Magi Mojaxx

magimojaxx cov1

Some months ago I was approached by a member of Magi Mojaxx (and a friend) and asked to do a cover for their yet-to-be-released EP.

At the time they were called Thomasina and the Undercover Mermaids but ended up changing their name. Originally I had the idea to play with the iconic gun barrel sequences from James Bond films, where I turn the barrel into a whirlpool with three mermen in the middle (much like Charlie’s Angels) hold up their respective musical instruments up for protection. The idea fell through when they changed their name and I thought to myself that it was probably a good thing, as I’d much rather come up with something original which isn’t such an obvious reference.

My final idea was somewhat inspired by the idea of my friend’s adventures all the way out in the US, and the name ‘Magi Mojaxx’ made me think of something almost shamanic. The way I described it to him when we had a chat about it was “wide open desert space, a massive fire at sunset”. I believe the final image was an almost exact representation of what I had envisioned in my mind and I felt incredibly happy with it. And so did Magi Mojaxx which made it all the better!

iron & wine / sam beam

 

I hadn’t paid attention to the album artwork of Iron & Wine until recently. I did a bit of research and was beautifully surprised to find out Sam Beam (known as Iron & Wine) was not only a film tutor before he started making music, but he also did most of his own album artworks.

In an interview with Rachael Maddux he shared that he was always drawing as a kid. He went to art school where he specialised in photography and film, but he always loved drawing and painting.

“…it’s fun to take an image and sort of try to match it with the style of the music on your record — in a surreal way sort of tangentially comment on the music by painting yourself. I like the challenge.”
-S.B.

“The original idea was — remember when we were kids and you’d color on a piece of paper with a crayon and you’d paint over that with black Tempera paint and then etch out the drawing?” […] “The idea was to do something like that, so I actually did a bunch of physical ones. But I kept fucking up, so I did it with, like, black ink and a brush — just drawing on white paper. And then we flipped it in the computer and then we were able to color it. We did a bunch of different versions of the colorization and still kind of kept that main idea of all those random colors you get when you actually do that kind of a etching kind of thing, where the color bleeds into the objects in the background. We were able to do a bunch of different versions. . . . We toyed with the idea of including ones for people to draw themselves, but it was kind of a big commitment.”
-S.B. (on the cover art for ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’)

This was the artwork that inspired this post and the research into the visual side of Iron & Wine. Not only does it coincide with my first attempts at album cover art, but also with my recent experiments with inverting images. Reading about his process has inspired me to try it out myself – keep it simple with black and white and then add colour digitally. I do enjoy having a coloured original which is probably why I haven’t thought to try this out yet.

It was actually the cover of Our Endless Numbered Days that I saw first, though I’d been listening to his music before, I hadn’t paid attention. In the interview he says he likes the idea of a recognisable cover, where you always know that it is this or that artist, but he just works the opposite way. He has different versions of the same self-portrait for Our Endless Numbered DaysSuch Great Heights, and Passing Afternoon.

The cover art for The Shepherd’s Dog is an incredibly captivating painting. The use of colour and positioning give off the hint of a certain dark madness in broad daylight – an exciting way to perceive the music in the album.

A Lullaby for a Dying Star

Back in January Laowa, a local music artist (and friend) asked if I would make a cover for his new EP of interstellar lullabies. Naturally, I got way too over excited and started working on it almost straight away.

Album artwork and musical illustration are probably at the very top of my list of potential artistic directions, since beginning to work on the Lyric Sketchbook back in first year. I think work that answers to music has a much more interesting feel to it, the idea that you can understand it better by listening to music and the other way around (that you can understand the music better by seeing the cover artwork) is fascinating. Involving two senses rather than one, creates a fusion of experiences which can, in a sense, communicate the intended feeling more thoroughly.

I was listening to the lullabies before bed for a while before I was asked to to the cover. Then I started listening with a purpose other than falling asleep to lovely tunes, seeing if any ideas make their way into my head. One morning I woke up and remembered a clear image from that night which I then decided to illustrate.

The idea of an inverted image is something I’ve been doing for a while now – the results always have a certain dream quality to them and given the EP is made up of space-themed lullabies, I thought it quite fitting. This project has also inspired some of the work for the upcoming Bristol exhibition.

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final piece (EP cover), with additional glitch editing by Laowa

You can find Laowa and his music here:

https://laowa.bandcamp.com

http://laowamusic.tumblr.com

 

tribute / black star

 

‘the stars look very different today’

 

‘yadot tnereffid yrev kool srats eht’

lyric sketchbook / new

 

And here are the new pieces I did for the Lyric Sketchbook. I’ve been swallowed by a wave of black and white recently. “My work is becoming darker and more sensual”, I said one time as a joke but now when I think about it, it does make sense.

