Last night, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the celebration of the Art Directors Guild’s 75th Anniversary at the Hollywood Museum. It’s pretty remarkable to think that a guild so integral to the movie-making process has managed to sustain itself as such a strong collective for all these years. With nearly 2,000 members in the ADG, this talented group of artists have given us some of the most elaborate and visually euphoric experiences we could ever hope to see in cinema. Remember how fear crept inside you when you witnessed the atmospheric setting of the human spaceship in Ridley Scott’s Alien? How about that cantina scene in Star Wars that fulfilled George Lucas’ promise of taking viewers to a “Galaxy Far…Far…Away”? All those artistic components that enhanced the feel of a film’s universe owe its entire thanks to the film industry’s Art Directors Guild. Below, I will give you a brief history of the ADG, followed by some images of their greatest contributions to cinema that I was able to photo-capture inside the Hollywood Museum.
The Art Directors Guild was not always known by this name. In fact, when the ADG officially formed in 1937 after dropping their former “Cinemagundi Club” name, they referred to themselves as the “Society of Motion Picture Art Directors.” The ADG only brought in art directors from television thirty years after its formation, and only in the year 2000 did the guild actually refer to itself as The Art Directors Guild. Aside from the original art director and production designer branches that have been a part of the ADG since the beginning, the ADG now includes model makers, set designers, graphic & title artists, illustrators, and a host of other minor branches that create man-made art for films. This merger happened first in 2003, and was then finalized in 2008. As of this year, the ADG totals 1,800+ members in all, and yesterday evening’s 75th Anniversary celebration was partly an acknowledgement of the unbreakable unification amongst the many branches of the ADG.
I could feel the camaraderie in the air as I sat listening to the proclamations given by ADG President Tom Walsh and other leaders of the guild. There is a great deal of pride in this guild, and I believe a large part of that sentiment is due to the fact that their work can often be glossed over and unappreciated. As movie-goers, we automatically hone in on the actors or visual effects, but rarely do we acknowledge the striking sets and hand-crafted art that is responsible for transporting us into the magical realm of the movies. In fact, we’re probably guilty of taking the ADG’s work for granted. Surrounded by a group of passionate artists who dedicate their lives to making our movie-going experience an unforgettable one, I felt both humbled by being a part of this celebration and slightly ashamed for not acknowledging their contributions to cinema as much as I should have in the past. Listening to the various ADG speakers and reacquainting myself with famous set design pieces, I can honestly say my ignorance will never again come to fruition. Hopefully these images I’ve taken of some classic ADG film contributions will elevate the importance of the Art Directors Guild in your mind as well.
Images taken from the 75th Anniversary Celebration Party inside the Hollywood Museum:
[fgallery id=14 w=450 h=385 t=0 title="Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of The Art Directors Guild"]
Leave a Comment
No comments yet.