Album Cover News Recap – March, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame.com’s Album Cover News Recap – March, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Ah, Spring’s in the air (and, at least out our way, the air’s quite warm and flower-scented) and, around the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe, album art and artists were making headlines throughout the month of March. Our news feed was chock-full of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items, some of which I’ll highlight now (with the rest, in greater detail, following the intro paragraphs).

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get into the heads and hearts of talented cover image producers including  Stanley Donwood, Gary Panter and Tony Hung, along with my own interview with photographer Emilie Sandy on her Deja Vu portraits featuring famous photographers striking poses made famous in their own album cover images.

Purveyors of fine art books were busy promoting their new releases, with packages on the Rolling Stones, John & Yoko, Linda McCartney’s portfolio of portraits and on Paul Weller/Jam/Style Council, as well as photographer Tim Mantoani’s book featuring photos of other famous photographers posing with their favorite photos (telling us the stories behind them), among others.

Exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery included the works of Don Adkins, George DuBose, Chris Bilheimer, Kevin Cummins and Cey Adams. The Bjork show at NYC’s MOMA garnered a lot of press attention, while the travelling David Bowie show moved on to Paris and a collection of Herb Ritts’ photos were put on display at the R&RHOF in Cleveland, Ohio. We were happy to provide cover art fans an in-depth look at the cover art show hosted at Inasmuch Gallery in Oklahoma City, OK.

Other stories included a look at the artwork of Ben Wilkerson Tousley and the Pen & Pixel team, and there were two stories on 3-D cover art – one on works by Rick Valentin and a second on Nick Relph’s Hot Chip custom covers (over 400 flavors!).  News continued with  the announcement of the nominees for this year’s IMA Awards for album cover art/packaging and number of “best ofs”, “best so far”, and Top 10s (already?), plus news of the sale of a house featured on a Pink Floyd cover and the destruction, by a local terrorist, of an iconic U2 album cover cactus. Finally, there was info on how the sale of album art can saves lives – in this case, that of Robert Freeman, whose family held an auction to raise funds for his health care.

Of course, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m still working hard to update those already there with new information and to add another 50-75 new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). I’ve got several interviews and/or features slated to be published in April, including one with Susan Archie (one of this year’s Grammy winners). In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were having to pay attention to Life’s distractions or, hopefully, you were out doing whatever it is that makes your days happy. As I’ve said many times (even last month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics (don’t you agree?), so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day (including April’s Record Store Day) to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

March 31st – 1) The nominees for the record packaging-related categories for the 14th annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs) have been posted, and it looks to be quite the international cast of designers, artists and photographers. Here are the details in both categories:

In the Album Art/Photography category, the nominees are
– Dan Seagrave, for Incite’s Up In Hell;
– Eleanor Crane, for Patrick Joseph’s Moon King;
– Ivo Cordeiro (photograph) & Rodrigo Lameiras / WhiteLab (post-production), for Melech Mechaya’s Strange People (Back Panel Card);
– Monica Bruyn/Rabidt Graphix, for Kathryn McKee’s Sang Chaud;
– Stevhen Koji Baianu, for The Dolomites’ Japan Years: Vol 1

In the Album Packaging category, the nominees are
– Chia-Wei Lai/David Lai Workshop, for  I don’t mind drifting alone with the wave by Frandé;
– Pei-Shih Wu & TotalBrand+TotalDesign Co., for Dream Lotus Symphony Orchestra & Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir’s Prajna: The Great Wisdom;
– Qing-Yang Xiao, for Chau Wakin & Zhang De Chun’s Jiang Hu | The Rhapsody;
– Qing-Yang Xiao, for Song Zu Ying’s The Epic of Love;
– Sergej Bulić/ART’S visual & process communications for Sudar Percussion & Matej Mestrovic’s Eat Suite (Album Can Packaging)

According to the group’s press release, “The eclectic mix of established and rising talent nominated in The 14th IMAs were culled from thousands of submissions that were released during the program’s eligibility period, between June, 2013 thru December, 2014. Winners will be determined by a panel of influential artist and industry judges as well as numerous talent buyers from high profile showcase platforms and performance venues throughout the world…In addition to the Winners selected by the Artist & Industry judges, music fans from around the world have until Friday, July 31, 2015 to vote for their favorite Nominees at The Vox Pop Jukebox, the fan-determined portion of The IMAs.

To see the full list of IMA Nominees in all categories, visit their site at http://www.independentmusicawards.com/…/14th-annual-indepe…/

2) Not sure if everyone has seen the postage stamp designs available in the Music Icons series from the US Postal Service, but my order arrived in the mail yesterday and I thought that I’d share some of the info on the people who designed these products, as a couple of them have a number of album cover art credits as well.

Released on a regular basis since 2013, the series now includes stamps featuring the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix (Greg Breeding/Journey Group was the Art Director and the trippy illustration was done by Rudy Gutierrez, the guy responsible for the cover for Santana’s Shaman LP); Ray Charles (Ethel Kessler was the AD, Yves Carriere supplied the photo and design was by 3X Grammy nominee Neal Ashby, well-known for his covers for Thievery Corporation and many others); Janis Joplin (photo by David Gahr and AD by Antonio Alcala); Johnny Cash (another Greg Breeding creation based on Frank Bez’s 1963 photo of the Man in Black) and Tejano music legend Lydia Mendoza, with art by a team including Antonio Alcala, Neal Ashby and his business partner Patrick Donohue.

