The visual side of music

The visual side of music

The visual side of music

Art has and never will be limited to canvas or the walls of a gallery. In the already creative process of making music, album art and band posters offer fans a complete audio-visual experience of what the bands are trying to say.

Bangalore, in particular, has a handful of artists collaborating with bands and even bands making in-house art.

Mayur Nanda, who plays drums and creates the art for progressive metal band ‘Orchid’, says, “A band is essentially a brand. It needs to have a standardised image other than the biological faces of its members. For ‘Orchid’, I try making a poster for each gig, which becomes a physical memory for fans to take home and put on their walls and revenue for us. When I’m working on others’ projects, it’s about getting into their frame of mind and after repeated listening of their music, making the art. Band art isn’t a particularly viable business model but one can make sensible profits out of it.”

Graphic artist ‘Acid Toad’ aka Gaurav Basu has done the art for bands across the subcontinent like ‘Theorized’, ‘Demonic Resurrection’, ‘Indus Creed’, ‘Skyharbor’ and his own death metal band ‘Inner Sanctum’. “Globally, the trend of richly illustrated poster and album art have been around since the 60s. But locally, this trend picked up only recently because bands finally understood the need for the full package – good music coupled with art that is suggestive of what to expect from the album or gig. The imagery has changed over the years but what’s survived is the core idea of using visual representation that complements the music as a marketing tool. A good day can earn the band over Rs 10,000 through art,” shares Gaurav.

It’s a way of connecting to the music and translating how it makes you feel to art, opines Sheena Deviah, who carries her sketching pad to every gig she attends. “I’ve only done the album art for ‘Mad Orange Fireworks’ but I loved it because I was given complete creative freedom and a fairly good pay. Another way of doing it is asking fans to send in art, as Shillong-based blues band ‘Soulmate’ did,” she says, adding, “most people who do this are artists or illustrators as there’s no niche for band art yet. There’s a growing market for this with new bands entering the scene and more music being put out.”

Arun Natarajan, who has created art for bands like ‘Escher’s Knot’, ‘Skrypt’, ‘Wolf’s Lair’ and his own progressive metal band ‘Eccentric Pendulum’, says that it’s great for
making a quick buck.

“I’m an architect by profession. But when bands ask me to make their art, three to four hours can wrap up the work and earn me a decent sum. This entire concept is still relatively new. But because of sites like Facebook and Pinterest, bands want to be visually represented to their now well-informed fan base. However, a questionable trend that’s emerging is the dependence on digital media instead of the earlier sketches and paintings. It’s a more plagiarized effort even though the outcome is of high quality,” he concludes.

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