As its managing director Janelle MoniIts print / production company Wandaland, Mikel Moore went on to the art of painting as a science. Using Monir’s powerful, multi-level visual evolution evolution as a blueprint, he created a comprehensive guide – a style Bible and inspirational references (to watch movies, to read books) – to follow new artists from Wandland. In this Kong lab, Mikel Moore discusses Wandland’s strategic approach to creating an artist’s visual world.
Spotify for Artists: What does a typical day in Wonderland look like for you?
Mikel Moore: Well, the thing people should understand is that we have multiple companies – a talent management company, a record label, a music production company and we launched a TV and film company last November. So there is no ideal day. Most days involve multiple calls with artist groups and discussions. I deal with both creative and business aspects on a daily basis.
How do you help your artists form their visual identity?
Janel obviously has a very strong visual identity. So, my job was to look at what he created and say, “How do we reverse-engineer it so that we can give artists a structured perspective to do the things needed to advance a visual identity?” So there’s a literal guide that brings together how our team can build your brand. There is a list of books to read, movies to watch and songs to listen to. And then we’re going to make sure that the music looks, what it looks like – what the visual identity is communicating and whether it matches what you’re saying in your art.
What drove Janelle to create her visual identity? Was it strategic at some level?
I don’t think Janelle and other great artists see visual identity as different from other forms of art. Janelle constantly wonders what things look like, even if she makes music. But obviously, it worked to his advantage as a successful musician. This allows him to compete on multiple playgrounds. It multiplies your opportunities because it allows you to play in fashion spaces, magazines, music videos, branding … I also think Janelle’s commitment to her visual identity helps brand partners understand where she fits. If you look at his work. Covergirl, she was part of their brand – focusing on things like red lips and tuxedos.
How does an artist’s picture influence their decision to sign or direct?
The most successful relationships we’ve built have come from the perspective of being able to tell stories on multiple levels. Listen, to be honest, when I hire people, even assistants, I look at their visual identities. What does their Instagram look like? What are they communicating to the world? I don’t know exactly how I feel. What matters to me is that the message they convey is consistent and original.
Outside of Wonderland, which artists are using visuals in innovative ways?
What I love Tierra Whack Is doing.FKA twigs, Bizarre, [Lil] Uzi Vert. A lot of times you may not like music, but you say, “I’m in Vibe.” I love Beyonc. She is apparently one of the queens of communication. If you see Homecoming, It puts his music in a new context that gives it a completely different life. Telling visual stories doesn’t have to be extraordinary or “avant-garde”. However it should be clear and consistent. Like Creator Tyler Has been consistent in creating a brand that is understandable. For IGOR, He comes out with Bob and the blue screen and you say, “Okay, I’m in your world.”
Check out Mikel’s full discussion from this year’s Cong Lab in Atlanta below.
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