ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUary, 2017
by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Greetings from Chicagoland. It’s “awards season”, what with the Grammy Awards, BAFTAs, Writer’s Guild and Independent Spirit Awards and, to end the month with a bang, the Oscars (followed, in a few months, by another flurry including the Billboard, Tony and BET Awards shows). I don’t know about you, but I’m growing a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of these shows and am somewhat confused as regards their relevance beyond the steady stream of production-related income enjoyed by the folks that stage them…Of course, people should be proud of what they do and want to praise the best examples of work within their respective fields of artistic endeavor, but I find it somewhat sad that some of the most-talented people – those working behinds the scenes, with their credits listed well-down from the top (you know, the part that’s sped through at an impossible-to-read pace during on-screen credit rolls) – are only mentioned in passing or, as we saw during the Oscar telecast, relegated to their own sparsely-attended and covered award ceremonies. Trust me, I understand why this is the case. I mean, who wouldn’t rather see a popular musician’s acceptance speech than hear from the recording engineer or the music video director (or the team that created the group’s logo and album cover), so that’s what sponsors and fans expect to see during an award show telecast. I guess that we fans of cover art can only take solace in the fact that you’ll probably see many more people wearing Dark Side of the Moon t-shirts than clothing emblazoned with a photo of Katy Perry thanking her fans, the label, her manager and her accountant for their support…
In this month’s summary, you’ll continue to be impressed with the stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business. You can be sure that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works will continue to promote these good works and will share what they do with the rest of us. There continues to be a number of articles about album cover art/artists in daily the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.
Please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.
1) Upcoming, recently-launched/CuRRENTLY-RUNNING and just-closed show/exhibitions –
a) You know his work and, beginning March 11th at the University of Brighton (UK), you’ll be able to tour through an exhibition culled from his 50+ year portfolio of work as a world-class designer, illustrator and, alongside his commercial practice, educator. George Hardie’s credits include work he did while part of the Hipgnosis team for clients including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Alan Parsons, Genesis and many other classic acts and then, working independently and in collaborations since the early 1980s (with design firms including Pentagram, The Partners and Trickett & Webb), Hardie provided his talents to a wide range of clients and garnered widespread recognition for his stamp designs for the Royal Mail, including the Channel Tunnel commemorative stamps in 1994, the Millennium stamp (for which he won a D&AD design award) and the Magic stamps in 2007.
An experienced educator, Professor George Hardie taught postgraduate students of graphic design at the University of Brighton’s Faculty of Arts and Architecture from 1990 until his retirement in 2014. He has run a number of design workshops world-wide and was a visiting professor at the University of Nagoya, Japan in 2006. In 1994, Hardie became a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (where he served as International Secretary from 2007-2010) and was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry by Britain’s Royal Society of Arts in 2005, an award given to design professionals who have shown “sustained excellence in aesthetic and efficient design for industry”.
His work has been exhibited extensively, including shows at the University of Brighton (1993′s “George Hardie Works”), Barcelona and in Ljublijana in 2008. His books – Available in Other Colours: the Illustrations of George Hardie: A Book of Scraps (1993, and winner of the graphic design section of the Pantone International Color Award that year). Denouement (1996) and Colour Atlas (1997) have been included in design exhibitions at the Pentagram Gallery and in Nagoya, Japan.
This new show at the University of Brighton’s University Gallery in Grand Parade will include a display of the original artwork for one of his best-known album covers – the dirigible-covered Led Zeppelin – the size of which, to fans of record art, will come as a bit of a surprise, much like the first time you see the Mona Lisa (it’s smaller than you think). Hardie shares a bit of the story behind that cover in an intro article by Andre Rhoden-Paul on The Argus (UK) web site – http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/15099162.A_stairway_to_heaven_for_fans_of_record_covers/
The “George Hardie: 50 Odd Years” exhibition will be on display through April 7th, with more info available on the following web sites – https://www.brighton.ac.uk/about-us/news-and-events/news/2017/02-14-george-hardie-%e2%80%93-50-odd-years.aspx
University Gallery info – http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/whats-on/gallery/gallery-exhibitions-2017/march-2017/george-hardie-fifty-odd-years
b) This past month marked the launch of a newly-curated rock photo show at the prestigious Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT titled Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography that, as you’ll read in the article recently posted on the New England Cable News site (which also gives you a nice video tour of the show along with an interview with the show’s curator – and the museum’s director – Tom Denenberg), gives fans a lot to see during their visits. Over 250 photos, including both well-known and little-seen images shot by a virtual “who’s who” of photographers from the world of music, features work by a number of people who’ve contributed photos for album covers including George DuBose, Bob Gruen, Lynn Goldsmith, Laura Levine, Jim Marshall, Baron Wolman and many others.
