“If it works, it’s out of date.”
― David Bowie
“…the big mistake is to wait for inspiration. It won’t come looking for you. It’s not so much creating something, I think, it’s noticing when something is starting to happen…”
On this episode of The Art of Punk we hit head on with the art behind the legendary Dead Kennedy’s. From the chaotic, surreal, madness, of collage mixed with political folly that blazed their LP’s and gig flyers; to the razor edge ultra simplistic four simple line DK symbol. In San Francisco we corner founding Dead Kennedy’s member Jello Biafra, and discuss his own warped inspiration for the many sleeves and posters created in the early days of the band. Back in Los Angeles we talk with pop surrealist artist Tim Biskup about how the DK’s affected and twisted his own young mind, and Steve Olson graces us with a few words of wisdom. Finally we meet up with master collage artist, and designer of the DK’s symbol, Winston Smith in his North Beach art studio, and talk about how he was drawn into the early Bay Area punk scene – and his long and creative artist relationship with the Dead Kennedy’s and Jello Biafra.
“Build a good name”, rock poet Patti Smith advises the young. “Life is like a roller coaster, it is going to have beautiful moments but it is going to be real fucked up, too”, she says.
The American singer, poet and photographer Patti Smith (b. 1946) is a living punk rock legend. In this video she gives advice to the young:
“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency. Life is like a roller coaster ride, it is never going to be perfect. It is going to have perfect moments and rough spots, but it’s all worth it”, Patti Smith says.
Interview by Christian Lund, the Louisiana Literature festival August 24, 2012, at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
You just would not expect this level of craftsmanship for a commercial job — especially now that packaging for 12″ vinyl is long gone.
David A. Smith is a traditional sign-writer/designer specialising in high-quality ornamental hand-crafted reverse glass signs and decorative silvered and gilded mirrors. David recently produced a wonderful turn-of-the-century, trade-card styled album cover for popular American singer/songwriter John Mayer.
This film captures the ‘Behind The Scenes’ creation of the ‘Born & Raised’ and ‘Queen of California’ artwork, as well as 2 unique reverse glass panels, hand-crafted in England by David A. Smith.
Thanks to some combination of how much young people love YouTube and how little cash the music industry has to burn, we’ve recently been treated to a new offering called the lyric video, a special sort of promotional clip that eschews jungle cats and champagne fountains and hot rods and all the other music video staples–including, you know, the musicians–and just throws the lyrics to the song up on screen in some cutesy typeface instead. Granted, sometimes these just serve as placeholders for the real video, but it’s still kind of a tacky look for a major-label recording artist.
The clip for “Dream,” by the French band Husbands, is a lyric video in the purest sense, but it quickly reveals itself to be a bit different than the rest. For one thing, it actually makes use of a nice variety of typefaces, and it spaces them out in a pleasing way on your screen. It shows a little aesthetic restraint, which is nice compared to most of the other ones I’ve seen, which generally look like final projects for some sort of Intro to Flash high-school elective, back when anyone would have thought it made sense to teach high school kids how to make things with Flash.
But the video gets truly impressive when you realize that what you’re seeing wasn’t made by a computer. At a certain point you grasp that you’re not looking at rendered fonts but a real, physical wall of type, precisely arranged and illuminated in sync with the track.
It’s the creation of Cauboyz, a duo of French designers. “After listening [to] the song, we understood quickly that it was very structured,” one of the members explains. “We wanted to do something simple with a little bit of poetry.” The technique they decided on has to be one of the most time-consuming ways to get a song’s lyrics on screen. But bravo to them for trying it. It’s the lyrics video that type lovers deserve.
Proving yet again, that in the spirit of Christmas anything is possible.
Bruce Springsteen delivers the 2012 SXSW keynote:
Right Here, Right Now by Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim)