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Liam Rogerson

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Unit 12

Unit 12 – Specialist Study Essay

This study is an exploration of the idea that album covers have had an affect on the world of art and aided some forms of art to be brought into the mainstream. In order to test this hypothesis I used academic and cultural sources that explore this theory in depth. I predicted beforehand that my Hypothesis will be supported and my research will evidence this.

The popularity of music and the way Music used to be distributed meant that there would always be a market for an artist to get their work seen. Icon speaks about the importance that album covers had on the world of art by citing Sargent Peppers as a catalyst.  Icon makes the claim that ”for many people the cover of Sergeant Pepper was their first exposure to contemporary art” . This is by no means beyond the realms of plausibility when you take into account the success of this album which has sold way over 5 million copies in the UK alone since it’s 1967 release. Another quote that furthers this point reads: ”it took their unprecedented popularity to alert the whole world to the potential of this new art form”, this shows that people may have tried to do this kind of thing before. But it simply didn’t have the impact or influence that the Beatles had.  The designers Peter Blake and Jann Haworth were rocketed into the public eye after the album was released. This is touched upon by Icon which claims ”Before Sergeant Pepper it is doubtful if any beyond a coterie of art lovers were familiar with their work”. This quote could also be reflective of contemporary art as a whole, not Just Blake and Haworth personally. This is due to the fact Icon follows this with ‘. Notice how it says ”Contemporary art” not ”Blake and Haworth’s work”. This album cover was larger than just a showcase of the work of two great artists, it was a turning point for the art world and the influence of this cover is unparalleled.

In order to develop this idea I did more research on Sargent Peppers and came across a YouTube video entitled ”How the Beatles Changed Album Covers”, by content creator ‘nerdwriter1’. The video started by calling this cover ”perhaps the most iconic visual supplement in the history of music”. Whereas this may not be directly to art it supports the idea of how popular it is and the effect that it had from that. ”The Holy Grail of album covers” as nerdwriter1 refers to it was album cover that ”explicitly engages the audience in so many ways… In critiques, In interpretations, In comparisons, In contrasts”. This kind of thing is exactly what contemporary art is about. This adds further support the point that Icon put forward earlier about how this album cover was peoples ”first exposure to contemporary art”. It is a huge possibility that people didn’t even realise that they were viewing contemporary art but when you take into account the popularity of the cover it is difficult to suggest that in reflection these two things aren’t linked. The video then goes on to mention that Peter Blake was a ”pop artist” which is a style that ”used aspects of mass culture to bring attention to the fuzzy lines between art, advertising, news and all other forms of media”. Again, this further supports the points that Icon put across. This is due to the fact that even though these two sources discuss different things there are so man parallels to draw between the two. They are directly correlated to each other and seem to follow each other chronologically. This album being the ”most important album cover of all time” is the catalyst that made contemporary art ”propel(ed) into the mainstream”.

In the book Album: style and image in sleeve Design, Nick de Ville credits the sixties as a time in which there was ”an emergence of mass culture” that ”caused a revolution in record companies, in the market for recorded music, and in design”. This is something that goes further in supporting the previous points put across by my two other sources. This source is trying to speak of the importance of this period of music as a whole wheres as the other two are more genealised in what they credit. To further support my previous points album gives statistics on LP sales of the time and it tells us that ”Record sales grew very quick in the 1960’s”, so quick in fact it ”doubled from 32 to 65 million between 1967 and 1970 alone”. The release date of Sargent Peppers was 1st of June 1967 which shows that at the very start of this change was this album. After all of these sales and the sales that the album has it’s self it is hard not to agree that essentially the world of contemporary art was getting tonnes of advertisement. Then Nick de ville continues to say that ”over the next few decades” meaning anything after the 1960’s there would be a ”clear distinction between in-house record company design and the work of outsiders job by job”. What is shown here is that not only were the public opening there eyes more to the world of art but so were the big companies and corporations.

In conclusion I’d say that my hypothesis has been fully supported and backed up with enough evidence that shows that album cover design was a huge factor in the evolution and popularity of the world of art. I feel like these sources combine academic and cultural knowledge from a varied range of subject matters effectively and the many parallels that can be drawn between them show that my hypothesis is correct.

Bibliography –

de Ville, Nick (2003) Album: Style and Image in Sleeve Design, Octopus Publishing Group Ltd

Icon, (1999) Sampler Contemporary Music Graphics; Laurence King Publishing

Nerdwriter1, (2015) How the Beatles Changed Album Covers, Youtube

Essay Proposal – 12.1.1, 12.1.2

Title – An investigation of the relationship between album covers and art and how album covers were crucial to the exposure of some forms of art in the mainstream.

Aim – My aim is to research the history of album covers going back to the time of vinyl records in order to gain an understanding of some of the most well known album covers and discuss how the design opened up the general publics eyes to things such as contemporary art. I hypothesise that my essay will show this clearly and it will be evidently supported  with my research.

Rationale – My FMP will be a website that draws inspiration from media websites such as complex and vice. They explore a lot of lifestyle themes and areas such as music and fashion. Researching this will help me to gain an understanding of the impact that things such as music and art have on people.

