Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Gang Culture in Music

I've finally started working on my final print and it's driving me slowly insane, it's an big project. I presented to my tutor and people in my class and it seemed to go down fairly well. I'm trying to portray all the drag characters I've been drawing as some sort of street gang, from talking to all the people who tried out drag I got a strange feeling of intimidation from some of them, as if this is a world that's not for them. I think this is kind of ridiculous, because if you speak to actual drag queens they love it if you're enthusiastic about drag and costume, it just seems obvious. So I wanted to exaggerate this by giving my characters a thuggish look and doing a print on a long skinny canvas that would be A1 length, for maximum impact. It's been hard going because I've been painting all my characters individually and then trying to set them together in Photoshop, it's frustrating because I start to get better at inking and then want to re-do the first ones I did, but I just don't have time for that, and it seems like a perpetual hell anyway. These are some of the things I've been looking at while I've been painting, for visual research, and also because it's all super cool.

The Shangri-Las were a girl band in the 60's who had a reputation as tiny lady badasses, one of them was arrested for carrying a firearm over state boundaries, and they sung songs about boys on motorbikes and other things thats parents wouldn't approve of. They were pretty revolutionary for their time, some would even say they were the earliest example of punk and the metal band Twisted Sister hails Leader of the Pack as the originating the metal aesthetic. In interviews they say that they had to maintain the reputation so that when they were on tour all the men they would surrounded by would leave them alone (they toured the country as teenagers), so they seem like cool ladies and their albums all feature them looking like the kind of gang girls want to be a part of. 

Why haven't I looked at glam-rock before I have no idea, probably because it's a little bit too cheesy and 70's for me, but New York Dolls are sort of proto-punk pre-glam explosion going pretty much for shock value and still super cool and not sliding embarrassingly into three-quarter-life crises. They're pretty much the classic rock band, too much for most record producers, critically acclaimed with a cult following but basically unpopular in the majority. The album is actually great, and the cover is basically exactly what I want to achieve, they all look proper thuggish and scary, but also definitely feminine. It's a hard balance to strike because most connotations of femininity are the exact opposite of the masculine aura of authority, cos y'know. Patriarchy. 

It would have been so much easier for me to just collage boys faces onto women's heads like this, would have saved me at least a week and a half of inking, but collage is literally the worst so I'm happy with the choice I made. First proper bit of colour which is nice, I'm thinking of colour in my print but I have to allow for the cost of adding each colour to my print, it can rack up pretty quickly, and then I'l have to sell it for more and I don't know if it's viable to sell it for anything too pricey. I think I've decided to stick to a black print with hopefully a overlay of gold in some way, just so there's still a reference all the glamour and flamboyance I've been recording, without putting me into debt.

1 comment:

Lianne W said...

Sounds really exciting and so interesting. Hope the final piece works out well. Lianne x