Press > Escape From New York > Exclusive Interviews > Richard Hescox (Pre-Production Artist) 


How did you end up being an artist and a poster artist?

I always drew and loved doing art. I went to a good art college and graduated with honors. Being in Hollywood, film work was all around so I just fell into it. I did poster art for E.T., The Dark Crystal, Swamp Thing and lots of other projects.

How did you get the assignment to do early promotional art for Escape From New York?

I was doing film advertising illustrations at the time and I would send my portfolio to all the ad agencies in town (Los Angeles/Hollywood). On occasion I would get a call to come in for an assignment. I was called to a company I hadn't worked for before. Don't remember their name now. They roughly explained the film to me. General story line was about all. They had a vague idea of the image they wanted. Snake (Kurt Russell) squatting in front of a ruined but recognizable New York skyline with a suggestion of prison walls. It was pre-production so there weren't any photos of the actors or sets to work from. They mentioned the eye patch, snake tattoo and they asked for a semi-futuristic big gun in his hands.

How much creative input did you have on the art and how was it conceived? Also, did you know that your art was the inspiration behind the promotional pre-production photos of Kurt Russell as a long haired Snake Plissken where his futuristic weapon was removed and a leather shirt was added?

I had full freedom to design the scene and the weapon and costume for the painting. The hair was just what my model had since they did not tell me any different. In terms of development it was just hear the details they gave me in one meeting. Do the painting, turn it in and get paid. I have a vague memory that the art was initially done for an ad in Variety magazine to generate interest in the project before it got going. Maybe not even cast yet. All the other uses for the art were a surprise to me!

Was this the only piece you did for the movie or did you have other drawings or ideas?

This was the only piece done.

How long did it take to make and what reactions did you get from it?

Probably less than a week. Hollywood always seemed to have short deadlines. Don't remember any specific reaction to it but they accepted it, paid me and used it so they must have liked it?

Are there any other anecdotes you'd like to share with us about the art?

My brother-in-law posed for the figure in my backyard. Changed the face from his though.

What do you think of the movie personally?

Unfortunately, I never saw it.

What are you currently doing and what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Now I mostly paint personal paintings in the fantasy art genre and sell them to collectors. I was in computer game design for many years but now paint as I like without art directors.

Thank you for your time, Richard.

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