I haven’t done work like this before and it was so exciting to do. Even though I was forcing myself to do one more, and one more and another one just to make a habit out of it, at one point I’d zone in and just do it for four hours straight until my housemate asks me if I’ve had food at which point I look up at him with a look of confusion because I have no idea what he’s on about.

It’s great to be working on a project like this because it consists of a series of mini-themes that don’t require research or development – just an idea.

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‘you can’t survive on ice cream’ Cheap and Cheerful by The Kills

 

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‘and when she needs to shelter from reality she takes a dip in my daydreams…’ Arabella by Arctic Monkeys

 

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‘hard to control when it begins’ Young Blood by The Naked And Famous

 

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‘dark paradise’ by Lana Del Rey

 

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‘locked away in permanent slumber’ This Is Gospel by Panic! At The Disco

 

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‘supermassive black hole’ by Muse

 

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‘divisible invisible’ Splitting The Atom by Massive Attack ft. Horace Andy

 

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‘I’m taking it slow, feeding my flame’ Eyes On Fire by Blue Foundation

 

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‘to see her smile and her eyes unending’ Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by The Subways

 

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‘you’re crying lightning’ Crying Lightning by Arctic Monkeys

lyric sketchbook / updates

I went back to the Lyric sketchbook I made at the start of second year (I might be mistaken, it was in 2013) sometime round mid September. I’ve been doing periodical updates, but I recently did a few big ones to pieces I’d already been updating and ones that I’ve finished before this summer.

A note on the Lyric Book – I wrote a lyric on each double page spread from random songs that I thought particularly interesting at the time. I thought it would be a good idea to try and illustrate bits of songs without being influenced by the song itself. It’s an curious process with surprising outcomes most of the time.

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‘I thought of angels, choking on their halos, get them drunk on rose water’ Just One Yesterday by Fall Out Boy

 

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‘up in the air, out of my head’ Up In The Air by 30 Seconds To Mars

 

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‘assembling their philosophies from pieces of broken memories’ This Is Gospel by Panic! At The Disco

 

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‘our blood is gold, nothing to fear’ Splitting The Atom by Massive Attack ft. Horace Andy

 

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‘uncover our heads and reveal our souls’ Keep The Streets Empty For Me by Fever Ray

 

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ARCTIC MONKEYS

 

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‘your pastimes consisted of the strange, and twisted, and deranged ‘ Crying Lightning by Arctic Monkeys

The Meaning of Ideas (21 Nov)

Now, let’s talk about Clive Cazeaux’s lecture on Thursday last week (two weeks ago actually). Meaning, ideas and the meaning of ideas. It was an interesting way to look at meaning, so unlike Cath Davies’s perspective on the matter. I believe it is safe to say that even though their lectures have the same topic, they are completely different just because they are being interpreted differently. What better way is there to show the changeable meaning of everything that exists than by showing us different views on one single word… Meaning.

The lecture was genuinely interesting. I am not exaggerating or pretending, I really did enjoy it. Besides being filled with information and examples from history it was packed with philosophical and rhetorical questions that left you wondering, thinking and therefore paying attention and participating. The Professor’s view on Meaning, Ideas and the Meaning of Ideas was truly inspirational. Because truly, what is an idea? What is our relationship as artists and designers to ideas? I believe you’ve al heard the phrase “I think, therefore I am”. Have you ever thought about “We cannot doubt that we think”? I hadn’t. Not consciously. You know how sometimes someone tells you something and you can’t help but think that you already knew it, in a way…

After going over some of the philosophies and ideas of John Locke and René Descartes and comparing one to the other, we moved over to the more artistic side of philosophy and ideas and meaning. Starting with my personal favourite – Marcel Duchamp and his “Fountain” from 1917.

Duchamp_Fountaine

I really do find this… piece (if it can be called that) truly close to my heart. I can’t really explain it but every time I think of it, there’s this fuzzy feeling of excitement coming through me that reminds me that Duchamp, as famous as he was, was a rebel in his soul…

Moving on, though, the professor did talk about a lot more things. For example the death of Art, the death of Design, the fact that neither can really be dead as long as there’s a need for it, a demand for it from the people. Then he moved on to the connection of Thought, Matter and Sound. (To be honest, I must’ve been lost in thought as he moved from the little deaths of design to this…) Anyway, the theory goes like this: Thought, Matter and Sound are shaped by the same process and so they are of the same substance.

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Moving on to Immanuel Kant and his ideas and concept of Pure Reason, Dasein or Da-Sein, Martin Heidegger’s Being & Time from ’27, then the degradation of the portrait into the selfie, and the idea that we think through materials: things we pick up, things that come to hand, that we reach for, that we select, that come to mind, that we think of…

Hmm, sorry, got lost in my own head for a moment. Yes, sometimes lectures make you do that. Don’t you think that makes it a good lecture? I most certainly do.

“God is dead, the Human is dead, but there is a world of possibilities.”