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Retropolis by BWS Retropolis by BWS
"Retropolis" is the name I've given to my Future That Never Was, and now it's also the name of this wild, movie poster-style montage of the places and people that fill that world. It pulls together a lot of elements I've been working with over the past year - in fact, I think I started the city itself about three and a half years ago - into one big joyful conglomeration of retro-futuristic enthusiasm. I'm pretty crazy about it, as maybe you can tell.

This is a city so big it has weather. Like in weather patterns. Don't mistake the fog and clouds for pollution, since that's not a problem here; the City Of The Future used to always be about transportation of a sleek, modern and desirable kind. This is no exception, with its thundering monorail and its high-flying, lighter-than-air airships - but it's not all public transportation either, since we were promised flying cars. Here we finally have them in the form of open cockpit roadster rockets that burst right out of the heart of the picture.

Arranged around the central image of the city are several of the folks you might meet there. For no reason I can explain, I've named the male characters after British band leaders of the 20's and 30's. We've got Nat Gonella, Henry Hall, and Lew Stone, and in her own vein there's their friend Aelectro Monica, along with Rusty, the original Faithful Robot Companion.

For those of us on my side of the water there's a nod to the Gershwins, too.

As always in these images I've combined elements of 3D rendering with 2D painted work, done afterwards in Photoshop. I sort of pulled out all the stops on this one - due to the demands of my Day Job I don't get nearly enough time during the year to do these, and I think I had a lot of something or other bottled up that just plain had to get out. It looks to me like most of it managed to.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2005-08-20
Retropolis by Bradley W. Schenck. The future that never was. Wait, not quite. Rare specimens of today's robot companions can be faithful in their limited functionality, speedy monorails and flying cars do exist exist abd be it only as prototypes and for sure we have labor saving devices! This yesterday's vision of tomorrow, as depicted, never really was, but as other past visions of the future are reality today, I am most certain one fine day Domest-O-Bot will make me delicious dinners, ready for consume right on time when I come home from work in my flying cobalt-metallic Cadillac! While we ponder about our future that is yet to come, let's get inspired by this fantastic movie-poster style artwork and build upon the ideas therein.

Also viewable as our Print of the Day. ( Featured by MidnightExigent )
Zaxwede Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2017
Maybe it should be : "The Future That Never Became".
LXXT Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2017  Professional Photographer
portisHeart Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
magnificient! excellent! i hope W Gibson follows your work and has had the pleasure of enjoying this city and its stories! i think between you & him, you sure spent some time in the same continuum.. :)
Laharl234 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Not sure if this classes as atompunk or dieselpunk.
BWS Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
And I'm pretty sure that those labels don't matter.
Laharl234 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
They do to me.
picturistic Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
i have watched your work from a distance for years now, and i have to say your work is beyond excellent and this is the one image that has always captured my heart, low key, gorgeous, glossy, just all around perfect work
Medallion2012 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I totally want to live there!!! Amazing!!
Pyrox626 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2011
Reminds me of bioshock...FUCKING EPIC!!! :D
DouglasHumphries Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2010
..great idea and execution !
j0sh-3000 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
positively stellar work.
1in0 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2010
Suggestion: Change:

Retropolis: The Future that WAS!

docmagnus Featured By Owner May 17, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Okay; I'll start up the time-machine. 1923 sound about right to you?
SheTheTDE Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Interested in actualy getting someone to animate a movie about this?
ryttu3k Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
That's amazing! I adore retro future stuff, and this is just gorgeous. Favourited!
whynotstanley Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2008  Professional Artist
OK... this is a killer illustration... I have a monster collection of old sci-fi... and the future just ain't gonna happen like anyone saw it... but your image embodies the best of all the optimistic visions... I find it a little sad when compared to the future that seems more likely.

Still... your image is wonderful!
mchenry Featured By Owner May 14, 2008
Great work of art.

I like the "Future of the Past"-Style.
Lithium-Polygon Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008  Student Digital Artist
OMG THATS AMAZING! did you make EVERY model!?
Figgs Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2008
Awesome... I do the same type of thing... just more cartoony...
mouchefska Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2007  Student Interface Designer
this is absolutely spectacular. reminds me of the futuristic movies from the fifties.
ChazKemp Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Completely fantastic & very inspirational. your world ROCKS!! This is going into my favs right now & I may have to buy a print - like right flippin' NOW!! lol. Thanks SO much for sharing.
the-dumb-waiter Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
thats cool
dreamingwolf-designs Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Your style is beautiful, so refined and delicate and full of detail. I've fallen in love with your gallery (both the Retropolis and celtic work equally). Keep up the amazing work. :) :+fav: :+devwatch:
MindTuber Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
MarshallArtsOnline Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2007
Best stuff I've seen on DA in a long time. Your style is absolutely beautiful and spot on!
RobotInvasionProject Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2007
Fab work! i extend an invitation to join our club! :heart:
Splend Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2007
Wow, very Fallout :D :p
Megapope Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2006
Just... wow.

