Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For May/June, 2018








The past month of May was an emotional one for me in that two things happened – one, a bit depressing and another that gave me some hope for the future – that showed me that the life of a researcher and writer will often be one that can be both rewarding for the work itself (e.g., the pleasure felt for completing a task as best as it could have been done) and one that will serve as a reminder that not all the rewards will be easily or rightfully measurable. Of course, I’m speaking about the campaign I ran to raise start-up funds to produce a collector-oriented, special-edition version of the book I’ve written (tentatively titled Unsung Heroes of the Music Business) that ended in early may after raising less than 10% of the money required to produce the book. The project ran on the popular Kickstarter site for 33 days and, if it had been successful, would have provided me with everything needed to get the new book designed, printed and shipped (along with any special rewards that were available to sponsors at higher dollar levels). And while I do greatly appreciate the support I did receive, both in terms of the words of encouragement from fans/readers all over the world and the pledges I did receive, I do wish that I’d somehow been able to better-convince you to back me in this effort.

Well, all is not lost, as I do have encouraging news as a follow-up – I have been talking with a boutique publisher in the UK to produce a retail version of the book sometime soon and, with any luck, I’ll be able to get those who are interested in the book and all its wonders a copy (or two) sometime soon. More news to come as it’s made available and, of course, will be posted on the ACHOF site.

May was another month in which a goodly number of news releases and articles were made available on the exhibitions, interviews, artist profiles, book/print publications and other album cover art/artist-related topics and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world, including a) information on album art shows in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Brooklyn and NYC) and the U.K. (Liverpool and London); b) profiles (including two obituaries) on album art-makers including photographers working in the hip-hop and punk music areas; c) a new U.S. postage stamp featuring John Lennon and a limited-edition poster series showcasing Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour; and, as always, d) a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics including news about several different artists fighting for just and fair compensation for the use of their works, an opportunity to meet one of the world’s most-respected commercial photographers (and have your own portfolio reviewed by him), Kanye West’s most-recent attempt to shock and confuse most everyone and much, much more. So much, in fact, that I might be forced to post some today and the balance ASAP…

As always, I ask that you 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.


a) Those of us living with ACL (Album Cover Love) have been intrigued several times over the years with the use of a design/printing technology that produces 3-D or animated images called “lenticulars” which has been used to create memorable cover images, labels and other forms of record packaging and promotion for some of our favorite bands. Noteworthy examples of lenticular covers include the ones found on the Rolling Stones’ 1967 release Their Satanic Majesties Request, Johnny Cash’s The Holy Land (1969) and, more recently (mainly on limited-edition releases) records by David Bowie (Hours – 1999), Pet Shop Boys (Alternative – 1995) and Ministy (The Last Sucker – 2007 – and featuring a somewhat unflattering image of then-President George W. Bush).

Although the basic technology has been around in various forms for over 100 years – some of you may recall viewing “stereoscopic” postcards and photographs on early viewers and the “morphing” images found on political campaign buttons, fan club badges and even the occasional magazine cover, such as Rolling Stone Magazine’s May/June 2006 edition that celebrated their 1000th issue in featuring a lenticular collage of 150 pop culture icons – I can’t recall a time where an artist celebrated an important personal milestone – in this case, his studio’s 20th anniversary – by reworking a number of his best-known album cover images as lenticulars. Such is the case with the much-heralded design guru Tom Hingston, who has taken 16 of his album cover designs, including those for The Chemical Brothers, Grace Jones, Massive Attack and others, and has brought them to life – adding depth and varying degrees of movement – in a show called Progress that was on display through May 20th at the Paul Smith flagship store in London (9 Albemarle Street, Mayfair). In addition to these prints, display cabinets were also put on display a number of other items from the Hingston design firm’s twenty years of archived materials – records, posters and other highlights.

The show – a quick one, up for only 2 weeks – also celebrated the release of a line of luxury clothing items bearing designs adapted from some of Hingston’s album imagery that come as the result of a collaboration between Paul Smith and Hingston and some of Tom’s best-known clients, including The Chemical Brothers, Nick Cave and Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja, himself a well-known visual artist. Art collectors had the opportunity to buy one or more of the lenticular prints at the exhibition and, in doing so, support one of the UK’s better-known charities, the Teenage Cancer Trust, as all of the profits from these sales will be donated to the organization.

