Art Snob: A Chat with Edgar Wright
By Matt Cohen on August 21, 2013
As previously covered in this column, Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles is one of the premier homes of all things pop-culture related art. From its flagship “Crazy 4 Cult” show, to exhibitions based on video games, television, comedy, and the like, 1988 is at the fore-front of the collector art craze. Also, if I were to open up my apartment to visitors, you would soon realize that my distinct decorating style could be called “1988 Chic,” since my house is littered in various art purchased from the Gallery in the past decade or so.
So, it goes without saying that I love Gallery 1988. I also love the films of Edgar Wright.
There are few artists on the planet that I consider to have a perfect track record, and Edgar is one of those people. From Spaced (which is probably the closest I’ve ever related to fictional characters), to the Cornetto Trilogy of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The Worlds End (which opens this Friday in theaters everywhere and is a MUST-SEE for anyone who likes this column), to one of my favorite films of all time, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Edgar makes movies for fans of movies, and now… the fans are giving back.
I was lucky enough to attend the opening of “The Official Edgar Wright Art Show” (which runs through September 7th) at Gallery 1988, a new show based on Wright’s works and featuring over 100 artists and pieces, all made as visual-love-letters to everyone’s favorite British pop-culture junkie. I was doubly lucky to get to chat with Edgar for a few minutes about the show.
Matt Cohen: Hi Edgar, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. How did the idea for this show first come about?
Edgar Wright: Jensen from the gallery contacted me and said they were thinking about doing a show about me, and I said “Oh, I have a new film coming out in October. Do you think you could it then?,” and he said “Yeah, we should be able to”. Then a few months later I had to say “Oh… It’s moving to August. (laughs) Do you think you could do it then?”. So he was very accommodating to push it forward by three months, so it would coincide with the release of the movie.
Actually the first time I’d come to Gallery 1988 was because Kevin Smith had told me about “Crazy 4 Cult.” This was in 2007; I don’t know which “Crazy 4 Cult” that was, it may have been the first or the second one. He said “Come down to the gallery. There’s this Shaun of the Dead picture that you’re going to want to buy,” and my rather stupid response was, “Buy it? But I directed the movie! Can’t I get it for free?” His response was, “C’mon man, starving artists. You need to support the artists.” So I came down, and Kevin was right and I bought the painting, which is actually on the wall in my house. The one with them playing the Penguins, by Dave Chung.
MC: Now, you’ve had toys based on your films, t-shirts, and all kinds of other merchandise, but you’re one of the rare filmmakers to have a lot of art inspired by your work. How does that feel?
EW: It’s nice. A lot of art based on my work, with no sequels; that’s pretty good. It’s amazing, it’s overwhelming. Earlier today, me and Simon and Nick came around before the gallery was open, and it’s just overwhelming. It’s incredible. I don’t know what to say. I’ve done five films, and a TV show, and some other bits and bobs, so it’s amazing to see “Don’t!,” my Grindhouse trailer, represented by a couple of pieces; and Spaced, the TV show. It’s really amazing.
MC: And Colin (the dog from Spaced) finally got his own piece! I remember we spoke about the Spaced boxed set when it came out, and Colin wasn’t on it, so I’m glad to see he finally got his due.
EW: Yeah, I think Simon actually bought the Colin piece.
MC: Now you’re a huge film and pop culture buff, in general. What’s your feeling on this “Geek-Art Explosion” that’s been happening, with shows like “Crazy 4 Cult” and galleries like 1988, and the new poster collecting craze?
EW: I think basically it’s taken the place of poster design, because most contemporary film posters lean towards the photographic and the kind of Photoshopped-like posters, so the art of illustration is gone. But, it’s meant that there’s been this kind of huge surge in alternative art, so I think that’s amazing.
MC: There’s over 100 pieces here based on your work, but if you had to single out a few that you thought fans should really see, what would they be?
EW: Well, I bought a few (laughs). One that I particularly gravitated towards is the one with the Winchester inside of the bottle. To be honest, there’s too many great pieces. It’s really astonishing.
MC: Your film, The World’s End, comes out this Friday. If the world really was coming to an end on Friday, how would you spend the next few days?
EW: Telling people to see the film on Friday, before it’s too late.
MC: Lastly, is there any filmmaker who you’d like to see get their own “solo gallery show” like this one?
EW: Oh, that’s a very good question. Quentin has had one, right? Coen Brothers have had one. Maybe it’s already been done, but have they ever done an Alfred Hitchcock season? That would be amazing; Hitchcock would be great.
Check out a couple of my favorite pieces from the show, and then head over to Gallery 1988 to see the art for yourself (and buy some of it, before it goes, which it will… quickly.)