I love retro futuristic EVERYTHING, and you my friend are very good.
midianart Featured By Owner May 16, 2006

Arcy-MIK Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2006
plastikwaren Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2005
I was doing a search for art deco and clicked this piece to make sure it got a DD - otherwise I was going to start promoting. :P
keezl Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2005  Student
wow, really nice idea
i like it a lot
JustinChi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2005
I just realized why that message I sent you didn't appear as a comment on your Retropolius work. I guess I'm suppose to hit reply to add a comment eh?
JustinChi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2005
Yeah, like what someone mentioned before.. if this was for a movie, this poster would catch my eye and get me interested in what this movie was. Which is the purpose of a movie poster eh? Incredible work.
mindofka Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2005
This is all that Anderson, Asimov, Vance, Heinlein and others have promised to us, it remembers me of the Adventure sci-fi magazines covers of the '20-'50, golden years of american illustration (how I love them). I'm just enthusiastic about the image in itself and the so entertaining and personal description. Thanks!
acida Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2005
makes me remember metropolis, i wish i could see. :+fav: this is really good
Aniland Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2005
That would be a fun video game
Corabain Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
thats seriously amazing. I love those old retro images of what they thought the future would be :) Youve really captured the style here. Looks like something from one of the "Fallout" games.
waldemar-pfordte Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2005   Photographer
love the vintage poster styling. great piece.

Congrats on the DD... =D
Munkymuppet Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2005
Awesome piece! Really brilliant!
seafaringgypsy Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2005
How absolutely rad is this? Too damn rad.

I love the movie poster look of this and the intricate detail. If you'd be willing to tell me, I'd love to know how much time do you spend on things like this. Have you had this idea for a while? Or did it just pop into your mind and you went to work?

I love the layers and the depth your work provides here. The monorail lines that come into the foreground. I admire the headshots and names you've provided for us to. It sort of allows us to daydream about what they do in their lives. This is a new fave for me. Absolutely, hands down, no questions asked.
BWS Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
It's sort of hard to say how much time went into it, since I'd built so many of its parts, separately, over a long period. I think I'd started the city about three and a half years earlier, and came back to work on it repeatedly; I wanted (we;;, I still want) to do a long fly-through scene in there for an animation. And I worked on the chracters over about a year and a half before this picture, and so on and on. The picture itself came together very quickly during my Christmas break from work, probably in one to two weeks, along with another one I was working on at the same time. But like I said, so many of the parts had been keeping me busy for so long, there's no way of telling how much actual time went into it.

Out of all these Retropolis pieces, this is the only one that isn't named after an old song. It just sort of screamed itself :).
seafaringgypsy Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2005
I read George Lucas and he once explained that he had the entire visual dictionary of Star Wars in his head long before he took up the director's chair. Let me ask you, do you have the idea in your mind already for this world. Do you have back stories and designs for aircraft and machines in your mind waiting to bust out?
BWS Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
This is an old enough comment already that the reply probably makes no sense, but no, you have discovered one of the ways in which I don't resemble George Lucas. That big honking estate in Marin County os one of the other ones.
seafaringgypsy Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
So should I take that as you just toying with an image until you're completely satisfied as opposed to having the whole scene in your head?
BWS Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
That's probably partly true, but I think I was responding to the question about whether I worked out complete backstories for everything in a picture before I'd started, which I don't think I necessarily do even afterwards. I start with an idea of what I want the scene to do to you when you look at it but my first assumptions about how to make it do that aren't always right, so yes, there's a bit of trial and error on its way to get there.
seafaringgypsy Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2005
That's really very fascinating. From what it sounds like, you don't have a huge emotional attachment to your work. But I can tell you do just from the time you take on each and every piece. You're an oddity, bro.
Zueuk Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2005  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Magnificient!!! :+fav:
Bandaro Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2005   Filmographer
For some reason, I get a feeling of Sky Captain meets 1984. I like how you took elements of the stereotypical "futuristic" city and created something unique with it. The entire thing melds together deliciously. This would make a great setting for a movie. I love the monorail design as well.
MeredithDillman Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2005  Professional Traditional Artist
Awesome! I'm still waiting for the flying cars. C'mon people!
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