Fans will remember Denenberg’s original staging of the “Backstage Pass” show several years ago at the Portland (ME) Art Museum and, for this updated showing, they’ll be able to take home a new souvenir catalog – published by Yale University Press – that includes over 100 of the images on display, along with essays by Greil Marcus, Glenn O’Brien, Laura Levine and Kate Simon.
For more information on the show, which runs through May 7th, visit the museum’s site at https://shelburnemuseum.org/exhibition/backstage-pass/
c) Chicago-native Jim Marshall moved at an early age with his family to the Fillmore District in San Francisco, and purchasing a camera while still in high school, began his career by capturing the musicians and artists working in the Bay Area on film. In 1964 he covered performances at the Newport Folk Festival and then moved back to San Francisco later that year. From that point forward, he was given unprecedented access to most of the iconic events in the history of popular music, shooting The Beatles’ final concert at Candlestick Park (the only photographer allowed backstage) in 1966, the Monterey Pop Festival and the pre-eminent acts performing during the “Summer of Love” in 1967 (Santana, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Cream, etc.), Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968, Woodstock, Johnny Cash “flipping the bird” at San Quentin and adding his images to the album covers for The Allman Brothers Live At The Fillmore East, Moby Grape and Commander Cody’s Country Casanova.
The 1970s found Jim continuing his streak of award-winning images, many of which graced the covers of Rolling Stone and LIFE magazines, including photos of the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, T-Rex, Joni Mitchell, jazz greats Carmen Mcrae and Dizzy Gillespie and Karl Malden and Michael Douglas on the set of the TV series Streets of San Francisco. In 2004, Jim received the Lucie Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Music Photography” and a book, titled Jim Marshall: Proof, which provided a rare look at the creative process, was published. In 2005, he was the recipient of MOJO magazine’s 2005 “Honours List Image Award”.
Two photo shows that chronicle the late photographer’s life titled Jim Marshall: 1967 – one at San Francisco City hall (Ground Floor Exhibition + North Light Court Banners) now thru June 17th, with a separate show in Los Angeles at the Grammy Museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery on the second floor beginning March 10th (and running through May 14th) – are available for public consumption and, for a recent article that introduces us to these shows and how they were organized, the team at Juxtapoz Magazine interviewed SFAC Director Meg Shiffler as well as several other well-known chroniclers of the Bay Area music scene, the results of which can be read via the link at https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/jim-marshall-s-1967-an-all-access-pass/
d) For a new installation at two venues in downtown Los Angeles (FigAt7th and the Bank of America Plaza) that premiered February 10th and runs through the end of March, psychedelic art legend John Van Hamersveld has produced several monumental images in vinyl that will serve as centerpieces to a show of his works from the late 1960s to present day. Titled Signs of Life, you’ll get a chance to get up close and personal with examples of artwork produced by the talent responsible for some of your all-time favorite album covers, including Magical Mystery Tour for The Beatles; Blondie’s Eat To The Beat; Hotter Than Hell for KISS; The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street and many others.
Produced by the Arts Brookfield organization, you can learn more about the show on their site at http://www.artsbrookfield.com/event/signs-of-life/
Events that will be taking place in conjunction with this exhibition run from a special, psychedelic-themed Valentine’s Day party to a series of luncheons that will be held every 2nd and 4th Friday in February and March, during which you’ll be entertained by musicians from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) who’ll perform music by each iconic musician (Beethoven, Mozart, John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix) portrayed on the windows of Bank of America Plaza.
e) On February 8th, 2017, the New Museum in NYC opened a major exhibition focusing on the work of artist Raymond Pettibon. Presented on three full floors of the museum, “Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work” is the largest curated show of Pettibon’s work to date and features more than 700 works he’s created, from the 1960s to the present. One of the best-known artists to emerge from the LA-area punk rock scene of the late ’70s-early ’80s, Pettibon – the brother of Black Flag guitarist/song-writer Greg Ginn – rose to fame creating the minimalist and hand-drawn images for the band and their label, SST Records. Pettibon’s album cover credits include Introducing The Minutemen and Post-Mersh, Vol. 1 for The Minutemen; Life – A Tiny Twofer; Mike Watt – Hyphenated-Man; Black Flag – My War, Jealous Again, Slip It In and The Process of Weeding Out; Sonic Youth – Goo; Foo Fighters – One By One; Off! – Off! and Wasted Years and Saccharine Trust – Past Lives.
