Who can forget seeing an 80-year-old woman fall into the ocean through a crack in the ruins of Sutro Baths in Harold and Maude or Clint Eastwood chasing criminals over roof tops in Dirty Harry. The latest Art on Market Street Poster series by San Francisco-based artist Christina Empedocles celebrates the City’s rich history as an iconic cinematic backdrop. On view through April 8, 2013 in the bus kiosks along Market Street between the Embarcadero and Van Ness, The City on Film features photorealistic drawings of the original movie posters for six classic San Francisco films: Dirty Harry (1971), Harold and Maude (1971), What’s Up Doc? (1972), THX 1138 (1971), So I Married an Axe Murderer (1990), and The Times of Harvey Milk (1984).
According to the artist, “The hills and vistas, like cinematic characters, have fueled the legend of the Bay Area for decades, inspiring scores of people to journey west to see it for themselves. This project creates an intense nostalgia surrounding these films, and instills a great sense of pride in seeing the backdrop of San Francisco.”
Empedocles’s trompe l’oeil drawings of the movie posters are accompanied by collage elements that relate to the movies’ stories. For example, The Times of Harvey Milk poster includes a bouquet of burned candles and a wreath of flowers in reference to the memorials that were held after his murder. Additionally, each poster in the series includes historical and contextual information about the film illustrating how these films have become part of San Francisco’s cultural fabric.
“Christina Empedocles’s posters are wonderfully detailed,” said Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission Tom DeCaigny. “Viewers will have just as much fun remembering scenes from these classic films as they will marveling at her virtuosity.”