Luke was a small-time hood trying to rationalize how his poor choices, impulsivity, and plain bad luck were justifiable. His passion towards life and win-at-all-costs, up-yours attitude is infectious, and that charismatic charm eventually inspires unity and humanity from hardened inmates as Luke is brutalized by the prison system. He is confident and willing to suffer to prove a point. That’s what I like about Luke. He kept what little integrity he could and never gave in. He’s a pretty cool guy with a nickname that's a no-brainer. Lucas Jackson, inmate #37… one of cinema’s great antiheroes.
The “Cool Hand Luke” poster art who inspired this design is probably my second favorite of all-time, just behind “Star Wars.” Made by Bill Gold, an uber-talented graphic artist who has done artwork on a number of Clint Eastwood movies as well as “A Clockwork Orange," the poster is some of the finest pieces of art created in the modern era of the hand-illustrated and painted movie posters. The Bill Gold poster and artwork I used for this design uses the repeated profile lines of Paul Newman’s face to create an effect that’s visually striking. The face itself is heavy in shadow and looks burdened by something, and Newman’s peaceful yet piercing blue eyes bring it all together. The image represents the mood of the movie, and I always thought if I could break it down simplistically, it would look great on a t-shirt. This is one of those pieces of art that I just can’t fully describe the reasons for my admiration. I like it. I just do. It’s so cool looking, and it inspired me to make this tribute design. I wanted to simplify the original by representing the key pieces that struck me. I toiled with this thing for a LONG time, and I’m at the point that I’m proud of it. I hope I can get one of these to Bill Gold to say thanks.
Makin’ a shirt here, boss!