Fan Art Friday: 3 Focus-Inspired Artists You Have To Meet

Sharing the creativity sparked by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and other great films

Focus Features 04.28.2017

There are many things we are celebrating in 2017, our 15th Anniversary year -- new works from a few of our favorite filmmakers, historic movies that are more relevant than ever, and the many awards and industry triumphs we have gathered through the years. But there’s one thing that we are grateful for each and every day: The fans who love our movies as much as we do, and who continue to amaze us with their creativity and passion.

Every Friday on the Focus Features Instagram feed, we spotlight one fan whose cinematic tributes astound us. Some are painters, others illustrators, some aspiring storytellers in their own right. Here are three we’ve met recently that we’d like to share with you.

Melissa Hiebert's illustration of Jessica Chastain in The Zookeeper's Wife

Melissa Hiebert: Inspired by The Zookeeper’s Wife

What kind of art do you do?

I am a professional animator, and illustrator from Winnipeg, Canada. I also work in storyboarding, character design, and design posters. In 2011, I started creating illustrations and exploring visual storytelling in a personal way.

How do movies inspire you?

Films have the ability to tell compelling stories with strong visuals. Through sets, costumes, lighting, makeup, and cinematography, each frame tells us something very powerful about the human condition. Jessica Chastain is my greatest inspiration, and she is a strong presence in my work. Her emotion, physicality, and dynamic personality are what I really love to capture.

Describe your technique.

I used to work in traditional media, but now I work digitally, while still maintaining that rugged feel of something done in a sketchbook. With each illustration I use a combination of ink, watercolor, original textures, and any tool in the software that can bring the image to life in the most vibrant way.

Tell us about this Focus-inspired piece.

One of the areas in history I am the most emotionally invested in is the Invasion of Poland and the Holocaust. The subject matter of The Zookeeper's Wife is very important to me. One of my favorite pieces I have done so far has been of Antonina [played by Jessica Chastain] cycling through the Zoo, capturing the shot of her surrounded by the animals, and knowing that it was her happy place. Antonina created a space where the camels could roam, birds could fly, and young animal cubs could play with each other. I think that's really special and should be celebrated.

Follow Melissa on Instagram @melissarenaeart.

Vincent Ramos' painting for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Vincent Ramos: Inspired by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

When did you start making illustrations?

I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid. I was (and still am) like a sponge, soaking up everything that inspires me and regurgitating it on a piece of paper. I’d draw from movies, cartoons, comics, anime, and most of all, my imagination.

How do movies inspire you?

Movies are a huge part of my upbringing. There’s something about that marriage of the director’s vision, the cinematographer's sense of composition, the actor’s performance, and the musician’s score that I find absolutely magical. It’s an incredible team effort that I’d love to be a part of from a storyboard or production art standpoint.

Describe your technique.

I pretty much use any medium that will best serve the illustration. Most times, I use digital programs simply because it’s the quickest way for me to illustrate something and I can manipulate the art to make it feel hand-done. Other times I love using a simple round brush with sumi ink because it creates bold drawings that make a statement.

Tell us about this Focus-inspired piece.

I made this Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind painting because it’s an outstanding film that genuinely portrays what it’s like to fall in and out of love. [Michel] Gondry’s directing is quirky yet captures the nostalgic nature of recalling a lost lover. [Kate] Winslet is charming while [Jim] Carrey’s performance is raw and emotional. It’s a spellbinding picture.

Follow Vincent on Instagram @vincemakesadoodle.

Ipek Komurcu's illustration of Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking from The Theory of Everything

Ipek Komurcu: Inspired by The Theory of Everything

What kind of art do you do?

I've been drawing since I was a little girl, but when I learned how to properly use the tools to work on a computer in college, I started illustrating more. I've been making these kind of illustrations more intensely for the last six months.

How do movies inspire you?

I love every little thing about movies. The creation process where everything comes together from story to acting, from production design to cinematography is very inspiring to me. But mostly I'm inspired by the emotions we get from a movie. Whether it's a scene without any actors or a close up of a character.

Describe your technique.

I make my illustrations on a computer, usually in my room and not in one sitting. I use a graphic tablet and drawing software. The brushes I use are often soft and pastel-like.

Tell us about this Focus-inspired piece.

In this moment, I felt like [Eddie Redmayne] captured the character's soul and I loved that. Because as an illustrator that's what I want to do.

Follow Ipek on Instagram @ipekkomurcu.

For more Fan Art Fridays, follow Focus Features on Instagram @focusfeatures.

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