It's a lonely life...that of the necromancer, er freelancer

A blog by a designer and illustrator, for designers and illustrators which may contain musings on art, movies and random weirdness.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Strand Theater Model

I have a strong interest in papercrafts. According to Wikipedia, "Paper craft is the collection of art forms employing paper or cardboard as the primary artistic medium for the creation of three-dimensional objects".
I have a backlog of papercraft projects that I wish to build, but every now and then, I get a break in my regular work, and I get to do one.
One of these was a model of the historic Strand Theater in Ipswich, MA.
This project was on the top of my list as it holds some personal significance to me. I was born and grew up in Ipswich, and my first memory of going to the movies was seeing "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" with my family when I was six years old. Most of the movies I saw from childhood through early adulthood were seen at the Strand. Jeremiah Johnson, Westworld, Rocky, Jabberwocky, Star Wars, were all seen there (to name but a few). I also worked at the Strand as as usher in highschool.
Unfortunately, the theater fell on hard financial times in the early 80's and rather than being preserved as the historic building it was, was torn down in 1985 to make room for an addition to the Ipswich Savings bank. A lot of people are still pissed about that.

So, for all of those reasons I decided I would try my hand at making an HO-scale replica of the building facade. The only problem was, for a building that was built in 1920, there was a real shortage of good photographs showing the building in it's heyday. Also complicating the issue was the fact that the building had been extensively renovated several times through it's history (once after a fire), so I also had to decide what version of the building I was going to make.
After some extensive Googling  I was able to collect several photos of the Strand. Since many theaters were called "The Strand" I had to make sure that they were images of the one in Ipswich, MA. Most of the photos were of poor quality or in black and white, but there were a couple that were color, and taken just before it was torn down.

There was also a close up shot showing some of the detail.

I took those shots, and using Photoshop to correct the perspective of the photo, used it as a template to redraw the facade of the building in Adobe Illustrator. This is the base layer of the drawing.

I drew the raised and recessed architectural elements and the marquee separately.

I printed these on heavy card stock and then commenced to assemble the pieces. I used a piece of foamcore for the base and balsa wood for re-enforcing the structure. The hardest part was cutting out the marquee letters.

 I added an HO scale figure and voila! 

 If I get really ambitious, I might try a version with a light-up marquee and lobby. I did add the title of and posters in the display cases on either side of the entrance for the movie that was playing when I worked there in 1977; the original Star Wars.

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