The museum’s show was curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director. Visitors and fans will be able to purchase an illustrated catalog of the show (co-published by the New Museum and Phaidon Press Limited), and following its run at the New Museum (on display through April 9th), the exhibition will travel to the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, the Netherlands, where it will be on view from June 1–October 30, 2017.
Writing for Juxtapoz Magazine, Carlo McCormick also provides a bit of an art world overview in this recently-published article on the magazine’s web site – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/raymond-pettibon-the-pen-for-these-times/
f) The popularity of themed cruises – particularly among Baby Boomers, who quickly snap up cabins on the several music-themed excursions that feature name acts performing for, and then mingling with, appreciative audiences – continues to grow, but this one’s the first I’ve seen that also included an exhibition and gallery of notable music imagery as well as the featured artist – in this case, Roger Dean – on board to help promote the sale of his works.
Departing from Tampa, FL this past February 7th and headed out on a fun-packed four-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, classic rock fans on the “Cruise To The Edge” were treated to a schedule of performances by musical acts including YES, Kansas, Steve Hackett, Focus, Spock’s Beard, Mike Portnoy, Pat Moraz and many others. In between sets, album art fans were able to head on over to the Diamond Club on Deck 13 to view the exhibition mounted by Dean and his U.K. fine art dealer, Trading Boundaries and, when so motivated, purchase one or more of the many prints that were on sale there. Dean was also selling collectible doodles and produced a special-edition Cruise To The Edge 2017 print just for tour participants. Details on this sold-out cruse are posted on gallery’s site at https://therogerdeangallery.smugmug.com/Exhibition-Dates as well as on the cruise line’s site – http://cruisetotheedge.com/
Now that they’ve returned to dry land, I’m able to point you to an article posted by Elmore Magazine’s Ira Kantor who, as a traveler on that cruise, was able to report back on what he experienced on board, from all of the music he was able to eat to an overview of the Dean exhibit, where he met Roger and shared his love of the album that kicked the artist’s career as a record cover designer into high gear – Afro-Pop band Osibisa’s self-titled 1971 debut, which featured flying elephants that would become the band’s signature visuals ( side note – after Dean did the band’s first 2 covers, the group brought in another fantasy-inspired artist – Mati Klarwein of Santana/Miles Davis album cover fame – to do their third record’s cover). He also walked away with a personalized print of one of Dean’s wonderful covers for YES – Tales from Topographic Oceans. Lucky guy.
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) Jamaican-born (but now Los Angeles-based) artist and photographer Neville Garrick has enjoyed a long association with the late, great Bob Marley (and several other well-known reggae music acts), having produced record covers, stage props and the like for his clients, so it would only make sense that, as they extended their brands into new areas, he’s be brought on to help design promo imagery/packaging for these new efforts as well.
Being as it is that a major component of the Rastafarian religion is the consumption of cannabis, the Marley family name has, for some time now, been used to brand a line of cannabis products sold in the U.S. called “Marley Natural” which, according to their site, “celebrates Bob Marley’s appreciation for the healing power of nature, the beauty of the earth and the relationship we all share with it.” As it is that Garrick is also one of the founders and Executive Director of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, he’s brought his in-depth knowledge of both the musical legacy and ongoing promotion of pot-related activities to task by coming up with the package designs for the brand’s first Anniversary product line, which you can find out more about in this recent article by Oscar Pascual on the SFGate.com site – http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2017/02/21/bob-marleys-album-cover-artist-now-designs-music-legends-cannabis-packaging/
Each of the four designs created by Garrick was greatly inspired by Herb (and not the “Peaches &” variety)…
b) To offer local musical acts “something special” when it came to album cover design/packaging, designer/art director David S. Blanco took it upon himself to expand his service offering a bit further than most. In fact, he created a record label – called Blank Editions – which creates and sells limited-edition music packages, recorded on vinyl and cassette tape, that incorporate Blanco’s biggest design influences, including architecture, minimalist art and the design aesthetic promoted in the 1970s by the Sainsbury grocery chain.