Research sources – Academic and cultural sources and possibly primary sources.

Bibliography –

de Ville, Nick (2003) Album: Style and Image in Sleeve Design, Octopus Publishing Group Ltd

Icon, (1999) Sampler Contemporary Music Graphics; Laurence King Publishing

Nerdwriter1, (2015) How the Beatles Changed Album Covers, Youtube

Unit 12.2.1/12.2.2 – Literature Review

My specialist study is an investigation into the ides that album covers have had an effect on the world of art, aiding it to be brought into the mainstream. I hypothesis that album covers have had some effect on opening peoples eyes to different kinds of art, effecting the art and music world as a whole. I used a range of research sources and here I will be evaluating some of them.

”Sampler: Contemporary Music Graphics” (Intro, 1999) has been by far the most valuable academic source I have found. This book chronicles the most important album covers designed and the surprising effect that they have on music and culture. The highlight for me was how the author explains how Sargent Peppers by the Beatles was a huge turning point music and art respectively. This is something my other sources don’t touch on in such detail. This book put into perspective how album covers caused a chain reaction and propelled contemporary art into the mainstream. This is a valid and reliable source because it has been published by a legitimate publisher, also the book doesn’t lose validity despite being published in 1999. This is due to the fact that the book is giving a historical perspective and uses evidence to explore this persective.

Another academic source that was helpful for contextual reasons but not so much for my hypothesis was ”Album: Style and Image in Sleeve Design” (Nick de Ville 2003). The difference between this and Sampler, is that this book focuses more on facts. What was most helpful about this was the knowledge I gained about the evolution and whole process of how album covers came to fruition. The problem however was the book overloaded me with information. So much so that I struggled to find anything as relevant as the information gained from ”Sampler”. Also, I found there to be a lack of critical perspective in this book. ”Sampler” made very bold claims, yet managed to support that with plausible and convincing evidence. Whereas there was an underwhelming lack of this present in this source. I’d still site is as a reliable and genuine source because it has been published by a legitimate publisher around the same time of ”Sampler” (2003), yet the intentions of the book are different.

Because of how interesting I found Samplers point, I decided to expand on it and research it more. I found a YouTube video by content creator ”Nerdwriter1” entitled ”How the Beatles changed album covers”.  This source explores and in my opinion supports this point. I believe this source to be valid to my study because the video has very nearly 400,000 views and a like to dislike ratio of 15,503 likes to 258 dislikes. Even though there may be a lack of academic evidence, clearly this shows that the vast majority of people either accept the point the video puts across or believes that the topic is relevant and deserves to be discussed.

In conclusion I feel as though my sources have effectively aided me in gaining a much larger understanding of the point I am trying to put across. These sources don’t just support my hypothesis, they make me believe in it further more than I did before.

Bibliography –

Icon, (1999) Sampler Contemporary Music Graphics; Laurence King Publishing

de Ville, Nick (2003) Album: Style and Image in Sleeve Design, Octopus Publishing Group Ltd

Nerdwriter1, (2015) How the Beatles Changed Album Covers, Youtube

Unit 12.2.1/12.2.2 – Research.

 

Bibliography –

Icon, (1999) Sampler Contemporary Music Graphics; Laurence King Publishing

de Ville, Nick (2003) Album: Style and Image in Sleeve Design, Octopus Publishing Group Ltd

Nerdwriter1, (2015) How the Beatles Changed Album Covers, Youtube

Sampler Contemporary Music Graphics – Intro

”For many people the cover of Sergeant Pepper was their first exposure to contempt art. Blake, and his then wife Haworth, were established artists; Blake was the Uk’s leading Pop artists and Haworth had a reputation at the periphery of mainstream pop. Before Sergeant Pepper it is doubtful if any any beyond a coterie of art lovers were familiar with their work. Yet with the release of Sergeant Pepper, contemporary art secured a foothold as the very center of everyday life. It was to be seen everywhere: on sale in high-street shops; occupying a cherished place in the bedrooms of thousands of teenagers; and carried about totemistically, under the arms of students, as a cultural bade of hipness”. Page 6

”it took their unprecedented popularity to alert the whole world to the potential of this new art form”

”Before Sergeant Pepper it is doubtful if any beyond a coterie of art lovers were familiar with their work”

”Contemporary art secured a foothold at the center of every day life. It was to be seen everywhere: on sale in high-street shops…Under the arms of students… as a cultural badge of hipness’

How the Beatles Changed Album Covers –  youtube videos

”The Holy Grail of Album Covers”

”The Beatles were leaders in expanding an album covers function from a marketing tool to a work of art in it’s own right”.

”perhaps the most iconic visual supplement in the history of music”

”explicitly engages the audience in so many ways… In critiques, In interpretations, In comparisons, In contrasts”

”used aspects of mass culture to bring attention to the fuzzy lines between art, advertising, news and all other forms of media”

Album – Nick de Ville

”an emergence of mass culture caused a revolution in record companies, in the market for recorded music, and in design”

”Record sales grew very quick in the 1960’s”

”doubled from 32 to 65 million between 1967 and 1970 alone”

”clear distinction between in-house record company design and the work of outsiders job by job”

 

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