Wu

It is at the beginning of the early 2000’s that I started to give Hip-Hop a lot more attention. I was reading books and magazines about the culture, as well as watching documentaries about it and listening to rap. There is something that stroke me while learning about the culture. Logos. The logos that rappers, rap groups, clothing brands and crews had been unheard of – to me. I was astonished by the aesthetics involved in Hip-Hop’s visual identity. It was bold, filled with character, colourful, but mainly honest and authentic. It embodied Hip-Hop. While discovering that visual universe, one of the logos hit me more than any other. Wu-Tang Clan’s “W”.

This logomark fascinated me and still does. I remember being obsessed with it. Spending hours drawing it from memory on any piece of paper that I had. It was like if I was possessed. There was a certain satisfaction in being able of (massively) reproducing such an iconic logo. I would then try to draw the different variations of it. I did this because I had found something that spoke to me. It was a shape that was easy to reproduce, while still being unique. The thing is that I had not yet heard any of their music, but was able to still understand the importance of that mark. Not what it meant but more what it represented: the strength in numbers and that the unity of the rap group was as strong as the roots of a 300-year-old tree. It was just like in the old Kung-Fu and Shaolin flicks that my uncle used to watch. It is a symbol of truth, unity and honour and remains one of my favourite logos out there. Not only I have a strong connection to it due to my love for Hip-Hop, but it is also a logo that remains relevant after 20 years of existence, which is the most important that a logo has to do. Staying relevant. This would have not been made possible without Mathematic’s mind. Thank you.

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Los Angeles Is Real

Why do we do what we do? Why do we enjoy things that others don’t? Why do certain things in this world fascinate us? Why do we ask “why”? To be honest, I am not sure why. What I do know is that we are curious beings. No matter what it is, we will discover it, research it, read about it, then, we’ll talk about it. We’ve been through these stages several times in our lives. It is the time for me to go through those again.

Yes, this is an article about Los Angeles. A Los Angeles that has fascinated me for years. I am talking about the Los Angeles from Flying Lotus’s album cover “Los Angeles”. I remember the first time that I listened to it. It was at the time when I was studying graphic design in Saint-Etienne, France. I would visit my family and friends in Lyon during the weekend. I was at Thomas’s apartment, who is a great friend of mine. We were listening to music. He started to play the entire “Los Angeles” album. As much as I enjoyed listening to it, it was the cover that caught all my attention. I was puzzled and intrigued. I thought that it was a better version of the famous Massive Attack album cover. Even though I am a trained designer, I was never able to figure out what is on that album cover, until last year.

While researching for a blog post I was writing for work, I found the answers to my questions. It was right before my eyes. I was happy to find out what it was, yet, I felt disappointed. For a while, I considered the image to be the photograph of a Grace Jones type of woman, wearing a strange leather mask covering her whole face, apart from her lips. Later, I moved on to the idea that the black shape on the white background could be a painting or a piece of 3D rendering. It turns out that I was wrong. Unexpectedly, it was a sculpture. I couldn’t believe it. All the images that my brain imagined didn’t exist. None of it was real. The sculpture that Timothy Saccenti photographed for the cover is, however, very real.

I understand why “Los Angeles” looks this peculiar and memorable. I also know why it was so hard to get my head around it. I am happy to know that my brain still sees different things, even if I know that the represented object is a real sculpture. Los Angeles is real and so is my imagination. How is yours doing? I’d love to read about the album cover that made you imagine things that aren’t what they actually are.