Alex McDowell
Since 2002
Works in Los Angeles, California United States of America

BIO
ALEX MCDOWELL, RDI

Alex McDowell, whose career as a production designer spans two-plus decades of award-winning music videos, television commercials and feature films, continues to garner respect and acclaim for his innovative and specific design sensibility.

In 2006, McDowell was named Royal Designer for Industry by the RSA, the UK’s most prestigious design society, and was appointed Visiting Artist at MIT’s Media Lab.

An advocate of progressive film design, McDowell integrates digital technology and traditional design technique, creating a production design process that allows for unprecedented control over the look of the final film. He started incorporating digital design into his modus operandi with Fight Club. He sophisticated the process in 1999 with one of the first fully integrated digital design departments for Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, creating an intensely researched world of 2054, immersed in future technology. For Spielberg's The Terminal, he set up another cutting-edge art department to realize a full size airport terminal, the largest architectural set ever built for film.

Among McDowell's other recent credits are two films with Tim Burton, the stop-motion animated feature The Corpse Bride which combines grey Victorian Eastern Europe and an improbably lively Land of the Dead, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl's classic story about eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka, the design aesthetic described as “Russian Space age Pop meets German Expressionism through the lens of a futuristic Italian ‘James Bond’ B movie on a British back lot."

McDowell designed Breaking And Entering, an original contemporary drama written and directed by Anthony Minghella - amongst the complicated enhanced sets and locations, the film demanded the conceptual design of an appropriated 50-acre landscaped site in Central London.

Since returning to the States, McDowell has recently completed production design on the digital animated comedy Bee Movie, written by and starring Jerry Seinfeld for Dreamworks Animation, and on design development for The Fantastic Mr. Fox, a stop-motion animation directed by Wes Anderson.

He is currently working on Watchmen, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore, and directed by Zack Snyder. He continues to work as an executive designer for Dreamworks Animation.

McDowell is also involved in projects under the auspices of Matter Art & Science, a networked group of artists, designers, scientists and engineers he founded in 2000, that explores the integration of design and engineering and brings art and science into a new convergence. Key projects include: a robotic opera Death and the Powers for composer Tod Machover with libretto by poet Robert Pinsky, in associating with MIT Media Lab; a fully immersive exhibit space in association with Long Beach University Art Museum; and as advisor for Oblong Industries in their development of a gesture recognition interface for the entertainment industry. Additionally, he is on the Advisory Board for the University Art Museum, Cal State Long Beach where he is the guest curator on a new series of exhibitions that fuse emergent media, computer science, engineering, electronic music, digital art research and art production.

A classically-trained painter who attended Central School of Art in London, McDowell lived his first seven years in Indonesia before attending British Quaker boarding schools, After graduating Central School, he opened the graphics design firm, Rocking Russian Design in 1978, and designed album covers and music videos for artists of almost every persuasion, including a video for The Cure that featured the band inside a wardrobe, one of the smallest sets every built. His arresting work consistently reflected his bent for experimentation and love of music. Relocating to Los Angeles in 1986 to design commercials and music videos, he worked with cutting-edge directors, and by the early 90's, he segued into film production design. Among the credits he accrued are The Lawnmower Man, The Crow, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fight Club and The Affair of the Necklace.

McDowell makes his home in Los Angeles, with his wife, painter Kirsten Everberg, and their two children. He is active in public speaking, participating in many international design and film conferences where he serves as a guest-speaker and conducts master-classes and workshops.

May 2007

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Discussions (0) Opportunities (1) Events (1) Jobs (0)
EVENT

The City and The Book


Dates:
Thu Sep 20, 2012 19:00 - Fri Sep 21, 2012

Location:
Los Angeles , California
United States of America

A two-evening transmedia design summit on September 20th and 21st, 2012, at USC School of Cinematic Arts, 7pm to 10pm, followed by a reception on both evenings.
http://5dinstitute.org/events/the-city-the-book
As the construct of the city and the concept of the book move towards each other in both scale and functionality, this 5D Flux summit investigates the potential of dynamic new histories. When the city and the book become both virtual and interactive, and contain and fuel multiple scenarios which evolve and coexist within synthetic worlds, what new stories can we tell?
In association with USC School of Cinematic Arts, the 5D Institute invites you to join our diverse and interdisciplinary network of writers, architects, engineers and artists in a multi-panel provocative and disruptive discussion of the possibilities of dynamic environments in digital publishing, virtual architecture, and interactive media, and the role of world building in the future of storytelling.


OPPORTUNITY

The City and The Book


Deadline:
Thu Sep 20, 2012 19:00

Location:
Los Angeles, California
United States of America

A two-evening transmedia design summit on September 20th and 21st, 2012, at USC School of Cinematic Arts, 7pm to 10pm, followed by a reception on both evenings.
As the construct of the city and the concept of the book move towards each other in both scale and functionality, this 5D Flux summit investigates the potential of dynamic new histories. When the city and the book become both virtual and interactive, and contain and fuel multiple scenarios which evolve and coexist within synthetic worlds, what new stories can we tell?
In association with USC School of Cinematic Arts, the 5D Institute invites you to join our diverse and interdisciplinary network of writers, architects, engineers and artists in a multi-panel provocative and disruptive discussion of the possibilities of dynamic environments in digital publishing, virtual architecture, and interactive media, and the role of world building in the future of storytelling.