Writing for the Creative Boom site, Emily Gosling profiles David and the London-area company he launched in late 2011, showing off a number of his eye-catching packages he’s created for the three lines of projects he publishes – the Solo Series, which are limited-edition vinyl singles sold in handmade packaging; the Blank Tapes series, “mini albums”, EPs and experimental work from local acts which are released on cassette tape; and The Blank Community, which is, according to the label’s site, “an open ended series to service more official work by local bands and artists.” Artists who’ve worked to release music through Blanco’s label include Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, Douglas Hart from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Yuki Tsujii from Bo Ningen, Ted Milton from Blurt and several others. An in-demand designer/illustrator, Blanco has also done work for happy commercial clients such as The Guardian, Independent and Observer news organizations, Porter Air, Marquis Vodka, Nat Boyd and other record labels including All Saints, Heavenly, Polyvinyl, RCA and Universal Records.
Read more about this multi-talented (and greatly committed) artist via the link at http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/david-blanco/
c) “I always thought music and art went hand in hand together” is a quote from U2 bassist Adam Clayton as he talks with Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art for the Christie’s auction house prior to a sale that includes works by the late Pop artist jean-Michel Basquiat, about his passion for Basquiat’s work (which he collects) and about how the creative spirits of artists and musicians are similarly applied and how and when they intermingle, what comes out the other side…
Like his mentor/friend Andy Warhol, Basquiat also produced some notable album art work, including the fascinating covers for the Beat Bop series for Tartown/Profile Records, The Offs and German jazz musician Peter Kowald, but it was the painter and graffiti artist’s ability to easily mingle with both the fine art and hipster crowds of his era that impressed Clayton the most – http://www.christies.com/features/U2-Adam-Clayton-on-Basquiat-8034-1.aspx?
d) In a recent episode of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s State of Wonder radio show, host April Baer and reporter Matt Drenik interview two local artists who’ve made names for themselves in the world of album cover design – Orion Landau, whose impressive work as a graphic designer and art director for the metal music label Relapse has provided stunning designs for company’s acts such as Pentagram, Pig Destroyer and Red Fang (along with many others) for over 15 years, and local design legend Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co, who has produced impressive record package and merchandise designs for musical acts including Richmond Fontaine, Dawes, Conor Oberst, Danava, the Old 97s and Dinosaur Jr. (among others) and other notable work for commercial clients including Nike, SubPop Records, Timberline, Target, Bernie Sanders and more.
You’ll learn more about what it takes to deliver impressive designs these days in a field where consumers are looking for imagery for covers (and related items, such as tour posters and merchandise) that (in Landau’s case) must appeal to a metal fan’s over-the-top expectations while guiding his clients away from “me-too” cover ideas (and producing great art on sometimes-meager budget), while Draplin is constantly challenged to create memorable work for clients who often don’t realize that they need to impress fans with quality graphics now because, quite honestly, “how many records are your really going to make in your life?”
You can listen to “What It Takes To Design An Iconic Album Cover” via the link at http://www.opb.org/radio/programs/stateofwonder/segment/chloe-eudaly-portland-winter-lights-festival-tony-furtado-sallie-tilsdale/
The interviews begin at around the 17:30 mark in the stream…
e) Photographer Piper Ferguson is one busy person these days! The LA-based shooter, well-regarded for her work over the years for a host of clients in the music business (from classic acts such as Merle Haggard, David Crosby and Kenny Rogers through the Backstreet Boys, Kasabian and the Shins to breaking acts such as Capital Cities and Bad Flower) continues to impress with projects that show off her talents as both a photographer and video director. I just received an email from Piper in which she lists some of her most-recent accomplishments, including several new music videos and some really well-shot commercial gigs (Zenni Eyewear and promo imagery for the 2017 Backstreet Boys “Larger Than Life” show in Las Vegas).
I’ve been a fan of Piper’s for a number of years now (she got me hooked with her great portraits of Merle Haggard standing in a swamp and Joe Strummer just sittin’ on a porch), so I’d invite you to take a look at her latest via this link to the web version of her recent email – http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=13a601b2c2b2ac92204379c01&id=48b49da285&e=3b62189452
f) Over the years, I’ve written several articles about the interesting fact that there are many people working as musicians who were either serious student of the visual arts or amateur image-makers, as evidenced by paintings, sculptures and the like produced by rock music luminaries including Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and many others. In some cases, however, these musicians-turned-artists have gone on to do double-duty or switched their career focuses altogether to work first and foremost as a designer, art director, photographer, etc. (e.g., Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean fame comes to mind).
