The relationship between pop music and art has a rich history that goes beyond the design of album covers. Since the 1950s and 60s British art schools have been a breeding ground for future pop stars and bands. In the post-war years students of all backgrounds were able to study at art school, which radically changed the social make-up of the institutions and the kind of work being produced.
Leading Pop Artists also taught and encouraged their students' interests. For example, Richard Hamilton taught Bryan Ferry at Newcastle University, and Peter Blake tutored Ian Dury at Walthamstow School of Art and the Royal College of Art.
Students were encouraged to respond to the world around them, just as the pop music of the day developed in response to social change. While most ultimately focussed on their music career, their art school training contributed to the visual styling of many bands and musicians.
Performers in many groups including The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music and Franz Ferdinand attended art school, including John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Alison Goldfrapp and Jarvis Cocker, among many others. Similarly, artists who did not go to art school have produced artworks as an alternative creative outlet to their music.
This exhibition features a selection of artworks by some of the most celebrated figures in the music industry. Encompassing a variety of media that includes album cover artwork and illustrated lyrics, it explores how design has been employed alongside song-writing and live performance as a key part of their artistic careers.
Works include: ‘Waterfall' by The Stone Roses' John Squire, a print of the 1989 painting which formed the basis of the Stone Roses' debut LP. Painted in Squire's Jackson Pollock-influenced style, the piece, in keeping with the lyrics of the song, depicts the Union Jack standing defiant in spite of cultural attack by the United States. Other notable pieces include Alison Goldfrapp's ‘Country Girls' collaboration with the acclaimed photographer Anna Fox which casts Goldfrapp as a character in a series of staged scenes.
Artists include: Billy Childish, Bryan Ferry, Bill Wyman, Ian Dury, John Illsley, Pete Doherty, John Squire, Stuart Sutcliffe , Humphrey Ocean, Anna Fox, Ronnie Wood, Nick Blinko and Patrick Wolf.