This week I worked on the penultimate image in my Overlook Hotel postcard series. If you would like to see the last two weeks postcards feel free to visit them here:
I have one more in the works and then I’m going to move onto another fictional destination that’s under promoted.
The Gold Room, if you remember, is where lavish balls and soul selling happens at the Overlook. The goal was to create a space with the grandeur that a ballroom should have while focusing on the bar, where all of the action happens. And I don’t just mean in the context of The Shining.
I real reason I wanted to do a postcard for the Gold Room was because I wanted to get REDRUM into the series somehow. It’s such a great revelation in both the book and the movie, but I didn’t want to do the (spoiler for next week) caretakers quarters because they wouldn’t be a draw for tourists at a real hotel. I had to figure out a way to fit it in. It wasn’t that hard. As a kid, before having seen the movie, I thought REDRUM was a cocktail. It has rum in it after all! And sure enough there are a few recipes out there, and even a brand of, you guessed it, rum. I chose the recipe that showed up Google showed me most often:
- 2 oz rum
- 1 oz grenadine syrup
- 2½ oz orange juice
I added the splash of murder. Of course no Gold Room is complete without a demonic bar tender. I wanted Lloyd to still keep his sinister edge while being fun and approachable. The goal of a postcard is to incite you to visit the your vacation spot, or at least make your loved one jealous of you being there.
In fact while researching the look of the Gold Room I realized there was a hotel I very much wanted to visit. If you remember, the Gold Room from the movie wasn’t all that exciting. Stylistically it was Art Deco, but a big empty ballrooms tend to be rather boring. The bar really was the focal point, and it was the lighting that was the most interesting. I found this really great article on the locations that inspired the Overlook while working on the Colorado Lounge postcard. It describes that Gold Room as being based on the stunning Arizona Biltmore.
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Arizona Biltmore is stunning. I spent an hour or three on their website, and other people’s websites, looking at the place. This is no friendly neighborhood Hyatt Regency. This is a hotel. I would love to just spend a night there.
In my original sketches I tried to have as many architectural details from the Arizona Bitmore’s Gold Room as possible. I had bricked pillars, the sconces and the graduated stonework around the windows, but once I started to draw them out in Illustrator it became too busy and lost all balance that had been achieved in the architecture. In the end I really only kept the ceiling. I also tried to reproduce the eerie glow from the film with the bottles behind Lloyd, but I don’t use very many gradients so it started to become a mush of styles. In the end simpler is always better.