In a recent article posted on The Week (U.K.) web site that excerpts from Francesco Spampinato’s interview of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon done for the new Art Record Covers book by Taschen, you can read about this artist’s ongoing efforts to participate fully as an artist of both the musical and graphic arts persuasions, beginning with her training at the famed Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (and some time spent later on working at various art galleries in NYC’s Soho art district), writing for several art scene publications and, along the way, curating art shows and presenting her own works in curated events. She’s also produced album artwork for records by acts she’s been involved with including Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore and Free Kitten as well as Essential Logic and Mirror, among others, and used her connections to the NY art scene to secure the participation of major artists such as Gerhard Richter, Mike Kelley and Raymond Pettibon to produce memorable album art for her own records (well done!).
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) In case you weren’t aware – mid-February was Grammy time (!!) and, as part of the boatload of Grammy-related activities, fans and collectors were able to help support the organizations two charitable arms – The Grammy Foundation and MusiCares – by participating in their annual signed memorabilia auction, which this year featured a number of album art-related offerings including a selection of artist-signed album presentations featuring noted Grammy Award noms and winners (Adele, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Carrie Underwood, The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder and many others). Bidding ended February 19th and, on some of the items, was quite hot and heavy… While the original set of items has been snapped up by lucky collectors, there is a post-award show collection that’s now available that includes several items signed by Grammy show participants, as well has a number of items – including a 2018 Grammy Award Show VIP Experience package (with bidding starting at $5,000) now up for bid , so why not take a look and add something wonderful to your collection as you simultaneously give your support to these charities’ great work.
b) In celebration of Black Sabbath’s return (and final) engagement in their hometown of Birmingham, England at the Genting Arena on Saturday, February 4th, the folks at St. Paul’s Gallery are offering album art fans an opportunity to buy a very limited-edition print (one of 195) of the Hipgnosis-designed Technical Ecstasy cover – hand-signed by both artist Storm Thorgerson and Sabbath guitar legend Tony Iommi.
This album – a Gold-selling record that rose to #51 on Billboard Magazine’s Pop Album chart – featured the somewhat-controversial cover art that showed, as Ozzy would put it, “two robots screwing on an escalator.” As always, the Hipgnosis team arrived at a very-interesting way to graphically-depict the record’s title, and with less than 200 copies available world-wide (and fewer-still featuring Iommi’s signature), right-minded fans might want to click on over to the gallery’s site to grab one before they’re gone – http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/album-prints/storm-thorgerson-black-sabbath-print.asp?
I first saw the band play at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago in 1971 (I think it was ’71, but might have been ’73. Wishbone Ash was the opening act…) and it was awe-inspiring for a kid in his teens. Lots of cool album art over the years, with Hipgnosis adding their unique stylings to both the 1976 Technical Ecstasy cover and the 1978 Never Say Die! cover with the two plugged-in pilots (the last studio record featuring all of the original members). Sad to see the end of their reign as the Godfathers of Metal Music, but they had a great run…
4) New Print/Book Publishing –
a) In advance of my long-form interview with Taschen’s Julius Wiedemann about his new book on the art of the album cover called Art Record Covers (which will soon be available on the ACHOF site ), I did want to point you to several nice articles on the book that, in varying degrees, help both introduce the book and the stunning works found between its covers:
– The first was posted recently by Stephanie Strasnick on the Architectural Digest site and provides you with a bit of an intro, along with some nice examples of art taken from the book. The book’s cover is Andy Warhol’s seemingly neon-inspired work for John Lennon’s Menlove Avenue record, the posthumous 1986 album of unreleased music recorded during the Walls & Bridges and Rock ‘n’ Roll sessions, so with a cover like that, you’re bound to find much to interest you on the inside – http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/proof-that-artist-designed-album-covers-are-better-than-the-rest#
– In The Guardian (UK)’s Art & Design section, the editors have selected works created by several of the world’s better-known artists and designers and have provided a bit of text, too, to go along with the large, colorful examples on display. You’ll find covers done by noted artists such as Ai Weiwei, Ed Ruscha and Keith Haring along with those by newer talents such as Ryan McGinley, Albert Oehlen and the Dutch design team Metahaven, among others – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2017/jan/20/sound-art-album-artist-record-covers-taschen-ai-weiwei-ed-ruscha-keith-haring-takashi-murakami
– In Mungo Glaysher’s recent brief article on the topic for the Middle East edition of Esquire Magazine (based in Dubai), a somewhat different selection of covers are highlighted, such as those for musical acts including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tyler The Creator and Blondes, with art by Urs Fischer, Mark Ryden and Guyton/Walker, respectively.
