Jonathan Barnbrook discussed how he had the opportunity to work with the illustriously private ‘Banksy’ who he quotes as “ an artist who plays the game; graffiti should be free but his pieces go for forty thousand pounds”
Entitled ‘Dismaland’ based in Western Supermayre, it was a a disused low level bus painted mat black and inside it showcased all the different forms of crowd control from CCTV to teargas.
“A desenting voice for this country against the right wing agenda”
“..hostile architecture, cruel design based on methods of crowd control about controlling the flow of people around a building.”
“Subversion –graphics can do that-they can reflect. People who create enclosed equipment like CCTV.”
Disobedient Objects, was a highly successful exhibition held at the V&A museum which happens to be my personal favourite. It gained the title as ‘most visitied exhibtion in history’ as they had a half million turn out.
Disobedient objects is just that and it touched a lot on the political, social and economic issues that are affecting us globally from civil war to human rights. Although not intentional I found the ‘plastic water bottle as a gas mask’ to be quite harrowing. To think that something that usually contains life and is sometimes poorly recycled or reused and is now then repurposed to stop an individual from suffocating is very twisted however it was a perfect use of how “everyday objects become disobedient’. Every piece of graphics is political, protest doesn’t come from nowhere. “
Last but not least (and the main reason why the seminar room was so full). Jonathan’s working relationship with David Bowie.
Working on his album covers for the last 15 years, Bowie and Barnbrook shared a common thread “No point in working on jobs you don’t like” he mentioned that he (Bowie) “loved his music it made a difference in his work.”
All the inspiration behind the music, design work and even his last music video, were embraced David’s knowledge of his impending and ultimately sad passing.
This is very reflective of Barnbrooks quote ‘ creative products have to respond to an emotional landscape’. Although removed from the situation, I can appropriate this to fashion. In the words of Marc Jacobs “Fashion isn’t a necessity nobody needs it but they want it”
With the particular project of deigning the ‘Black Star’ cover he mentioned that there was a direct working relationship with all individuals involved “the energy comes from working direct”.
The album cover in it’s entirety is just a simple black star. There is no other text or imagery or even traditional fonts used. Barnbrook mentioned that Sony were worried that the public would not understand the ad campaign, but he also said that the creative response is that people WILL. These are some shots of the many images and emails he has received since Bowie’s death of people tattooing the stars from the album cover, in honor of ‘Starman’.
I personally feel that Jonathan Barnbrook has championed his long career working with Bowie on the final vinyl cover. He mentions that “vinyl is fragile” and admits to spending a lot of time working on it. I love the way it connects Bowie’s ‘glamrock’ past with his iconic and now legendary status all being timeless all in one. It’s chic, and ever so simple
“ Simplicity goes a long way as it stands out against the visual noise, designers try to over complicate things”.
Finally the inspiration behind the star (related with Bowie’s knowledge of death) is connected with ‘guiding light stars’ and all their different types.