Great album covers + classical paintings = Incredible art
We have a new Instagram obsession. We know we have a new Instagram obsession every week, but really, you must see this one. Meet Eisen Bernard Bernardo from the Philippines, the man behind Album + Art.
Not often do you get an amazing mash-up of contemporary and classical art, but Eisen cleverly melds your favorite pop album covers with centuries-old paintings to create his own version of modern art. He spoke to us about his background, the inspiration behind his artwork, and how he combines two of his favorite things with some amazing results.
Social media has made it easier for someone like me to be noticed. We all know that the art world is an elite arena but social media has democratized art and made it more accessible for everyone.
I’m a development communication practitioner. I work as a writer and multimedia designer at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity based in the Philippines. I’m responsible in the conceptualization, writing, designing and production of communication, education and public awareness materials of my organization. So, basically what I’m doing is applied arts, but when it comes to the arts (in the academic sense of the word), I don’t have any formal training. I’m just doing this as a hobby.
I don’t have a degree in fine art but I think I’m part of the digital era where people can freely express themselves using different art forms. Social media has made it easier for someone like me to be noticed. We all know that the art world is an elite arena but social media has democratized art and made it more accessible for everyone.
I’m fond of homage, similarities and references in movies, music, and other art forms. For instance, I compare Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud with Marvin Gaye’s Lets Get it on. Like the +Art collage series, I just felt that magazine and album covers (like other contemporary art forms) were inspired directly (and sometimes indirectly) by classical paintings. These similarities and references can easily be observed and I just really wanted to compare and contrast modern and classical aesthetics.
I’m a big music fan and so I find myself exposed to a lot of album covers from lots of different genres of music. Most of the time, I identify with the album cover before even listening to the music. Similarly, I love classical paintings and am familiar with lots of artworks. Consequently, I find it easy to mentally match the album covers to the paintings.
When it comes to the actual implementation in Photoshop however, it is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. It’s often just trial and error…
When it comes to the actual implementation in Photoshop however, it is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. It’s often just trial and error – sometimes my mental matching is correct but when they don’t fit, I take the time to research online to look for a matching artwork. Most of the time, the pieces posted in my Instagram are just beautiful accidents. All of them are unplanned and I’m always surprised with the output. It is really a fun activity and tests my knowledge of the classical arts and popular culture.
The complexity of the album cover design dictates the difficulty of doing a juxtaposition. Covers with a head as the main visual element are easier compared to a cover with a group of people. It takes an hour to a week for a single collage. Most of the time is spent researching the matching color palettes and identical/complementing body parts/movements. The last major editing I have to do is to add the texture to unify the image.
I’m really media and internet savvy so I think everything I watch on tv, or see in a movie, or read in my newsfeed, incites my curiosity and creativity.
After the first set of images I created, I received some feedback that my work is filled with humor and irony and so I started to consider the meaning or message of my collages. When I came up next batch of +Art images, I tried to look for covers and paintings that can produce visual puns or can establish more meaningful connections (not only on the visual but on the conceptual level). I wanted every piece to evoke a humorous or fascinating effect on the viewer.
I’m really media and internet savvy so I think everything I watch on tv, or see in a movie, or read in my newsfeed, incites my curiosity and creativity. My exposure to the internet and other popular media largely influences my perspective in doing my artworks.
As mentioned before, I’m a music fan and I appreciate almost all genres of music but I’m especially fond of Frank Sinatra, Jeff Buckley, Hall and Oates, Sting, and Stevie Wonder. Some of my favorite contemporary artists are Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Mayer Hawthorne, Miguel, and Adele. I also have a lot of favorite painters such as Joan Miro, Picasso, the Pre-Raphaelites, Cranach, Klimt, Schiele, Matisse, Andy Warhol and a whole lot more.
My work is really open to interpretation and there are many things you can think about it. Many say that it is parody of current culture – that society reveres the celebrity. Some people have even expressed that my works say something about feminism and the objectification of women in the arts and media. Others have said that the celebrities and pop stars of today, similar to the classical artists’ muses in the past, are society’s standards of beauty. My work has definitely engaged people in online discourse.