Project

Cover Story: Paintings And Magazines In Eisen Bernando’s Project

Philippine designer, Eisen Bernando, finds similarities between magazine covers and classical paintings and puts them together in his "Mag + Art project."


Eisen Bernard Bernando, 28 years old

He was born in Abra-de-Ilog, lives in Los Baños, Philippines. Multimedia developer; works for the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, has experience teaching design and calligraphy at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. His favourite book is The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto by Mario Vargas Llosa. Works by Gustave Klimt, Andy Warhol and Andrey Tarkovsky are among his main inspiration sources.


I’m fond of homage, similarities and references in movies, music, and other art forms. In my "Mag+Art project" I wanted to show similarities between magazine covers and classical paintings. By putting them together, I wanted to compare and contrast modern and classical aesthetics.


The Project

As I was looking for pairs of works to put together, I was trying to find magazines and paintings that can produce visual puns or establish meaningful connections - not only visual but conceptual. Like what I did with Van Gogh and Robin Williams (both suffered from depression), Penelope Cruz and Picasso (both are Spanish), Christian Grey in chains, Miley Cyrus covering up her body, I wanted every piece to have both humorous and fascinating effect on the viewer.


{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_01.jpg",
"alt": "The birth of Angelina. Angelina Jolie, Esquire July 2007 + The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli",
"text": "The birth of Angelina. Angelina Jolie, Esquire July 2007 + The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/art_02.jpg",
"alt": "Retrato de Penelope. Penelope Cruz, Vogue Spain November 2012 + Portrait of Olga by Pablo Picasso",
"text": "Retrato de Penelope. Penelope Cruz, Vogue Spain November 2012 + Portrait of Olga by Pablo Picasso" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/art_01.jpg",
"alt": "Robin Williams. Robin Williams, Parade Magazine September 2013 + Portrait of Père Tanguy by Vincent van Gogh",
"text": "Robin Williams. Robin Williams, Parade Magazine September 2013 + Portrait of Père Tanguy by Vincent van Gogh" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_02.jpg",
"alt": "Saint Ali. Muhammad Ali, Esquire April 1968 + Altarpiece of St Sebastian by Master of the Holy Kinship (II)",
"text": "Saint Ali. Muhammad Ali, Esquire April 1968 + Altarpiece of St Sebastian by Master of the Holy Kinship (II)" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_03.jpg",
"alt": "Adam and Miranda. Miranda Kerr, Rolling Stone July 2009 + Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder",
"text": "Adam and Miranda. Miranda Kerr, Rolling Stone July 2009 + Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_04.jpg",
"alt": "Rihanna’s Mood. Rihanna, GQ January 2010 + Humeur Nocturne by William-Adolphe Bouguereau",
"text": "Rihanna’s Mood. Rihanna, GQ January 2010 + Humeur Nocturne by William-Adolphe Bouguereau" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_05.jpg",
"alt": "Sa(lva)rtorial. Leonardo DiCaprio, GQ Australia March 2012 + Self-portrait by Salvator Rosa",
"text": "Sa(lva)rtorial. Leonardo DiCaprio, GQ Australia March 2012 + Self-portrait by Salvator Rosa" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_06.jpg",
"alt": "Girl with a Cigarette. Keira Knightly, Interview Russia June-July 2012 + Girl with a Perl Earring by Jan Vermeer",
"text": "Girl with a Cigarette. Keira Knightly, Interview Russia June-July 2012 + Girl with a Perl Earring by Jan Vermeer" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_07.jpg",
"alt": "Hannelore Elsner at the Column. Hannelore Elsner, Interview Germany February 2013 + Christ at the Column by Donato Bramante",
"text": "Hannelore Elsner at the Column. Hannelore Elsner, Interview Germany February 2013 + Christ at the Column by Donato Bramante" },
{ "img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_08.jpg",
"alt": "The View of Whistler’s Mother. Barbara Walters, Variety Magazine April 2014 + Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Whistler’s Mother) by James McNeil Whistler",
"text": "The View of Whistler’s Mother. Barbara Walters, Variety Magazine April 2014 + Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Whistler’s Mother) by James McNeil Whistler" }


In a way this project is a homage to print media as a venue of artistic expression and vehicle of popular culture. Who knows, maybe one day these magazine covers will be considered full-fledged artworks? It is interesting to observe how the idea of art, and what can be called art, changes from one generation to another. Can, for example, the celebs and models from magazine covers be considered "muses" for contemporary artists? And is the layout, photography, art direction and typography of a magazine cover an art form similar to sculpture and painting?

My work is open to interpretation. Many say that it is a parody of the current culture, some even see in it a feminist connotation and objectification of women in the arts and media. Some really hate it, saying that I just copied existing works and pasted magazine covers into them using computer software.


