The town of Springfield, home to The Simpsons, is illustrated in a gritty, creative way in these fine art prints by Tim Doyle. His project Unreal Estate also includes nods to other TV series including Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Firefly, Sesame Street, and Arrested Development.
These screen prints showcase familiar locations from The Simpsons, from their home at 742 Evergreen Terrace to the Kwik-E-Mart and Springfield Nuclear Power Plant (in a piece titled Night Falls on the SNPP) and Moe’s bar (in Amanda Huginkiss). The style is much darker and moodier than the original cartoons. The tangles of power lines over the buildings and the litter on the streets add additional ambiance to the scenes. Some of the characters are included, but usually in shadows or silhouette: Bart is standing next to the giant “Springfield” letter sign in one print, while Marge and Lisa can be see through the windows of their house in another print.
One of these pieces, TV Junk, combines elements from several different TV worlds: The TARDIS from Doctor Who, The Bluth’s Banana Stand sign from Arrested Development, the Krusty Burger sign from The Simpsons, and other pieces from different shows are in the back of the pickup truck from Sanford and Son. Other prints in Doyle’s Unreal Estate series (not shown here) focus on different TV shows.
Several of the screen prints were made in different states or variants, showing the same scene in both day and night, for example. The artist did many unique versions of the print which features the town’s church, with different humorous sayings written on the church’s sign. Some of the variants even glow in the dark or have other cool effects. I really like this aspect of printmaking, and I enjoy seeing the artist taking advantage of this technique.
“Unreal Estate is a collection of locations that many of us know and have been to on a weekly basis at times, but we can never actually visit. These places are in our memories — transmitted and entrenched there through a cathode-ray tube,” says Doyle.
Most of the original prints were produced in limited editions and are sold out; however, the open-edition Springfield print and postcard sets of the first two exhibitions of Unreal Estate are available to buy through Doyle’s website.