As the 2021 40th anniversary celebration of Raiders of the Lost Ark continues, Lucasfilm has once again collaborated with ACME Archives to release a limited edition run of fine art prints featuring the work of artist Dave Perillo.
Entitled “A Find of Incredible Historical Significance,” the new piece captures the romance of Indiana Jones’ first adventure on a race to find the ancient Ark of the Covenant. Dave Perillo recently answered some questions from Lucasfilm about his work and affection for the whip-snapping archaeologist.
Do you remember your first viewing of an Indiana Jones film? If so, what impression did it make?
I had seen Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on cable and off recorded VHS tapes, but the first one I saw in the theater was opening weekend for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was such a great experience seeing it in a packed theater with my friends, there’s definitely a different energy seeing a movie for the first time in the theater rather than at home.
Did your previous work with Star Wars and Lucasfilm influence your approach to this Indiana Jones artwork in any way? If so, how?
On a triptych series I did of the original Star Wars trilogy, I tackled it in sort of the same way as this piece. Same stylization of the characters and retro color palette, the only difference was having it set up in more of linear storytelling of the movie.
How does the color palette of the Indiana Jones series reflect its core themes? How does this palette inspire you?
I’ve always been a fan of retro/vintage color palettes, and since Raiders is set in the mid 1930’s, I wanted something that harkened back to the art deco era but also played well off of colors seen in the movie.
What artistic techniques did you use? How does your choice of technique relate to your chosen style?
Stylistically a lot of my art work has a very retro/vintage aesthetic. I’m heavily influenced by artists like Jim Flora and Mary Blair, so I try and keep my art very geometric and simple and use a limited color palette.
Can you discuss the design process for this artwork? How did you choose each of the iconic moments from the film?
I wanted to have this piece have a linear storytelling as you looked at from top to bottom. So Indy sort of “snakes” (no pun intended) his way through the movie as you look at the piece. The scenes I chose was a combination of personal favorites and iconic moment that I think everyone associates with Raiders.
Do you have a personal favorite scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and if so, why?
My favorite moment in Raiders has to be the Cairo street scene with Indy facing off with the swordsman. I always thought that was hilarious moment and then later finding out the back story on when they were filming it Harrison Ford was too ill that day to do a big epic fight so they came up with the “just shoot ‘em” gag.
Do you have a favorite line of Indy’s dialogue in the film series?
“No ticket” from Last Crusade. Love that line and the way Harrison Ford delivers it is perfect.
Other than Indy himself, do you have a favorite character in the series, and if so, why? Do you have a favorite line of dialogue from that character?
I love Henry Jones, Sr. played by Sean Connery. The dynamic combination of Indy and his father is fantastic. My favorite line and scene is with Indy and his dad is when they flying away from the Zeppelin being chased by German planes and Henry accidentally shoots the tail of their own plane and tells Indy, “Son, I’m sorry. They got us.”
In the process of creating these works, did you learn anything new or surprising about the film?
I always try and keep things as accurate as they were in the movie so looking closely at the details in scenes was something new, like the hieroglyphic wall that shoots the poison darts at the beginning of the movie and the number on the crate the Ark is placed in.
As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the entire Indy franchise, could summarize what these films mean to you as a fan and an artist?
The Indy movies were such a huge part of my childhood, just like Star Wars, and feel that they definitely influenced me as an artist. I like interject humor and light-hearted elements into my art and the Indy films have that wonderful blend of action and adventure with comic relief.
The new silkscreen prints are now available in two editions from ACME Archives – a 250-piece regular edition and 100-piece color variant, each sized at 12”x36”. Each print is hand-numbered and signed by the artist, and includes a certificate of authenticity. To learn more you can visit DarkInkArt.com. Other artwork may be found at AcmeArchivesDirect.com.