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Title: Still life and death metal : painting the battle jacket
Author: Cardwell, Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 3096
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis aims to conduct a study of battle jackets using painting as a recording and analytical tool. A battle jacket is a customised garment worn in heavy metal subcultures that features decorative patches, band insignia, studs and other embellishments. Battle jackets are significant in the expression of subcultural identity for those that wear them, and constitute a global phenomenon dating back at least to the 1970s. The art practice juxtaposes and re-contextualises cultural artefacts in order to explore the narratives and traditions that they are a part of. As such, the work is situated within the genre of contemporary still life and appropriative painting. The paintings presented with the written thesis document a series of jackets and creatively explore the jacket form and related imagery. The study uses a number of interrelated critical perspectives to explore the meaning and significance of the jackets. Intertextual approaches explore the relationship of the jackets to other cultural forms. David Muggleton’s ‘distinctive individuality’ and Sarah Thornton’s ‘subcultural capital’ are used to emphasise the importance of jacket making practices for expressions of personal and corporate subcultural identity. Italo Calvino’s use of postmodern semiotic structures gives a tool for placing battle jacket practice within a shifting network of meanings, whilst Richard Sennett’s‘material consciousness’ helps to understand the importance of DIY making practices used by fans. The project refers extensively to a series of interviews conducted with battle jacket makers between 2014 and 2016. Recent art historical studies of still life painting have used a materialist critique of historic works to demonstrate the uniqueness of painting as a method of analysis. The context for my practice involves historical references such as seventeenth century Dutch still life painting. The work of contemporary artists who are exploring the themes and imagery of extreme metal music is also reviewed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social History ; History of Art