So It Goes

category: > Illustration

written by: Jaap Proost

1974. It’s a rainy day in New York. Saul Bass is walking on Fifth Avenue, somewhere around the 62nd street. With his hands in his trench coat, collar turned up, he’s thinking about the movie he’s directing. It’s almost finished; all it needs is a good poster.


Since it’s raining, he decides to visit the Metropolitan Museum. The movie is called Phase IV. He needs a powerful image for the poster. ‘What can I use’, he’s wondering while walking through the galleries of the museum, almost bumping into another visitor. Then he sees the statue ‘Ugolino and His Sons’ by the sculptor Jean-Baptist Carpeaux. That hand, wretched with agony… That, with ants crawling out!


Los Angeles, 1985. Jim Phillips is flipping through a row of movies at Blockbuster. His girlfriend is visiting her family, so he has the weekend for himself. He loves science fiction, contrary to his girlfriend. With her away, there is nothing that can stop him.


Well, perhaps that thing he has to do for Santa Cruz, a skateboard company. They want him to design a sticker. ‘Something radical’. Yeah right. Hmmm, what’s this? Phase IV. Never heard of it. Nice illustration. Wait a minute, what if I replace the ants with an opened mouth… I call it ‘Screaming Hand’! Eureka!

(Dramatization, may not have happened)





From left to right: a detail of ‘Ugolino and His Sons, by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, 1865-67 / Poster for Phase IV, by Saul Bass, 1974 / ‘Screaming Hand’, by Jim Phillips, 1985.


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