A little bit about the 2012 Grammy Award nominees in the packaging categories…updated with info on the Winners!
This year’s nominees in the packaging category included a wide range of talents – a few past nominees and winners, a number of U.S. and international design firms, some designers working directly for the musical acts represented and, as we’ve seen from past examples including folks like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, the handiwork of the musicians themselves, showing us that there’s more to their creative talents than just great songwriting skills.
You can view the offical list of the winning works from previous Grammy Awards events on the Grammy website (http://www.grammy.com/nominees/search?artist=&title=&year=All&genre=22), but here’s a bit of background on each of this year’s winners and nominees – an impressive group of creative individuals, for sure!
2012 Grammy Award Nominees – “Best Recording Package”
The Winner – Bjork – Biophilia (One Little Indian/Nonesuch) – Michael Amzalag & Mathias Augustyniak, art directors
Michael and Mathias are the partners in the M/M Paris art and design studios (www.mmparis.com). In addition to their work for Bjork, they’ve provided their art direction talents to a long list of clients including Kanye West and Madonna, fashion designers Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney and Jill Sander, Vogue Paris, and a host of contemporary artists.
To read an interview with the M/M Paris team on the MTV Hive site (by Eric Spitznagel), please click here. Mr. Augustyniak believes that the destinies of music and visual arts are linked (“If one doesn’t do anything strong to find a way to have a visual support to music, music is going to disappear. Do you know what I mean?), and true fans of album cover design can only nod their heads in agreement…
– Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls (ATO Records) – Brett Kilroe, art director
Brett Kilroe has worked as a member of the Runner Collective design group (http://www.runnercollective.com/), VP of the RCA/Sony BMG Creative Group and as a Professor at the School of Visual Arts. Past clients include musical acts The Strokes, Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters, Warner Brothers, MTV, the Museum of Modern Art, and Rolling Stone magazine.
– Aimee Mann – Charmer (SuperEgo Records) – Gail Marowitz, art director
Past Grammy winner (for her work on Aimee Mann’s 2005 record The Forgotten Arm) Gail Marowitz (AKA “The Visual Strategist” – http://thevisualstrategist.com/) is also the creative director for Roadrunner Records. A 20+ year veteran in the music design business, Gail has also worked for Imago Records (Henry Rollins, Paula Cole), Sony Music Entertainment/Columbia Records (Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, James Taylor) and Wind Up Entertainment (Evanescence, Pilot Speed, Finger Eleven).
– David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant (4AD) – Noah Wall, art director
This fascinating take on the Beauty & The Beast theme features prosthetics by Gabe Bartalos, photography by Richard Burbridge and artwork/type by Catalina Kulczar, Juan Marin, Steve Powers and LeeAnn Rossi . Noah Wall is a Brooklyn, NY-based designer and web developer working under the name Knowawall (http://www.knowawall.com/www/index.html).
– Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan (Domino Recording Company) – David Longstreth, art director
A fine example of a multi-talented contributor, Mr. Longstreth is also the singer/songwriter and guitarist for the Dirty Projectors. He’s also directed a film about the album, titled Hi Custodian. The cover photo (http://www.dominorecordco.us/usa/albums/15-03-12/swing-lo-magellan/) was taken by David’s brother (and fellow artist) Jake and was taken outside of the NY house where they were recording the album, during a visit by their neighbor Gary.
2012 Grammy Award Nominees – “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package”
The Winner – Woody Guthrie – Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings) – Fritz Klaetke, art director Fritz is the founder of the Boston, MA-based creative agency Visual Dialogue (http://visualdialogue.com/). A well-respected member of the Boston design scene, Fritz has also lectured at a number of design schools both in the US and abroad. His firm’s clients include Rounder and MB Records, HBO, The Smithsonian, thehive.com and Dominos Pizza. They’ve designed over 70 CD packages for Smithsonian Folkways over the past 20 years!
To watch a video of Fritz’s acceptance speech at the Grammy ceremony (during which he thanks the Recording Academy for highlighting the ongoing importance of album cover art in the promotion/packaging of music), please click on the following link – http://vimeo.com/59417275
– Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Soundtrack From The Motion Picture (Null/Madison Gate Records) – Rob Sheridan, art director
A previous Grammy nominee for his work on the 2008 Box Set for Nine Inch Nails titled Ghosts I-IV, Rob (http://www.rob-sheridan.com/) is a graduate of NYC’s Pratt Institute of Design and has been working with Reznor and Nine Inch Nails since 1999. when he was hired to develop and run the band’s web site. As their creative director, he’s responsible for “everything from album art to stage design”.
– Ben Kweller – Go Fly A Kite (The Noise Company) – Kate Iltis, Ben Kweller, Liz Kweller, Erin Mayes, art directors
Kate Iltis and Erin Mayes are partners in the Austin, TX – based design firm EmDash (http://www.emdashonline.com/). Clients include publishers such as Random House, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster, The Society of Illustrators, National Geographic, Perla Chocolates, Davidson College and the Universities of Texas and Florida.
– Paul & Linda McCartney – Ram – Paul McCartney Archive Collection – Deluxe Edition (Hear Music) – Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors
Simon and James work together at the London, UK-based design firm YES (http://www.yesstudio.co.uk/). Previously nominated for the album cover and promotional campaign for the band Dirty Vegas, their client list includes the EMI, Island, Parlophone and Warp record labels, BBC Channel 4 and a number of book publishers and gallerists.
– The Rolling Stones – Some Girls: Super Deluxe Edition (UMe/Universal Republic) – Stephen Kennedy & Jimmy Tilley, art directors
Stephen and Jimmy are, respectively, the Creative Director and the Art Director for West London, UK-based Studio Fury design/art direction firm (http://studiofury.co.uk/). In addition to their work on the nominated package, they worked with the Rolling Stones (along with artist Ian Wright) on artwork for a 50th anniversary book on the band, with the cover image (the famous Lips & Tongue logo) created from 2500 round badges featuring never before seen photos of the band taken from the archives of The Mirror newspaper.