The clothing line includes several colorful sweaters (priced at £350.00) and a jacket (priced at £845.00) inspired by the colors and patterns first seen on Hingston’s album artwork.

The show’s received its fair share of coverage, including illustrated articles/profiles in Wallpaper

Design Week and

Creative Review

To see the clothing options available at the Paul Smith store, click on over to

b) Another quickie show that was staged to coincide with the release of a new box set titled Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol.2 1987 – 1996 was the one titled Intimate Portraits: Unseen Springsteen that launched at the Mr Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles this past Thursday, May 17th with a cocktail reception and silent auction (with 100% of the proceeds earmarked to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital) and which featured over 30 rare behind the scenes photographs by David Rose. Rose’s images, which were taken during a ten-year stretch as The Boss’s “go to” shooter that began in 1992, appear on the three studio albums included in the new box set: Lucky Town (1982), Human Touch (1992), and the 5-song EP that was released of music from the 1996 documentary film Blood Brothers . Prior to working solo, Rose served as photographer Annie Leibovitz’s assistant and worked with Springsteen during Ms. Leibovitz’s assignment shooting the cover for the 1987 album Tunnel of Love.

The gallery’s upcoming June exhibition features original artworks and limited-edition prints created by hip-hop legend, producer and activist Chuck D (one of the founding members of Public Enemy) that’s called ARTPUT. Many of the works were created by Mr. Ridenhour while he was out on tour with his current ensemble Prophets of Rage.

c) As a follow-up to a previous article about the opening (this past May 18th) of a fascinating – and, based on the fact that over 20,000 fans have toured the show since its opening, very popular John Lennon/Yoko Ono exhibition taking place at the Museum of Liverpool titled Double Fantasy: John & Yoko,  I just heard back from one of the show’s organizers (Sharon Granville, Executive Director of Collections and Estates for the Museum) with some additional details that I’d like to share with you. Of course, I was hoping to learn about any/all album cover-related items that might be included in the show and, lucky for us, there seems to be quite the treasure trove of them.

We all know that the pair put a lot of emphasis on the visuals for their projects and, of course, music fans everywhere are always wanting to know more about “the making of” their favorite images, so I asked Sharon whether they’d be including anything that helps fans learn something new and exciting about the creative output of this influential pair and here’s what she shared with me – “Dear Mike, the good news is that the exhibition features lots of album covers –some of them are personal copies from John and Yoko’s own archives. We don’t major on the production of the covers per se but the albums are integral to the exhibition narrative as creative milestones.

We also have a listening room where all of their albums post May 1969 and most of Yoko’s single albums are featured and can be listed to. All of the album covers (in replica) are displayed in there, too. If there is a different cover for US/UK we have featured UK releases only. The original (personal copies) of album covers on display are: Two Virgins, Wedding Album (including inserts), Plastic Ono Band John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy and Walls and Bridges, which is displayed partially open to show the maximum amount of artwork…Sgt Pepper’s is also on display as the exhibition covers the period from their first meeting in November 1966.

The Listening Room display covers displayed are all of their outputs to 1968 to 1980, posthumous releases and Yoko’s single albums post 1980 (except re releases, compilations and collaborations). The Museum of Liverpool website ( ) will give you lots more information about the exhibition. I hope that this gives you some information for your readers. Many thanks for featuring the exhibition in your newsletter.” (Thanks, Sharon!)

An accomplished multi-media artist in her own right, Yoko has a number of industry credits for her album art, including packages such as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, Sometime In New York City, Mind Games, Walls & Bridges, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Double Fantasy, Milk & Honey, Wonsaponatime, Anthology, Acoustic, Signature Box, Power To The People and Gimme Some Truth for John and Onobox, Season Of Glass, It’s Allright, Walking On Thin Ice and Blueprint For A Sunrise for herself.

The museum has posted some additional photos on their blog which show some of the exhibit and several of the related activities taking place there –

d) While she’s perhaps best-known as both wife and musical muse of former Beatle Paul McCartney, album cover fans also know that she created an impressive portfolio of album cover photos and other intimate portraits of her family, her musical compatriots and other friends, with many of these shots having been compiled in a number of books, magazines and films. Earlier in her life, a romantic relationship with photographer David Dalton allowed Linda to study how a professional shooter works and, soon after, she began to manage her own photo sessions, using her knowledge, good looks and ability to communicate with even the most-difficult subjects to secure gigs featuring people in the music business. She became a house photographer at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East venue and, over time, she’d shoot music superstars including Eric Clapton, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young (one of her photos of Young performing in 1968 at Canterbury House would later become the cover of a record called Sugar Mountain) and others – in fact, her photo for Rolling Stone Magazine’s May 11, 1968 issue was the first cover taken by a female photographer to appear in that magazine – and so when she met Beatle Paul McCartney while covering the release of the band’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP and married him a couple of years later, it marked the beginning of a long and productive creative relationship as well.

