I set about this piece using a dual image/illusion (call it what you will) technique which has been tried and tested in my most recent series of work, from the off this seemed the perfect approach for this project, with the films characters making the main body and detail of the painting, the nightmarish illusion of frank appearing as you pull back and see the artwork in its entirety. Donnie’s face has been rendered with detail, to capture the element of human emotion, whilst the marks making up the image of frank have been left suggestive and abstract, reflective of the role he plays.

So, the artwork is complete, the vinyl’s being pressed, the prints a-proofed, and the first records can be ordered here. The prints will be released shortly so watch this space for details.

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One response to “Donnie Darko Soundtrack – Custom Artwork

  1. Pingback: Death Waltz Artwork Feature | Tom french's Blog