Bling It Home
By Ed Bertha
Running Through August 14, 2011 at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art, focuses on the work of ten artists influenced by hip-hop culture. When the show ends another begins. What started as an exchange of Facebook posts between Vince Fraser (best known locally for his Sarasota Film Festival face posters) and I quickly turned into Bling it Home.
After Beyond Bling ends Fraser’s Bling creations, Bling Pop and Work and Play, move to Westfield Southgate Shopping Mall. There they will be on display in the alcove outside Saks Fifth Avenue for a month, setting the stage for a sealed bid auction benefiting the Sarasota Film Festival and Habitat for Humanity Sarasota. Bling it Home will feature an intimate meet and greet with Fraser and culminate with a gala event where the fortunate bidder(s) will leave with their treasures.
Vince Fraser (b.1971) is a London based digital illustrator whose clients include the Sarasota Film Festival, British Airways, PC World, the BBC and T-Mobile. Over the last decade Fraser has specialized in digital illustration ranging from 2d vector work, photo montage, image manipulation and 3d modeling. His working method of combining photographic, typographic and vector illustration (the use of geometric forms to represent images in computer graphics) are layered together much like the layers of music and text that are combined in hip-hop music. Fraser himself agrees with this analogy saying, “In the same way I fuse two different elements together to create something new and unique, hip hop icons like Run DMC did the same revolutionizing a new hybrid sub musical genre called rap/rock with Aerosmith”.
Bling it Home is a REAL cares event
Vince Fraser confesses “I love creating fantasy worlds and abstract characters in surreal settings.”
Work and Play
Work and Play represents that work doesn’t have to be boring — it can be exciting, something you look forward to, an outlet for your creativity and imagination. It can be play.
In this piece Fraser confronts the viewer with a fantasy of what that space could be. The two male figures that make up the central part of the composition are enthroned and surrounded by wings reminiscent of the eagle adorning the throne of Zeus. These gods of the hip hop lifestyle compete in the VIP lounge with the pink haired club goddess.
Bling Pop is a portrait of hip hop singer and producer Pharrell. In this piece Fraser merges the concepts of traditional portraiture and an aesthetic of advertising. The result is an image that strips away the pretence of the canonical genre and lays bare the true intention of the portrait – the advertising of a constructed persona in which both the subject and the artist are complicit.
In contemporary parlance, portraiture is the forming of a brand. This point is underscored by the layering of the symbol of the bling lifestyle, the BMW on top of Pharrell’s torso and further reinforcing the explicitness of the image with the word “Bling” appearing like a tattoo. Fraser effortlessly bridges this divide, superimposing visually and rhythmically complex layers of digital imagery with every bit as much virtuosity as any leading hip-hop DJ.
Printing Process: Reverse printed onto Polycarbonate using ultra high resolution Digital UV cured ink. This unique printing process uses 20 inkjet heads to create the vibrant colors, including back printing with white ink.
Artwork Descriptions: Courtesy of: Matthew McLendon, Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art, London and New York, Scala Publishers, Ltd., 2011.
Copyright © 2011 REAL Magazine
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Artwork and Associated Images used under license from Vince Fraser
Artwork and Associated Images Copyright © 2011 Vince Fraser