While not quite the perfect product for album cover lovers (the UK still has us beat on that effort with their earlier series of stamps based on great British album cover designs), it is still nice to see music-related artwork priced for everyone to own (only 49 cents!).
http://uspsstamps.com/stamps/series/music-icons

March 30th – 1) While not exactly album COVER art, here’s a fine example of creative album art. I’d seen Daniel Edlen‘s work a few years back when i had my gallery, but it looks as though he’s really upped his game as evidenced by this new article by Benjamin Starr on his Visual News site…Album covers are integrated into each presentation of Elden’s artwork, which is painted directly on to each vinyl record. In this illustrated article, you’ll see examples of his portraits of Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, Frank Zappa and many others.  http://www.visualnews.com/…/portraits-of-musicians-on-old-…/

2) Artist Stanley Donwood, best-known for his intriguing album cover work for Radiohead, is the subject of a new interview with The Independent‘s Matilda Battersby in which he relays “the true story” of how he first re-kindled his relationship with his former Exeter classmate Thom Yorke, which ultimately led to their creative collaboration to produce the band’s cover imagery over the past 20+ years. The story includes references to busking and fire-breathing, so be sure to wear protective clothing while you read this interesting historical retelling – http://www.independent.co.uk/…/from-radiohead-to-jg-ballard…

3) Creative cover imagery continues to be on display in the world of rap/hip-hop music, with the use of illustration drawing a lot of attention to the artists that are creating fine covers for acts including Chance The Rapper, Action Bronson, Killer Mike, Big Pooh and many others. Writing for XXL, Sidney Madden has put together a collection of some of the most-recent examples, for your review. Note to Sidney – thanks for the slideshow, but it would have been nice to know who did the work..just saying… http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2015/…/animated-rap-album-covers/

March 27th – 1) A show opened March 27th at the House of Vans gallery in London is the “Heated Words: Initial Research” exhibition that, according to its PR, “is an immersive mixed media primer that serves as introduction to an ongoing investigation in to the life and times of a forgotten typeface.” What that means in plain-speak is that the show will focus on how and why a particular font named Fraktur became the default typeface for hundreds of hip-hop album covers. Photographer George DuBose – whose photos and notes are included in the show – traces its first uses back to a project he did for rapper Biz Markie but, as you’ll see on the show’s site, the use exploded from there…more details via the show’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/812614378804007

2) Following up yesterday’s post about Phil Hartman and his work – you’ll recall that Phil was a regular on Pee Wee’s Playhouse, which featured wild and crazy set designs by Gary Panter. Last night, to highlight his works featured in the Myopia exhibition currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Denver, Panter participated in a discussion (part of the museum’s “Who Made The 80s” lecture series) about his work with Paul Ruebens (AKA Pee Wee) and other iconoclasts, such as The Germs, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Frank Zappa. Writing for Westword, Bree Davies has posted an interview with the guy responsible for keeping us young and childish even as adults – http://www.westword.com/…/gary-panter-has-designed-everythi…

3) The work of Don Adkins, the photographer possibly best-known for his cover shot for the Bitch record titled Be My Slave that was just too-S&M-ish for Tipper Gore in the early 80s (leading her to rally for album labeling, to save our super-sensitive eyeballs from her definition of “questionable content”), is the subject of an otherwise easy-to-view exhibition up that began Sunday, March 29th at the Frame & Art Department in Hermosa Beach, CA. Adkins, who has worked primarily as a tour photographer, will be showing portraits he’s taken of musical acts including Motley Crue, Poison, Billy Joel, Heart, Peter Gabriel and Glen Campbell, taken during his 2011 farewell tour. The show runs through Sunday, April 12, with an artist’s reception Saturday, April 4th from 6-9pm at the gallery. More on this show via Michael Hixon’s article on The Beach Reporter site –
http://tbrnews.com/…/article_bb4cce10-d279-11e4-ae85-974576…

March 26th – 1) Quite the coincidence…just as I was beginning to research and write some more bios for the ACHOF site (I’m in the G’s at this point in time), along comes some additional information on someone that most of us know via his career as a comedian (and who did a dead-on Bill Clinton impersonation) but who actually had established himself beforehand as a graphic artist, illustrator and album cover art director – the late, great Phil Hartman. Writing for Fast Company magazine, John Brownlee has posted a very nice retrospective of some of Hartman’s better-known covers for clients such as America, Firesign Theater, Poco and Steely Dan. Hartman has over 40 cover credits, but we’re all happy that he had the opportunity to stretch his wings and show us his acting chops before we lost him – follow the link for more – http://www.fastcodesign.com/…/8-album-covers-designed-by-le…

2) Musician Paul Weller has teamed up with photographer Lawrence Watson and Genesis Publishing to release a new, 300+ page limited-edition book featuring over 800 photos of Weller’s solo career, along with an exclusive vinyl record. Since his rise to fame as a member of The Jam and The Style Council, Weller has released 11 studio albums, five live albums, 39 singles and three EPs, nearly all of which feature Watson’s photography – the two having met back in 1988 after Watson had shot the cover photo for The Style Council’s Confessions of a Pop Group record. For more info on the book – titled Into Tomorrow – and its availability, please visit (but hurry – Weller’s last photo book sold out very quickly!) –
http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/…/paul-wellers-later-career…

