Mission Dossier: James Bond Theme
A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to get an ASID award for a James Bond Theme theater room that we created and painted. The concept for this room was simple enough but little did we know the hurdles we would jump to get there. No matter how difficult it got, at no point was there any going back because I told my client that if a "007" Theater Room was her heart's desire, we would make it work. I was giving it the full Tim Gunn push. Since “James Bond” is so iconic, I thought it would be a piece of cake to find available images. Surprise! Not as easy as I thought!
If a client has asked you to reproduce the likeness of Bambi or Cinderella on a wall, you should know that you are running smack dab into Disney and copyright infringement. So it was with James Bond. Some people with copyrighted images will let you use the image for a fee. They are not cheap, and some are astronomical. My friend and muralist Sharon Leichsenring spent hours on the phone and $500 to use an image of Marilyn Monroe (not very expensive by the way). The people with the copyrights make their living leasing these images for a fee. FYI: Even if the image you painted is never published and it goes in some little kiddies room, they can legally come after you.. It just makes you wish you were forward-thinking enough to own a few licenses.
After many long conversation with the "Bond people" we found out that they never license their images. They didn’t care where we were going to use them. After hitting a dead end with them we decided the only way to make this work was to create our own images. They had to evoke James Bond without being James Bond...Okay. We could do this!
We used ShutterStock pictures that resembled something we would find in a Bond movie. We found real people in spy-like poses, pictures of sharks, and helicopters. Using those images and a lot more, we manipulated them in photo editing software. Then we laid them out into vignettes or scenes (like posters) to go onto 8 different panels. As any muralist will tell you, this was unbelievably time-consuming but made the actual painting a simpler process.
The carpet was our starting point for colors. It was chocolate colored with deep blue dots. The client loved vibrant colors so we used our Sherwin Williams online color guide to test out our choices for color combinations before we started painting. The common thread in each panel was the background chocolate metallic plaster color, with an all over tone-on-tone martini design and also a "Bond" figure in black and white. We purposely kept the "Bond" faceless. So many different actors have played James Bond. Every fan has their favorite. Choosing any "Bond" would get us in trouble with copyright laws, so he became the "suave action guy with the gun."
Each panel was hand painted. We repeated the same 12 colors in each panel. Notice in our pictures below how the layout and color of each panel we had created was printed and placed in front of us so we wouldn’t veer far from our plan. We next had to tie in the crown molding, trim, doors and cabinetry, so we painted them a deep blue and then we glazed and applied a top-coat. TA-DA!
Everyone who saw the room swore that these were right from the movies. It was a real compliment! Of course, this all took far longer than we estimated but it we were thrilled with the end result...and so was the client!
Sincerely, Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF, Master Artisan firstname.lastname@example.org