In 1990, the Wachowskis caught a glimpse of a dystopian future in Frank Miller’s graphic novel, Hard Boiled. They were so impressed with artist Geof Darrow’s vision of a dark and gritty Los Angeles that they asked him to create the look and feel of the “real world” in their movie, The Matrix. Check out Darrow’s original artwork for the groundbreaking science fiction film below.
Darrow’s vision for The Matrix is detailed and cold. The imagery from the film is now iconic, including the human battery farm, Morpheus’ Nebuchadnezzar spaceship, and the human-hunting Sentinels, or “Squiddies.”
Darrow began his career in children’s television after attending the American Academy of Arts in Chicago, Illinois. He worked on the character design for Hanna-Barbera’s Saturday-morning cartoon characters from the ’80s, including Richie Rich, the Super Friends, and Pink Panther and Sons. He later transitioned to comic book art with multiple collaborations with writer Frank Miller. Darrow continued to work with the Wachowskis on The Matrix sequel films and Speed Racer in 2008.
The concept art was featured in the now out-of-print Art of the Matrix book, but from time to time Darrow posts his work from the film on his personal tumblr. page. The style was so iconic in the world of The Matrix that the Wachowskis asked Darrow to create the artwork for The Matrix comic book anthology, Bits & Pieces of Information, which later became the inspiration for The Animatrix animated anthology in 2003.