3) The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover has inspired yet another fascinating new product! Designer Wilmer Murillo has teamed up with a Taiwanese maker of on-demand, 3-D toys to create a set of “designer figures” that let collectors re-create the Fab Four’s famous walk across the street in front of EMI’s Abbey Road studios. Murillo’s interpretations of J, P, G & R remind me of the Sgt. Pepper‘s-inspired Japanese action figures that came out in the 90’s (I think via Kidrobot – does anyone remember?). Anyway, if you can read Chinese, you can hop on the ZecZec.com site (a Taiwanese crowd-funding site ala Kickstarter) and reserve a set of these for yourself or any Beatle fan –
http://blog.wilmermurillo.com/…/the-bitoy-design-collaborat…

March 25th – 1) Fans of advanced technologies will enjoy Hugh Hart’s Fast Company article on musician/tech-head Rick Valentin‘s approach to creating album cover imagery for the new record release by Thoughts Detecting Machine. Using a modified 3-D printer and software that let’s him grab wave forms from his music, he’s come up with a way to let him add customized graphics to the record’s packaging so that each record purchased is encased in a unique work of art. Rick attributes his inspiration for the basic theme of his cover to Peter Saville’s classic cover for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures but, you’ll have to admit, this is one application of modern technology that raises the bar and gives producers of physical music products a way to attract new fans and buyers. More on this, with video and photo illustrations, is available via the link – http://www.fastcocreate.com/…/diy-musician-translates-audio…

2) With SXSW wrapped up, visitors to Austin, TX can still see an exhibition of album cover designer Chris Bilheimer‘s Polaroid photo collection on display at the Bearded Lady Screen Printing location there. What you’ll find are nicely-laid-out groupings of Bilheimer’s shots of friends and associates you’ll know, including members of R.E.M., Green Day and celebrities from film and TV, along with photos he took from 1995 through 2008 of everyday things and places that interested him. The show’s up until April 11, and you can read/see more about it in Kevin Curtin’s article on the Austin Chronicle site – http://www.austinchronicle.com/…/playback-sxsw-news-and-si…/

3) Artist Ben Wilkerson Tousley has been quite in demand lately, completing commissions for book covers, film/TV graphics and the like, but it is his work in the field of album cover art that is the focus of Jason Lamphier’s article on the Out.com site. His work is done in a variety of styles and materials – from collages to ultra-clean embossed vinyl covers – and, based on the positive reaction to his efforts – his list of indie music clients should grow nicely over time (he’s only 28 years old – I see quite the future ahead of him if he maintains this level of creativity). Take a look at a collection of his work, and read the stories behind each of the pictured creations, via the link at http://www.out.com/…/album-designs-benjamin-wilkerson-tousl…

March 24th – 1) Writing for the Creative Review site, Mark Sinclair gives us an interview with art director Tony Hung about his work on the album cover for the first new recording by Blur in 12 years. Titled The Magic Whip, the cover features imagery based on Hung’s interpretation of Damon Albarn’s collection of photos and souvenirs he brought home from a trip to Hong Kong, where the band recorded music for the new album (set to be released in late April). The custom neon created for the cover is very nicely photographed by Nick Wilson, and regular buyers of LPs from Asian countries will get a kick out of the “obi-strip” included on the package. Read the entire illustrated interview via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/…/blur-the-magic-whip-neon-…

2) Fans of Pink Floyd’s album covers converged recently to bid on a garden cottage in Dungeness, U.K. that was featured on the Hipgnosis-designed cover of the band’s 1981 compilation album titled A Collection of Great Dance Songs and, when the smoke cleared after the auctioneer’s gavel came down, a lucky bidder purchased the somewhat ramshackle building for £215,000 (approx. $319,000) – £55,000 above the pre-auction estimate. Quite the souvenir, I have to say. I’m curious as to whether the new owners will be putting on rope harnesses to dance in front of their new home…Read the gory details – complete with photos of the property in its current condition – in Sam Lennon’s article on the Kent Online site – http://www.kentonline.co.uk/…/news/wish-you-were-here-33929/

3) In one more example of album artists “gettin’ no respect”, MXDWN.com writer Carlett Spike relays the story about the outcome of a long, drawn-out lawsuit between rock band Tool and the graphic artist that created the album cover for their 10,000 Days album. Turns out that a friend of guitarist Adam Jones had been hired to create the cover and, for some reason, was not credited for the work. He sued to correct this and the band then hired an insurance company to defend them against such inconveniences. The insurance company soon sued the band as well for “technicalities”, the band counter-sued and, 8 years later, an exciting conclusion was reached…No spoiler here, read the details for yourself –
http://music.mxdwn.com/…/tool-wins-lawsuit-over-album-cove…/

March 23rd – 1) To raise money for the ongoing care of the ailing photo great Robert Freeman, his family archive has released a new, limited-edition print of one of Freeman’s best-known photos – his 1965 photo titled “John Lennon with Panda”. According to The Daily Mail‘s Bianca London, Freeman’s son Dean has said that his 78-year-old father – a proud and eccentric individual – has refused all offers of aid and support from his family, forcing them to take this step in order to make sure that resources are in place to maintain the quality and dignity of life that this man – the one credited for shooting album cover shots for the first 5 Beatles albums – so richly deserves. The monies raised from this effort will also be used to maintain the elder Freeman’s archives, which contain memorable images of many important and influential people of the era – Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Ringo Starr, and others – some of whom were featured in the first Pirelli annual calendar, another of Freeman’s noteworthy accomplishments. For more info and links to the archives, click on over to the article at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Iconic-John-Lennon-snap-shot-f…

2) Writing for PASTE Magazine, Chris Kissel has posted an article in which he summarizes his take on “The Five Best Album Covers of 2015 (So Far)” and provides in-depth looks at, and the stories behind, these impressive examples of album cover artistry. Included in the list are covers from musical acts such as Purity Ring, Father John Misty, THEEsatisfaction, Moon Duo and Radical Dads – all very different and all the result of a young artist’s/illustrator’s take how best to represent the latest musical output from their music industry clients. Something for every lover of album cover art – http://www.pastemagazine.com/…/the-stories-behind-the-five-…
Looks like a good start to the year in album artwork, wouldn’t you agree?

