Marc Bessant

graphic art and design studio@marcbessant.com

The Handmaid’s Tale

design, film


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LP design for Adam Taylor’s original soundtrack to the Hulu series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

12″ Sleeve / Insert / Vinyl

 

‘Prevenge’ Original Soundtrack by Toydrum

Artwork, design, film, Music


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‘Prevenge’ – A pitch black, wryly British comedy, which follows Ruth, a pregnant woman on a killing spree that’s as funny as it is vicious. It’s her misanthropic unborn baby dictating Ruth’s actions, holding society responsible for the absence of a father. (And if you watch close enough you might even catch a glimpse of yours truly). The music is great, as one would expect from Toydrum, so I was very happy to take on the sleeve design. The idea was to have a record that looked maniacally vandalised so I took the assets and scratched, drew and generally treated them without care. The inner-gatefold are pages from Ruth’s ‘kill book’ which appears in the film, all ripped, crushed and presented for your pleasure. Go see the film, Alice (Lowe) is a real talent (and a lovely person) then go buy the soundtrack, you won’t be disappointed.

Ex_Machina – Original Soundtrack LP

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ExMachinaLP

 

Ex_Machina is a 2015 British Science-Fiction (but for how long?) film written and directed by author and screenwriter Alex Garland. IMDB describe the plot – ‘A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.’ – which is true and yet there is a whole lot more. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly urge you do. Beyond the story and apart from the beautiful photography, design and special FX of the film, the music plays a critical role in the viewing experience (as all great soundtracks should) and Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury’s score is of no exception and fits perfectly in its surroundings, always there but not always shouting about it, a bit like the birds in the trees whilst walking to work. I had worked with Geoff and Ben previously with ‘DROKK’ so I was very pleased when asked to work on this one too. I was given a number of approved stills from Universal Films and set about putting something together that I hoped would look like an object that might be seen on a shelf in Nathan’s (the story’s eccentric genius whose residence is also a research facility) home and also a homage to rated dystopian sci-fi of old, namely THX1138. I opted for a gatefold LP that looks arctic fresh, clean and linear, no superfluous movements or flourishes as the film imagery is so good already, some simple modern typography with a dash of chaos by means of a frost/blue vinyl splatter. Hopefully nice to look at, certainly great to listen to.

‘DUEL – Devil On Wheels’ Documentary Poster

Artwork, design, film, fun with drawing and colouring-in, posters


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Duel_poster_mb1

 

A couple of months ago I was contacted by one of the film-makers for an upcoming documentary ‘The Devil on Wheels’ which is based on and around the making of Steven Spielberg’s classic film ‘Duel’. Now, I love this film, always have, ‘Duel’ must have been one of the very first ‘horror’ films I saw and I was immediately taken by the thrill of it; So at first I was a little hesitant when asked if I would contribute a poster (along with others) to commemorate and help promote the feature. There are already some wonderful ‘Duel’ posters out there, both from the time and recent reboots, but mostly all centre on the truck (perhaps rightly so) but to me ‘Duel’ was always more than just this, here was a play on cruelty, one creatures determination to catch and kill another, seemingly for no other reason than because it could. I saw the truck as this great big rust-coloured snake winding along the parched Californian roads looking for its next meal, so that was the poster I did and very happy I am with it too.

DROKK

Artwork, design, film, Music


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Taking on a project that already has 35 years of talent associated with it is always daunting, but some things are hard to pass over, as was the case with ‘DROKK -Music inspired by Mega-City One’.

I first heard the demo’s some time ago and they were sounding the right side of edgy then and beginning to tick all the right boxes; Making music for non-existant movies has become quite fashionable of late, but what was different about this one was its creators were old-skool readers of 2000ad and, taking into account that respect for the writers and artists over the years, had a genuine motivation for making it uncompromisingly just-so. I would approach the design in much the same way, I would not (and largely could not) compete with the artists that have brought mega-city one to life for the past three-and-a-half decades, the sleeve design had to be independent of all that and stand on its own, for better or worse. I wanted to make a sleeve/formats that wouldn’t look out of place within the Mega-Cities themselves, gritty and monochromatic. Early on we (Geoff, Ben and I) met with 2000ad/Rebellion and our work could not have been more positively received, their approval meant a lot to us and from then on it was full steam ahead.  Several formats were undertaken (as seen in portfolio section) – Bunker (above), Visor, LP and Mega-Edition – all various shapes and sizes but with an overall utilitarian and minimal aesthetic throughout. Cover logotype was painted and tracks/names chassis-stamped, all textures from the surfaces of Civil Waste Disposal vehicles, crude but apposite.

Do your ears a favour – http://invada.co.uk/drokk

Death of a Cemetery

Artwork, design, film, posters


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Manila North Cemetery in Manila, Philippines is a place of rest for 3000 people, all of whom are alive.  When rich families first erected mausoleums for their dead in the late 1800s, they needed caretakers to maintain them and guard any valuables buried within.  In exchange for their work, the caretakers were allowed to live inside the mausoleums, and a cemetery community was born.  Gravekeepers grow gardens around tombs; chefs cook up hearty fare in restaurants alongside crypts; and children play basketball in between school and funerals.  Some residents are part of a long legacy of caretaking families; others are new transplants and find they must share their bed with an additional body.

‘Death Of A Cemetery’ is an inspiring independent documentary made by Phil Britton and Jeanie Duque-Dizon, I was asked to work on the titles which in turn led to me doing a poster (above). Paint, pens and mac.

Official site here

Peter Gabriel ‘Scratch my back’ sleeve animation

design, film


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Heres a short animation that was put together in collaboration with a master of the 3D arts – Alan Tabrett, originally intended for the ‘Scratch’ TV spots (which we sadly ran out of time on) it now adorns the big screens on the ‘New Blood’ Live show currently touring the globe. I was very happy with the results, especially the texture of the cells which Alan painstakingly crafted and rendered to match the original sleeve. A Job well done.

Made yet rarely played

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Whilst on the short film tip, heres another i fatefully played a part in. Made in 1997 (my god 11 years ago!) and shot over two days (including editing etc) this promo for Portishead’s ‘All Mine’ was my first soirée into music video and good fun it was too. Its not perfect by any means but I still think it creates the right vibe for the group at that time, I remember the shocked faces at a trendy Soho film suite when asking that they keep bumping down the original film to VHS tape and then back again so as to get a proper degraded feel to it, as opposed to a computer filter added after. To me it looks just the right side of ropey but alas the TV powers that be weren’t so keen so the film was rarely played. The italian subtitle mid-way through the promo reads ‘We apologise for the poor quality of sound’ – an obvious pun when the sound is really the only thing of true quality. An odd little ditty which I’m quite proud of actually, if only because it was such a struggle for Geoff and I to get it done. Enjoy.

Right between the eyes!

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Whilst getting my website together i rediscovered this little commercial I did for Peter Gabriel a few years back, it was to promote a greatest hits CD called ‘HIT’. The shoot was done in london with a very small crew (5) and budget, originally I wanted to have real giant letters at the end inside a huge white room but alas time/money wouldn’t allow. There is a longer version which contained snippets of PGs videos but this little teaser I was always more happy with…