Arty musicians: how art schools also train in music

At the start of the year, one thing strikes us: The most anticipated albums in France are those of artists who are plastic artists by training. And at a time when art schools are in danger, artists continue to prove that they are a rich breeding ground in which a good number of music groups flourish.
Since the 1960s, the young pop-rock scene has mainly emerged not in music schools but in art, cinema, architecture or painting schools. So do these artists produce music in the continuity of their initial training or rather against it? And what can music do that the other arts cannot? A brief overview of art school musicians.

Flavien Berger, from graphics to music

Flavien Berger constructs his albums using recurring motifs borrowed from electronic music that is both clinical and very comforting. Each disc is thought of as a long journey and is imagined thanks to Flavien Berger’s first classmates, those he met at the ENSCI (prestigious school of graphic design). “Today, I surround myself with designers to wrap the music I produce, particularly through the attention paid to scenography, but I am no longer a graphic designer” he said. Flavien Berger is therefore in line with musicians, mainly pop and rock, who came to music against another artistic training. We can also think of international pop titans like John Lennon who fled his plastic arts studies to found the Beatles or Freddie Mercury who was a graphic designer before singing and initiating the group Queen.

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Brian Eno, the revelation of a musician at the Beaux-Arts in Winchester

In 1970, Brian Eno produced the music for the experimental short film ” Berlin Horse by Malcolm Le Grice when he had just graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Winchester. Unhappy student, this school will change his life. His few years of study in art school were marked by meeting Professor Tom Phillips. He is a painter and engraver and will greatly encourage the young Brian Eno. One of the student’s first installations was made up of old pianos that he stripped bare and put into play with a tennis ball. Later, he develops the musical aspect of his works by discovering and using the recorder. It was then that Tom Philips, an excellent tutelary figure, introduced him to Scratch Orchestra, a British experimental music ensemble gathered around the figure of Cornelius Cardew. It was then that he understood that he could be a musician without playing an instrument.

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Music programming and archives

  • Flavien Berger, The eyes, the rest
  • Flavien Berger, Until then
  • Brian Eno, Berlin Horse
  • Talking Heads, Once in Lifetime
  • Life without Buildings, The Leanover
  • Archive : Miss Kittin on the formatting of art schools, program “Cultural Affairs”, France culture, 2022
  • Sexy Sushi, Go away
  • Archive : Julia Lanoé who talks about his studies at the Beaux-Arts, interview

    Trax magazine, 2022

  • Tya Mansfield, To forget I sleep
  • Archive : PR2B who talks about his studies at la fémis, program “

    These days“, 2021

  • Johan Papaconstantino, Intro

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