After the couple married, Linda began to experiment with many different forms of photography and photo processing/printing while at the same time learning to play the piano and recording and touring with her husband as he launched his post-Beatles solo and band career. When not playing music, she worked tirelessly as both a commercial photographer (with another first – the photo of her and Paul featured on the cover of a 1974 issue of Rolling Stone made her the first photographer to be featured both behind the lens and on the cover of RS!) and entrepreneur (with a focus on books and products promoting a vegetarian lifestyle) and, along the way, she published a number of books featuring photos from her portfolio, such as Linda’s Pictures (1982), Photographs: Linda McCartney (1982), Linda McCartney’s Sun Prints (1988) and 1992’s Sixties: Portrait of an Era. In 1980, she won an award at the Cannes Film Festival for an animated project she produced titled Seaside Woman and, after her untimely death in 1998, a number of new books featuring her work have been published, including Wide Open (1999), Light From Within: Photojournals (2001) and Linda McCartney: Life In Photographs (2011).

Her work has been exhibited by museums and galleries worldwide, including solo and group shows at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Art Institute in Toronto, Canada and The Tate Collection, the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum, all in London. The collection at the V&A – known as the National Collection of the Art of Photography and in which several of Linda’s photos are already included, is considered “one of the largest and most important collections of historic and contemporary photographs in the world” and now, due to a recently-announced donation of another 63 photos from Ms.  McCartney’s portfolio given by her husband and their estate, the museum will be able to kick off the opening of their new Photography Centre building this coming October 12th with impressive style.

According to this recent article published on the site – , “..the collection encompasses portraits of music legends The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, as well as pictures of flora and fauna, and intimate personal portraits, including the McCartney family on holiday. The gift marks the first time that a selection of Linda McCartney’s original Polaroids have ever been made available to the public.”

Although the photo gallery at the museum is currently closed, you’ll be able to learn more about the new building and this upcoming exhibition on the V&A’s website at

More information on Linda McCartney can be found on her official web site –

e) Designer Spencer Drate chose a Bob Gruen photo for the cover of the Ramones’ 1980 record End of the Century that the band was really unhappy with, primarily because it showed them without their traditional leathers on. Blondie’s Chris Stein grabbed a can of spray paint and painted the word “enemy” on the walls of the room that photographer Allen Tannenbaum had set them up in, sending an “FU” message to the editors of the magazine that had sponsored the photo session. These examples of the “us vs. The Man” attitudes that prevailed during the late 1970s in the area near New York City’s premiere punk music destinations helped to influence the selection of images by Gruen, Tannenbaum, Ebet Roberts, Lynn Goldsmith, Mick Rock and others that are now on display in a show called CBGB & OMFUG: The Age of Punk at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in the Soho area of NYC on now through June 17th.

The opening gala held in late May attracted a large crowd of punks and wanna-be punks both old and new, with Jim Farber giving us a look at the show in his recent article on The Guardian web site – – in which he includes insights to the show and the era it highlights provided by attendees including Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, photographers Bob Gruen and Allen Tannenbaum and designer Spencer Drate.

Reporter Stephanie Simon of local station NY1 did a nice video piece on the opening night with a number of luminaries in attendance and included interviews with Mr. Stein and Ms. Harry along with punk clothing guru Jimmy Webb of I Need More –

f) To follow-up an article announcing the call for submissions of “original album cover art” for a display that’s part of the 400-member Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition’s 20018 series of shows, I’d like to report that a display of the winning works is now up for viewing (weekends now through October 28th) at the group’s gallery in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, NY.

The show’s titled “In the Groove”: International Exhibition of ORIGINAL Album Cover Artwork.  And, according to the group’s PR, is an “international print exhibition of original album cover artwork…(which) seeks to celebrate the mutually inspiring, creative relationship between music and art, and to recognize the profound cultural impact and influence of the art form itself, its trailblazing history and ever evolving visual and conceptual strategies.”

