After looking in the book, Mesmerization by Gee Thompson, one of the spells that really caught my eye was the Luxury Fever spell in the Status Spell chapter. I really loved the colours and the setup of the double page spread and thought it would make a exciting collage with lots of elements both positive and negative.
I started by creating a brainstorm taking into account both my personal knowledge and what I had discovered in the book.
I then decided to make a list of elements I wanted to include in my collage.I didn’t want to make the collage too busy or overpowering so that people wouldn’t be able to take all the elements in so I picked images that have a lot of meaning and would say a lot to the audience.
I firstly chose an image of the new perfume in the line J’adore Dior by Christian Dior. This image represents wealth and elegance. Perfume is seen as something that is classy and makes us feel more beautiful. Although today it isn’t only reserved for those in an elite class, it is still costly and is aimed at those with “elegance”. This can be proven if we look at the commercial advertising of the J’adore Dior perfume where the advert was filmed in Galerie des Glaces at the Château de Versailles. This image set up immediately makes us think of royalty and wealth. The product is also promoted by Charlize Theron, a famous South African actress making a link between wearing the perfume and feeling like the actress.
Champagne is also something I associate with wealth due to the fact it is quite a posh and expensive drink. It is used notably as a celebration drink. There is a range of brands of champagne all ranging in a different price range.
The idea of having fast, fancy cars is something of a luxury and being seen in a branded car such as a Ferrari would boost social status and popularity. Social status is a subject that is looked at in the Mezmerisation’s book and in this genre seems important and relevant. I wanted to add the car into my collage to show a “Powerful visual language that articulates their (the wealthy) importance.” This is the case also with the image of the Iphone which is seen as the “King” of phones in the 21st Century. It seems to be one of the most important accessories to have and it highlights this idea of attracting attention and “being seen”.
Source : www.theregister.co.uk
Here I have taken images of a Casino and a winning hand of card. These two images are important for me to put in due to the fact they really en cadre the idea of money and spending. A casino is a very fancy location in which people dress to high standards, drink posh drinks and there is a sophisticated atmosphere. The way in which people come to bet large sums of money makes us think about how wealthy they must be to be able to do this, how much money they have to their name.
I felt the logo of the Playboy Bunny took into account the iconography of the rich, ie: Girls, Fast Cars, Mansions and Pools. It is also a widely recognized logo in which the bunny is wearing a tuxedo: a symbol of high class and power. The owner of Playboy Hugh Hefner is a millionaire due to being the founder and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, again he is associated with being quite iconic and rich.
I wanted to put in a architectural structure which was smart and was affiliated with expense. I chose the Petronas Towers to symbolize this as I see them as a well known iconic building that people would recognise. “The design of each Tower’s floor plate is based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares, creating a shape of eight-pointed stars. Architecturally, these forms describe important Islamic principles of “unity within unity, harmony, stability and rationality”” (Source: http://www.petronastwintowers.com.my/)To have this title was a possible goal of the architect César Pelli. The two towers are connected by a skybridge.
The yacht image is quite a simple one to decipher, it is an elegance, relaxing form of transport in which people with money can cruise around the Mediterranean in. It looks good, it something to “show” off about, its an image of wealth. This is mirrored in the private jet picture. It is a private quick way to travel which means you can flit from continent to continent at your own leisure without having to pay or sit in a crowded plane.
Again a diamond is simple. Its a precious gem that costs a lot of money and can be worn in jewellery, on clothing, on accessories. It is used a lot in popular culture to make a reference to wealth, for example – “Diamonds are forever”, “Diamonds are a girls best friend”. These references show that diamonds are more important than money or love, they are the ultimate image of high-class.
The book Mezmerisation touches on this idea of having so many investments that you become a global citizen. This is what the globe represents: Worldwide investments and growing world richesse. It also symbolizes travel, being able to move around quickly and easily and having many different homes and global businesses.
Skyscrapers are the face of business, wealth and power. They are tall, they stand out and they make a statement. I wanted to add them in in order to compliment the Petronas Towers image and to show a “business” type skyline to mimic a built up rich area, based on money.
A pet is now the ultimate accessory of the rich, take the example of Paris Hilton and her dog Tinkerbell (who she even built a house for.) Having a dog in your handbag, a kitten in your arms or even an exotic pet is the new accessory and not only that but dressing them up too!
Food is quite an important part of high society, the fancier and more exotic the food, the richer you are. This stretches from Caviar to Prawns to Lobster and can range in all kinds of price. I wanted to put some kinds of food in my collage to show the small portions of expensive meals. Everything looks good, and tastes exquisite.
The newspaper letters highlight a darker side of this lifestyle. Stalking and Kidnappers writing notes in newspaper, threats, ransoms, money exchanges. Along with the positive sides we see really dark negatives that can control the luxury life and the lifestyle of the rich.
This image is easy to understand, its money. Money makes the world go round. Although not necessarily always the dollar, the Yen, the Euro , the Pound come into it as well. It shows us how a simple piece of paper can have so much importance in the grand scheme of things. How important having a lot of pieces of paper in a bank account can bring you social status, expensive goods and a life without poverty or money worries.
I wanted to put in the idea of looking “perfect” and how people become “perfect”. Looking at the image I have for this, we can see all the modifications needed to make someone look like Barbie, a figurine who was considered for a long time as the idealistic body type of a woman by societies standards. Although this isn’t the case anymore, thousands of people have cosmetic surgery each year in order to obtain what they see as a “perfect” figure. People which the money allowance can afford to have a lot of cosmetic surgery done and it therefore can become a every week to every month occurrence and an addiction. I chose to represent this idea in my collage by using the cut lines of the model.
I knew on my collage I wanted to have a 3D component as well as images taken from the internet. I also am thinking about using paint in order to highlight certain aspects of my collage and to add in a finer detail.
Here are some sketches of composition for my collage.
This first one was a rough sketch of my initial ideas of composition. I really didn’t like how the playboy bunny fitted in and also the dollar sign. I knew that I wanted these elements so I started again and placed them differently.
The next sketch I did had lots more elements in it and also was much clearer. After completing it I knew that did not like the dollar and yen signs and felt I needed to replace them with something else which is why in my third and final sketch I put in more newspaper letters to show a darker side to the wealth. However I kept most of the elements in my second sketch.
When I had done this, I decided which part would be 3D, image or paint. I copied my original drawing and wrote on it which part was which in order to give me a better idea of how my final collage would turn out.
I then worked out the scale on a piece of A3 paper, I used a ruler and pencil to make squares of how big I wanted the images to be and in what proportion to one another.
This is my final collage:
I’m really pleased with the outcome of my final collage, it has come out exactly how I imagined it in my head. I feel it includes the main elements of a luxury lifestyle and how the wealthy live in today’s society. If I had to do my collage again I would definitely add in more painted elements and maybe some more exciting 3D elements as well, I feel doing this could only enhance the quality of my work. I would also like to work more on my painting although during my second collage I think my painting was better quality purely because I had warmed up my hand whilst completing this collage. Overall I am happy with the work I have produced.
I also used this two images to help me create my final work.
Mesmerization, Gee Thompson, Thames and Hudson, 2008