Gary Fernández (1980) is a Spanish graphic artist and illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. He has designed Blu-ray and DVD cover for Criterion’s new release of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. In a range of media that includes illustration, sculpture, printmaking, textile, and animation, his work combines technology and craft. His work reflects his interest in contradictions such as abstraction and figuration, organic and geometric, modernism and folklore, the real, the surreal, the tragic, the comical, the magical, and the absurd. As a commercial artist, Fernández has worked with agencies such as McCann Erickson, Young and Rubicam, GREY, and BBDO, for clients such as Coca Cola, Microsoft, Honda, or Volkswagen, to name a few. His work has been published in numerous magazines and books worldwide. Fernández has exhibited his work worldwide in Shanghai (China), Marseille (France), Paris (France), Madrid (Spain), Perth (Australia), and Sydney (Australia). Among other things, he is currently working on a personal project that is mainly based on the subjects of fear and desire. You can read my exclusive interview with him here.

Hossein Edidizadeh: How did Criterion approach you? Did they choose the movie for you or you choose The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant?
They basically asked me if I would be interested in working in the cover of this film specific film.
• Why did you accept to design The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant?
After a quick research I instantly loved the characters and the story, and I felt I could contribute with something special to the film.
• Are you a big fan of Rainer Werner Fassbinder? What are your favorite movies?
Actually, I hadn’t had the chance to watch any of his films before. So this has been a great way to get introduced to Fassbinder. For obvious reasons, my favorite of his films is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant… I certainly have a strong attachment.
• How many times you watched the movie before designing the cover?
I watched the film a couple of times before starting to sketch, and specific scenes many times during the process. That helped me to shape the characters for the artwork.
• Did you use The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant as a source of inspiration?
Absolutely. I wanted to capture as much of the essence of the characters and their relationship as possible. So it was actually the only real source of inspiration for the artwork. 
• Was there any scene in the movie that inspired you for designing the cover?
I had several scenes in mind. There is actually one which could be the main source of inspiration and it is the one where Petra and Karin are talking sitting in bed the following day after they first met.
Nevertheless, the challenge was to do something else for the cover. Not a specific scene, but something that brings together all the drama of their characters and the set. Something more abstract, in some way, rather than descriptive. It wasn’t about portraying a scene, basically.
• How do you choose the colors for this specific design?
I prepared several color options based on the the set and among the options, this one was chosen by the Criterion team as the one that worked the best.
• Did you choose the fonts for the title?
No, I didn’t choose the fonts. It was the Criterion Collection design team and I think it matches perfectly.

• What is the reason of using grey shade for dominant color of this design?
The idea for the artwork was to get focused on the extreme relationship between Petra and Karin. I think using this color scheme helps focus on the two characters in the cover.

• What would you like the people who looks at this design to feel?
Whatever the idea for the cover was, the most important is that people feel connected to it and that it creates interest. If they don’t know the film, I would like them to feel curious about it. If they knew Fassbinder and this film, I hope they think the cover makes justice to this great film.

• While designing the cover, did you think about marketable nature of it, or you only think about it as an art?
I don’t have any conscious thoughts about marketing during the process. I work in a very intuitive way and my thoughts go to several other directions, related more with art, rather than the art of selling. I think more about the bodies, their attitude, the expression, the rhythm of the composition, the balance, and – the most important – the intensity of the work. Nevertheless, I guess my job, working in something visual, is to gain the attention of the people. But I don’t do it consciously.

• What was important for you when designing this cover?
My goal was to find an approach that compiles the essence of the relationship between Petra and Karin, without being obvious and easy.

• Are there any movies that you would like to design covers for?
Yes, there are several! But I will keep the secret… I’m a bit superstitious and I think that if I told you which ones, it would never happen… 

• I would like to know how were attracted to graphics and how you developed your own style.
As something natural, as a kid I used to draw, as a teenager I used to design posters for imaginary rock bands and packaging. Later on, I started designing T-Shirts and selling them while in college, and then I decided to make it my life. With all its ups and downs. About style, well I think it is tricky because it is something that deprives you to develop all your capabilities to make something different. You are limited to a specific path to follow. So lately, I tend to think that I don’t have a specific style and I want to discover and experiment different approaches as much as possible. I prefer to think that wa,y so I feel freer to do whatever I want to do. However, even with this mindset, even when I’m working on something that at first sight I think it looks way off of my style, there are similarities and everything looks somehow connected. So, I guess style is like DNA. It is like your fingerprints. You develop it when you’re very young, and you continue working the same way, even if you develop more skills.

• You designs are a combination of abstract drawings and simplicity, how do you combine these two?
Compressing visual information in a limited amount of elements. The goal is to get something very intense in a quite organized composition. You can get lost in the details of those elements but, at first sight everything looks quite minimalistic and modern.

• You mostly use curves in your designs rather than straight lines, would you elaborate on this?
I cannot explain it. It is just the way I work and think… it gives me more visual possibilities. It gives me a great counterposition to a more minimal and clean composition.


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