Introduction: Shrewd Statement on the Vapidity of Pop Culture
Are you sick of inane pop song lyrics? Do you yearn for the simpler days of your youth, before anything had become cliché to you? Do you like snowflakes? Then this project is for you! In just a few easy steps, I'll show you how to take the lyrics of any Top-Fifty Pop song and turn them into a shrewd and sophisticated commentary on contemporary pop music's debasement of Art in the form a cool framed concrete poem (home decor that fits your starving literature student budget). All it takes is a working, ink-stocked printer, a colored sheet of paper, a pair of scissors, some glue, an old picture frame from a thrift store, and your jaded, world-weary soul.
Step 1: Pick a Pop Song
You can use any ranking system you like. I looked up "iTunes top ten pop songs", but feel free to peruse other sites, such as billboard.com. It's important you choose the top one listed, however, as the more overplayed the song, the more subversive your art will be. Currently the number one pop song on iTunes is "One More Night" by Maroon 5. Once you've found the song you'd like to use, look up the lyrics.
Step 2: Justify the Lyrics
By which I mean, paste the lyrics into a text-editor and justify the text. That's when you set it so that each line of text takes up the entire span of the page, like in a newspaper. At this point you may also want to play around with fonts. Once you've got the text completely filling up the page, print it out.
Step 3: Snowflake!
Do you remember making paper snowflakes in kindergarten? There was something magical about taking your clumsy plastic safety scissors to a folded scrap of paper, and seeing it revealed, moments later, as a beautiful art piece, unique to you. That was pretty much the pinnacle of artistic endeavour right there: never again afterwards were you able to commit to a project without some nagging suspicion that it's all been done before. So! Snowflake away!
In case you need a refresher, here's how: first fold piece of paper that you printed in step 2 in half both ways, first horizontally, the vertically (or vice versa). Fold so that the printed text is on the inside.
Step 4: Snowflake, Part 2
Next, snip out some shapes along each of the two folded edges of the paper. Quick tip: for this project, you'll want to cut decent sized shapes. They don't have to be huge, but don't do any tiny detail work that is smaller than the actual text that is printed on the page. Me, I'm kind of a fan of mustache shapes. Be sure to keep the scraps; those are the important parts! As you cut them out, lay the neatly out in your work space.
Step 5: Arrange the Poem
Now unfold the snowflake. Dazzling, isn't it? You may be inspired to make a reverse-version out of this piece later. The sky is the limit when it comes to artistic expression here, really. Anyway, lay the snowflake out in front of you to use a reference guide. Then, take a colored sheet of paper. I think black is best. Make sure it will fit in to the thrift-store frame you have. If it's too big, trim the edges. Place it in front of you in between the snowflake sheet and your scraps.
Step 6: Arrange the Poem, Part 2
Carefully unfold the scraps and arrange them on the page as they reflect the cut-out sections of the snowflake. If you're really OCD you can even place the snowflake over the colored sheet first and trace the holes for reference, but I prefer just to eyeball it. Once you've got the scraps arranged, glue them down.
Step 7: Frame It!
You're almost done! Now you just need to put your concrete poem in a cool vintage-looking frame. You can usually find these in thrift stores. Sometimes they are occupied by little paintings of cottages / cursive script Biblical quotations / old family photos involving an alarming amount of tweed and shoulder pads. That's fine. The main thing is to find a frame that you like that has a glass panel in it. The glass panel is important because it's what will make your creation really look like real art. So, run to your nearest thrift store and pick a frame. Toss whatever is in it (except the glass panel). You may consider re-painting it too. I like for my frames to be white, so I put a couple of layers of Jesso. But if you're in to bare wood, that's cool too.
Unfold the metal clasps in the back and remove the cardboard backing. It's probably a good idea to take the glass out and wash it real quick. Dry the glass thoroughly and slide it back it. Then slide in your poem and replace the cardboard backing. Re-fold the metal clasps.
Step 8: Voil�!
Congratulations! You've successfully generated a unique, complex and authentic piece of art with nothing more than scissors, glue and some jejune pop lyrics.
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