What if the world's greatest pop stars were from a galaxy far, far away?
The Photoshop is strong with this one: Follow Instagram's @whythelongplayface for Star Wars/music mash-ups
Name: Steven Lear
Whether we're talking about David Bowie or Bjork, there's usually something other-worldly about the greatest pop stars of all time. But what if their classic albums actually came from a galaxy far, far away?
There's a graphic artist in the UK who's been playing with that idea on Instagram. Steven Lear, a 39-year-old from London, creates "random vinyl/movie mash-ups" under the name @whythelongplayface, regularly posting parodical album covers featuring pop culture titans. He's spoofed Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Breaking Bad — but sure as Han's a scruffy-looking nerfherder, his favourite subject is Star Wars.
"I'm an obsessive movie and music fan," Lear tells CBC Arts, and he started the project while managing a London HMV. (He's since quit the record shop to better pursue "arty stuff" including Why the LongPlay Face.)
Beyond being a massive Star Wars fan — "I have my midnight tickets for the new one," he says — Lear explains that the sci-fi setting is great for comedy, more so than realistic material, at any rate.
"I find Star Wars the easiest to do," he says, and it's all about the juxtaposition. There's just something about seeing an alien that looks like a seven-foot pile of hair extensions sub in for Ozzy or Huey Lewis or Janet Jackson (apologies to Chewbacca).
Lear's been making these Photoshop mash-ups for nearly two years, and when franchise reboot The Force Awakens arrived in theatres last winter, his audience exploded. As of writing, the account has 22 thousand followers and counting. "My Instagram has grown faster than I could possibly have imagined," he says.
"I think the renewed popularity of vinyl records in the last couple of years has helped," he speculates. "A large majority of my followers are record collectors. The fact that Star Wars is bigger than ever and seems to be releasing 'good' films again keeps them in the popular zeitgeist as well."
No matter how Rogue One fares at the box office this weekend, Lear says he doesn't see an end to the project. Not yet, anyway. "I'll obviously continue doing what I'm doing until the ideas dry up or [I've] exhausted all the album covers I can think of."
See some of his Star Wars mash-ups, and follow @whythelongplayface on Instagram.
Social media can be so much more than selfies and viral videos — it's increasingly becoming a scratch pad for emerging artists and other creative minds to show off their latest work. Artstagram curates the best visual talent on Instagram, helping bring a little more art into your daily feed.