Music and Art

Many great artists and bands of our era have studied in art schools, and are often involved in fashion and design projects. Just to name a few pioneer rappers: 2PacChuck DIce Cube, Kanye WestPharoahe Monch.

Since my teen age, I have been attracted by two main subjects: music and design. The 90s decade was such a creative era for music. Since those days, music makes me discover new cultures. Massive Attack for me was the first example of band who melted music and visual aesthetics creating a whole, strong identity thanks to member 3D a.k.a. Robert del Naja’s artwork.

My personal experience

Product design has been around me since then. I live in Asolo, a small medieval town in Italy immersed in nature and art, close to Venice. Seaside and Dolomite Mountains are just around the corner, while hills and lakes are spread in between. People are into different kind of outdoor and motor sports: climbing, trekking, ski, snowboard, skate, windsurf, sailing, motorcycling. Consequently, a big slice of the industry in this area is built on these activities: Alpinestars, Asolo, Axo, Dainese, DiadoraNordica, Salewa, Scarpa, Sidi, Spidi are companies born and grown up here.


After high school, I started expressing myself on both sides playfully. I wanted to acquire knowledge and techniques in whatever medium attracted me. Today, after a few decades and life changes, my attitude is the same. I design sport and leisure products, manage a music label and produce beats and instruments. Like we say in Italy, I have been “keeping the foot in two shoes”.

Sharing the creative process

The etymology of the words “design” indicates a dimension made of concepts, choices, definitions, purposes. A process made of different steps, a dialogue between instinct and intellect. Sometimes, a conflict between sensitivity and rationality. Thinking of music production, lots of analogies appear.

Free hand sketching is like improvising with an instrument and recording to catch ideas. The definition of manufacturing techniques, materials and details in design is a visual and physical version of sound designing, mixing and mastering music. Prototyping and making different versions of the same product is a bit like making the same track with different arrangements, before taking the final decisions.

A multipolar conduct may stretch the time to reach some particular goals, but it is quite an advantage for creativity.

All design ideas start with functional, economical and stylistic assumptions from past experience that may sometimes become rigid limits for creativity, even if justified by expertise. It happens in music, too, in relation with genres and styles when they become stereotypes.

Creating alternatives, re-thinking and transforming is always part of any creative process. Designers and music producers are able to listen, learn, discuss, destroy and rebuilt. A conscious yet free relationship with preconceptions is a common practice in music and design.


Design for music in the digital era

Nowadays, design is strategic because the path of music discovery often starts with a still image, an animation or a video in a smart phone or tablet. The visuals tell stories about music, sometimes even before the listening experience begins. The sound-image language of Tycho is interesting.

In general, fantasy and imagery are useful inspirations and transversal languages. Inspired by sci-fi movies, I produced “Abscience – Decade in Dread” concept album in 2014, and designed “AXO Pentagon” Motocross protector in 2016.

By chance, in 2017 “Axo Pentagon Bio Frame” was picked up by X factor Italy as outfit for Camile Cabaltera performance.


Do you have something to tell about music and design interactions? I’d love to read your stories in the comments!

Author: Gino Pillon

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1 Comment

  1. Design in our today’s evolving era of hybrid nature is such a pimped discipline, as ‘designers’ are facilitating ‘non designers’ with a sense of design to the point they think they are designers. The ‘them’ and ‘’us’ is becoming ‘we’ , but the quest to be oneself , forms new tribes that Naturally steer away from the mainstream school of operandi. Similarly with music production, the pro quality studios is filtering into loop based applications that make someone who loves music, claim to be a producer, with out any knowledge of publishing and royalties as the mainstream has adopted a slice of the artist in their psyche that says I’m taking this and that and creating my own buffet of ideas. Weather it’s good or not , is a matter of ones palette of taste. Creation and innovation always goes through cycles of saturation, which leads it into a new entity, a hybrid, a new movement. Then the words of the ingenious ‘ EMINEM ‘ come to mind….” I just don’t give a phuck “ and outlook that is often need to create something beyond blinkered vision. The pioneers are more than Mavericks. We are in a paradigm where it is a necessity to create, as the torrent of creativity that has been dormant is now Awakening…. Daily, nano second to nano second. Our parents are sending meme’s that children are making. Yet the parents and Grandparents are ones who laid the railway tracks for the wheels of the digital age, by way of facilitating the prescribed designers that were the cogs behind the veil of creativity. Now like the relationship of the Disc Jockey (Dj) and Master of Ceremony (MC), the designers are the superstars and consumer is the Dj, who was the highlight focus, back in the day, yet the designers are still behind the scenes making the consumers feel empowered as the superstar MC, Dj and Producer . The Foundation of DJ and MC has been synthesised in to the Mp3j (3J) and Vocoder-bot of Celebrity (VC)
    The sterility of just money making without soul , is the generic minced-meat that frustrates the artist creative, the natives of so the called ‘ underground ‘, the keepers of the funk….. no man or woman is an island onto themselves we need each other, there is no dominance required… the landscape of our mind and soul needs to breathe .
    This awakening of creativity was inevitable as we have had a lot of conditioning to understand the language, semiotics of design and communication. But there is a battle for authentic art that is fighting not to be deconstructed / watered down for mass consumption ,yet needs and wants to eat , live abundantly and express creative freedom, freely. So many new voices, that in the eyes of the archaic music industry, are just presets to make money with out substance that is life giving and challenging .
    Then we wake up as Renaissance people who happen to design as well as create music that is bespoke to their soul. The butterflies of creative liberation. Do we make money or just stay paid ? That is the cross road we keep coming to, but it should be an amnesia that holds back what it is to truly live in creativity.
    Anima.Design.And.Music .
    Gr8 platform of creative exchange and growth.
    – Pongtrometer

    Liked by 1 person

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