The submitted works were reviewed by both the show’s curator, NYC-based designer and artist Wendi Gueorguiev and Sal Cataldi, the highly-regarded PR guru who founded Cataldi Public Relations and, in his alter-ego, leads the critically-acclaimed “solo schizo-phonic orchestra” Spaghetti Eastern Music. You can look at the judge-selected designs on the group’s Facebook page –  – where you’ll find examples of both well-known records with re-imagined covers and (as best as I can tell) records where both the band and the cover come from the imaginations of the people that created them.

g) The greatly-anticipated Secret 7” record art show and sale is returning again this year in June and, based on what I’ve seen so far and the details that have been described in the referenced web articles, it looks to be another great offering. Now in its 7th year,  Secret 7” is built around an effort where seven song tracks are taken from a list of well-known musical acts and then each of these tracks are pressed onto 100 7” vinyl records. The records are then delivered to designers and artists located all over the world, who then add artwork to the records’ sleeves, making them unique works of art. The 700 record packages are then put on display for viewing by fans of the project and are then sold off  – first come, first served – at a price of £50 each on the last day of the project, with the proceeds donated to charity. Both the musical act and the designers/artists remain anonymous until they’re sold, as the promoters tell it – “until you have parted with your cash – the secret lies within.”Since 2012, every single offered in this project has been sold, raising over £175,000 for a number of great causes.

Past and current contributors to Secret 7” read as a “who’s who” of superstars (and rising stars) in the design/fine art world, with records sold featuring the work of Ai WeiWei, Sir Peter Blake, Sir Antony Gormley, Julian Opie, Martin Parr, Malcolm Garrett, Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer, Sir Paul Smith, Gavin Turk and many other painters, illustrators, photographers, graffiti artists and more from other artistic disciplines. This year’s singles include music from Jeff Buckley, The Clash, Eurythmics, Jimi Hendrix, London Grammar, Manic Street Preachers and Primal Scream, and this year also finds an expanded program of related events scheduled.

This year’s charity is a UK-based mental health organization called MIND – – who “provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.”

The exhibition will be held at the Jetty (Greenwich Penninsula) in London and will be up for viewing from June 8th through the 23rd, with the big sale day on Sunday, June 24th. If past excitement for the sale is any indication, people will be lining up (as early as 2 days in advance!) to get in as early as possible to snag a cover or two. As I am every year, I’ll be jealous that day of the people who’ll be there in person! Those who aren’t lucky enough to be in the area the day of the sale will have an opportunity to go to a special eBay auction site post-sale to bid on whatever remains, so those with an educated eye can (perhaps) still walk away with a masterpiece at an unheard of price!

Read more of the coverage of this year’s event in this recent posting on the Design Week site –

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) One category of album cover that has been somewhat overlooked by the ACHOF has been the imagery created for the packaging for motion picture film soundtracks. While certainly “pop music” in the broadest sense, I’ve stayed away from this part of the commercial art world only because these covers have been, typically, derivations of the graphics packages a studio and their partners have produced to promote films and all their ancillary products – posters, licensed products, promo items and, of course, albums of the movies’ soundtracks. Many of the “Early Influencer” inductees into the ACHOF – Saul Bass, Alex Steinweiss, Andy Warhol, Drew Struzan  and others – have achieved great fame both in the pop music field and then designing posters and promotional materials for film and television projects, so when I read about the recent passing of artist Bill Gold – a man who brought us the memorable images used to promote both the film and soundtrack for movies including Alien, Bird, Clockwork Orange, Deliverance, Dirty Harry, The Exorcist, For Your Eyes Only, Funny Girl, My Fair Lady, Mystic River, On Golden Pond, The Sting, Unforgiven and many others (OMG!), it was important for me to pay my respects and to share this info with you.

Read more about the career and passing of this great talent in this obituary on the NY Times site –

With more background information available in this news story on The Drum

b) As a fan of great Pop Art, I’m also saddened by the death of artist Robert Indiana, who died in late May at the age of 89. Best-known for his iconic “LOVE” sculpture and pop art prints, Indiana was certainly one of the most-reproduced artists in history, with his artwork on over 300 million U.S. postage stamps alone! And, like many of the artists working in the commercial art world, Indiana also suffered from the unauthorized use of his copyrighted imagery and, rather ironically, lawyers for his licensing company had filed a lawsuit over more examples of his work being used without his permission and the proper payment of royalties…you can read more about the life and times of Robert Indiana in this article on the site –

3) Sales/Auctions –

Nothing much to report on at this moment….

