Great Guns’ Cassandra Brooksbank has collaborated with musician BØNTHÖVEN to deliver her unforgettable new music video, ‘The D’ - starring major Renaissance art icons from the Mona Lisa to the Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Overturning the usual highbrow approach to Renaissance artwork, the video makes use of the era’s uncensored nudity to depict women’s sexual desires without shame. Talking candidly - and even crudely - the song’s bold lyrics are put into the mouths of some of fine art’s most revered figures, thanks both to animation and playful pop art speech bubbles.
Director Cassandra Brooksbank initially hit upon the Renaissance concept when trying to navigate the difficulties of crafting a film called ‘The D’ without getting banned from mainstream video platforms. Abounding in respectable male and female nudity, the artwork of the era offered ample opportunity to illustrate the song’s subject matter in a humorous and subversive way, all while avoiding issues with both censorship and copyright.
Created during the pandemic, Cassandra and BØNTHÖVEN faced the challenge of making the video without a large crew or budget. With Cassandra also being an editor, the pair turned their hands to animation, starting by collecting images, dialling up the resolution, and putting them into Premiere. They then used motion capture software to track BØNTHÖVEN’s face, mapping it onto classic paintings to make them wink, stick their tongues out, and sing the brazen lyrics - simultaneously bringing her personality to the forefront of the video.
Though light-hearted, Cassandra and BØNTHÖVEN wanted the video to offer a genuine comment on typical narratives around sexuality. In the context of Renaissance paintings, the duo noticed that the number of nude women was far higher than nude men; even in the music industry of today, female artists who wish to assert their dominance often do so through their bodies and sexuality. Aiming to turn that structure around in both a comedic and empowering way, the pair flipped the lens to present an equivalent female gaze, with men as the new object.
The collaboration with BØNTHÖVEN gave Cassandra the unique opportunity to get involved not only in building the video, but also the artist, brand, and album artwork. Aiming to transcend the music to make BØNTHÖVEN a character in a larger creative experience, the pair built her aesthetic upon the traits that set her apart from other artists - such as her training as a classical musician. Mixing this element of refinery with social commentary couched in unfiltered humour, Cassandra and BØNTHÖVEN worked together to craft an overall character that’s ‘educated, but immature’, creating music that could only be described as ‘orchestra dirty pop’ - or ‘sexy Mozart.’
Director Cassandra Brooksbank comments: “I don’t think I've ever laughed as hard as I have while making this video - it made quarantine go by very quickly. BØNTHÖVEN was right there in the edit bay with me the whole time, and this project would definitely not be as good if we weren’t both involved throughout, trying things, bouncing new ideas off each other and trying to one-up ourselves… It really pushed the project to a whole new level of craziness. I’m now getting ready to shoot some live action videos for BØNTHÖVEN too - stay tuned!”