One Flew Into the Ticket Box

It’s a few weeks since our screening but the limited edition screen prints have just arrived! Hot off the press and illustrated by US artist Chuck Sperry, they look like this:


Much like some of our previous screen prints, this one features a ‘secret layer’. Make sure you rush in to the ticket box to check it out! They’re $38 each and we have a limited supply so don’t delay. In the interim, you can read what Chuck had to say below:

“My first reaction was to make a poster featuring Jack Nicholson, in his role as McMurphy. Then after a few rough drafts, I set about working on a poster featuring Nurse Mildred Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher, the role for which¬† she won the Oscar. Nurse Ratched is a perfect subject for an art piece as America is struggling to reform its health care system. She is the embodiment of a dehumanizing American medical establishment, a figure without pity, one who punishes the objects of her prejudice through bureaucratic sadism. I chose to depict Nurse Ratched from the perspective of her victims. The impact of this poster is that it is intended to be a portrait of her, as if it were done in art therapy by one of her patients. I chose a psychedelic presentation, using psychedelic colour theory and using what I’ve learned about the science of optical perception. I overlaid my psychedelic presentation with techniques drawn from outsider art, or art of the insane. I remembered the work of artist Louis Wain, the popular and widely published early 20th Century prosaic cat artist.

Wain lost his mind late in his career, either from a progressive schizophrenia, or through exposure to toxoplasmosis (a disease that is often passed to humans by cats). He was institutionalized and started to create incredible cat paintings, which have been published in psychology textbooks as an illustration of the disintegration of the human mind.Louis Wain was a perfect starting point for a psychedelic portrait of Nurse Ratched, from the point-of-view of one of her patients. Wain often employed psychologically troubling, perfectly symmetrical compositions, and toiled with precise and obsessive geometric details which were meticulously mirrored on both sides of his symmetrical paintings. My design utilizes this symmetry and geometric detail to achieve this baffling effect. The blue forms are crenelated and manifold, so as to maximize the number of boundaries of contact between the two vibrating colors, red and blue. I used Eye-fry complimentary contrasting color, blue and red, taking care in my studio to custom mix them using fluorescent pigments in powder form, to an equal intensity. In brief, the resulting psychological effect on the optic nerve is that the color receptors are confused where the two colors meet.


Subtly printed over the finished piece is a light translucent grey halftoned portrait of Nurse Ratched, which I also flipped from a xerox and created a perfectly symmetrical face. The symmetrical, light halftone photo a secret image and appears in two ways. One way is to view the poster in UV backlight. The other way is to convert a photo of the poster into black and white (easy to do with the “Willow” or “Inkwell” Instagram filters). The equal red and blues meet at the same value of grey and allow the Nurse Ratched halftone portrait to appear very clearly. The resulting poster for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is a combination of many of the techniques I’ve learned about printing, design, art aesthetics, psychology and the science of optical perception, appropriately used for one of the greatest American films.”

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About The Astor Theatre Blog

The home of restored classics, Double Features, cult favourites, Melbourne's most beloved film icon is one of the last independent film houses left in Victoria, and the last of the city's grand old art deco film palaces still in operation since 1936. We are one of two venues in Australia able to show 70mm print film and are committed to the preservation of the cinema going experience, providing a unique experience, value for money and the best darn choc-ices ever! Keep an eye out for our resident cat Marzipan! Visit us at

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