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Monday, February 21, 2011

The Work and Practise of So-Me

A closer look into the styles and inspiration of Parisian artist So-ME, art director of Ed-Banger Records. 
There is a huge overlay between fine art and graphic design, the two often merge together; by one inspiring the other, development of an artist, development of art culture. For example Bar at the Folies Bergere, by Manet, demonstrates how commercialism and therefore graphics was being introduced to fine art.

Notice how branding has creeped into this detailed painting? The champagne bottles on the side.

This then continued to develop into the art movement known as pop-art, which emerged late 50s. With famous artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Litchenstein. 
Pop-art a descendant of Dadaism (another art-movement in which the artists aim was to destroy traditional values of art, but we won't talk about that in detail now.) mocked and parodied traditonal work incorporating elements of mass/ popular culture, such as comics, and everyday items like Campbells soup.

Audience and Context

The popular culture however in contemporary art has transferred over to music. Peter Saville - Unknown Pleasures -Joy Division,  Hipgnosis and George Hardie - Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd. 
Graphic design began to take over music, with the minimalistic style becoming a distinguishing element, it was not understood that designs could be expanded to suit whatever medium and not just be used as a pretty image to sell records. As technology expanded and music videos took over graphics became as much apart of album covers, or music videos as the music itself.

Moving from design on lp's to motion graphics to incorporating that into music videos. So-Me's art direction for Justice D.A.N.C.E utilising motion to create the illusion t-shirt designs are forming a narrative creating from itself.  The incredible video goes through hundreds of t-shirts parodying the style of the noughties with the music from the past, michael jackson, pink floyd, the bugles, t-rex amongst others which is perhaps a comment on contemporary culture, that we are merely re appropriating the old and cutting it with the new. Our generation is in a state of limbo between the music of our parents, grandparents, and the music we grew up with now mixed up into some super genre...The sampling generation. 

Musical artist Mr Flash (part of Ed Banger Records) is branded by SO-ME as a contrasting musician mixing metal and rock, with 80's synth two extremes, which by mashing together forms an abstraction, creates something unique and interesting. Notice the bright colours used which connote this 80s pop genre contrasting against the dark greasy haired metal head facial silhouette. This visual language is repeated in many of SO-ME and Mr Flash's work, constantly communicating this concept of re-appropriation.
Nike for their 25th anniversary branched out from sports to popular music , using Busy P as a commercial tool. Of course Nike is a huge brand and has no problem making sales but like every company are always looking to boost those sales, and how better than to use the fashion style of rnb and trainers and manipulate that to talk to the fans of Busy P. The majority of consumer products these days are sold via our favourite celebrity, just so we can be that much closer to the utopian world of celebrities. Nike is one of the many examples of commercial crossover or collaboration.

SO-Me has become one of the most successful contemporary designers, grabbing the attention of superstars like Kanye West, who from MTV music awards thought he was the best music could get, but got knocked to reality when he recognised this huge sampling culture he could be apart of. SO-ME seems to have single handedly created this DIY society and brought the world along with him.  Virgin Media's - UK TV campaign by Rapier buying into SO-ME's style using kinetic typography, other forms of motion graphics.

So if we've gone from Fine-art to Dadaism to Pop art to Re appropriation,  what comes next. 


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