Friday, 28 December 2012

Responsive / Creative brief - Leeds Brewery

As a starting point for this brief I needed to educate myself on what Leeds brewery was all about, the concentration for this brief was on their new bottled british beer; 'Hellfire'. I needed to find out what they were currently doing to connect with the people and what people already thought of their beer.

Creative Networks Creative Networks aims to support partnerships and collaborations in the creative industries, public and private sectors in Leeds through providing a range of high quality events and an inspiring environment where creatives, partners, colleagues and students can mix. You can also keep up to date with news and updates by following us on twitter at @creativenetwrks

The Best of British Beer providing the finest choice of beers with brewery information and tasting notes to enhance your drinking experience.

Leeds Brewery - Existing Pump Beers/ Seasonal and Permanent beers.

The current label for Hellfire - Although the quality of design is quite poor and of a standard quality, it does a good job of standing out against a crowd of beers simply for its brightness and bold use of colours.

The man featuring in this video is a keen enthusiast when it comes to british beers and delivers a step by step examination of 'Hellfire' after review I noted down some key points for expansions including
  • Rating 9/10
  • Malty
  • Bitter, spicy smell
  • British hops
  • Makes reference to orange peel?

The Leeds Coat of Arms

Why are their Owls on the Leeds Coat of Arms? The Leeds coat-of-arms developed over a period of time. These owls came from the coat-of-arms belonging to Sir John Savile the first Alderman of Leeds.  There are lions, dragons and other beasts that appear on coat-of-arms but in Leeds we have magnificent owls.

Could the style of hot sauce somehow be incorporated into the beer design? Ever since the arrival of Nando's and their peri-peri sauce, there's been a huge consumption of hot sauces and attraction to their fiery labels. (The style would be reflective of the spicy smell of 'Hellfire')

Creative & Inspiring....

If you look at the 'hellfire' label and make comparisons to the label below, you can see that their approaches share a synergy with one another, both use predominately text to communicate their messages, the only difference is that the designs below are of a much higher quality, they communicate a rich and traditional beer without the overuse of colour! Through the label design alone, I'd say the beer below is the more expensive option.

The design above really caught my eye because it reminded me of a propaganda poster, this style has seen a comeback since the works of Shepard Fairey. The surrounding artwork, around the main feature of this design compliments the 'Gargoyle' very well, it almost looks as it it's hailing the character or introducing it in the best way it can represent it.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Summary & Evaluation...

During this session we identified the core themes of four separate lectures including:
Popular Culture
Cities & Film
Subculture & Style
Celebrity Culture.

As we started to depict each lecture it became more obvious that there were obvious underlying themes connecting each lecture...

Lecture 7: Celebrity Culture (Helen Clarke Thurs 29.11.2012)

Graham Clarke - points out the differences between the way in which men and woman were photographed - the men had a much less softer feel, there was not as much sepia prevalent and the male photographs were more a celebration of what they did rather than what they looked like as oppose to acting a role.

Poets writers artists and actors were the celebrities at this time

Grahame Clarke. Famous for what he did, rather than for just being. Invention of moving pictures - A Still from the very first moving images travelling over Leeds bridge.

The Artists, 2011 - Portrays this era of time in a silent movie portraying the rise and fall of two actors, the women almost stumbles into fame after playing an extra, while she's rising to fame the established male role is slowly spiralling out of fame. Touches on the issue that celebrities are always coming in and out of fame.

Josephine Baker - Attractive women - 'the Black Pearl' - She worked for the resistance in World War 2, acting as a spy through her position of power/ access to important people internationally. Her father was a Jew. A very interesting character, extreme differences between her personal life and her exterior life. She helped quite a lot of people who were in danger from the Nazis get visas and passports to leave France. Later in 1941, she and her entourage went to the French colonies in North Africa; the stated reason was Baker's health (since she really was recovering from another case of pneumonia) but the real reason was to continue helping the Resistance. From a base in Morocco, she made tours of Spain and pinned notes with the information she gathered inside her underwear (counting on her celebrity to avoid a strip search

Beyoncé Knowles has portrayed Baker on various accounts throughout her career. During the 2006 Fashion Rocks show, Knowles performed "Dejá Vu" in a revised version of the Danse banane costume. In Knowles's video for "Naughty Girl", she is seen dancing in a huge champagne glass á La Baker. In I Am... Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas, Beyonce lists Baker as an influence of a section of her live show. Reclaiming of racial stereotyping/terms of abuse?


Activity of going to the cinema is commonplace in this era, Clark Gable typifies the true hero, an off-screen hero as well as on-screen, defending his country in WW11 and on scene, represented in a god like status.

