Filmmaker Wes Anderson’s 1998 film Rushmore is a minor epic. The film is a coming-of-age story for 15-year-old Max Fisher as well as the 50-something industrialist Herman Blume. At the center sits Max’s teacher Rosemary Cross, a beacon of peace weighed down by the death of her husband. In Rushmore, Anderson’s fervent whimsy is on display, a blown-out silliness that first showed itself in his debut film Bottle Rocket and has since become a hallmark of the Anderson universe that has become a genre unto itself.
For a film visually rich with ideas, characters, and set pieces, there is plenty for an artist to pull from, and for his poster for Anderson’s Rushmore, British illustrator Marc Aspinall kept his focus on Anderson’s core theme of unrequited love. The triangle of infatuation between Fisher, Cross, and Blume is one based in both playfulness and deep-seated pain. Aspinall poses the trio in a Rockwellian composition — the saintly Cross, the boyishness of both Fisher and Blume, the battling would-be-suitors, at either side of the ring.
Aspinall avoided the trope of simply recreating a moment from the film in his artistic style. The poster is peppered with references to Max Fisher, the playwright and stage director. The bees from the theater wire, while not a moment that happened in the film as depicted, is itself a reference to Max’s desire to create magic on stage and the viciousness he enacted (i.e., placing a swarm of bees in Blume’s hotel room) with his strained goal of removing Blume as a combatant for the love of Mrs. Cross.
At the forefront of the poster is the tape — that T made of white gaffer’s tape. The mark for the actor to hit, because, in the end, Rushmore is about Max’s desire to create the perfect version of himself and his life. The world is his stage and he is only playing the role of an over-achiever, of a mature lover, of a sophisticated member of academia.
Marc Aspinall’s Rushmore is a 24″ x 36″ screenprint with a limited edition of APs available from a private commission.
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