My latest chalk pastel original "Call Betelgeuse" will be displayed at Gallery 1988's "30 Years Later" show that opens in LA at 7pm. All artwork will be online the following day at https://nineteeneightyeight.com.
As a kid I've always loved Michael Keaton's Beetlejuice character. It's right up there with his movie Multiplicity ,Batman, and Birdman. What a weirdly gross character that has such a big toxic personality. I even watched the Disney cartoon that they made later, which is kind of weird when you consider the odd relationship Beetlejuice had with Winona Ryder's character, Lydia.
Sketches and My First Concept
I started off with sketches of the characters. This is always my first step when understanding the design choices and what is iconic for each of them. My initial idea was to do the wedding scene, but as I got started I really just wanted to focus on the Beetlejuice. I was fascinated by all the fun textures and subtle rendering of Mr. Keaton's features that push through the make-up.
I always try to do research on my characters. I want to know why the director decided to go with that color choices, that wardrobe, I want to learn the character's background, see the concept drawings, and just really get behind the decisions that created that character. I time around I couldn't find a lot of behind the scenes info of the making of this film. I assume because it is so old? I did find some useful interviews from Michael Keaton. I also learned why Beetlejuice's flyer said "Call Betelgeuse". Beetlejuice is named after the constellation Betelgeuse. Early concepts had him existing during all times and would live under rocks and things. The original story was also much much darker.
I looked up a lot of videos of Micheal Keaton to understand the way his mouth and eyebrows moved. After all my sketching I felt I needed to nailing the correct shapes formed by Keaton's mouth and browline. Those are the main features that push through the make-up and push Beetlejuice persona most. I used reference from interviews, an SNL opening, a Shakespeare movie "Much Ado About Nothing" where he does a close Beetlejuice expression, and tons of screen captures from the film.
If you're wondering why I titled my piece "Call Betelgeuse" and not "Call Beetlejuice", it's because "Betelgeuse" was on his flyers. Remember?
"Call Betelgeuse" 9x12 chalk pastel on BFK Rives paper.
Framed and matted with UV Museum glass.
5 limited edition signed and numbered prints.