Bette Davis - involved as an adornment in films, searching out the unlikeable roles, she had an attraction to fame that much that she married a man who claimed he had never heard of her, she also instigated a strange canteen that was provided for US service men, who'd visit and be waited on by celebrity figures. Operated at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, California between October 3, 1942 and November 22, 1945 (Thanksgiving Day) as a club offering food, dancing and entertainment for servicemen, usually on their way overseas. Even though the majority of visitors were U.S servicemen, the Canteen was open to servicemen of allied countries as well as women in all branches of service. The serviceman's ticket for admission was his uniform and everything at the Canteen was free of charge. Glamorous stars volunteered to wait on tables, cook in the kitchen and clean up. One of the highlights of a serviceman was to dance with one of the many female celebrities volunteering
She starred as herself in the movie about the canteen. 

The opposite of Bette Davis in a way is Marilyn Monroe - She's enjoyed for her physical presence, placed as an object for our desire and lust, We kind of gain a sense of her private life through her films. Her photographs almost provide an embalmment of her peak age, we never witnessed her disintegrate.

Andy Warhol - making a comment about our inabilities to conceive an elevated status, that we can't do anything but enjoy the spectacle...

Warhols work on celebrities looks at them as products of consumer culture like his cambells soup tins- celebrities are there to be consumed. Hollywood seen as churning out stars = money. World of music and the visual collide- good looking, he’s an actor, he can dance he signs up for national service- he’s a superhero. Larger than life existence which seems to anticipate his early death.

Warhols Factory - everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame as such, referring to the context as a factory because he's turning low status individuals (transvestities, homosexuals etc) into brief celebrities, reflecting 60's politics. Factory churns out products. Collection of outsiders or subcultural characters whom he ‘makes’ into stars by filming, photographing and being ‘seen’ on the NY art scene in 19 62- 68. Parties drugs and sex. Celebration of alternative/art/bohemian lifestyle which becomes rock and roll. Opposite of clean cut image of Elvis

Another one of Warhols subjects

Advent of Television - Removing the television from solely the public space to the home environment, bringing celebrity culture more and more into our daily lives.

The Jacksons as a brand - Michael emerges as a performing artist. A deep examination of celebrities goes on further than what we see on television, literature has been developed giving deep insights into the reasons for Michael changing his appearances.

Madonna - Changes her appearance for each video, using some videos as reference for companies such as Vogue, constant recycling of the past, post-modern icon. Celebrities who change their look rather than looks. Return to an age where a show of wealth is celebrated rather than seen in bad taste

You could then go onto saying Lady Gaga is an example of post post modernism, developing a change of image through contemporary culture, it's almost impossible to actually see Lady Gaga's real self.

Bordo argues that Madonna is Postmodern the Gaga is Post Postmodern as she reinvents herself almost for every public appearanceFans argue over who is the most important. Lobster references Surrealism/Dali.

Fire outfit seems to trump Madonnas underwear as outerwear

Seems to be some reference to Jana Sterbak's 'flesh dress', again recycling culture and building a sense of fashion around Lady Gaga. An anti fashion statement? Subverting the red dress award tradition

It doesn’t mean anything- shock

Trained as a fashion designer, now model, actress and internet celebrity. Play on porn title. Ordinary people can use politics for their own self promotion through websites such as 'Youtube' 

Dianna re-markets herself after her split, raising her status through charity work etc, she became such a nice and giving person that it was almost inevitible to displace the feeling that something bad was coming. We wanted to share in the grief and drama surrounding her death which was again shown through Whitney Houston's death, there's almost a commercial gain when a celebrity passes - sales of cd's rocket etc.

We want to see the mask of celebrity lifted, we want to think that these idealised images are as flawed as our own real lives. The wealthier and more flawless a celebrity seems, the more there is envy. Envy manifests through imitation...

Academic pieces written about people such as David Beckham - Council estate boy, representing the common man - shot to fame - became an invincible hero, untouchable reputation....Is David...waiting for the fall?

Beckham/Camilla parker Bowles lookalikes. Many images of sexual/comic nature. Uses the tropes of paparazzi long lens photography. Out of focus foreground suggests spied moments. Grainy b&W codes signify press intrusion (no use of flash).

