October 24, 2016

Celebrating music in motion with Moleskine

Words by Emil Hofileña

As a brand that celebrates the tradition of creativity throughout history, Moleskine has reached a milestone by finally honoring a specific group of artists who have proven seminal to the development of pop culture as we know it across multiple genres: The Beatles.

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Though this is not the first time Moleskine has paid tribute to musicians — they released a similar collection in 2015 for American jazz label Blue Note Records — their new set of five Beatles-inspired notebooks capture a very specific sound and personality in the band’s career. The collection bases its designs on the artwork for the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine, which in turn was based on The Beatles’ constantly evolving musical style.

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Yellow Submarine is revered as a classic of the animated genre due to its nature as an exercise in pure, unbridled expression. There isn’t much of a plot to be followed; it is the film’s psychedelic visuals and music that push events forward in a stream of consciousness. A far cry from most other animated films of the era, Yellow Submarine displayed what else was possible with the medium beyond cartoons and educational materials aimed squarely at children. Its seamless unity of look and sound make the film a singular experience — proving that The Beatles were one of the first bands to have a multimedia visual style inseparable from their music.

In fact, without John, Paul, George, and Ringo, many of the other entertainment brands and characters featured by Moleskine’s limited edition collections may not have even existed — at least certainly not in the way we know them now. Beatlemania was one of the largest cultural events of the last century, and there is no doubt that Disney, Coca Cola, and Lego, among others — all of which have also inspired Moleskine designs — were affected by the this boom in one way or another. Contemporary pop culture in general arguably owes its power and enduring presence to The Beatles.

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To coincide with this new collection, Moleskine has also released a promotional video created by artist and animator Roger Wieland. The video features scenes and characters from Yellow Submarine in the style of stop motion animation, but using Moleskine notebooks and papercut art. Wieland not only shows how far technology has gone, but how far-reaching The Beatles’ influence was and still is, and how timeless Yellow Submarine remains.

Moleskine prides itself on following in the footsteps of great artists such as Bruce Chatwin, Ernest Hemingway, and Vincent van Gogh. It is said that they brought with them black notebooks similar to Moleskine’s classic designs in order to jot down thoughts, lines, and sketches that would later on become great pieces of art. By officially including The Beatles among the icons they’ve honored, Moleskine affirms the Fab Four as great artists responsible for many of our cultural touchstones. And by specifically singling out Yellow Submarine among the rest of The Beatles’ work, Moleskine celebrates the intersection of visual art, film, and music, and how these genres need not stand disparately from each other.

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It is part of the Moleskine philosophy that carrying a nomadic object such as a small black notebook can connect us with history’s artists in their most primal stages of creation. Keeping in mind that the likes of Picasso and Matisse also started with a single unsure stroke can inspire us to be brave enough to make our own first marks of the pen. Now with The Beatles on their roster, Moleskine helps us imagine what it must feel like to be a musical superstar creating the next big hit, or just a young Liverpool hopeful with a story to tell.

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