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: 2Pac, Chuck D, Ice Cube, Kanye West, Pharoahe 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, Diadora, Nordica, 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.
Do you have something to tell about music and design interactions? I’d love to read your stories in the comments!
Author: Gino Pillon