March 20th – 1) Writing for the Creative Review, Rachael Steven just posted her list of “Record Sleeves of the Month“, and the examples she’s included really do show off the wide range of creativity still being shown by those working in the music packaging field. With Record Store Day rapidly approaching (mid-April), some acts are going all out to do something different and, therefore, memorable and sale-able. I’m particularly impressed with designer/photographer Alexander Brown’s simple-yet-elegant white vinyl box for Amon Tobin’s new release titled Dark Jovian, as well as Ghostpoet’s new cover for their record Shedding Skin that is based on hi-res photos of skin cell biopsies (!!). See/read more via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/…/record-sleeves-of-the-mon…

2) Famed album cover artist Nick Egan was kind enough to share some of the details of a multi-media show & sale taking place in Los Angeles tonight, including some pix of some of his new (non-cover) prints (see the collage accompanying this posting). The exhibition is called “Steal Music/Buy Art” and, in addition to live performances and video/film screenings, there’s an art show with prints and posters from top area designers and photographers, including Egan, Edward Colver, Greg Jacobs and many more. The show kicked off last night, so head on over to the Angel City Brewery on Alameda in Downtown LA tonight to take part in the party there – Lina Lecaro provides more of the details in this LA Weekly article – http://www.laweekly.com/…/party-pick-of-the-week-steal-musi…

3) Finally, Diffuser.FM‘s Chris Kissel poses an interesting question – “How is an album like a bottle of wine?” and, referencing a recent AdWeek interview with rocker Maynard James Keenan (who also owns a winery) where Keenan regretted losing control of his music in the digital world – happy that you can’t download his wine (!!) – Kissel suggests that one of the most-important advantages of a physical product is the large-scale presentation of the album cover art. Just as great wines are the result of a successful collaboration between grape growers and wine-makers, memorable album packages are the result of talented musicians pairing with graphic artists/art directors to produce a sleeve or package that makes fans happy with their purchase and provides some additional emotional connection between musical acts and their fans – something that is hard to do with a thumbnail image on your phone, he suggests. Read his entire essay, and then post your own thoughts when you get the chance – http://diffuser.fm/how-is-an-album-like-a-bottle-of-wine/

March 19th – 1) The talents of the Houston, TX-based design/marketing firm Pen & Pixel are on display in a new article on the Hot New Hip Hop (HNHH) site titled “The 10 Greatest Pen & Pixel Album Covers”, written by Angus Walker. Any fan of the genre will immediately recognize the firm’s classic design elements – diamond-encrusted 3-D fonts, bold use of color and graphic elements that look like they’re ripped from the most explosive scenes from any of today’s bad guys vs. good guys high-intensity action films (cars, guns, money, jewelry and buff-and-beautiful protagonists). Since the 1990s, they’ve done work for labels including No Limit, Cash Money, Suave House and other well-known deep South music producers and have since expanded their services to include music and video production, web design and marketing and logo/branding work. Each cover shown nearly leaps off the page, so test your reflexes and take a look at some top-rated efforts from this successful album cover design firm – http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/the-10-greatest-pen-and-pixel-a…

2) Classic album art, like classic rock music, continues to inspire today’s new recording acts, so it is wonderful to see a musical act’s efforts to honor one of David Bowie’s best-known cover scenes – Bowie as “Ziggy Stardust”, standing beneath a light in an alley, as he’s found on 1972’s Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust… – in a stunning recreation of the scene that’s used on the cover of their own album. In Barry Leighton’s article on the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald site, you’ll meet musician Ben Goddard, who is a member of a Malmesbury band called The Long Players and, working with photographer Jon Sneddon, found an ideal place on St. Dennis Lane to substitute for the original Heddon St., London, location and prepared it for use in this effort. I think that you’ll agree that the participants have done a truly amazing job – even more amazing in that it was done to promote the band’s March 15th local concert during which they played the entire Bowie record from start to finish! See the results via the link – http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/…/11856706.Malmesbury_mu…/

3) Finally (for today), more Bjork-related coverage, this time provided by Juxtapoz Magazine in their nicely-illustrated coverage of the show currently running in NYC’s Museum of Modern Art that provides a career-spanning retrospective of her work as a creative artist in the fields of music and visuals. Included in the article is an interview with the show’s curator and many of her daring (in so many ways) album cover images. Whatever you may think of this artist’s music (I’m still not sure I like it), the attention she pays to the graphics and videos that accompany her work is simply mind-boggling. Enjoy the show, via the link – http://beyondthecover.juxtapoz.com/april-2015-bjork

