The most spectacular DRIVE inspired art

There is no shortage of amazing art inspired by the movie DRIVE.  From sketches and doodles to fully illustrated art, there is a wealth of DRIVE related media to be found online.  Here then, are some of my absolute favourite pieces of DRIVE related art, in no particular order.

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This poster is a clever and memorable design.  It take two key scenes from the film (the hammer scene and the main car chase scene) and combines them into one image.  Looking at the image close up it just looks like a top down view of a car driving fast, turning hard with squealing wheels, leaving tyre marks on the ground.  Viewing the image from further away reveals the yellow road stripe is the handle of a hammer and the car is the head.  The tyre marks are the claws on the back of the hammers head.

drive_by_jonasscharf-d8hbebm   At first I found this image a little off putting.  There is something about the characters face that just looks a bit odd. But then I wonder is it intentional?  The look on the Drivers face is awkward.  Which works, because the DRIVE movie makes you uncomfortable when you watch it.  Is this guy here to help you put nails in a fence, or cave in your skull?  It could go either way.  If you keep staring at it, the image really pulls you in.

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At first I found this image a little too cartoonish for my tastes.  But then you look into Irene’s eyes and you see that same look of absolute terror, horror, love and sadness she shows in the elevator scene.  Driver has blood on his jacket and is holding the bag in the foreground while in the lower middle the car chase scene plays out with the city in the background. This piece of art captures so much of the movie DRIVE without any words in what is basically a comic book cover.  The comic book style art also reminds us of the potential heroic nature of the Driver.

drive_by_supergx-d5uwgah A vacant look, or just a man who is lost in a cruel world, doing what he can to survive.  The Driver is somewhat of a cipher, in that we know so little about him we project our expectations on to him.  The sunny sky and trees give a Miami Vice feel to this image, a notable stylistic reference on the film Drive.

There is no excusing what the Driver does, or who he is.  He is an amoral criminal, breaking the law and breaking hearts in equal measure.  Despite his criminal activities, he seems to have a moral code.  He is the outlaw with a heart, dangerous to men, irresistible to women.

Driver is an outlaw, but he is the movie kind of outlaw we enjoy, the one we root for and can’t help but end up liking despite his flaws.  He is another version of the archetypal existential Man with No Name or masterless Samurai made famous by Clint Eastwood in such films as Fistful of Dollars and High Plains Drifter.

drive_by_tsenzen-d4c5azi In this image the Driver is a cowboy minus the hat.  The cool, confident laid back posture suggesting the kind of character epitomised by Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars. The toothpick stands in for the cigar, the driving gloves slightly blurry, and clearly sticking out at an angle that reminds us of a cowboy’s pistol in a holster.

For those who have yet burned every memorable frame of Sergio Leon’s dollars trilogy into their retinas, take a look at the images juxtaposed below.

DRIVE Fistful of Dollars Yojimbo Man with No Name

Here you see the image next to a still of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name, another morally ambiguous existentialist loner with a samurai like code.

I’ve thrown in an image from Kurosawa’s Yojimbo too.  The protagonist played by Toshiro Mifune’s character was notable for how he kept his hands out of view, a mannerism that Clint Eastwood copied in Fistful of Dollars (Fistful of Dollars was an illegal remake of Yojimbo).  The visual motif of the hidden hands is repeated again in this piece of DRIVE art.  The posture of all three characters suggests an introspective character, a character who looks unassuming, but if provoked is like a coiled rattlesnake, always ready to strike.

Note in the first two images the use of negative space, the character positioned at the left side of the “frame”.  The empty space is evocative of existentialism and also Japanese samurai cinema.  The negative space also emphasises the essential aloneness, or nomadic drifter quality to the characters.

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This is by far my most favourite piece of DRIVE fan art.  I am hoping to get a poster of it someday for my office wall.  It captures so much of the feeling and style of the film, to me it is perfect.  This piece is by the professional artist Tyler Stout.