– Over on the It’s Nice That site – Rebecca Fulleylove writes with an eye towards that site’s design and art-oriented readers/viewers, displaying even more of the covers included in the book, adding images by Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Shrigley and Banksy, among others – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/taschen-art-record-covers-040117
b) In early 1965, cartoonist/caricaturist Gerald Scarfe was visiting the Twickenham Studios set where The Beatles were shooting segments for their film Help! and had the opportunity to sketch the band-members while they were in costume. When he was finished, he had the lads sign the work he’d created (which was later published in London Life magazine) and added it to his personal collection. Now, all these years later, Scarfe has asked the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange to help him find a new home for this rare and unusual work. For well-heeled collectors who might be interested, click on over to the special page that’s been set up on the gallery’s site (more info on this effort is coming soon – stay tuned) –
If you are, perhaps, looking for a somewhat more-affordable Scarfe-designed option, there is another Beatles-themed print currently for sale on the illustrator’s personal web site. This particular print – produced on archival matte paper in a signed and numbered edition of 100, approximately 13″ x 19″ – is of a drawing from Gerald’s book and exhibition titled, Heroes & Villains, that was held at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2003.
You’ll note that Mr. Scarfe’s work will also be included in the upcoming Pink Floyd art-related extravaganza opening on May 13th of this year at the V&A Museum in London (called Their Mortal Remains – more details forthcoming).
c) In 2013, author/broadcaster Jon Kirkman produced a gift for YES fans built around his 35+ year involvement with the band – a limited-edition book titled Time And A Word: The Yes Interviews. The autographed art book was priced for collectors, but now, working with Simon Robinson’s Stereo33 books, he’s re-worked the tome (including some updates) and is now offering the much more affordably priced, 260-page book with a new name – YES Dialogues – which features cover art, and interviews with, long-time YES collaborator Roger Dean. The new version also adds interviews with the late YES bassist Chris Squire, YES/ASIA keyboardist Geoff Downes and some members of a band named Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, the group that, in 1968, would evolve into the first iteration of YES. Learn more about this new release on the publisher’s sites – https://stereo33books.com/yes-dialogues/ and
d) With the Grammy Awards taking place this past month, it’s important for fans of album cover art to understand the sometimes long-lasting impact that certain Grammy-winning album cover designs have had on the art and music scenes, and what better way to illustrate that than to report on the recent success of a new, limited-edition book offered by the U.K. publishing house Genesis Publishing that celebrates the work of the multi-talented illustrator Klaus Voorman for 1967’s Grammy winner for “Best Album Cover – Graphic Arts”, that being Revolver by The Beatles.
In 1965, the band began to experiment with what had been, to that point, a pretty standard-issue, photo-based approach to album cover imagery when they released Rubber Soul with a cover that was pretty “trippy” and used psychedelic lettering and contained NO MENTION of the band’s name (!!). The next year, when they began the efforts to select an approach for the cover for their new album Revolver, they turned to their chum (and occasional bass-player) Voorman to apply his talents to creating an illustration that would ultimately incorporate photos that the band supplied and would go on to free other album cover art directors to try out some of their more-experimental ideas for their own clients hoping to compete for the buying public’s eyeballs going forward.
According to the publishing company’s promotional materials about the now-fully-subscribed (that means SOLD OUT) art book, “Voormann is working with Genesis Publications on a limited, Grammy Anniversary edition of a book he has created, entitled REVOLVER 50. Including new artwork, photos, and introductions by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the book offers a fascinating insight into the making of the legendary cover artwork. The commemorative REVOLVER 50: THE GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION is limited to only 500 copies. Each book comes with a signed original drawing by the artist; a one-of-a-kind artwork, from a selection Voormann has curated exclusively for this anniversary edition, as well as a special Grammy Anniversary 12-page commemorative booklet.”