Making it possible to adopt that celebrity look. Ownership of celebrity looks

Valencian Spanish painter

More accustomed to Da Vinicis last supper

John Stezaker’s work re-examines the various relationships to the photographic image: as documentation of truth, purveyor of memory, and symbol of modern culture. In his collages, Stezaker appropriates images found in books, magazines, and postcards and uses them as ‘readymades’. Through his elegant juxtapositions, Stezaker adopts the content and contexts of the original images to convey his own witty and poignant meanings. In his Marriage series, Stezaker focuses on the concept of portraiture, both as art historical genre and public identity. Using publicity shots of classic film stars, Stezaker splices and overlaps famous faces, creating hybrid ‘icons’ that dissociate the familiar to create sensations of the uncanny. Coupling male and female identity into unified characters, Stezaker points to a disjointed harmony, where the irreconciliation of difference both complements and detracts from the whole. In his correlated images, personalities (and our idealisations of them) become ancillary and empty, rendered abject through their magnified flaws and struggle for visual dominance. In using stylistic images from Hollywood’s golden era, Stezaker both temporally and conceptually engages with his interest in Surrealism. Placed in contemporary context, his portraits retain their aura of glamour, whilst simultaneously operating as exotic ‘artefacts’ of an obsolete culture. Similar to the photos of ‘primitivism’ published in George Bataille’s Documents, Stezaker’s portraits celebrate the grotesque, rendering the romance with modernism equally compelling and perverse.

How do we ‘keep in touch with celebrities lives? Whereas untill recently we might have had to wait for the magazine to come out now we have  direct unmediated link to the stars- This lack of mediation means that stars often make their own PR disasters...

Twitter - The way we get in contact with contemporary celebrities - Unmediated. We 'feel' that we're directly in-touch, that we share some form of a personal bond with the celebrity. This idea is carried on through eBay...

During the golden age of hollywood fans would have coveted a signature as it meant a real connection to the stars hand. In the age of technology the signature has lost it’s power and authenticity, it’s link to a unique identity. Celebrity items on ebay- the price of a piece of celebrity?  We don’t want to just dress like them. We want their DNA!

A short film created by Invisible Children, Inc., authors of Invisible Children, and released on March 5, 2012. The film's purpose is to promote the charity's "Stop Kony" movement to make Ugandan cult and militia leader, indicted war criminal and International Criminal Court fugitive Joseph Kony globally known in order to have him arrested by December 2012, the time when the campaign expires.

The film spread virally. As of 17 October 2012 (2012 -10-17) the film had over 93 million views on video-sharing website YouTube, and over 16.6 million views on Vimeo,
Thus far the campaign has resulted in a resolution by the United States Senate and contributed to the decision to send troops by the African Union.

As part of the campaign, American supporters were asked to put up posters in their hometowns in an action named "Cover the Night", which took place on April 20, 2012
Jason Russell, who was hospitalized on March 15 due to "a temporary psychotic breakdown believed to have been brought on by the pressure of the success – and criticism – of the first film”
Film Accussed of over simplification of the political situation in Uganda./ criticisms of fundraising methods- buy a wristband/poster pack.

Further Research

Lady GaGa's meat dress/ Opinions & Views... 

The dress has invoked the fury of animal rights group Peta, as well as accusations that it could not surely have been made of real meat (Gaga insists it was).
But the garment has also provoked a flurry of head-scratching from pundits attempting to work out what it means. Is it a defiant feminist gesture? An artistic statement? A commentary on the fashion world? All of these, or none of them?
Speaking after the awards, Gaga said the dress was open to "many interpretations" - including, she said, a statement about the US military's attitude to homosexuals. Here, a range of experts offer their thoughts.
An anti-fashion statement
"It's anti-fashion," says Andrew Groves, course director of the BA in fashion design at the University of Westminster.
"What she's doing is quite subversive - it's a commentary on the fashion and the music industries and I think it's very clever. It's like when Bjork turned up to the Oscars in a swan dress designed by Marjan Pejoski. What Lady Gaga is really saying is: 'I'm above all this, but I'll accept your award.'"
She is also subverting the whole idea of wearing a red dress on a red carpet to get noticed, he says.
"Lady Gaga takes fashion very seriously, she has her own stylist and she understands that she has to keep evolving and updating her image.
"I think it's also a commentary on the music industry - no-one buys music anymore, everyone downloads these days, so the only thing about her that has any value is her appearance and what she's wearing.
"She's very, very smart. She understands that it's possible to be popular but not populist. Lots of people really, really, dislike her, but lots love her as well - the dress taps into that because she'll get lots of flak for it, but plenty of praise too."
And of course, it's about getting noticed, which is massively important for any pop star.
"It's Lady Gaga's dress we're talking about, not anyone else's," says Mr Grove.
A Feminist statement
This is a women in control of her own image and turning the tables on society, says Laurie Penny, a feminist writer and blogger. As Gaga herself said at the awards: "If we don't stand up for our rights soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones. And I am not a piece of meat."
"It's a clever play on women being viewed as chunks of flesh, as pieces of meat, as things to be consumed," says Ms Penny.
"It's a sly wink at that aspect of society and the joke is on us. Just take her quip about asking Cher to hold her meat purse. She is the one laughing."
It's a bold statement, but definitely not a silly stunt, says Ms Penny. The dress has been very carefully made and is not just slabs of meat thrown together - it is like a "beautiful couture dress". This attention to detail shows it is something Gaga has thought through.
"People will say it's mad or crazy and, of course, there is a shock factor to it. But it is all very cleverly done and very calculated. This is a women in control of herself and her image. I think it's brilliant."

