CR Blog

Keane on Korean Art

Music Video / Film

Posted by Gavin Lucas, 13 October 2008, 10:19    Permalink    Comments (32)

Tom Chaplin by Osang Gwon

Particularly eager fans of musical beat combo, Keane, will know that their third album, Perfect Symmetry, is out today. But on opening the album packaging, the band's three members don't appear quite as normal in the photography within...

Keane album artwork 5

Keane album artwork 2

Keane album artwork 8

Keane album artwork 3

Keane album artwork 4

"Keane chose to work with Korean artist, Osang Gwon," explains designer and art director Rob Chenery of design studio Tourist which art directed the new Keane album and album campaign. Osang Gwon has made a name for himself by creating figurative sculptures covered completely in hundreds and hundreds of photographs of his subject to create an effect seen in the above images of the three members of Keane.

"The band members were photographed first by Osang in the UK," explains Chenery of the sculpture-making process. "The lifesize artworks were then created by Osang back in his studio in Seoul and took about 6 weeks to produce."

Chenery and photographer Shamil Tanna flew out to Seoul to art direct a shoot of the Keane sculptures and it is these (shown above) that appear throughought the album artwork.

Both Chenery and Gwon have provided CR with some behind the scenes shots of the process to show here on our blog and we caught up with Gwon to ask him about his work on the project

Osang's shoot 3

Osang's shoot 2

Osang's shoot 5

Osang's shoot 4

work in progress 1

work in progress 2
work in progress 3

Creative Review: Tell us about your style of working – the materials, the processes, the concept... how long have you been working in this way?
Osang Gwon: I created this style of working in 1998 when I was studying at university. Ten years have passed since Deodorant Type (the name I've given this type of work) was introduced. The photography sculpture is made of pink form cut into shape, attaching photos on it and then being coated. The content of work embraces influences mainly from the ancient art to modern visual images of advertisements or from magazines. I'm very interested in how to exchange these influences. Above all, I'm interested in making images that are plausible in modern art.

CR: Creating the pieces for the Keane album artwork – you created an artwork of each band member... How long did you need to spend with each of them?
OG: Idea meeting started in June, and then the actual shoot with the three Keane members took place in July over five days in London. It was a quite pleasant and fun experience for me. After that, in August, I worked with designer and photograph team of London in Seoul.

CR: How many photographs did you take?
OG: I think I photographed about 1000 to 3000 pieces per band member.

CR: How long does it take, approximately, to create each of your artworks? What are you working on at the moment?
OG: In general, it takes approximately two months per artwork. In the case of the Keane project, there was limited time, so we had to work all day and night in my studio! Now, I'm preparing solo exhibition in Arario Gallery of Seoul and New York for next year, I focus on The Sculpture series rather than Deodorant Type. These works are sculptures made of paper clay in a very academic method, and I'm making a torso of motorbike, because, in my opinion, design of industrial products is closely related to the human body.

Keane album cover

The album cover and logo for Keane's 'Perfect Symmetry' is based upon design concepts from the 1920's German Bauhaus movement which the band fell in love with when recording their album in Berlin, according to Chenery of Tourist. "A simple combination of triangles forms a striking, abstract pattern made up from crops of the photography of Osang Gwan's extraordinary sculputres of the three band members," he explains.

Perfect Symmetry is released today on Island Records


The figures themselves are great, really impressive works and a great idea. I have not seen the inner sleeve, but i don't feel the cover does any of these work any justice whatsoever. To have worked for 6 weeks on these and then see them reduced to little triangle snapshots?!
Ian C
2008-10-13 12:18:53

great stuff, like Ian, I'm not sure about the cover of the CD.
Martin Delin
2008-10-13 12:56:53

kudzu fire
2008-10-13 13:09:42

Osang Gwons been around for a little while - fantastic work. Big Respect.
The resemblance isn't really that good though is it? - The '1920s German Bauhaus' influenced sleeve design is ZZZZZ ZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZ ZZZ ZZZ ZZZ ZZZZ ZZZZZZZZ
action man
2008-10-13 14:36:09

2008-10-13 19:16:16

The artist did a very nice job but how come the cover work is not any impact for us? Ian is really right!
2008-10-14 02:00:25

Wait a minute! Artist Oliver Herring, featured in the PBS Art 21 documentaries makes these sculptures and they are much better.
Something is NOT right here.
2008-10-14 02:57:44

Strong concept with a nice, easy prosession. Full of unique style. I can only anticipate what's inside.

