Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Food for thought: Visual edition

Since I already mentioned DK and Jello Biafra, why not go all the way and mention the cat whose work graced all those album covers, Winston Smith?The above illustration, The People Must Believe, dates back to 1980.
Dinner is Served, from 1989 captures an element of Smith's work that I always dug: the juxtaposition of upper-middle-class and upper-class suburban "normalcy" (at least as imagined by those yearning for the "good old days" of 1950s sitcom pabulum) with the carnage and brutality that lays just beneath the surface, and upon which such "normalcy" is based. Add some illustrations laden with totalitarian, sci-fi and apocalyptic imagery (think "1984" and "Godzilla" meets the "Book of Revelation"), and you've got a fair sample of Smith's mind.

For perhaps sentimental reasons, Bedtime For Democracy is my favorite Winston Smith illustration, as it was the cover for DK's last proper album before breaking up in 1986:
The scale of this particular electronic image does not do justice to the sheer amount of detail if one were to view it up close. That image certainly caught the American Zeitgeist of the period. Of course in the intervening decades, that Zeitgeist has changed precious little.

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