Andrew Giffin's Art on the Big Screen

I've had many opportunities to work on art and sets for movies. Here are just a few of the movies I've created art for.

Marriage of Convenience

Starring Jane Seymour, James Brolin, Kari Matchett, Lorena Gale, and Shirley Knight. Directed by James Keach. 1998.

The year was 1998 and Jane Seymour and James Brolin were starring in a movie, Marriage of Convenience, which was being shot in Winnipeg. There was a portrait of James Brolin that had been painted by an artist hired by the film company. As it turns out the producer and director were very disappointed in the result and needed, at the last minute, someone to repaint this portrait as a rescue mission. My good friend was working in the art department. He called me and asked if I could come to his studio that night and paint the head and hands of James Brolin - he had already taken care of the horse and landscape. He was a friend. What could I say but yes ... especially when the fee included free beer (how can you beat that) and food.

It was a quick project painted in oil. The art director arrived at one point to see how things were coming along. I didn't have the eyes painted at that time so I quickly dotted them in. His comment was "the eyes needed work." Not bad since the painting had to be a true representation of Brolin because it appears in a pivotal point of the movie where Brolin recognizes himself in the painting and enters the gallery to see where the painting came from and meets Jane Seymour's character.

Interestingly, I found out later that Joan Carson (Johnny's former wife) was the producer of the film and she took the painting back home with her after the end of the film. Brolin and Barbra Streisand were married on June 14th of that same year. Could Joan Carson have been packing their wedding gift home from Winnipeg? That makes sense to me. Neither my friend or I ever signed our names to the painting so it is a portrait by the "Unknown Artist."

A Woman's a Helluva Thing

Starring Angus Macfayden, Penelope Ann Miller, Ann-Margaret, and Kathryn Harrold. Directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins. Showtime Ent., 2001

This movie was shot in and around Winnipeg. I was asked to create a sculpture that would be on the grounds of the ranch in the movie. It was created to appear carved from granite and it was a torso trying to release itself from a block of stone. It was labeled Freeing Houston. I created the piece with the guidance of the art director and it was used for the filming. Once they were finished with it they decided that rather than destroying it they may as well return it to me and it is to this day in my yard still fooling those that see it into believing that it is a solid block of granite. It has begun to grow lichens and other plant forms which makes it look even more authentic. It was carved from styrofoam and coated with acrylic stucco.

Christmas Rush

Starring Dean Cain, Erika Eleniak, Richard Yearwood. Directed by Charles Robert Carner. Tristar Pictures, 2002

The Christmas rush has just begun. In the season of giving, the department took his badge. Criminals took his wife. Now, one cop is taking matters into his own hands.

I was hired by the art director of this film to create a number of objects for the set. The movie plays out in a large shopping mall on Christmas Eve when the largest amount of money will be ready to be sent out for deposit. A gang of thieves team up to intercept the deposit on the season's busiest day. The hero happens to be in the mall and sees something is up so he stays to stop the gang in its tracks. There are some exciting moments. Portage Place Mall in Winnipeg is made up to look like Chicago Place. We created many of the items for the Santa's Village area of the atrium including the angel that is used as a trapeze. The Chicago skyline that appears in the background of a nighttime scene where the gang meets to discuss the heist around a burning barrel is actually a silhouette that we created in my studio and added LED lights and drilled holes that were backlit to appear as windows and there you have it ... the Chicago skyline. It was neat to see all of the props we created brought to light in the Portage Place Mall.