The artist who inspired Snoke and Drake

The artist who inspired Snoke and Drake

Supreme Leader Snoke and Canadian rapper Drake share a similar design sense, thanks to a mutual interest in the work of internationally renowned contemporary artist James Turrell.

Say what you will about Snoke's mysterious origins and questionable management techniques, but one thing's for sure — the man has a supreme sense of style. 

Not only can he rock a gold robe like nobody's business, but his throne room is significantly more striking than that of his predecessor, Sheev Palpatine. 

Started from the Unknown Regions, now we're here.

Started from the Unknown Regions, now we're here.

"We approached the throne room by thinking about Snoke's character," director Rian Johnson explains in Phil Szostak's excellent visual archive, The Art of The Last Jedi

"He's physically weak, so he uses theatricality." 

With its vibrant red colours and reflective floors, Snoke's throne room looks less like a 'room' in any traditional sense, and more like one of artist James Turrell's installations — and that's exactly what Johnson was going for. 

"Why don't we see if we can just go with an abstract space, like a James Turrell installation, where you almost don't know what you're looking at?" Johnson asked his crew. 

"It's just abstract red — very simple. And it's only when it catches fire that you realize, 'Oh, it's this physical thing now burning away.'" 

Think before you come for the great one.

Think before you come for the great one.

James Turrell is an American artist whose work is primarily concerned with light, colour and space.

The glowing geometric spaces he creates are intended to serve as mind-altering experiences that distort the viewer's perception of reality. 

James Turrell's The Light Inside. Photo by Miguel Da Silva, via Wikimedia Commons.

James Turrell's The Light Inside. Photo by Miguel Da Silva, via Wikimedia Commons.

But you don't need to have spent any time at an art gallery for Turrell's work to look familiar. 

In October 2015, Drake released the music video for Hotline Bling, which was heavily inspired by Turrell's use of light and space. 

Over a year before the video's release, a Rolling Stone profile described Drake dancing and posing for photos at an exhibition of Turrell's work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

"I f**k with Turrell," Drake told the publication. "He was a big influence on the visuals for my last tour."

As the Hotline Bling video was becoming a widely imitated cultural sensation, Hyperallergic posted a series of comparison shots between the video and Turrell's installations. 

Above: Drake’s Hotline Bling video. Below: James Turrell’s The Light Inside (1999) (photo via eschipul/Flickr) (via Hyperallergic) 

Above: Drake’s Hotline Bling video. Below: James Turrell’s The Light Inside (1999) (photo via eschipul/Flickr) (via Hyperallergic

Turrell wasn't officially involved in the creation of the Hotline Bling video, but he doesn't seem to have a problem with Drake's appropriation of his style — the artist released a statement via his lawyer confirming that he was "truly flattered to learn that Drake f**ks with me", and later told The Guardian that "more people have heard of me through Drake than anything else". 

Turrell has yet to react to Supreme Leader Snoke's tribute to his work in The Last Jedi.

To see more of James Turrell's work, visit jamesturrell.com

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