I have begun to research advertising – although this is such a broad area and I will only be able to scratch the surface, however my main focus has been the language that is used in advertising – and those crossovers that I have found between adverts and propaganda posters.
The research that I have done, although only beginning to uncover the crossovers between advertising and propaganda, has led me to understand the real similarities between these two communicative devices. Advertising aims to put forward an ideological standard of living, a standard of living that can only possibly be reached with the purchase of the product/service in question – advertising companies adopt many different ways of advertising, each tapping into different areas of the human condition. The sheer quantity of advertising attempts to drill into us the value that a product/service can add to our lives – offering us very little space to escape from the new, better narrative that our lives could have, if only we were to listen to the adverts.
In this way advertising draws quite a clear parallel with propaganda, the purpose of propaganda (particularly soviet Russia and communist propaganda) being to promote an ideological way of thinking and living that can only be delivered by following the regime commissioning the propaganda.
I wanted to begin to respond visually to the research that I had done – these are a few of the quick pieces I came up with – they aren’t very strong but my aim was to begin to illustrate the way I was responding to the research I was doing).
This was my attempt at creating a simple analogy to the impact that I feel advertising has on us as individuals in a capitalist society. It is really basic, and does not explore capitalism and advertising in depth – but it was an image that I had in my head when looking at advertising.
Here were a couple of other quick sketches.
I have also been considering a few artists that explore advertising in their work –
Titchner explores the hidden system of meaning that lies behind contemporary culture and its values. I find his work really interesting, it really draws attention to an invisible world, uncovering the real reasons behind the way that Western society behaves. The hidden beliefs are brought to the open in his work, making reference to sacred, religious imagery – illustrates our value systems within society. Whilst the meaning that Titchner draws on is reference to modern Western society – what can clearly be seen is the similarity in the ideologies of Propaganda.
Similarly to Titchner, in her art pieces ‘truisms’ Jenny Holzer explores the strategies used by advertising and consumerist culture – with the hope that their exposure will allow us to overcome the control that it has on us.
Andy Warhol, unlike the above two artists, looks to embrace advertising and consumerism in his work. He takes images of popular culture and holds them up as objects that unite us. To Warhol, advertising seems to be a tool to celebrate the objects that are born out of consumerism – objects that he uses to illustrate the freedom of choice that the system offers.