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Archive for April, 2011

During my research on Venice I came across another artist who has produced beautiful paintings of Venice,  Andrzej Filipowicz, a Polish artist, who has produced these stunningly vibrant paintings:

I love the vibrancy of these paintings and the way they capture colour and light so well. They capture the very essence of this unique city, which is both vibrant and tranquil. I particularly like the final painting of the carnival figure, as I love the almost ethereal quality of the painting, and the way movement is portrayed as though the woman has been captured dancing.

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From the research on Burlesque I have decided to create a record sleeve for a compilation of Burlesque themed songs and music. The target audience for this product would mostly be female, and therefore I wanted to create something feminine and pretty. I have decided to go with a hand-made approach, incorporating a graphic illustration on the record cover.

I initially made the inner sleeves, and then decided to make a wrap-around effect outer sleeve, using printed card which I cut in the shape of a corset. I laced the corset shapes with black ribbon, and this kept the outer sleeves in position. I decided to keep the colour scheme simple, feminine and eye-catching, so that it would appeal to the target audience and also stand out on the shelf. The three colours I decided to use were black, white and bright pink. My idea was to design the record sleeve to be a collectible item, and to incorporate collectible postcards into each one, which would attach to the corset like tags.

On the inner sleeve I wanted to feature an illustration of a Burlesque inspired character, based on a circus themed burlesque costume I myself designed and plan to wear for a burlesque performance with Dr Sketchy’s Art School and that I have also worn for a photo shoot. I wanted to create 2 versions of the Burlesque character, one for the front cover and one for the back cover, and the character would be based on the image of myself in the costume. I wanted to create a character that was modern, fresh and funky, to appeal to the younger female audience, who might be attracted to the Burlesque genre for the first time.

Front Cover:

Back Cover:

The typography on the record sleeve would be bright pink, to contrast with the black and white striped background.

I also made a promotional postcards to attach to my record …… using some photographs from my burlesque photo shoot, my illustrated character and also jsut the record title.

I also created a promotional poster for my record, to be displayed at the point of sale:

The finished record sleeve:

With the postcard tags:

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Researching for my Burlesque Music project I found these interesting illustrations by Karen Dupre – an artist from California. I love the technique used to create these illustrations and the way they capture the spirit of Burlesque with the glamour and the fabulous costumes.

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Still looking for inspiration for my Music project I have decided to look at Burlesque in general and Burlesque style clothing.

WHAT IS BURLESQUE?

Burlesque literally means to parody or to “send up” in a comic fashion.  It’s a French word derived from the Italian “burlesco” and the Spanish word “burla” which means “joke”.

It’s important to understand that burlesque performers place an emphasis on the ‘tease’ and will often shimmy down to something small and sparkly, but they are never fully undressed.

The beauty of burlesque is that it is for everyone, in that it doesn’t depend on performers being a certain size, shape or fitness level – it’s more about grace, posture and the magic you create with your audience.

Burlesque has spanned many years and continents and it was in late 18th century Britain that burlesque became a popular form of entertainment that was aimed at the middle classes who were educated enough to understood the jokes about literature, theatre and music that burlesque encouraged. Acts were full of “double entendres” and female stars played lead male roles which proved popular and risqué.

In 1868, a British actress called Lydia Thompson (left), formed a group called the British Blondes and began to entertain the American stage with bawdy performances dressed in revealing costumes for the day – skirts above the knee and pink tights – oh the shock!  It was a huge sensation and theatre owners soon realised the audience appeal (and the profits!) from these cross dressing, quick witted women and their sexy costumes.  “Hootchy kootchy” dancers joined in and captivated audiences with oriental inspired dances and hip shimmying and so in its heyday, American burlesque was a world apart from the earlier literary and musical burlesques of the UK (now known as “classical” or “traditional British” burlesque).

The current burlesque revival was pioneered in the mid 1990’s by troupes such as ‘The Velvet Hammer Burlesque’ in Los Angeles and independent performers who wanted to bring back the glamour of the “good old days”. Seeing a gap in the market, The Minsky Brothers’ opened their first burlesque clubs in 1912 where the infamous Gypsy Rose Lee (below) became one of burlesque’s first stars.  She went on to become a film actress famous for both her witty, sharp humour on stage, as well as her seductive style of striptease.

It’s clear that Burlesque in Britain is growing steadily and is coming more into the mainstream with stars like Kylie Minogue and Paloma Faith bringing fan dances and showgirl glamour into their acts.

Burlesque is often associated with venues such as The Moulin Rouge.

Burlesque Style Clothing

The item of clothing most frequently associated with Burlesque is the corset. This is usually worn with stockings, either with or wihout suspenders, high heels and some form of headgear which may often feature feathers. During the routine Burlesque dancers may strip down to nipple tassels and frilly undergarments.


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Once I had decided on a Burlesque theme for my record sleeve I looked at existing Burlesque themed record sleeves and CD covers:

In general these all seemed to be based on photographic images of Burlesque dancers or models:

I don’t really find any of these particulary inspiring, although I do like the colour scheme on the soundtrack from the film Burlesque: the black and white image works well with the contrasting colour for the title and the lips.

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For this project we are required to create a record sleeve and promotional material for music of our choice. We must produce a case for selling music in 7″ or 12″ format. We must also market this product using a poster and a flier.

As initial research for this project I looked at collectable record sleeves

One interesting website I looked at was http://www.creativereview.co.uk where there is a regular feature entitled “record sleeves of the month” which looks at unusual and artistic vinyl record sleeves and CD

sleeves. One of the designs I liked the best was this cover and packaging for Kate Nash’s CD which was presented as a collage and incorporating a collection of  keepsakes belonging to Kate Nash.

The deluxe version of the album is packaged in the form of a book ( see above )

I particularly like this idea as the way the album is presented and packaged suggstes that the singer connects with the record owner on a personal level.  I also like the hand-made feel to the packaging, almost like a scrapbook.

Another website I looked at for inspiration was http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective, which has a feature on sleeve design. One of the designers featured is Andy Votel, who produced this interesting cover for a Badly Drawn Boy single:

This design was created from a photograph of a  antique Japanese Pachinko gaming machine, with a wood and metal collage based on Da Vinci’sDepiction of Man. It is  photograph but it almost looks 3D and I like the collage effect.

After looking at record sleeves, I decided that I particularly liked those with the hand made appearance and the collage effect. I decided that I would use this approach with my own design. I also have decided to create a record sleeve for a compilation of Burlesque themed music, as Burlesque is a particular interest of mine, as I am currently involved with a Burlesque themed life drawing event in North Wales, entitled Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art Movement ( More about that later ).

My next step was to research the sleeve designs for existing Burlesque themed records and CDs……..

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I have decided to try and produce an interpretation of a map of Venice, by incorporating the map into a Carnivale costume. I initially sketched the costume and then designed the bottom of the skirt as the same shape as a map of Venice. I tried to incorporate the canals and islands of Venice into the design of the dress, using a patchwork type effect. I also attempted to incorporate characteristic features of Venice including the Campanile Tower, The Basilica, the Grand Canal, gondolas, carnivale masks etc.

My initial plan was to create a graphically  designed map illustration but I then decided to attempt to try something different, by using a medium I am a lot less comfortable with. I also wanted to use a medium that was less technological, in view of Venice being such an ancient city. I attempted to colour my sketch using a combination of water colour pencils and water colour paint, and although I like the overall more rough appearance to the illustration, it was uncomfortable to leave it looking “unpolished”.

Map design – Venezia:

In retrospect, had I had more time I would have produced this as a graphic illustration, as I think it may have worked better, mainly because I am not particular happy with my painting ability.

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