{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_cover.jpg",
"alt": "Sweet Escape. Gwen Stefani, InStyle Magazine November 2011 + ‘Dolce Far Niente’ by John William Godward",
"text": "Sweet Escape. Gwen Stefani, InStyle Magazine November 2011 + ‘Dolce Far Niente’ by John William Godward"},
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_11.jpg",
"alt": "Lady Athenais. Lady Gaga, Vanity Fair January 2012 + Athenais by John William Godward",
"text": "Lady Athenais. Lady Gaga, Vanity Fair January 2012 + Athenais by John William Godward"},
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_12.jpg",
"alt": "Mila with the Rose. Mila Kunis, Interview August 2012 + Lady with the Rose by John Singer Sargent",
"text": "Mila with the Rose. Mila Kunis, Interview August 2012 + Lady with the Rose by John Singer Sargent" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_13.jpg",
"alt": "The Wedding. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Vogue April 2014 + Las Meninas by Diego Velasquez ",
"text": "The Wedding. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Vogue April 2014 + Las Meninas by Diego Velasquez" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_14.jpg",
"alt": "Poker Night. Charlize Theron, W February 2012 + Poker Night by Thomas Hart Benton",
"text": "Poker Night. Charlize Theron, W February 2012 + Poker Night by Thomas Hart Benton" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_15.jpg",
"alt": "The Priestess of Pop. Lady Gaga, Rolling Stone June 2011 + A Priestess by John Godward",
"text": "The Priestess of Pop. Lady Gaga, Rolling Stone June 2011 + A Priestess by John Godward" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_16.jpg",
"alt": "Victoria’s Sunday. Victoria Beckham, Vogue Magazine August 2014 + A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat",
"text": "Victoria’s Sunday. Victoria Beckham, Vogue Magazine August 2014 + A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_17.jpg",
"alt": "The King of Swag. Justin Bieber, V Magazine February 2012 + The King of Cats by Balthus",
"text": "The King of Swag. Justin Bieber, V Magazine February 2012 + The King of Cats by Balthus" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_18.jpg",
"alt": "Portrait of Natalie Portman. Natalie Portman, W Magazine May 2005 + Portrait of Frances Sherborne Ridley Watts by John Singer Sargent",
"text": "Portrait of Natalie Portman. Natalie Portman, W Magazine May 2005 + Portrait of Frances Sherborne Ridley Watts by John Singer Sargent" }


Art and Media

I love classical paintings, so I’m familiar with lots of artworks. And I love to collect magazines, especially the controversial and popular ones. So I do a mental matching of the magazines and the paintings before I start working in Photoshop. The actual work is similar to assembling a jigsaw puzzle. I go by the trial and error method. Sometimes, my instinct in matching is correct, but most of the pieces posted in my Tumblr are products from beautiful accidents. Generally speaking, I like to bridge classical arts (visual, literature) and popular culture (film, music, showbiz).

In the recent years a lot has been said to the effect that "print media is dead." But I don’t think it’s true. Most of print media is harnessing the power of the internet to make themselves more relevant in this online age. Their use of websites and social media has enabled them reach a bigger audience, geographically and demographically. So, I think the internet is the key for the print media to strengthen its relevance.

Most of us are media dependent. All of our daily activities are media-driven. We use mass media and social media to inform and be informed, to entertain and entertained. Kids nowadays cannot live without internet connection. In today’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the Internet is one of the basic ones.



{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_20.jpg",
"alt": "Portrait of Mrs Shawn Corey Carter. Beyonce, Cosmopolitan UK March 2009 + Portrait of Mrs. Charles Frederic Toppan by William McGregor Paxton",
"text": "Portrait of Mrs Shawn Corey Carter. Beyonce, Cosmopolitan UK March 2009 + Portrait of Mrs. Charles Frederic Toppan by William McGregor Paxton"},
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_21.jpg",
"alt": "Kirsten and her Companion. Kirsten Dunst, Esquire February 2012 + ‘Good Companions’ by Vittorio Reggianini",
"text": "Kirsten and her Companion. Kirsten Dunst, Esquire February 2012 + ‘Good Companions’ by Vittorio Reggianini" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_23.jpg",
"alt": "Pattinson by Stuart. Robert Pattinson, Vanity Fair Italy March 2010 + The Skater (portrait of William Grant) by Gilbert Stuart",
"text": "Pattinson by Stuart. Robert Pattinson, Vanity Fair Italy March 2010 + The Skater (portrait of William Grant) by Gilbert Stuart" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_24.jpg",
"alt": "Alicia meets Jose Maria. Alicia Martinez & Jose Maria Manzanares, Vanity Fair Spain November 2012 + Nausicaa by William McGregor Paxton",
"text": "Alicia meets Jose Maria. Alicia Martinez & Jose Maria Manzanares, Vanity Fair Spain November 2012 + Nausicaa by William McGregor Paxton" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_26.jpg",
"alt": "Medusa in Paradise. Rihanna, British GQ Magazine December 2013 + Flora by Sir John Roddam Spencer Stanhope",
"text": "Medusa in Paradise. Rihanna, British GQ Magazine December 2013 + Flora by Sir John Roddam Spencer Stanhope" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_27.jpg",
"alt": "If You Don’t Reblog this Post, We’ll Kill This Dog. 'If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog.' National Lampoon January 1973 + Jean Baptiste Claude Odiot by Robert Lefevre",
"text": "If You Don’t Reblog this Post, We’ll Kill This Dog. 'If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog.' National Lampoon January 1973 + Jean Baptiste Claude Odiot by Robert Lefevre" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_28.jpg",
"alt": "Mindfuck. Stephanie Seymour & Marlon Teixeira, Vogue Hommes International No.16 + Portrait of the Adolfo Best Maugard by Diego Rivera",
"text": "Mindfuck. Stephanie Seymour & Marlon Teixeira, Vogue Hommes International No.16 + Portrait of the Adolfo Best Maugard by Diego Rivera"},
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_29.jpg",
"alt": "Portrait of Brad Pitt. Prad Pitt, Rolling Stone December 2008 + Portrait of Gustav Pongratz by Vlaho Bukovac",
"text": "Portrait of Brad Pitt. Prad Pitt, Rolling Stone December 2008 + Portrait of Gustav Pongratz by Vlaho Bukovac" },
{"img": "/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mags_30.jpg",
"alt": "Lady Halle. Halle Berry, Interview Germany November 2012 + Lady Godiva by John Collier",
"text": "Lady Halle. Halle Berry, Interview Germany November 2012 + Lady Godiva by John Collier" }

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