March 18th – As a follow-up to my recent posting about an album art show -titled “Tailored Jackets”, taking place now through the end of the month at Oklahoma City Community College’s Inasmuch Foundation Gallery, I got in touch with the show’s organizer, Scott Tigert, to see if I could get my hands on some additional info/imagery to share with you. Not only did Scott come through with additional photos, he was also kind enough to provide me with the details about how the show was conceived and sourced, as well as with samples of the information he and the exhibition show team researched and presented to the show’s visitors. I have organized the items he’s submitted into a new variation on our “Featured Fan Collection” themed articles, presented to you today as an “ACHOF Exhibition Tour”…Hope you’ll take a moment to take a virtual tour through the show and then share this with your friends as well. I’d like to thank Scott and all the nice folks at the school and the gallery who worked so hard to put this very informative and entertaining show together – looking forward to the third installment (please let us know if there’s going to be one, of course).

https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/achof-exhibit…/

March 17th – 1) A host of new works featuring images that have inspired the world view of Def Jam Records album cover artist Cey Adams are included in a new exhibition running now at the Rush Arts Gallery in NYC’s Chelsea area. Titled “Trusted Brands”, you’ll find his interpretations of brands and logos which, like album covers, have informed popular culture. Like some of the covers he’s credited for creating – including those for acts including LL Cool J, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys – Adams feels that there are many logos that may have simply been marketing tools when they were created but have now become part and parcel of our collective consciousnesses. You can read and see more about this show, which ran through March 28th, in writer Roger Clark’s article and video report, both found on the NY1 web site at http://www.ny1.com/…/artist-of-iconic-def-jam-album-covers-…

2) The creative collaborations of talented designers often produce works that are more-impressive than the sum of their parts, so its not at all surprising to see that the efforts of the team of architect Bjarke Ingels and designer Stefan Sagmeister – well known in album cover art circles for his work on designs for Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne and the Talkiing Heads, among others – have been so impressive that they’re now the subject of a new (and now sold out!) book by art publisher Taschen. Titled Hot To Cold, the book shows and tells the story of how the two met (several years ago at a TED Talk), discovered that they were “kindred spirits” and determined then to team up to build great spaces. The book accompanies an exhibition running now through August at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, and for a look at the duo’s book-signing at Taschen’s store in Soho, NYC, you can simply click on the link to reporter Laura Feinstein’s article on the GOOD Magazine site – http://magazine.good.is/art…/bjarke-ingels-stefan-sagmeister

March 16th – 1) When rapper Kendrick Lamar decided that he wanted to feature an album cover image of an oppressed people banding together to take their government back, he tapped a photographer who, besides shooting album cover images for scores of international jazz/classical artists, has published a series of portraits of Senegalese wrestlers who’ve banded together to publicize and improve their bleak existences. Denis Rouvre‘s Lamb served as a follow-up to another series of portraits he took of people pushed to the brinks of their ability to endure hardship – survivors of the tsunami in Japan – and this new project seems to be tailor-made for his abilities – more on the cover and the photographer is included in writer Matthew Trammell’s recent article on The Fader site – http://www.thefader.com/…/meet-the-french-photographer-behi…

2) To follow-up the previous week’s article regarding the non-scientific-but-interesting selection of the “Top 10” album covers in Portland, OR’s music history, the folks at Plywerks (makers of the new Vinny series of album cover frames) have posted a series of photos capturing the kick-off event for their products and presenting the winners of the voting that night –http://www.plywerk.com/blog/2015/03/top-pdx-records/
Here are the Top 4 records – #1 is Menomena’s 2007 record Friend & Foe; #2 is Paul Revere & The Raiders’ 1963 release Sande’; #3 is Over The Edge, the 1983 release by Oregon punk rockers Wipers and at #4 – fans of Portlandia rejoice – Sleater-Kinney’s 1999 album The Hot Rock. Congratulations to the winners for covers well done.

March 13th – 1) Album art/rock photo fans that attended the Art Basel show in Hong Kong in March were fortunate to have been able to stop by the Taschen Publishing booth to take a look at (and, perhaps, buy) one of the two recent releases that feature, respectively, photos of John Lennon & Yoko Ono (in Kishin Shinoyama‘s John & Yoko, Double Fantasy) and the Rolling Stones in the 500-page, “Sumo-sized” book titled The Rolling Stones. Both books are available in limited-edition/signed offerings that include signed photo prints (“Collector’s” editions). While several of these editions have already sold out, others remain (priced anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the photo print included), so this is a great opportunity to “kick the tires” before purchasing one of these great books – more info on this on the Artsy site – https://www.artsy.net/…/editorial-taschen-brings-john-yoko-…

2) Allison Meier’s article on the Hyperallergic site about artist Victor Moscoso‘s new gallery show running now (thru April 25th) at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Manhattan brings you inside the gallery to see the artist’s full-range of psychedelic works, including his drawings/paintings for Zap! Comix, a wide range of gig posters for nearly every major band playing in the Bay area and, of interest to ACHOF fans, his album cover work for Steve Miller, Jerry Garcia, Sopwith Camel and Herbie Hancock. Victor Moscoso: Psychedelic Drawings 1967 – 1982 helps illustrate Victor’s role as one of the most-significant creative artists of his era, along with Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, Clay Wilson and others that contributed to the burgeoning San Francisco art scene, so if you can’t see the show in-person, take a moment to enjoy Allison’s preview via the link –http://hyperallergic.com/…/strange-days-in-victor-moscosos…/

