Monday, 24 August 2015

Artist meets Popstar: John Stezaker and Taylor Swift | The Small Desk

When I first saw the first few seconds of Taylor Swift's video Style, I immediately realised she had gained some serious inspiration from a famous artist. But when I tried to recollect who that artist was I had a total memory blank! I texted my friends and colleagues desperately asking them if they remembered the name of the artist who put landscapes over people's faces, but no-one knew.

Then, on the way home today I remembered the front cover of the magazine where I had first seen this artist's work: it was the 2007 edition of Source magazine. I was pretty impressed that I was able to dredge up that memory! The artist's work on the front cover was John Stezaker.
Stezaker was born in 1949 and was one of the early contemporary artists to react against Pop Art (what a hero!). Although his exhibitions are rare, many of the major galleries hold his work, such as Tate, Whitechapel Gallery and the Saatchi Gallery. One of my favourite pieces by him is from 1978, titled The Trial. His work takes cinematic stills and puts old postcards over the top. I believe the reason they are so successful is a) how different they are and b) how emotional they feel.

With The Trial for example, Stezaker puts a swirling, fast-flowing waterfall over the top of a still of a courtroom drama. The aggressive waterfall is placed over both the defendant and the judge; inferring that both characters are crashing down a metaphorical mountain, and allowing their emotions to flow out of control. The image of the strong current is almost more powerful than actually seeing the facial expressions of the two courtroom attendees.

As a photographic collage-maker, it is easy to see his influences in many bloggers pieces of artwork as well, even though they may never have even heard of him. Another similarity with the internet is his inspiration, which he credits as the Photoroman... have a Google and tell me it doesn't remind you of a meme!

Anyway, that's all I've got for you on Swift and Stezaker! I hope you enjoyed this 'Art' post, and let me know if you'd be interested to read more of these types of posts in the comments below.


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