One of the reasons Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner still holds up amazingly well 30 years later is the layered, incredibly detailed world it created, from Tyrell’s gleaming skyscraper to the filthy alley markets cluttered with shady characters. Hell, the movie’s art department even mocked up fake magazines to fill out newsstand shelves. It’s a shame they didn’t have artist Tim Anderson around at the time, because his work on the image below suggests he would have fit right in.
The magazine cover of “Common Science Monthly” is littered with in-jokes and references to the world of Scott’s film, from the highlighted Voight-Kampff test to the origami unicorn to the feature article on “The C-Beams of Tannhauser Gate.” In fact, the only critique I have is that his cover price of 25 cents is way, way too cheap for the world of Blade Runner. Referring back to those mock-up mags by the movie’s art department, at least one of them was sporting a cover price of $20. Hey, you have to admire the guy’s optimism.
Anderson talked to Poster Collective about his inspirations for the magazine project:
The theme of the show at Bottleneck Gallery was “Gadgets and Gizmos,” and the prompt was to create an image depicting our favorite gadgets and gizmos from pop culture. As anyone who is remotely familiar with my work knows, I’m a huge Blade Runner fan, so I wanted to come up with a way to showcase one of its most well-known gadgets: the Voight-Kampff machine. I’ve always really loved the optimism of popular forward-thinking technology magazines like Popular Science, especially those during the post-WWII era. They seem so excited to highlight technologies they foresaw for the future, and while their track record was kind of hit-or-miss, that pride and optimism has always left an impression on me. I thought that tone and visual style would be perfect for showing off a form of technology that– for us– is still in the distant future (nevermind the dystopian tone of the film or the fact that it takes place only 6 years from now). A magazine cover also presents many opportunities for including lots of easter eggs for the other avid Blade Runner fans. It was a lot of fun to work on, and I’m grateful to Bottleneck Gallery for the opportunity to participate in the show, as well as a few others coming up.
We’ve spotlighted Anderson’s considerable talents before, so if you like his Blade Runner magazine work, check out his pulp-novel treatment for the film below