I don’t consider myself a particularly stylish guy. I’m a bloke – I wear the clothes that compromise between comfort and attracting the opposite sex. This is true of all the members of Barnabus Rex.
Before we got our act together and were performing under the moniker of ‘Spike Island’ (original, I know) we generally dressed ourselves as we wished – generally a combination of our own personal styles and the tropes of the genres we played (this generally meant a lot of plaid).
Once the new name came through from a brain storming session we felt that a more unified and consistent image was in order. We also wanted to appear more grown up and sophisticated.
I started by considering the name itself – Barnabus Rex. It has connotations of grandeur (I think at least) – Rex being Latin for ‘King’. Perhaps a stronger assosciation for the Rex though is Tyrannosaurus Rex; huge, pre-historic, predatory dinosaur – all aspects to factor in. We’ve since found out that ‘Barnabus’ isn’t actually a name but there is a Christian saint called Barnabas. Not a fan of organised religion though – at least not enough to want to associate myself with. (I imagine the name’s origins may have been ‘Oedipus Rex’ for they are similar in rhythm and cadence). Barnabus to me though, sounds like the name of an old gent. Gent
That’s also a Dinosaur
Visually I thought this could be pretty strong and as far as a I know is pretty original. Building on the imagery I was getting of the olden days, I looked to collect images from the early days of photography and what I found was quite interesting. I was deliberately searching for quirky and amusing images but they were far easier to come by than I was expecting. The invention of the camera and the ability to capture portraits with such speed seemed to promote some rather strange behaviour – people instantly faced with how to present their lives in a snapshot came up with some pretty interesting ideas. We often few people from this era to be a lot more reserved and constrained than we are now but now I’m not so sure…
Fuck my life, this is the best picture ever…
Chicken, Plinth, Portrait!
This would make a badass album cover
I presented these images to the band and the response was very favourable. The main aspect that was picked up upon was the presence of animals and specifically, chickens. This, I think, is fairly fitting as it correlates nicely with ‘The Birds’ as well as the fact that I find chickens to be very dinosaur-like, both in their looks and their movements. Birds are after all, the living remnants of dinosaurs.
From this positive feedback I decided to create the character of Barnabus:
I rooted through pictures of 1930’s men’s fashion and until I found the perfect suit and, perhaps more importantly, the perfect pose. The white suit/cane combo was pretty hard to resist. It was then a fairly simple job of Photo-shopping a dinosaurs head over the top. I deliberately went for a fairly cartoony image as I felt it worked better. The hat was then added at the request of Joe, the singer, who had his own ideas with how he would translate my design to his own persona within the band.
…He went and bought a white suit, cane and top hat.
That was our image sorted then.