Here's the Tumblr Cataloging Art in Film

Art directors and set designers work hard to create the paintings and sculptures featured in movies and TV. Martin Cole curates their in a brilliant blog called Art In Film.

Nov 6 2014, 7:15pm

Airplane (1980), Images courtesy of Martin Cole

It's on the walls when Ferris Bueller plays hooky at a museum, pinned to a cork board when Nic Cage draws his arch rival's face in Kick Ass, and hand-held when Hulk Hogan bends rebar into the shape of a rabbit in Suburban Commando (1991): artwork pervades film—nearly as often as actors do. Artist and photo retoucher Martin Cole has begun to gather a collection of these appearances in pop culture on the Tumblr, Art In Film.

Cole originally set out to create a focused curatorial effort called Photoshopped-Photos-in-Film, but quickly expanded his efforts collection when he realized the sheer omnipresence of art in film. "You see it quite frequently in films that an actors face is photoshopped into a photo of them with their onscreen family," Cole told The Creators Project. "I work in Photoshop day-to-day and found the results interesting, but art obviously has a broader appeal."

The Art in Film's main page is laid out as an ongoing digital gallery.

The first artwork he screengrabbed for the collection was a completely anonymous painting of a street corner McDonalds from the 1988 Eddie Murphy flick, Coming to America, which piqued Cole's curiosity about the unsung production design heroes who created and placed the painting in front of the camera. He features the painting on Art in Film, extending its 15 seconds of fame to the lifespan of the internet. As Cole puts it, the idea is to "isolate the art as if it would be situated in a gallery."

Coming to America (1988)

Cole has now isolated artworks from dozens of films, ranging from the aforementioned Once Upon a Time in America to The Royal Tenenbaums, Dexter, and Ghostbusters 2, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed: he says he's received more than one request to use his selected images for thesis research. This isn't surprising, since films and TV shows like A Clockwork Orange and The Simpsons have received their share of serious academic analysis and cultural significance, and both of these titles appear within the white digital walls of Cole's online gallery.

While it's always possible that Art in Film will evolve into a highly focused cinematic resource someday, or even pop up in films itself, as It's Nice That suggests, Cole's main purpose in developing Art in Film is as a source of inspiration. "I can't say I think it's important yet," he says. "But I am keen to start projects with no idea of it's direction and worry if it has any worth initially."

The Simpsons, Season 19 Episode 17

Art in Film is, more than anything else, an enjoyable romp through an otherwise disparate body of alike artworks, gathered by a sharp curatorial eye. "I think it's interesting to see that there are some perspectives about what art is within the films," Cole says. "It's precious, it's mysterious and a lot of the time it's not to be taken serious."

He admits that his favorite use of art in film comes from the 1997 film, Boogie Nights, but that he's had trouble snagging "a high-resolution screen grab." Below, see that, and a few more cinematic artworks that Cole has scattered throughout the Art in Film blog:

Boogie Nights (1997)

Great Expectations, 1998  

Suburban Commando (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Airplane! (1980)

Check out the Art in Film blog here.


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