Digital: Henry Stark; Throne of Driver
by Beauchamp Art
Henry in costume as a character from the current mainstream fantasy television phenomena ‘Game of Thrones’, super imposed onto the titular throne from the series using an image found via Google, done upon request.
Shot in RAW with editing, post-production and colour alterations in Photoshop.
One of the most popular televisions shows, produced by HBO, streamed via Netflix, pirated massively, distribution of media, memes.
Henry Stark image posted onto his Facebook Wall, shown in the Photo Viewer.
After a comment regarding the resemblance to a rap album cover, I then did a basic mock-up of the image in this format, appropriating some of the semiotic indicators that are usually associated with an album design, as well as graphic components from other media. This included the ‘Parental Advisory; Explicit Content’ warning label, originally a sign of hesitance, it is now worn on the album sleeve as a badge of honor, implying the (lyrical) content of the album will be outside of the ‘mainstream’ culture, appealing to a sense of empowering individualism.
(In other words; ‘if I buy this album, I am beyond the norm, I am embracing my otherness’ – which is especially potent given the racial associations and stereotyping surrounding rap culture, and the history of discrimination against African-Americans, this embracing of otherness denies the dis-empowerment of being à rebours; or non-white in a white-dominated culture, here being re-appropriated and parodied by a white figure, edited by another white male, using only the surface connotations of the imagery.)
Moreover, I also used graphic elements from the promotional materials surrounding the original Game of Thrones television series, re-framing the title to read Throne of DRIVER, with the ‘Driver‘ being taken from the cover of the video game series of that name, remediating the designs and features of multiple sources to not just create a collage, but amalgamating series of unrelated and ironically used parts to form a interconnected image that functions through it’s connection to other media, rather than just absorbing their features.
All of the images used were taken from Google, through quick searches surrounding the key phrases that were particular to what was required visual, and there were no limitations on what could be downloaded, and therefore what could be modified and re-uploaded; all the images, even if copyrighted, where unprotected, and thus easily stirred into the “meme-pool” of the central images, which were themselves to exist as online files only, not to be printed or shown outside of a computer-screen format, fixed on Facebook and later embedded in other websites. Should the image be removed due to copyright infringement (though this is unlikely as the image will not be seen by that many people, the piece was not explicitly made for profit, and it serves as a parody and a platform for “meme transmission”, free advertising for the manufacturers (of Game of Thrones and Driver, the other compositional elements were taken from looking over the Google image search for ‘rap album cover chair’, taking elements of the first few images that appeared) and not putting the producers or content under any negative light.
There were some less obvious manipulations of the image that may not be noticed but were designed to add to the convergent aesthetic of image, including the addition of a brown canvas texture taken from the background of the ‘Lannister‘ flag, from the GoT image search. Along with further colour correction and adding subtle translucency to the shadow of the main text.
Though the design was intended to look almost authentic, it is the deliberate failure to realise from which the image may generate satire; the line of pixels around the figure, the low resolution of ‘Winter is Coming‘ and the familiarity of the featured figure to the primary audience (our peers) as not being a member of the cast (although his partner was an extra in the show, partially a motivation to make the piece, along with him preparing his costume for a GoT theme party), nor is he a rapper (though does produce his own music), nor the protagonist in the DRIVER games (though he does drive a car and a combine harvester).
Henry Stark as a profile picture on Facebook with comments