Press > Exclusive Interviews > Gina DeDomenico Flanagan (Costume Illustrator: Escape From L.A.)




How did you end up being a Costume Illustrator?

When I graduated from Parsons NYC
(New York City) I worked as an assistant designer for a sportswear company in Downtown LA. I realized quickly that I did not like the fashion industry so I decided to break into designing for movies. I learned quickly that to work on feature films you must belong to one of the unions (there are many different ones depending on what you want to do). So I joined the CDG, the Costume Designer's Guild. The CDG consists of Costume Designers, Design assistants and Costume Concept Artists. It's a bit tricky to get in, and I realized that I was able to get in quickly as a Concept Artist. Once in and working, I was so happy as an illustrator that I never even considered another classification.

How did you get the assignment to be the Costume Illustrator for Escape From L.A.?

Once in the CDG, you become part of a network and we all hire from within. I met Robin and Bob Bush early in my career and we hit it off. She and her husband Bob were so fun and lovely to work with, such good people! We worked on John Carpenter's Vampires and Escape from L.A.

How did you prepare for this project and how did you and Robin Michel Bush (Costume Designer) work together?

I start by reading the script and really getting a feeling for the characters. Robin provided me with all her ideas, her quick sketches, tearsheets and head shots of the actors. She then went character by character and we discussed her vision for each. It is my job to bring her vision to life on the page, and to make it look so cool that the producer and director love it so that it can be cleared and go straight to the workroom to be made. If that happens I have done my job.

Which costumes did you illustrate and did you have any ideas or input on them?

I illustrated all of the main characters. Regarding "my" ideas, my job is to support and be the conduit for the designers vision. I help figure out proper construction, create an image and mood on the page that rocks, and leave the designing to the designer!

How long did the illustrations take to make?

Probably took 2 days per sketch.

Which were the most challenging or fun costumes to illustrate and which one or ones are you the most proud of?

The most challenging costumes to illustrate are the simple ones. The more complex, the more interesting the silhouette, the easier it is to create a striking illustration. I am proud of all the ones I sent you, but my favorite is Snake!

Did you ever visit the set or meet any of the actors you did illustrations for and were there any ideas that didn't get used during production?

I was on the film in pre-production so they hadn't begun shooting. I was long gone on to my next film when the actors showed up-bummer! All of Robin's ideas were used if I remember correctly (she's a brilliant designer!)

What's your favorite memory or memories of working on the movie?

Laughing with Robin, and pining for Kurt as I was illustrating him. I've been in love with him since seeing The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes when I was a little kid!!!

What do you think of the movie personally?

I liked the movie a lot. I love Sci-Fi movies, I was a HUGE comic book collector when I was younger so, you know. I LOVED Escape from New York.

What kind of styles have you tried out and what is your current style?

I was trained at Parsons NYC to illustrate with gouache. I spent most of my career making designers very happy with the pencil and paint but as of 3 years ago the entire industry went digital. Paint is now a thing of the past. I had to go back to school. I spent an entire year crying I was so frustrated and desperately fought the switch over... but now I am a digital illustrator and the thought of paint a distant memory!

Which costumes have you enjoyed the most illustrating in your career so far?

I think my favorite character that I got to illustrate (other than Snake) was Sarris from Galaxy Quest. The orig illustration was very detailed and a blast to do, and working with Albert Wolsky a dream.

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

I am currently working on a film called The Solutrean, designed by Sharen Davis. Albert Hughes will direct the survival tale set 20,000 years ago in the Ice Age. Such a blast to illustrate ice age costumes! Last year I finished The Magnificent 7, Pitch Perfect 2, The Hateful 8, The 5th Wave and The Ridiculous 6. All movies with numbers!

Thank you for your time, Gina.