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) A new USPS “Forever” postage stamp in their ongoing “Music Icons” serires that will be released this coming September will feature a photo of John Lennon taken by long-time Lennon chum/photographer Bob Gruen that was originally used in the packaging of Lennon’s 1974 solo release Walls & Bridges. In a press release in early May by the Postal Service, they announced that “for the first time, the Postal Service is revealing the full pane for these stamps, featuring a photograph of John Lennon taken by noted rock-and-roll photographer Bob Gruen on August 29, 1974 (titled John Lennon NYC 1974). Taken on the rooftop of Lennon’s Manhattan apartment, the photograph is part of a series of images taken by Gruen during the photo session for Lennon’s 1974 album Walls and Bridges.” You can see more of the photos taken during this session on Bob’s site at

The new stamp’s art director is Antonio Alcala, with design work handled by Neal Ashby, a guy with his own long list of album cover art credits for musical acts including dc Talk, Kurt Elling, The Kennedys, Audio Adrenaline and Thievery Corporation, among others.  Other commercial clients include Capitol Records, Dick Clark Productions, Don Cornelius Productions, EMI Music, MTV Networks, National Geographic, Virgin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Records, and his design for the Lydia Mendoza stamp (2013) was his first project for the U.S. Postal Service’s “Music Icons” series, followed the next year by his work on the Ray Charles stamp.

The new Lennon stamp pane – featuring 16 stamps in four rows of four, with each row printed in a gradient progression of different colors (yellow/orange to red, red to purple, light purple to dark purple and dark purple to blue) – is designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve (with an image of the edge of a disc popping out at the top), with one side of the pane including the stamps and some brief text about Lennon’s legacy. The image on the reverse side of the pane is a well-known B&W shot of Lennon at his white piano taken by Peter Fordham and used to promote his Imagine record in 1971, with Lennon’s signature in white above the scene.

More info about the stamp can be found on the USPS site at, with a scheduled release date of September 7th at an event in New York City, where he lived with his wife Yoko Ono until his untimely death in 1980.

The album cover for Lennon’s Walls & Bridges features a collage of drawings done by Lennon as a child along with a series of photos of John posing with different expressions. The booklet inside the sleeve included two photos by Gruen – the one featured on the stamp and another showing Lennon wearing five pairs of glasses stacked on top of each other (so silly, that boy). When I contacted Bob to ask him what it was like to work with the USPS and how he felt about his photo being used in this way, he replied “they were very secretive about what they were doing and in fact I didn’t see the final design until the press release… I do think it’s very cool to have a real US stamp, cool for me and cool for John.. it’s a great honor to have my photo be the one used for someone who had a lot of photos taken.”

In fact, more of Gruen’s photos have been licensed previously for use on postage stamps issued by the countries of Mongolia (Jerry Garcia and Bob Marley) and Montserrat (Bob Marley).

b) After completing his schooling, artist Carl Glover began his career in mid-1985 with a position at the arts/culture/business publication i-D Magazine, followed by three years at the Mainartery design firm creating LP covers, primarily for dance music and chart-related material. In 1988, Carl join record package designer Bill Smith’s BSS Design Studio, where he remained until 1999, creating several notable covers including Remasters for Led Zeppelin, King Crimson’s Vroom and Thrak and Brave for Marillion. In 1999, he also launched his own studio (freelancing in his spare time) while also joining the in-house design department at Getty Images, where he spent several years as a senior designer and then Art Director. Moving full-time to his own studio in the Summer of 2003, he’s since produced dozens of covers for musical acts including Bass Communion, Steven Wilson, Marillion, the Rolling Stones and Marvin Ayres, among many others.

Throughout his career, Glover’s work has been praised by clients and industry peers alike, with his work on the Led Zeppelin Remasters package winning an AMID (Association of Music Industry Designers) award in 1991 and King Crimson’s Frame by Frame winning a special packaging AMID award in 1992. His designs and photographs have also served as the bases for projects including (since 2002) his collaboration with Danish artist Lasse Hoile on a series of prints, including several that grew from the pair’s work with musician Steven Wilson (winning a Prog Award in 2015 for Steven Wilson’s Hand.Cannot.Erase special edition packaging) and now, as you’ll find when you click on over to this new page on The Flood Gallery’s site, there’s a new limited-edition poster release from guitarist David Gilmour featuring Glover’s original artwork.

