Scott C. (or Scott Campbell) is well-known in the art world for an interesting pop culture "project" called The Great Showdowns. Ironically, that's the same name as his book from Gallery1988 and Titan Books. The 144 page hardcover book features page after color page of iconic (and some not so iconic) films and the conflict that makes them unforgettable.
The 6.75" square book was released this past week, and features an affordable - dare I say steal - price of $14.95. Being somewhat O.C.D. about films, television, and pop culture, I was immediately intrigued by The Great Showdowns when I saw Gallery1988 release a set of drink coasters in February 2011. When I saw that Scott's paintings would be compiled in book form, I just assumed it would be a must-have for any movie-buff...or even the occasional Netflix viewer.
I fired off some questions to Scott C., and below much shed some additional light on The Great Showdowns.
Brian: With the abundance of material out there, how do you go about choosing the films and characters for your Showdowns paintings?
Scott: I try to choose films that I dig or have had some sort of cultural impact, I suppose. Moments and characters that are visually interesting and memorable. And if there are memorable moments that are not exactly the main protagonist versus the antagonist that is all the better because I think that is more satisfying for people to figure out. It's really sort of a game in a way.
Brian: Is there one movie that is your go-to favorite for Showdown moments?
Scott: I think Raiders Of The Lost Ark is my go to. Or Jurassic Park. Spielberg films are the best films for showdowns because they are so tense all the way through! Every single moment there is some tense thing we must deal with. Indy versus the sword dude. Indy versus the propeller guy. The monkey versus the date. I haven't done that last one, but maybe I will. Just thought of it.
Brian: When you run out of film Showdowns (if that's possible), will you think about expanding to a run of classic television series Showdowns?
Scott: I think that is totally a possibility. I did a special series of Showdowns for the group exhibition at Gallery 1988 celebrating the show LOST. That was pretty fun because I was a huge LOST fan. I did a bunch of 8 bit video game Showdowns for a show as well. So if the opportunity arises, I shall perhaps do more of this sort of thing.
Brian: I watch a lot of films, but some of the movies and characters chosen might not be known to non-"film buffs". Do you often get people asking you "What movie is this from?"
Scott: Yeah, all the time. Some are pretty obscure, but there is always someone who gets it. I like to have people ask each other and help people out though. That is my favorite thing to see. People exercising their knowledge with each other.
Brian: I purchased your first set of coasters released by Gallery1988, because I thought the entire concept and execution was well-done.
Scott: Oh, sweet. Thanks. I hope your drinks are enjoying them.
Brian: Actually, I think my kids have cracked most of them. Nothing is sacred in our house.
Brian: I like The Great Showdowns for two reasons:
1) It simply deconstructs a film's conflict into one small, square painting.
2) It's fun to try and figure out what movie the Showdown is from.
Why do you think the reaction to this concept and your work has been so positive?
Scott: I think you are totally right! They are just simple little moments that people can identify with. I think nostalgia plays a big part because some of these films people have not even thought about for many years. And people love games and puzzles and trivia. I know I do. I mean i usually am terrible at trivia, but i am better at visual trivia. And i can annihilate at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.