Series Design

The Andy Warhol Diaries

Client

Andrew Rossi, Director

As specialists in visual storytelling, when the central character of a project is an iconic artist themselves, it’s a priority of ours to let the work take center stage and ensure our design supports the narrative. That’s the approach we presented our longtime friend and collaborator, Andrew Rossi, when he came to us looking for the film design for The Andy Warhol Diaries, a project he’d been working on for the better part of a decade. Together with executive producer Ryan Murphy, he was bringing The Diaries to Netflix as a six-part miniseries, and we jumped at the chance to have a hand in bringing it to the world.

The Andy Warhol Diaries

pop art is for everyone

Film Design

Film Design

The Andy Warhol Diaries chronicles the remarkable life of Andy Warhol from the vantage offered by the artist’s own posthumously-published diaries, contemporaneous footage of the pop-art icon and interviews with those who knew him, from John Waters to Rob Lowe.

01/03

When we were brought on for the film design portion of the series, Rossi and his team had a rough cut for most of the episodes. This gave us a great jumping off point to begin the design process based on the very specific feel of the existing edits.

Commissioned Portraits

From there, we moved into designing other elements of the film including treating interviews, developing org charts, fine-tuning the archival Super 8 shots and portraits of other featured Warhol work. Our collaborative relationship with Rossi’s team empowered us to lean into the years of work they’d put into the series and find things through our research and exploration we might not have otherwise tried.

Preppy Handbook

One example of this is the organizational charts we designed to explain Warhol’s journey moving between mediums and through eras as an artist. Warhol was not only an artist, but a film director, publisher, TV producer, band manager, scene maker and celebrity.

01/04
The idea was to create a tableau that felt like a practical manifestation of Warhol's business world as if it was laid out in his studio space. Various ephemera - business cards, polaroids, clippings et cetera - were used to create an organic-feeling canvas of these relationships that would allow us to move a camera from one to the next while still seeing their contextual relationships.
John LeamyCreative Director

icons

Film Design (continued)

Film Design (continued)

The series takes a comprehensive look, from Warhol’s childhood in Pittsburgh to his groundbreaking work to his relationships with Jean-Michel Basquiat and others to the attempt on his life in 1968. We designed several sequences that focus on some of these noteworthy events, one standout being the Polaroids Warhol took of prominent figures of the downtown New York City scene and transgender activists, including Marsha P. Johnson.

Marsha P. Johnson

As with so much of this project, handling these materials and designing for them in a way to feature their beauty while keeping them as close to their original form as possible was a challenge we really enjoyed.

Much of the series is B-roll shot in museums, studios and various other art world locales, and that was something we played off of with our design. We wanted our design and the art featured in the series to feel very organic- almost as if placed in a catalog space.

This led to our design carrying this almost museum-like feel to appropriately feature the art and other series elements, like interviews, so that it could flow seamlessly with the B-roll.

01/05

Joining The Warhol Diaries toward the end of what had been an ongoing labor of love for its creators pushed us to maintain a healthy pace in our process. We have a lot of Warhol fans here at the BigStar office, and because of that, we handled the project with immense respect and put a lot of effort into our shared goal of getting this series out in the world. We couldn’t be happier with how the design and series turned out and thank our partners, Andrew Rossi and team, for entrusting us with this work.

Props where props are due

Credits

The Andy Warhol Diaries
  • Executive Creative Director
    Josh Norton
  • Creative Director
    John Leamy
  • Executive Producer
    Carson Hood
  • Producer
    Kristen Pritchett
  • Design
    Mark Thompson, Carl Dempsey
  • Animation
    Carl Dempsey, Christopher Scales, Liu Chia-Lung
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