Orders for the new poster – priced at £50.00 plus shipping and available in seven variants using different foils and colors, each in a signed/numbered edition of 40 prints – are being accepted now, with orders being shipped beginning Sunday, June 17th – the date of the 40th anniversary of the release of Gilmour’s first solo record (David Gilmour) in the U.S…

David Gilmour print by Carl Glover –

5) Other articles of interest –

a) How’d you like to listen to, meet and possibly have your portfolio reviewed by one of the world’s best-known commercial photographers? Well, if you live or will be in the Washington, DC area and can get yourself and your portfolio over to the Focus On The Story international photo festival that’s going to be running from June 7 – 10 at the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies , the lovely and talented Brian Griffin will be on hand to share some stories about his work in the music photography world and to review the portfolios of other photographers.

According to the PR Brian sent along, Focus On The Story was started back in 2016 as “a website showcasing visual storytelling” and has since “grown into a multi-faceted photography brand.” In addition to organizing this festival, they’ve run a series of photo workshops in Cuba and published a pair of nice photo books (UnPresidented in 2017 and Chasing the Great American Eclipse earlier this year. Fans of rock photography are well-familiar with the work of Mr. Griffin, considered by many to be one of Britain’s greatest living portrait photographers. Everything to do with music is very much part of both Brian’s professional and social life. From his early work with Stiff Records, through his close collaborations with Echo and the Bunnymen and Depeche Mode, to the present day working with “cutting edge” musicians, his photography and film-making skills have always been in demand. His photo shot for the cover of Depeche Mode’s 1982 album, A Broken Frame, was featured on the cover of Life Magazine’s special issue, “The Greatest Photographs of the ‘80s”.

Over the years, Brian’s worked with a select group of music industry clients including – Kate Bush, Brian Eno, George Martin, Simple Minds, Joe Jackson, Billy Idol, Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Psychedelic Furs, Peter Gabriel, King Sunny Ade, Echo and The Bunnymen, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Depeche Mode, Iggy Pop, Devo, Peter Hamill, Graham Parker, Ian Dury and the Blockheads and Sir Paul McCartney.

To learn more about this festival and Brian’s activities there, please follow the link to

b) Karl Ferris is known by many as “the Innovator of Psychedelic Photography”. A photographer to the “British Rock Elite” – Eric Clapton, Cream, Donovan, The Hollies and Jimi Hendrix – Ferris worked as their personal photographer to help create their public “images”. The Beatles had just released Rubber Soul and Karl had the chance to meet up with their official photographer, Robert Freeman, who encouraged Ferris to experiment with different styles of images – which he promptly did – in his unique psychedelic style.

From this start, Ferris received many commissions. Ferris met with Jimi Hendrix in 1967 through Chas Chandler, who “discovered” Hendrix.  Karl received the compliment of a lifetime when Hendrix remarked to him, on seeing his portfolio, that “you‘re doing with photography what I’m doing with music – going far out beyond the limits”. For the cover for the first LP (Are You Experienced?), per Karl’s recollection of the project, “I decided to use my new ‘infrared’ technique which I had invented, which combines the photographic color reversal image with the heat signature (and, seemingly, the ability to see the Life Force of plant and human life – it even appears to capture auras !). To create the spherical photo I decided to use a giant ‘fisheye’ lens invented by Nikon, which was much bigger than my Nikon F camera. I would shoot in Kew Botanical Gardens in London, where they had the kind of foliage that would react well to my ‘Infrared’ technique.”

Karl’s background in design and fashion guided his control of every aspect of this photo session, and so when he got the shots back from Kodak, “I was amazed and pleased with spherical fisheye picture and the colors that had been created in it. As it turned out, the shot used on the Are You Experienced? U.S. cover was the first frame on the first roll – it was just meant to be – and another fisheye image from that session would later become the international Smash Hits photo cover.”

From these detailed descriptions and the praise Karl’s received over the years for these and other works, you’d (rightly) wonder how it is that he’d have to go to court all these years later to regain control of the use of these iconic images and to collect any royalties rightly his that might have been withheld but, as many of us who’ve worked in the music business know, it’s never that simple (!!). As you’ll read in this article on The Wrap web site (, Karl now alleges that the people who now control the Hendrix estate and its licensing have, for many years, not paid Ferris for many of the times his photos have been used – in books, on merchandise, etc. – and he’s now working within the court system to recoup some/all of the monies he’s due.

