For my album cover, I decided to make a fictional album of my own called Make It Up. The theme of the work is the multiple interpretations of the words “make up”. At the surface level, “make up” sounds like makeup, and consequently makes you think of cosmetics. However, “make up” can also mean “making things up as you go” or “lying”. This multimedia CD cover aims to integrate all of those ideas into one image.
To create this piece, I took a photo of myself and made it slightly transparent, then I painted over the photo using the brush tool at an opacity level of 10% – 30%. These changes in opacity allowed the painted layer to stand out on top of the photo, yet made sure that the painted layer wasn’t too harsh. As I was painting this cover, I sometimes painted over the photo too much, but it wasn’t much of a problem. Since I did all of my painting in a separate layer from the background and I put a layer mask on it, I was able undo my painting or paint the original photo back to the surface whenever I made a mistake (i.e. when made my eyeliner too dark on my right eye).
The basic layer of this album cover is a picture of me wearing bright lipstick on one half of my face, as well as dark eye makeup on the eye on the other half of my face. On one half of my body, I’m wearing a lace top, while on the other half I’m wearing a blazer. The dramatic makeup addresses the simplest interpretation of the words “make up”, while the contrasting halves of my outfit and the disjointed sections of my face speak to the theme of “making things up as you go”. As we stumble through our lives, we try to embody the things we like, but if we try to be everything at once our lives become chaos. Similarly, each half of this photo is cohesive on its own: the left side is youthful and fun, while the right side looks older and business-oriented. However, when the two halves are combined, they clash.
In addition, the painted element of the image represents the way we “make up” the view of ourselves that we want others to see. Through these layers, I literally painted out all my flaws: my acne, my light eyebrows, the dullness of my hair. I’ve created a construction of my self that technically rids me of my faults, but in the process I’ve turned myself into something that isn’t who I was in the photo. This contributes to the intentionally estranging yet compelling feeling created by the components I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
My target audience for this piece is people ranging from their early 20s to early 30s. This album cover would appeal to that generation because they are grappling with the themes of finding yourself and constructing your public perception that this work aims to address. Additionally, my album cover would appeal to that demographic because its aesthetics are a combination of 70’s and current pop aesthetics, and those are two of the main genres of music that people of that generation listen to.
While making this piece, I looked at the glam style of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover for inspiration, and I incorporated modern retro aesthetics from Taylor Swift’s 1989. Here are those album covers, as well as a rough sketch I based my photoshoot on, and pictures of the layers that make up my final album cover.