The Alter Ego
It’s not uncommon for musicians like Cristina Aguilera- Bionic to create nonhuman alter egos. Robots, mutants, monsters, aliens, superheroes and all other forms of fictional beings are fair game, especially if they allow the artists to experiment with a new sound and style. Christina Aguilera did this with her 2010 album, Bionic, in which her robot alter ego not only gave the album a sonic and lyrical theme, but also provided some inspired artwork.
Christina Aguilera had already sexed up her image with her Stripped album, and she returned to this territory on Bionic. This time she fashioned herself as a (sex)bot from the future, which is why the bulk of the album featured futuristic electro-pop production. This also explains the robot theme on the artwork.
The Bionic cover art was created by D*Face. A former graphic designer who was deeply influenced by Shepard Fairey and other major players in the street art scene, D*Face has become one of the most recognizable street art figures in the world. He has also helped bring mainstream legitimacy to street art by creating The StolenSpace Gallery, which showcases urban art.
The name, D*Face, is a play on words. On one hand, street art is viewed as defacing property. But on the other hand, D’Face’s specialty is faces. He has a penchant for altering the faces of pop culture figures, often splitting them in half with skulls. For Christina Aguilera, he used a photo of her by Alix Malka. However, instead of making her face half-zombie or half-skull, he made her half-robot, which is consistent with the central concept of the album.
The robot side of her face is loaded with musical images, including pipes, horns, songbirds, records, and phonographs. Closer inspection reveals hidden messages, such as “mom” which either represents her mother or her newfound role as a mother (which was a big influence on her life and this album) and “Max,” her son’s name. The intricate details added by D*Face make this album cover worthy of repeated close analysis.
D*Face’s artwork questions what it means to be alive. The images of familiar figures in death and decay reminds the audience of the precious balance of life and death. This relates to an interesting split in this album. Before being titled Bionic, it was titled Light & Darkness, another dichotomy.
A brief overview of some of D*Face’s pop-culture-influenced skull works.
Source: Quora by Aaron Ellis Writer/Editor