I reached out to Karl – who has for years lived on the island of Ibiza off the coast of Spain – and asked him if he’d seen the article online about his lawsuit and whether he had any further comment, and here’s what he told me – “Hola Mike from Ibiza! The Wrap story made one huge mistake by calling Janie’s Hendrix Estate “Relatives” – Jimi’s only real bloodline and family are Leon, etc. The “Estate” has been Illegally using my album cover shots for releases and merchandise for over 20 years, but I did not have ‘the big funds’ to sue them in Federal Court !!  Even now, by the Laches legal rules, I can only sue them for the past three year’s Illegal use!!…FYI, my Hendrix Collection of 46 prints has just been sold to HM. Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Gallery Collection and that is why I now have enough funds to sue the ‘Janie – Hendrix Estate’!! You can quote me on these details…Warm regards, Karl”

You can read my archived interview with Karl about his first meeting with Hendrix in early 1967 and how their mutual admiration lead to the production of the memorable covers for The Experience’s first three LPs –—j.html? I’ll be sure to update you with more details as they become available.

c) With so much attention paid to the bad taste exhibited by a number of stars in the entertainment business (and the resulting rises in the world’s GAL – General Aggravation Level), it was just a matter of time before one of the music industry’s most-talented-yet-generally-unhinged players – Mr. Kanye West – pitched in with another head-scratcher, this one being his willingness to pay outs $85,000 for a vintage photo of Whitney Houston’s pill bottle/crack-pipe/beer can-stuffed bathroom for use on the cover of West protege Pusha T’s latest rap album titled Daytona.

According to the details provided in a recent NY Daily News article on the subject – – Pusha T “..explained that he and his team had already agreed on a series of pictures when West (the record’s producer) suggested going in a different direction — to the tune of $85,000. I said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to pay for that,’ Pusha recalled. (West said) ‘No, this is what people need to see to go along with this music. I’mma pay for that” and so with West paying for the license fees of the photo taken inside the late Ms. Houston’s Atlanta-area home, Mr. T agreed to the last-minute substitution.

Since that announcement, public reaction has been pretty negative regarding the use of such a personal and intimate photo (with Houston’s ex-hubby Bobby Brown suggesting that West “needs somebody to slap him up or something” – ), although Pusha T seems OK (but not overly happy) with his producer’s artistic leanings (as seen in this video interview in The Independent

d) I was doing some research for an article I was writing when I came across a resource that I’m sorry to say that I’d never seen before – an entire site dedicated to the field of illustration, affiliated with one of the best-known (and loved) illustrators of all time, Norman Rockwell, and his museum located in Stockbridge, MA.

As I dug around the site – simply called Illustration History (“An Educational Resource and Archive”), I found that they had a section with information they’d assembled specifically about Album/CD covers – interviews, blogs, catalogs, books, collections, schools, etc. – and after seeing what they’d done to this point, I felt it my responsibility to contact them to find out more about what they do and how we might work together to expand the offering in this area on their site. The site itself is a truly impressive resource that is part of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies and is, according to their PR, the “first-ever digital connection to an aggregated history of illustration art was made possible in part by a generous grant from The National Endowment for the Arts’ ART WORKS program, and an anonymous donor in honor of illustration historian (and author and scholar) Walt Reed.” The site is available to anyone and is targeted at students, educators, scholars and anyone interested in exploring all the materials available on the topic.

After hearing back from Jesse Kowalski, their Curator of Exhibitions, we agreed to explore the possibilities a bit, with one of the first things done being that we added links to each other’s sites – I added their info to our Resources section, and they added the ACHOF to theirs –

As I’ve been working on gathering and refining the materials for my book project, I also saw that I had enough to put together an essay for their site, which I hope to be able to submit to them sometime in the near future. Until then, I’d invite all of you who are fans of illustration (and not just Mr. Rockwell’s work) to visit their site, and to help you get to the section on our favorite topic, here’s a link to that main page –

More to come as things evolve. In the meantime, enjoy your visit!

That’s all for now (more to come in the next day or so) – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed – – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 Mike Goldstein and – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

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