As I noted previously, the two versions – a “Deluxe” edition of 67 copies (of 500 total in the edition) and priced at £325.00 and a “Collector’s” edition (#s 68 thru 500) – sold out in 12 days. Congratulations to all of you who managed to grab a copy, but for all of us who weren’t so lucky but who’d still like to go over the details (we can dream, can’t we?), here’s a link – http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-birth-of-an-icon-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm
e) Fans of minimalist-inspired album artwork ala that created by ACHOF “Early Influencers” Alex Steinweiss, Saul Bass and S. Neil Fujita and others including Josef Albers and Andy Warhol should really get a kick out of a new series of prints being offered by LA-based label/retailer Daylight Curfew, who recently collaborated with artist/designer Mick Watson who, working under the moniker Smartesgiant, has created art inspired by some of Hip-Hop’s classic albums. According to Daylight Curfew’s PR, the team chose “some of our favorite hip hop records, ones that inspire us daily, and those we classify as instant classics. Each are reinterpreted and abstracted in minimal form. Being huge fans of minimalism, abstract expressionism, and hip hop, we figured you may enjoy the collection as well.”
Included in the offering are wonderful re-interpretations of covers from musical acts including Nas, Outkast, Run DMC, Run The Jewels, Salt-N-Pepa and Kanye West.
Priced at only $45.00 unframed and $95.00 framed, each giclee’ print is sized at 18×24″ (unframed) and has been produced to museum-quality standards. They’re printed on 310gsm fine art matte cotton rag and printed with Roland eco archival inks on a bleach-free, soft-textured surface. To see the entire collection and learn more about what’s available, click on over to https://www.daylightcurfew.com/blogs/daylight-curfew/smartestgiant-x-daylight-curfew
5) Other articles of interest –
a) While Spoon’s newest album – Hot Thoughts – might not be hitting shelves until later in March, fans can get a head-start on their immersion into the new music package by spending some time with a new app called the Aura Reader that will allow you to make your own album cover image. The first step is to click on over to the special site they’ve created – http://aura.spoontheband.com/ – and then begin the process by creating a Spotify playlist of 10 songs that “describe yourself”. The app will then analyze your playlist and…well, since I’m an old person and can’t name 10 Spoon songs, let alone 10 that describe me, I’ll have to let one of my readers go through the process and then share the results with the rest of us.
Exclaim.ca’s Brock Thiessen recently published a brief overview of the app that helps explain things a bit – http://exclaim.ca/music/article/you_can_now_make_your_own_album_cover_for_spoons_hot_thoughts# Maybe if I get the time, I’ll be able to see what color my aura is but, in the meantime, enjoy yourself.
b) I hope that all you professional and aspiring album art/packaging designers/art directors saw my recent posting regarding the last date you were able to submit your work to the 2016-17 A Design Award international design competition (that being this past Tuesday, February 28th).
This huge competition – with a judging panel of over 160 scholars, professors, designers and members of the press – covers great design in hundreds of categories and, in the packaging category – everything from works for distilled beverage companies, seeds, frozen foods, cosmetics and other goods to CD and DVD sleeves and boxes. If you’d like to see the submissions turned in by the individuals and teams from around the world that beat the deadline (best of luck to you all), you can click on over to http://www.designaward.com, where winning designs will be highlighted later this year. More info at #adesignaward
c) Grammy Award Show Results – In case you didn’t get a chance to see them…during the pre-telecast “Premiere Ceremony” event on the Sunday afternoon prior to the recent award show in Los Angeles, the winners for the two design and packaging related Grammy Awards were announced, and they were:
For “Best Recording Package” – Jonathan Barnbrook (art director) for Blackstar, performed by David Bowie and released on ISO/Columbia Records, and
For “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” – Gérard Lo Monaco, art director for Edith Piaf 1915-2015, with music by Edith Piaf and released on the Warner Music France label.
Although not album image-related, I would like to congratulate album note writers Ken Bloom and Richard Carlin for their Grammy-winning work on the liner notes for Harbinger Record’s Sissle And Blake Sing Shuffle Along.
Congratulations to both the winners and this year’s other nominees for their continued great work in the field of album art and packaging design and production.
d) One of the tributes that was performed during the recent Grammy Awards telecast was in honor of the late David Bowie, so it’s nice to be able to report that one of this year’s Grammy-nominated works (and the eventual winner – Jonathan Barnbrook’s titillating cover for what would turn out to be Bowie’s final album – Blackstar ) was also recently honored with one of this year’s “Beazley Designs of the Year” awards, announced by London’s Design Museum in advance of an exhibition of all of the nominated and winning designs that was on display at the museum through February 16th.