A commentary on ageing and decay
"I think it's very clever," says Dr Richard Noble, head of art department, Goldsmiths College, University of London. "She appears to be referencing the Canadian artist Jana Sterbak, who exhibited a 'flesh dress' made of meat.
"It taps into the artistic tradition of the memento mori or the still life. The still life, after all, is a meditation on mortality and the state of decay. You have the flowers and the vegetables, but all the corrupting elements as well."
Sterbak's dress was presented as sculpture, he says. When it was exhibited, it was pre-salted to mimic the ageing of the body. When it was in an exhibition space for six weeks or so, it didn't decay as such but it hardened.
"So it was also a commentary on vanity, which I suppose is quite relevant for Lady Gaga. If Lady Gaga really is referencing Sterbak then it's quite a smart thing to do.
"I don't know whether she knew about Sterbak beforehand. I suppose she could have come across the dress, but she's got a big staff who would have alerted her.
"But I have to admit I was quite surprised when I saw it on the front of the newspaper."

David Beckham - The media fascination, A superstar.
Consider the extract as one of innumerable examples of the media fascination with Beckham. Given his penetration in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, we can take as self-evident that Beckham is a quantifiably significant figure in contemporary global popular culture. By any measure of celebrity and any taxonomy of fame (Turner 15-23), Beckham qualifies as a striking example. He has inevitably appeared in a number of recent academic publications as an exemplar of celebrity and sports culture (Whannel, Turner, Cashmore and Parker) and, more notably in Cashmore’s book, as the focus of a social biography (Beckham).

In his book Understanding Celebrity, Turner provides a comprehensive overview of the vast literature which has developed on issues of celebrity and fame, painting a broad picture of concerns divided between the significance of the apparent explosion in celebrity ‘culture’ and the focus on celebrities themselves.

Within the literature on the social significance of celebrity culture, we can discern two key themes. First, celebrity culture is a manifestation of globalised commodity consumerism in advanced capitalism and second, its social function as a system of meanings and values which is supplanting traditional resources for self and social identities in late modern culture, including structures such as class, gender/sexuality, ethnicity and nationality. Whilst the authors mentioned above both draw on and contribute to these arguments, their focus remains broad, citing Beckham as a key manifestation of the complex interdependence between globalised sports and media industries, and transformations in gender and consumption. For example, although Cashmore’s book is solidly researched on the impact of media finance on football and has a sound argument on the significance of consumerism, he is prone to generalisations about the transformations in masculinity and celebrity culture which he suggests are central to understanding Beckham’s significance.

Turner suggests that there needs to be more focused empirical work on the specific construction of celebrity since ‘modern celebrity…is a product of media representation: understanding it demands close attention to the representational repertoires and patterns employed in this discursive regime’ (8). This is how this short piece offers a contribution to the literature – drawing on a qualitative analysis of articles on Beckham, my discussion focuses on the meanings of Beckham’s celebrity and whether they can tell us something about the way the culture of fame operates.

I have drawn selectively from my data, but a fuller discussion of both the data and grounded theory methodology can be found in a previous article (Rahman). Out of the six categories of meaning established through the grounded theory procedures used in the study, my contention is that masculinity is a core nexus in ‘cultural circuitry’ (Hall) – making the stories relevant, understandable, and often controversial. Moreover, the accompanying photo spreads often create a tension with the text, emphasising dissonant/controversial images which testifies to a dynamic of respect/ridicule in the representations.

To be more precise, there is a construction of deference to Beckham’s professional status and to the Beckham family as the premier celebrity unit in the UK. Deference to and respect for their status is evident not only in those magazines which have paid for the privilege of access, but also the more gossip orientated celebrity weeklies such as Heat (18-24 May: 6-8): ‘those lucky enough to be asked to join David and Victoria enjoyed one the most extravagant soirees in recent memory. The sheer scale of the £350000 shindig was stunning, even by the standards of Celebville’s most extravagant couple’.

Coupled with this respect is a sense of ridicule, often in discrete publications, but also within the same magazine and even sometimes the same article. Ridicule undercuts the celebrity credentials of extravagance and glamour with an implication of tackiness and vulgarity, and this gentle undercurrent becomes stronger when linked to Beckham’s fashion icon status:

We’ve supported David through the highlights and lowlights of his various haircuts: the streaked curtains, the skinhead and his travis bickle style mohican. But this latest look is a ‘do too far’ – more village idiot than international style icon…
(Heat 13-19 April: 24-5)

Celebrity Politicians

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Leeds College of Art. Graphic Design.

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