In the foreground we see a silhouette of the Driver head down, hammer in one hand, the other hand in his pocket.  He is juxtaposed with his car similar to the official movie poster.  On the official poster he holds a bag full of money while standing behind the rear of the car, his spare hand in his pocket.  Here the bag is substituted for a hammer, from a violent scene in the film, the hammer for anyone who has seen the film instantly brings that scene to mind.

The hammer in hand combined with the darkened face in silhouette creating a feeling of menace from the figure.  In contrast the large profile at the top of the frame the head has an upward tilt suggesting hope or optimism, or possible redemption.  The black ink pattern to the left of the car is likely blood spatter.

The neon pink colour is a theme used in the movie, a deliberate nod to eighties cinema.  While DRIVE has the look of a Micheal Mann film, the neon pink was most famously used in Brian DePalma’s Scarface, the streets of Miami glow at night with hot pinks and soft neon blues, greens, yellows and more.  The same hot neon pink was also used in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and twin stick action game Hotline Miami, which was a game that was partly influenced by the movie DRIVE in style, themes and execution.

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The famous Miami Beach “Ocean Drive” at night

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This is obviously not hand drawn art, but official movie art / promotional image for the movie posters, DVD and BD covers etc.  I included this one in to show the contrast with the image above and the one below (zoomed in).  In both images we see the key relationship / juxtaposition of Driver to the car, the jacket is like his unofficial uniform or superhero costume, and the hand in the pocket with one hand dangling down is swapped from the hammer to the money bag.

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A closer look at the bottom half of the above poster image reveals more detail.  The two small tabs on Drivers puffy metallic jacket give the look of a racing jacket, the black ink blood spatter on the left is more visible as blood.

The word “Drive” at the bottom of the poster could be spray paint, but a closer look at the curve and pattern in the letters reveals tyre marks made of neon-pink blood.  Depicting blood as black and hot pink takes away from its immediate visual recognition as blood, in the full poster it is barely noticeable.

I may be wrong on this point, perhaps it is meant to be just spray paint, but the streaks at the edges of the hot pink letters to me suggest wet tyre tread.

This design incorporates not only visual elements and motifs of the film, but thematic elements.  The movie DRIVE is about a character we never really get to know.  There are hidden depths to the Driver, but we barely begin to explore them in the film.  Like Yojimbo and Fistful of Dollars, by the end of the film, we know little to nothing more than what we knew at the start of the film about the central protagonist, the nameless “Driver”.

The full image of this amazing piece of art does not show off the detail of Driver of the car, so this cropped and zoomed image better shows off the artistic style and flair of the image.  The pink highlights and smooth lines remind me of what a slick character the Driver is, who despite being a dangerous professional criminal, has a soft center.  The director Nicolas Winding Refn refers to him at times as a hero.

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This is my second favourite piece of art.  It’s a real fan favourite as we finally get to see the two leads kiss.

This scene takes in an elevator. The two leads do kiss briefly before being interrupted by some bade dude who tries to kill them.

The two lead characters here are lit almost like angels, a real otherworldly glow / halo lights up the top third of the image. Their magnetic looks into each others eyes are rather chaste and Disney-like.  There is no sex in this film, and this rather chaste kiss scene the closest these two ever get before events spiral out of control.

The Driver being a loner is basically on the outskirts of society, he doesn’t get to settle down with a wife and kid, that is pretty much a fantasy in his world.  There is no happy ending in DRIVE.  The fairy tale like story is sort of an anti-fairy tale in the sense that there is no happily ever after.

Or alternatively it is more like Grimm’s Fairy Tales which are filled with horrific violence, morally dubious characters and ambiguous endings that more or less reflect real life rather than the sanitised version of events (I call them lies) typical in Hollywood movies.

I really like the overall look, feeling, lighting and emotion in this piece.

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tyler-stout-drive-reg These two beautiful poster designs by Tyler Stout really take my breath away.  These two images were later used as an alternate gatefold cover for the DRIVE soundtrack album on vinyl, which now sells for a ridiculous price online.

I hope you enjoyed these amazing pieces of art as much as I did.