March 12th – 1) Here’s another example of a photographer shooting portraits of other photographers…As the professional photo industry was moving from film to digital, one photographer – Tim Mantoani – felt that it was important to take advantage – perhaps one last time – of the availability of large-format film and thought that it’d be interesting to ask his fellow shooters to participate in a project where he’d photograph them with their “favorite” or best-known images. Since 2006, he’s taken over 150 portraits and collected anecdotes for each and, just recently, has released a book called Behind Photographs, where you’ll find album cover artists including Jim Marshall, Bob Gruen and MarK Seliger talking about their favorite shots of (respectively) the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, as well as that of many others who’ve shot some very well-known images in the areas of sports, politics, celebrity and US/World history. 14 of these stories are featured in an article by Christian Storm on the Business Insider site, reachable via the link – http://www.businessinsider.com/portraits-stories-14-iconic-…

2) Artist/Art Director Mario Hugo has worked long and hard to achieve success in the competitive graphic arts arena and, along the way, knew that there were a number of good (or great) works produced that, for one reason or another, were not approved for use by his clients. He also knew that that was certainly the case for most other creatives in his field so, recently, he contacted some of them and asked them to contribute examples of good-but-rejected designs to a new blog he launched called Recently Rejected. Some of the works submitted were those done for music industry clients and, in Carey Dunne’s recent article for the Fast Company site, you’ll get some insight into the projects that, although they produced some memorable imagery, just didn’t ring the client’s bell – http://www.fastcodesign.com/…/12-rejected-designs-that-show…

March 11th – Another photography-oriented “three-fur”… 1) When the ACHOF was launched, the voting panel chose a group of “early influencers” to honor – those selected being folks who had contributed to the acknowledgement of album cover imagery as an art form. While he was not included in the original selection as it is that our focus is on rock and pop music-oriented album covers, most-certainly some were left out and, with today’s posting, I hope to correct that to some extent. Although Chuck Stewart has always been labeled as a “jazz photographer”, with hundreds of credits for cover shots for jazz greats including Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and scores of others, his reputation brought him many other early rock and pop cover commissions, shooting covers for James Brown, Bo Diddley, Mary Wells, George Benson, Tito Puente and “the chairman” (and label owner) Frank Sinatra. Writing for Newsweek (and recording a video interview you’ll find there as well), reporter Jared T. Miller interviewed this photo great in his Teaneck, NJ home, which you can enjoy as well via the link – http://www.newsweek.com/through-chuck-stewarts-lens-history…

2) Album cover work provided the jumping off point for another talented shooter who has successfully branched out in to both fashion photography and video direction – in this case, for UK-based creative Jason Arber. In a recent interview with Chris Gampat for The Phoblographer web site, you’ll trace the path from record cover designer – with credits on packages for artists including Mike Hughes, Janet Jackson, Oasis and The Pandemonium, among others – to his career as a web designer, art/culture magazine publisher and now creative lead for his own photo/video studio called Phantom Limb. You’ll find the liberally illustrated article via the link at http://www.thephoblographer.com/…/jason-arber-creative-fas…/

3) Well, it is time again for a new Tumblr photoblog where iconic album cover images are re-imagined by a designer, in this case being a designer who is also in love with cats. Begun in 2012 by Alfra Martini with a cover featuring “David Meowie & Bing Catsby”, The Kitten Covers blog has added a large number of images that all feature a kittenish twist on a well-known image. You’ll find covers for The Clash, Queen, N.W.A., Heart and, my personal favorite (what’s yours? please share) Unknown Whiskers by the Purr Division (!!) – The Cat Channel‘s Cari Jorgenson provides an introduction via the link – http://www.catchannel.com/…/cats-recreate-classic-album-cov…
Wonder if they’ll have a selection of Litter Box Sets soon 😉

March 10th – 1) The David Bowie travelling exhibition (“David Bowie Is”) has been setting records at every stop during its run (currently, in Paris, France), with many of the items on display from Bowie’s official archives, which are quite extensive and, based on the info provided in this Jemma Buckley article in The Daily Mail, will soon include a set of lifelike masks depicting Mr. Bowie at various stages during his career. Originally, the life masks were made of Bowie’s face as part of his participation in the making of the movie “The Man Who Fell To Earth” and these props were discovered in storage and given to UK-based artist Mark Wardel, who proceeded to replicate and then decorate them to depict Bowie as he looked, for example, on the cover of his Aladdin Sane LP. Bowie was so impressed that he bought an entire set, which will now be part of his collection. Read more, and see some examples of these impressive masks, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Aladdin-Vain-Bowie-snaps-entir…

2) The late Linda McCartney’s photos and designs were found on many popular album covers (and illustrating scores of magazine articles) while she was active as a photographer from the late 1960s up to her untimely death in 1998. You’ll find her work on records such as her hubby’s McCartney, Ram, Venus and Mars (and others), as well as discs for Jimi Hendrix, Pretenders and Neil Young and, in a new book published by Taschen called Linda McCartney: Life In Photographs. The book includes a treasure trove of images of the photographers friends and acquaintances, including The Beatles (surprise!), the Rolling Stones, actors Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw and many of her family doing what comes naturally when you’re some of the most-visible celebrities in the world. Writing for the Daily Mail site MailOnline, Caroline Howe gives us an illustrated preview, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Candid-camera-photographs-Love…

March 9th – 1) On Thursday night, March 5th, I was happy to have been able to attend the launch of the new “Vinny” line of album cover art frames and accessories at the Madehere PDX store. These items are made by Plywerk, a Portland (OR)-based company that produces a full line of handmade products – picture frames, record crates and works of art fused to their “restoration juniper” wood backings – and is currently hosting a CrowdSupply.com project to allow fans to purchase these new products prior to their retail release. The record stand is available for $44, the 12″ square frame is $59 and you can visit their site for more info. As part of their launch, the company turned to Portland Mercury art/music writer Ned Lannamann to help select the “Top 10 Portland Album Cover of All Time”, and the list features covers for PDX-based bands old and new, including The Dandy Warhols, The Thermals, Dead Moon, Lifesavas, Sleater-Kinney, Paul Revere & The Raiders and several others. Review the selections – http://www.portlandmercury.com/…/the-top-10-portland-album-… and see the results of final voting on the Plywerks.com site.

