Exploring the symbolism behind the iconic VMA Moonman trophy

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The end of this month sees the 34th annual MTV Video Music Awards, to be held in Inglewood, California.

Artists and producers from the world of music videos, will meet to celebrate the best in the music video industry and hopefully pick up an iconic Moonman statuette. The piece was first awarded in 1984 and has since become a symbol recognising an artist’s impact, achievement and popularity within the music industry.

The idea for the Moonman statuette goes back to MTV’s launch on mainstream television in 1981. The innovative channel hit the airwaves with an opening sequence of the Apollo 11 taking off, subsequently leading to an image of an astronaut firmly planting an MTV flag onto the surface of the moon. The engraved awards mirror the astronaut, who stands on one leg as he grips the flag emblazoned with the logo for MTV. Underneath his raised leg is a footprint, a nod to Neil Armstrong and the ‘giant step for all music’ that is the fundamental ideal behind the awards.

Pat Gorman, head of Manhattan Design who conceived the introduction and also had a hand in the statuette’s final design, explained to MTV news:

“We’re like the guys landing on the moon and claiming it. We claim this land for music. The thing about music is, there’s always something happening that’s the next thing. There’s always something new. MTV was claiming that. The Moonman claims all of that; what has happened and what will become in music.”

The awards will be held on Sunday, August 27.

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