One of the most notable aspects of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy is how visually stunning it looks. TVO’s very own art-school Velveteer, Lauren Taylor, has created a mini-guide to some of their artistic inspirations, should any peelers wish to investigate further…
Luxury Comedy is clearly a highly visual affair. Noel and Nigel’s art school background providing a brilliant source for the artistic references weaved into the fabric of the show. Here then, is TVO’s very own mini-guide to a few of the artistic inspirations behind Luxury Comedy, beginning with one of the most obvious references in the show: the pop-art pioneer, Andy Warhol.
Probably most famous for that soup tin, which elbowed his Marilyn Monroe piece into second place in the recognisable images chart, Warhol’s studio – The Factory – was decidedly the most creative place to be in 1960’s America. His visual work was heavily based around consumerism, and how certain branded products are the same regardless of your financial status.
While screenprinting was his medium of choice, as an ideal way to remove evidence of the artist’s involvement, Warhol also had notable success with photography, drawing, sculpture and film.
Though the vibrancy of some of Warhol’s pieces are not a million miles away from the visual look of Luxury Comedy, prehaps a stronger correlation can be drawn between their respective creative environments. Warhol surrounded himself with a range of artists, musicians, writers, and other creatives. Encouraging a level of collaboration not dissimilar from the many levels of creative practice that have gone into Luxury Comedy – music, animation, comedy, illustration…. the list is almost endless.
If you’re in the far south of the UK and want to know more about the Pop Art pioneer, De La Warr Pavillion in East Sussex is hosting ARTIST ROOMS On Tour with the Art Fund’s exhibition – Warhol Is Here – until 26th Feb. For readers across the Atlantic, there’s the dedicated Andy Warhol Museum in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pensylvania.
The show has been described as ‘surreal’ by almost every reviewer out there, which is hardly surprising considering Fielding cites Un Chien Andalou – a short film by Louis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí – as a key influence. With its creators being well known for their part in the Surrealist movement, the film has a dream-like narrative, with tenuous links between the scenes.
Although there are several theories revolving around desire, and obstacles blocking its path, the creators deny any rational meaning within the film, stating that the scenes came from discussing their down dreams, and then realising them. Thankfully Luxury Comedy remains free from razors to the eye so far, but the refreshing feeling of pure nonsense in the current barrage of more realist comedy is something that Coan and Fielding appreciate as much as Dalí and Buñuel did.
You can get a lovely dual format copy of Un Chien Andalou as an extra on another truly surreal Buñuel and Dalí film – L’Age d’Or, that also includes over an hour and a half of documentary on the life and work of Louis Buñuel. Quick word of warning though, some scenes are not at all for the faint hearted!
Luxury Comedy is full of strong, bright paint strokes, through both the animation and costume design. The origins of this loose and spontaneous style can be seen in Fielding’s artwork, which in turn is similar to the paintings of Jean Michel Basquiat. Heavily influenced by his graffiti roots, he created bold, neoexpressionist canvases filled with emotion, in a time when minimalist, conceptual pieces were in fashion.
Basquiat made his own mark on the art and music scene before his early death in 1988. So much so that several films and documentaries exist about his life and work: Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child was first shown only two years ago at the Sundance Film Festival, and Basquiat, starring Jeffrey Wright, Gary Oldman, and even David Bowie making an appearance as Andy Warhol. Both of these films you can get your paws on over at the TVO store. You can even make your own attempt at a Basquiat painting, courtesy of Brooklyn Museum by visiting the Street to Studio section.
Over in the TVO Amazon Store you can find a selection of books and videos from the infuences listed above, as well as the likes of Captain Beefheart and a rather exciting-looking Andy Warhol Colouring Book! Come on, who wouldn’t want one of those?