2) One of the best-known photographers who worked in the fields of fashion, celebrity and album cover imagery – the late Herb Ritts – is the subject of a new exhibition that launched Friday the 13th of March at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. In “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits”, you’ll find over 30 shots of some of the best-known musical acts of their era – David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Cher, Bob Dylan, Chris Isaak, k.d. lang, Madonna, Prince,Tina Turner and many others – along with video interviews, alt shots and other portraits from his years providing editorial and advertising imagery for magazines including Interview, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Visitors are also able to take their own photos in front of backdrops taken by Ritts – more on this in Jeff Niesel’s article on the topic on the Cleveland Scene site at http://www.clevescene.com/…/rock-hall-to-open-new-photo-exh…

March 6th – 1) Album art fans in the nation’s center are being treated to a new exhibition titled “Tailored Jackets – 2nd Fitting” featuring a collection of 59 signed album covers representing 80 years of album artistry. The grouping is owned by Scott Tigert, a Cultural Programs assistant at Oklahoma City Community College at 7777 S. May Ave. and was on display at the Inasmuch Gallery of the Visual and Performing Arts Center from March 6th through March 27th. Attendees were able to enter a drawing for a 1923 poster featuring pop star (at the time) Bessie Smith – more details about the show are available via the link – http://www.occc.edu/cp/currentgallery.html

2) How are your Catalan language skills? While it might help fully-understand this news report about the opening of the Johnson Gallery in Barcelona (mentioned in the previous day’s news posting), viewers will most-certainly get a good sense of the joy folks in attendance felt with the show and the appearance of one of the featured photographers, George DuBose, who (in English, thankfully) gives us a little info on some of his photos that are included in the show, including album cover shots he took of The Ramones and B-52s. Enjoy reporter Victor Jonama’s report as found on the BTV web site – http://www.btv.cat/…/johnson-gallery-una-galeria-dedicada-…/

3) The art world has suffered much in terms of vandals destroying history but, rather than revisiting the atrocities that have taken place in Iraq, we’re treated to one closer to home. The iconic Joshua Tree that was featured on the cover of U2‘s 1987 album of the same name was toppled a number of years ago, but fans still take regular pilgrimages to the spot and, this year, one of them arrived shortly after someone had taken a saw to the tree in order to take home a large souvenir from it…what’s next – IEDs near Abbey Road Studios? The pathetic details are found on The Daily Mail (UK) web site, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/U2-fan-pilgrimaged-band-s-Josh…

4) Just posted a new interview with photographer Emilie Sandy about her “Deja Vu” photo series, which features new portraits of well-known music industry photographers posed as if they were the subjects in some of their best-known shots. You’ll learn a bit more about how she organized these sessions and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business – Anton Corbijn, Chris Gabrin, Gered Mankowitz, Robert Whitaker and many others – as they recreated their famous portraits of artists such as Miles Davis, Elvis Costello, John Lennon and others. Liberally illustrated, you’ll find this article posted at the following link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/interview-wit…/

March 5th – Limited only by your imaginations…. 1) Winnipeg Jets goal-tender Ondrej Pavelec is such a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen that he goes all-out to integrate all things Boss into his daily routine. For most of us, that would mean playing Springsteen tunes while wearing a concert t-shirt, but for the 27-year-old Czech native, the best way to maintain a high level of Bruce-on-the-brain was to have his protective helmet/mask decorated with images taken from the covers of his favorite records. On the custom-painted gear, you’ll find snippets lifted from Born In The USA, The River, Magic and Born To Run. The work was done by Swedish artist Dave Gunnarson, whose “DaveArt” business has provided airbrush art for many NHL players. More on this in Bobby Olivier’s recent article on the NJ.com site – http://www.nj.com/…/springsteens_albums_commemorated_on_nhl…

2) Artist Eisen Bernardo attracted a lot of attention recently with his “Mag+Art” project, where he combined cover images from magazines with famous works of art to create new works of Pop Art. His next logical step was to go all Christian Marclay on us and combine album covers with masterworks, which he has done quite nicely in a series that focuses on the covers of Taylor Swift albums. Titled “Album+Art Tribute To Taylor Swift”, you’ll find the singer’s covers blended in to works by Dutch, German, French and Italian masters. While the jury’s out as to whether her music lasts as long as the influence of these painters, it’s obvious that she has a great fan in this artist based in the Philippines – https://www.behance.net/…/…/AlbumArt-Tribute-to-Taylor-Swift

