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Creator of the logos "Bieber" and "Purpose Tour" talks about creation and preconception

He recently worked with both Justin Bieber and Rihanna. The former on the massively popular Purpose world tour gear, created alongside Jerry Lorenzo of Fear of God, and the latter on death metal logo T-shirts worn by RiRi’s stage dancers during her performance at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. 

Highsnobiety caught up with Mark Riddick to talk about his journey from the dark corners of the underground to the bright spotlight of pop, and why he feels he’s stayed true to the extreme underground metal scene through it all

On subcultural double-standards

“Although I’ve now skimmed the surface of pop culture, I still consider myself to be an underground metal illustrator. My process and clients have not changed, nor has my obsession and passion for metal music. Those who follow my artwork on social media had a mixed reaction in regard to the Bieber logo I illustrated. I do believe that people who belong to a subculture, such as extreme underground music, have a sense of ownership of it. In turn, I believe fans of my artwork feel they have some ownership of what I do and because I went against the grain of the subculture, some took offense.” 

On Justin Bieber and Jerry Lorenzo

“When I received the very straightforward request from Jerry Lorenzo to work on some logo concepts for Justin Bieber’s Purpose Tour, my very first gut reaction was to laugh and say, “What the fuck?”

I was initially very confused about why I would be asked to handle this assignment but I saw it as an incredibly challenging opportunity. Illustrating for a pop star with a predominantly female fan base was a far cry from my comfort zone: illustrating for a male-dominant aggressive form of music — death metal. I was very curious where this challenge would take me and whether or not my concepts would even be used. After considering it for a few days I decided to accept the challenge.

Since its inception, heavy metal visuals have adopted the use of extreme imagery; on album covers, merchandise and through stage antics. Shock value has always been an asset to heavy metal, especially in the extreme underground metal scene. Having been in the business of illustrating for the genre for 25 years, one becomes quite numb to the shocking nature of the music and art.

Illustrating a logo for Justin Bieber was a unique way to bring back the shock value aspect associated with my work because it completely undercut all expectations. One of the several functions of art is the ability to elicit a reaction and I trust that was achieved on this assignment.

Jerry had a very unique vision for Justin’s visuals. After several rounds of logo sketches we finally came to a consensus on one of the tamest variations of the “Bieber” logo. It was legible but still had enough heavy metal influence in it to give it a slight edge, reflecting Justin’s growth as a musician.

Another reason for taking on the Bieber logo assignment was because I viewed it as an opportunity to build my network, extend my reach as an artist, and to act as a liaison for underground metal music. Working with Jerry and others within his network has broadened my connections and has already opened doors for other very unique and exciting assignments.

Furthermore, the press that followed the reveal of the Bieber logo has given me an opportunity to be a representative of the underground metal community in publications that normally overlook the importance and value this genre of music brings to the table. Being a voice for a style of music I’m passionate about, and have been such an integral part of for the past few decades, has been an honor for me.”

Interview: highsnobiety

Ckeck out the process of creating the logos:

He posted these photos on his instagram

Source: Bieber News

Creator of the logos "Bieber" and "Purpose Tour" talks about creation and preconception

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