The Zolo Esthetic

August 2, 2006 at 1:38 pm Leave a comment

The Zolo concept is chiefly applied to music, but the visual element is essential. The term itself was taken from the abstract building toy Zolo (shown above). The toy looks like the music sounds. Abstract, colorful, off-kilter are all synesthetic qualities Zolo music possesses.

While the Zolo esthetic can be traced back to the Middle Ages in the colorful dress of the jester (and later the pierrot), it wasn’t until the rise of abstract art that its roots firmly took hold. A good example is Kazimir Malevich’s Cubo-Futurist masterpiece The Knife Grinder (1912):

Kandinsky took it a step further in the 20’s:

And Stuart Davis in the 30’s/40’s:

In the 1950’s abstract patterns became very popular, drawing much inspiration from the 1920’s zoomorphic styles of Joan Miro and Alexander Calder. Some of the space age and science fiction styles of this period (and into the 60’s) are also important, though tend not to be as colorful.

It wasn’t until the late 70’s/early 80’s, however, that the Zolo esthetic would come into its own along with the New Wave. The Zolo styles of this period drew from all the previous manifestations of the esthetic.

Some album covers:

Comic books like Heavy Metal and Raw also helped perpetuate the style.

In fact the prevalence of the Zolo esthetic in comics and graphic novels throughout the 1980’s deserves its own post someday.

These are just cursory examples. More posts on specific artists will appear in the future.

Entry filed under: ZoLo Art.


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