March 4th – 1) The works of photographer George DuBose – well-known to album art fans for his many cover shots for artists in Punk (Ramones, Misfits), New Wave (B-52s, Go-Go’s, others) and early Rap/Hip-Hop (Biz Markie, Notorious B.I.G., more) – were included in the kick-off show for a new rock-n-roll photo gallery that opened on March 5th in Barcelona, Spain. The Johnson Gallery (named after blues legend Robert Johnson) is the brainchild of fan/collector/entrepreneur Philippe Delecluse, who’ll be offering a slate of images from George and other respected rock photographers including Mick Rock, Adrian Boot and Curtis Knapp. When the gallery opens its doors, visitors were able to view over 50 images and listen to a concert given by Johnny & The Blues Workers. Since the gallery’s site is still under construction, here are the important details in case you’re in the area and want to join Philippe and his team in the post-grand-opening festivities – Gallery Johnson, Pg. Rector Oliveras, 4, 08009 Barcelona. (C. Arago between Roger de Llúria and Bruc). Open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 16 to 8:00 p.m. Email: galeriajohnson@gmail.com

More info: galeriajohnson.com (coming soon). To preview some of George’s works that will be available thru the gallery, please visit his website at http://www.george-dubose.com/

2) Well, the first reviews of Bjork’s new show at MOMA in NYC are in and, well, at least this particular reviewer wasn’t all that impressed…Long an artist that has stretched the limits of normalcy in the visuals that accompany her music (her album covers and music videos all being great examples of her willingness to experiment), the museum’s show is segmented into displays built around each of her eight studio albums, with costumes, props, photographs and other items included that should assist fans in getting a better look behind the scenes of the pop mistresses artistic endeavors. In his review for the ArtNet News site (http://news.artnet.com/…/ladies-and-gentlemen-the-bjork-sho…), Ben Davis shares his frustration with everything from the displays to the audio guide that accompanies the show (it “doesn’t actually guide you”). If any of you have seen the show and can provide your own details and opinions, please share them here.

March 3rd – 1) Possibly the best-known photographer who covered the rock music scene in Manchester, UK beginning in the late 1970s, Kevin Cummins is now the subject of a new exhibition now on display at the Lucy Bell Fine Art gallery on Norman Road in East Sussex, UK, from now until April 10th. The show’s titled “Disclosure” and includes over 50 images Cummins took of the players that made up the “Madchester” music scene, including Joy Division, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Morrissey, The Smiths, Stone Roses and Manic Street Preachers, along with other members of rock royalty – including the Rolling Stones and David Bowie – who he’d shoot portraits of and album covers for later in his career. Read more about the artist and this show in this article on the Art Daily site at http://artdaily.com/…/Exhibition-at-Lucy-Bell-Fine-Art-feat…

2) Anyone who cruised Sunset Boulevard and the surrounding areas will recall the many billboards you’d have seen promoting the latest releases by major music acts, and it was welcoming to see Robert Landau‘s book on the subject when it was published a couple years back. One of the best-known designers to have contributed to these mega-sized works of art was John Van Hamersveld (whose Exile On Main Street billboards for the Rolling Stones became quite famous for their mind-blowing imagery), and now that he’s got a gallery of his own in San Pedro, he’s brought together a number of photos of those works – along with Mr. Landau – and hosted an event on March 5th during which visitors were treated to a special presentation about these billboards, followed by a book-signing and the release of several limited-edition prints. For details about the event, please visit the Post-Future Art site at http://www.post-future.com/williams/williams.html

3) Just a reminder to all Bowie art fans – the “David Bowie Is” exhibition is now on display at the Philharmonie de Paris from now until the end of May. The show was a HUGE success in London so, with its emphasis on design, fashion and art, I’m predicting a respectable turn-out during the exhibition’s run in France. There will be a number of design and music-related events that will take place at various times while the show is on display, so if you’d like to learn more, please visit the show’s site at
http://davidbowieis.philharmoniedeparis.fr/en
This palace to the arts is easy to reach via the Paris Metro (Line 5, Porte de Pantin station), and the building by Jean Nouvel is a wonder in itself…

March 2nd – 1) With all the excitement and controversy regarding that white/gold/blue/black dress, it only makes sense that a music industry writer with a keen eye for color would put together an article wondering what the similar process of over-saturating colors might have done to some of our favorite record covers. Let’s thank Music Times writer Ryan Brook for this in-depth look at what our ability/inability to see certain colors – in this case, blue – differently under different lighting conditions might have done to our appreciation of records from Nirvana, Weezer, The Eagles, John Coltrane and several others. http://www.musictimes.com/…/blue-dress-viral-light-sensatio…

I just hope that this is all over soon.

2) I continue to be impressed with the imagination shown by music marketers with regards to coming up with new ways to differentiate their clients’ packaging…Here’s an example of a band that hooked up with an “on demand’ printing company to create a unique album cover for each and every physical copy produced! As you’ll see in this article by the staff at HUH., designer Nick Relph prepared a basic style guide for Hot Chip’s upcoming release (to be titled Why Make Sense?) and, when orders start to come in, a cover printed in one of over 500 colors will be used, along with similar-but-slightly-different graphics, when the record is finally put into its sleeve. I hope to find out more about this process but, in the meantime, you can view an animation that shows some of the many options available when you place your order – http://www.huhmagazine.co.uk/…/every-physical-copy-of-hot-c…

3) At least once a year, an article is written about the occasional use of nastier-than-normal album art to help package and promote new music. This year’s article is presented to us by Gavin Edwards, writing for Rolling Stone Magazine, and includes 20 records that, in their own special way, were considered “naughty” by both the press and record retailers, many of whom would not sell the records until they’d been veiled somehow. Not sure exactly what prompted this year’s offering – maybe the $500M box office so far for 50 Shades of Greyhttp://www.rollingstone.com/…/as-nasty-as-they-wanna-be-the…

That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed – https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.

 

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