Barnabus Rex – Art Direction

So, my band’s been hitting it pretty hard since the beginning of the summer holidays. We’ve settled on a new name, produced an EP of five tracks, played numerous gigs (and a few weddings) and secured a residency at a bar in Manchester.

This provides me with some interesting opportunities as in many ways I have a real world client – a band for whom I act as artistic director. The notion of an artistic director working with bands/musicians is fairly new and relatively unexplored; an example of this is Es Devlin working with Kanye West.

The role of the artistic director in this context is generally to provide a visual identity that will extend to all of the ways in which the music is presented to the public.

These include:

  • Album Artwork
  • Live shows – lighting, set design, accompanying visuals
  • Music Videos
  • Promotional Photography
  • Styling
  • Other marketing strategies, etc.

It is the role of a band’s artistic director to study the music and enter into discussions with the band to ascertain the themes and ideas they are exploring with the music. These will then be translated and expanded upon visually. Musicians will often have an ‘image’ to be considered and generally, a desire to appear ‘cool’ and appealing to their audience.

As the artistic director for Barnabus Rex, I do not have the budget or experience of professional artistic directors. I do however, have a deep understanding of the music as I have had a large part in creating it. As well as this, I am in a position where it is easy to communicate with all the band members to try and illicit everyone’s ideas of how we should present ourselves and a greater set of skills to realise them.


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