Stéphanie Macaigne, the rap covers revisited with paint brushes

Stéphanie Macaigne, the rap covers revisited with paint brushes

The cover of an album is the first gateway to it, the first thing you see before you even listen to the music on it. So even if the name of the artist gives an idea of its content, the cover can give a second indication. It is supposed to reflect the theme and the sounds of the album. For an album that will be remembered, the musicality is of course important, but the visual elements that surround it are as well. 

We all remember some iconic covers that have marked history and are still references today. In rap, we think directly of Illmatic or Doggystyle which had marked the spirits by becoming classics. The covers of the Dirty South albums of the late 90s have become iconic with a visual as similar as recognizable, including capital letters with effect and photo montages decorated with flames.

Stéphanie Macaigne

I was lucky enough to attend the Maurice-Quentin de La Tour School in Saint-Quentin and there I had great teachers, including Isabel Barbara. Afterwards, I wouldn’t say that it was always fun because sometimes you had to learn techniques that you didn’t necessarily appreciate, but in reality it’s essential to be trained in all techniques, even if you have a preference for certain ones, as was the case for me at the time for collage, drawing or charcoal. The proof is that now I do almost just painting

Stéphanie Macaigne reappropriates the covers of rap albums to reproduce them in her own image with her brushes. A very nice way to associate her two passions, painting and rap, in parallel with her activity as a teacher. Having started painting as a teenager, she attended art classes during her high school years where she learned the essential techniques of painting. However, at that time, Stephanie was mainly dedicated to drawing, painting only during her classes or occasionally watercolors on a small notebook. It was only later that she dared to try acrylics, but it is the techniques she learned during her classes, among others, that she uses today to revisit album covers. 

At the same time, Stephanie also started listening to rap music, both French and US. Today, she listens to any kind of the musical style, from US rap to Italian or German rap, and even styles outside of Hip Hop. Moreover, she is particularly fond of the fusion of genres, in the same way as the fusion of arts, music and painting, which she mixes through her creations.

Believing that the energy released by rap music is contagious, she later decided to combine her two passions to paint album covers. An idea she associates with synesthesia, the link between the senses and between the arts. Synesthesia is the perception of sensations that allows the association of several senses in a single stimulus, for example, it can be to perceive colors when listening to music or the association of a color with a letter or a number. This association between the arts practiced by Stephanie reminds her of the notion of synesthesia, allowing her to live pictorial and musical experiences simultaneously when she paints.

Inspired by the greatest artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh or Salvador Dali, Stéphanie always tries to bring her personal touch to her creations. The pure and simple copy of a cover is not really what she looks for, if she thinks she cannot bring anything to the cover, she prefers not to dwell on it to go towards covers that inspire her. She defines her paintings as her own vision of albums, her own prism, joining the idea of synesthesia. Moreover, she systematically listens to the albums, before or during, she paints, so that she can appropriate the music while revisiting the cover.

Stéphanie Macaigne

I am a very big consumer of Monet’s colors, Francis Bacon’s compositions, Van Gogh’s and Egon Schiele’s neuroses, and Dali’s madness

It is necessary that several criteria are joined together but once again I am rather impulsive from that point of view, when I feel that I can bring something or put my grain of salt I put it !

By bringing her own vision of the albums, Stéphanie selects the covers that she will revisit by instinct, according to what she will be able to bring to the initial work, there are no real selection criteria. Stephanie is very spontaneous and impulsive in her creative process. As soon as the idea appears, the brush is already in her hand, a process that she judges herself as fiery and impatient but which is definitely part of her style and which is felt in her creations. Finally, each of her paintings represents a musical universe, a context, a technical challenge in the realization, each canvas has a story and a soul of its own that has an importance for its creator.

The revisited covers are as diverse as they are breathtaking. Even if they are systematically rap covers, the palette varies from the classic US rap of the 90’s to the modern albums of our generation through the French rap. In any case, his personal touch is always present and his works always faithful to his style.

While waiting for her next creations and exhibitions, you can find Stephanie’s beautiful work on her Instagram page, as well as her paintings for sale directly on her website:

What is certain is that Stephanie’s album cover revisits will continue to impress us with her impressionist style, an artistic movement she is particularly fond of and from which she draws her inspiration.

By Grégoire Zasa

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