In its ninth year, the Design of the Year awards celebrate design that promotes change, enables access or captures the spirit of the year. Previous winners have included the London 2012 Olympic Torch and the Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Barnbrook’s design was the top vote-getter in the Graphics category, while the overall winner was a project that produced the “Better Shelter”, an easily-transported, flat-packed housing module whose design team included the IKEA Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (who currently has over 30,000 of these tiny homes in use) and which, according to the item’s info page, “works to create more robust and appealing shelters for refugees” and which, while not solving the crises, “goes a long way to accelerate innovation, challenge unacceptable norms and communicate respect.”
So while an album cover design isn’t solving a humanitarian crisis, it is a fitting tribute to an artist who used his considerable public visibility and personal resources to support a number of charities, including Save The Children, Witness, War Child and many other groups that do.
e) Last year, when U.K. utility company Smart Energy GB set out on a country-wide effort to install “smart meters” in every home (with each meter including a small, in-home display that shows users their consumption stats), they turned to noted designer Sir Peter Blake (of Pepper’s fame) to help design and illustrate promotional materials for that effort. Now, in an example of generosity to one of the country’s charitable organizations, Sir Peter has donated one of only 30 signed prints of his The Arrival of the Smart Meters to People United in Canterbury, U.K.
A recent article by Tom Pyman on the Kentnews.co.uk web site gives us the details and the very happy and grateful reactions of all parties involved – http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/dartford_pop_artist_sir_peter_blake_who_designed_cover_of_beatles_album_sgt_pepper_donates_unusual_homage_to_smart_meters_to_kent_charity_1_4869813
f) While we were all saddened recently by the passing of actress/feminist icon Mary Tyler Moore, it was something of a comfort to see this article posted by reporter James Reed on the Los Angeles Times web site in which we’re introduced to some of the work MTM did as a model for late 1950’s album covers, including several for a label called Tops, who included a young Ms. Moore’s youthful visage (and dancer’s physique) on records with titles such as Latin Favorites (by Miguel Lopez), Organ Favorites (by Steve Philips) and not one but two Gigi records – one for Gordon Fleming and the other for the Norman Leslie Orchestra. Included in the story is a link to a RateYourMusic.com page where you can find these covers and choose your favorites. While these early works don’t give us much of a clue as to how Ms. Moore would grow into the portrait of the intelligent, independent woman – one that didn’t rely on her looks to make it in “a man’s world” – they certainly help illustrate how the products released by record labels of the era most-certainly reflected the societal norms of the period.
g) Those of you who’ve been following my writing over the years know just how impressed I’ve been about the long-lasting nature of some of the imagery that’s been created to help both promote a band’s music and to create symbols that fans immediately are drawn to (think the Lips & Tongue logo for the Rolling Stones, the Skull Fiend image for the Misfits, etc.). And whether you’re a fan of their music or not, you cannot deny that, since its first appearance in 1980, there have been very few icons that have so consistently identified a musical act as Iron Maiden’s “Eddie” (AKA “Eddie The Head”).
What’s interesting about this particular character is that, unlike many bands who’ve had only one or two artists responsible for the basic “look and feel” of a character, in Eddie’s case, there have been at least 8 artists who’ve all produced their own take on this key player, from Derek Riggs’ original adaptation of what was originally a mask used as a stage prop through the newest iterations created by Melvyn Grant and Mark Wilkinson. In this recent article by Joe DiVita for the Loudwire.com site, the author takes you through a timeline and overview of the 25 covers that have been produced for the various albums the band has released and, to add insult to injury, actually has the nerve to rank them (leaving, of course, a lot of room for discussion and online ranting and raving about the other guy’s stupid list).
While I won’t be so bold as to rank them myself, I will go on record saying that, personally, I’m a bit partial to Mr. Riggs’ originals, along with Hugh Syme’s disturbing take found on The X Factor…
h) While the idea behind the long-running “Sleeveface” site – where folks from all over the world worked to create interesting photographs by (according to the site’s definition) “…obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion” – has continued to inspire creative types to one-up each other via some really-entertaining displays of visual artistry, I was really impressed with a new music video just released by electronic music artist Corey Regensberg (working under the name Moon Bounce) in which he walks into a record store to find all of his favorite records now picturing his own image on the cover.
Realized by the talented music video director Peter English (working alongside animator/art director Raymo Ventura), Regensberg’s video for his song “Drugs” shows him appearing on the jackets for records such as …and, in some cases, bringing those images to life with himself as the main character. You’ll also get a kick out of how the production credits for this video are presented – nice job, people!
Nathaniel Ainley shares an intro to the project in this recent posting on the Creator’s Project blog –
That’s all for now – look for updates every week (typically, on a Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another summary for you.
All text Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.