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The Art of MTV, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 969

Movie Review

Music Television (MTV) is a nationally-recognized television channel that became famous for showing music concerts, music videos and interviewed many trendy musicians and bands through various forms of programming.  Of course, this was prior to the days of The Real World and Rock of Love where reality TV has run rampant.  MTV became one of the first companies to utilize a new advanced technique in graphic design called digital imaging.  Through the advancement of technology and computerized programs, graphic designers and technicians were able to transcend a new era of graphic design development.  In one of the most famous modern advertisements, Pat Gorman of Manhattan Design created an MTV press kit that would bridge the gap between old graphic design techniques and digital imaging.

Digital imaging is a technique that was not widely utilized or even made available to graphic designers and artists.  Technicians were primary users of this technology and software, which only provided graphic designers with a means to serve as consultants on imaging projects.  The MTV image for the 1982 Press Kit cover included the MTV logo with many color variations and digital imaging effects around the logo.  “Gorman created color variations of the MTV logo by exploring editing controls in a television studio” (Meggs 503).  The myriad colors and imaging effects inherently described the network station’s character in a nonverbal manner (502).  Originally, the studio engineer had been so upset over Gorman’s work that he locker her in the studio so that no one would be forced to see her work.  Even Gorman herself described this work as “bad television” because it completely went against everything that had been defined and labeled acceptable in mainstream television.

The MTV logo was originally a simple black and white image in the early days of the television network.  In the panel of logos that Gorman’s advertisement creates, the current MTV logo in 1982 at the time of its creation was included in the upper left hand corner of the work.  This was included mainly to suggest that MTV is able to follow mainstream television standards and to ultimately provide the viewer of Gorman’s work with a road map.  The map begins with the current logo and through randomly generated color combinations, the map shows many of the various digital imaging techniques that could be utilized at the time.  There was not always a specific reasoning for each individual logo in this panel except to provide stark contrasts of light and dark colors including many bright pinks, blues, greens, purples and blacks.  All of these colors were present in the original 1982 logo and the multiple variations of these color combinations and imaging effects suggests creativity and spontaneity that was rare in the entertainment industry at the time, especially with television networks.  Ultimately, the work became so famous and innovative that it appeared on the cover of a 1983 issue of Billboard magazine (Meggs 503).

Although the MTV advertisement on the press kit appeared to be very innovative, the entire work is very similar to a famous graphic designer’s works using imaging techniques prior to digital technologies.  Andy Warhol is perhaps one of the most recognizable artists and graphic designers of the 20th Century.  His works are world renowned and have added much value and benefit to what is not called pop culture.  As a pop artist, Warhol was able to produce a wide array of works including celebrity portraits and package design work for multiple products.  For most of his career, Warhol was able to cement himself as a pop artist using the silkscreen printing method for almost his entire career (“Andy Warhol”).  This method utilizes a basic outline of the image and enables it to be massively reproduced through mechanical reproduction.  The creator is able to choose multiple colors and is not limited to the number of color combinations that can be utilized.  One of Warhol’s most famous works involved a reproduction portrait of Marilyn Monroe.  This portrait used the silkscreen method in order to mix multiple colors during the reproduction of the same portrait so that the works would actually be unique.  The same bright, neon-style colors were used by Warhol in the replicas of the original Marilyn Monroe.  These images were not used for advertisement purposes per se, but Warhol was able to utilize an age-old printing method to instill innovation and creativity to any image, which is exactly the same intention as Gorman.

Both the MTV press kit advertisement and Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe replicas were used to suggest creativity given the current state of the graphic design industry.  While Warhol used an ancient replication printing method by creatively changing the color combinations, Gorman was able to use new technology to randomly create color combinations in a single digital image.  Gorman’s work, even though she defined it as “bad television”, worked to buck the mainstream trends of network television imaging and graphic design.  This work showed the industry how innovative and creative a graphic designer could be when provided the opportunity and freedom to utilize the digital imaging technology.  Furthermore, Gorman’s work was very similar to Warhol’s images in its simplicity.  The colors all stemmed from the original 1982 MTV logo, but were simply randomly combined in different ways to emphasize the diverse culture and forward thinking of the MTV network station.  Nevertheless, the 5×9 square MTV image was positioned in an organized format in order to show the audience that MTV was not overly random.  The work effectively emphasized the message of the station and worked to advance the modern graphic design industry from the early 1980s to today.

Works Cited

“Andy Warhol.” World Collectors Net – Information about Collectables Collectibles Collecting & Antiques. Web. 06 April 2010. <http://www.worldcollectorsnet.com/magazine/issue31/iss31p6.html>.

Meggs, Philip B., and Alston W. Purvis. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

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