David Radovanovic
My aspiring portfolio can be seen atNew York Web Design
David Radovanovic
2008-10-14 03:02:15

Elizabeth K-Peru
2008-10-14 03:33:51

Art 1

Graphics 0

Probably not good for a design blog...
Mr Yeah
2008-10-14 04:11:02

The sculptures are amazing, wonderful craftsmanship.

The cover is an absolute disaster. This is another case of the designer sabotaging the piece and trying too hard with the design. The Bauhaus reference is ridiculous, the craft in the sculptures themselves is worthy of the Bauhaus.

A simple cover solution which highlighted the sculpture work would have been breathtaking.
Daryl Campbell
2008-10-14 14:32:20

Six Feet Under, anyone?
2008-10-14 14:59:23

nice idea

shit band
2008-10-14 16:17:23

oooo¡¡ great...

...all the work is wonderful, very beautiful ... I liked a lot, I think it is very original and creative.

2008-10-14 17:48:32

Nymorg is really right. The style is quite similar with Oliver Herring's idea. Coincidence?
2008-10-15 02:44:49

Not so much Six Feet Under. The work on that show was done by David Meanix whose work was less clean and complete.
2008-10-15 11:21:11

Wow! This is really interesting how you do this. Do you ever do shows of your work? I love what you did with Tom, Tim and Richard.
2008-10-15 16:57:39

actually the sculpures are in the booklet...i think the cover makes you curios of What is that? and then you see it inside
2008-10-16 00:58:39

I haven't seen inside the cover, and I'm unlikely to, as that would mean parting with cash for some of the most insipid music out there. but it does seem a little wrong to go to the effort of commissioning some amazing art work, then deciding that your graphic design skills surpass the artistic skills of Gwon (they don't in this case, although I think some of Tourist's work is fantastic), to produce a frankly lame album cover.

However, I've just realised that I've disproved my point.

Extraordinarily bland music = extraordinarily bland design. Tourist are only fulfilling the brief. I think to have put one of Gwon's sculptures on the cover would have made way too much of a promise for the music inside.
2008-10-16 09:36:53

don’t complain! nymrg & jet.

osang start photosculpture since 1998.
oliver start similar work since 2004.

check up!
2008-10-16 11:14:40

it's real life computer graphics! :P
Youssef Sarhan
2008-10-16 13:33:45

I think that if you are going to use a photographer who knows how to make a picture then you must take advantage of his skills. I think the album should have been less graphics and more photography. I do agree with several of the comments;

Art 2 v Graphics 0.

Why use graphics when life size models like that look great, its so different to see a well thought of idea. It's different, cool and eye catching, don't spoil it with "ok" graphics
Paul Rook
2008-10-16 14:12:52

Interesting concept with the almost real photo facets, kind of a neo-cubism?

The cover is quite nice using primary colours and it feels like a definite direction for the band. Kind of reminds me of Coldplay X&Y.
2008-10-16 20:07:16

David Hockney would be proud. He pioneered this photographic approach and idea and it's interesting to see where it has gone.

Can't comment on the design until I see the cd sleeve in its complete form.

Sculptures of Osang definitely seem to handle colour better in my opinion.
2008-10-16 21:45:56

2008-10-17 00:00:39

fabuloso, hermoso,totalmente bello aaaaahhh keane es la mejor banda del mundo buen trabajo
2008-10-17 19:19:45

I don't think the design OR the art are very interesting.
And the band are beyond dull.
2008-10-24 14:59:28

incredible sculptures. But the sleeves don't really reflect the efforts of osang gwon who worked all day and night to have a few inches of each artwork published. gotta feel bad for the guy.
2008-12-15 20:31:35

i thought it was WEIRD lol i was looking for a design cover for cds in artdesign This site just made me confused lol PEACE buh nice work
Frances Vandenberg
2009-06-09 03:35:05

Very attractive and creative Korean arts you shared with us. Beautiful contrast of colors.
Made in Korea
2011-04-07 07:35:07

Really interesting. Though I wonder what the life-span is of one of his woks. Do you think the foam, glue, or final spray cause the photos to fade faster? I'd like to see some of his older works.

BTW Osang should do a series of nudes! I'm in Seoul at the moment, think he needs a model?
Jason Mehl
2011-04-20 13:54:19

I Love keane, I love the cover, I love the sculptures. And yah, maybe to some people the way the sculpture was portrayed is a slap in the face to the artist but hey, It's more interesting, and eye catching then just a cover with the band on it. Even IF it's a creatively sculptured replica of the band. I love the cover, the artist, and Keane :)
Nikki Peyton
2011-06-30 14:04:54

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