Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Little Off Topic... The Poster Art of Scrojo Donovan

First off thanks to my friend Leonard for forwarding me this link. Now before I climb on my soapbox and before you continue reading...check this site out! Had a look? Good, now read on... As you've probably noticed this is definitely not exclusively related to Jamaican music and after inspection those who take their reggae seriously may even consider a lot of these gig posters as verging on blasphemy. I have to admit... I was a little taken back by Donovan taking a lot of serious cultural reggae artists and associating or advertising them using such light-hearted, commercial, pop-art imagery.But after browsing through the images for quite a while, particularly searching for the reggae posters, I thought to myself that I was liking what I was seeing. True the majority of images used on the prints don't in any way represent what the music stands for or the deep meanings behind the vast majority of the subject matter but in a world where the mainstream audience cares little for roots reggae and knows even less, these posters might serve to draw someone in who doesn't know Dennis Brown from Bob Marley. Scrojo's artwork may have the ability to recruit unwitting new reggae fans...and judging by the last poorly attended roots show I saw... getting some new blood into real reggae music wouldn't be a bad thing. Maybe it's time for reggae to present itself with a modern image instead of relying on the ganja leaves and lion imagery. Or maybe reggae should stick with its roots and maintain that "old-school" imagery that those who are into reggae or Jamaican music in general are so familiar and comfortable with. What do you think? Let's discuss it amongst ourselves!

9 comments:

B. G. P. said...

Greetings,
ya, these posters are amazingly good! Thank you for posting the link.
Bernhard

HEARWAX said...

Hello again,
Thanks for bringing these posters to our attention, I personally think that if fresh ideas and imagery can attract more people towards roots music, then it can only be a good thing.
Record companies such as Blood & Fire, Trojan etc. have used modern images on their sleeves for quite some time, and I certainly don't see it as inappropriate.
Also the posters often portray a playful, humourous slant, which I feel is a good thing, so often reggae is seen as too 'heavy' for modern ears, and as all fans know, it is in fact a joyous and uplifting genre.
Keep on skanking!

i said...

hey reggaexx,
personally i find some of the traditional reggae imagery a bit cliché and tired. the lion of Judah is a powerful symbol and is inextricable from reggae, but the ganja leaves plastered everywhere seem a bit... er... immature to me. sure, ganja is an equally inextricable part of reggae culture, but in western society it evokes so much more... it is an enlightening sacrament to some, as it is to the rastas, but it is also associated with the burnt-out vestiges of hippie culture (cheech & chong) and the apathetic teenage "rebels" we all knew in high school who used so much of the stuff, and without reverence, that they're now pumping gas somewhere and were never able to avail themselves of the wisdom and enlightenment the herb can conjure. i don't like that association.

there is no harm in attaching more modern "pop art" imagery to reggae... especially in the realm of the concert poster (a very overlooked venue of artistic creativity in my opinion) where the goal is to attract eyes and minds, and ultimately bodies, to an artist/performance.

i'm a huge fan of the concert poster. as a side note, i work for chronicle books in san francisco and we published, in 2004, a book called 'the art of modern rock' that i would very highly recommend to anyone who appreciates the medium. scrojo illustrated the cover.

thanks for this post...

Reggaexx said...

Thanks to all for your contributions to this topic - I'm glad I'm not the only one that felt as if these pop-art images are a good thing for reggae! I wasn't familiar with the whole concert poster genre but this stuff is so cool. Now, I'm definitely going to look into it a little further now!

Mrdski5 said...

Reggaex:
Great post as always. Back in March/April you mention that you would download the entire Club Paradise Soundtrack. Any way I can get that? I have been searching for the tracks for a long time. I would greatly appreciate it. mdecoskey@yahoo.com
Thanks.
You Can't Keep A Good Man Down.

Greg said...

Great Blog...

i'll add your link...
Cheers From Brazil...

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