Holiday Gift Suggestions for the Album Cover/Vinyl Record Lovers in your Life
Works offered for sale by (above, left to right) – Snap Galleries, UK, Vinylux and KnuckleBonz
As suggested by Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Well, it’s been five years since I published the first of what were supposed to be annual overviews of “artistical” things that, in my opinion, might make nice gifts for anyone who is a fan of album cover art and packaging. Of course, I could come up with several excuses as to why I’ve back-burnered this until now – my book project, my move from Portland to Chicago or my heavy drinking since November, 2016 – but suffice it to say that it wasn’t because I didn’t want to provide this information to you. So, if you’ll accept my apology, let me continue with what I hope is some valuable information in this update.
As I’m sure you all know, getting just the right gift for your loved ones at Holiday time can be such a puzzle – what with all of the advertising that bombards you from every direction and “Black Friday” now beginning sometime in mid-late July – that you’re left with little time and inclination to search for just the right thing when all you want to do is “get this over with”…
And, while I’ve been told never to buy “art” for others, because of the link between music and art, buying a gift for lovers of album cover art has never been so simple. As you’ll see by the list of companies that specialize in album cover-related items of all types (and fitting all budgets), with a little research (“Hey Honey, who’s your all-time favorite band?”) and perhaps a phone call or two, I’m feeling pretty confident that you’ll be able to locate and secure a gift that will be long-appreciated by its recipient. Who knows, maybe it will start a tradition in your family!
Enjoy the hunt, as well as the squooshy feeling you’ll experience upon seeing the smiles of gratitude from your gift(s) recipient(s), too.
Items made from Albums and Album Covers –
Cb Vinyl Record Art – originally a successful Kickstarter project, these nice people from France now offer a nice selection of nicely-produced laser-cut art objects made from recycled vinyl records – https://www.cbvinylrecordart.com/en/70-design-vinyl-record-music
According to the info on their web site, Cb Vinyl Record Art “is a collective of enthusiasts, influenced by the cultures and subcultures of the 80s to date. Unconditional lovers of vinyl record, art, design and decoration, we are tired of seeing old vinyl records end up in the bin,” and I think that you’ll find many examples of unusual and unusually-intriguing vinyl-based fine art objects.
Fans of the Etsy crafts site will find hundreds of items (1144 as of this date!) for sale made by a trove of crafty people who’ve elected to create objects of all kinds – wallets, coasters, frames, notebooks, bowls, book covers, calendars, etc. – out of album covers. Recycling-minded gift givers can browse the selection via this handy link – http://www.etsy.com/search?q=recycled+album+cover&page=1
Recycled Album Art – based in Kansas, McCoy Creations fashions coasters and formed vinyl baskets from real albums and album covers. The coasters are cut from album sleeves and then laminated to birch plywood, after which they’re coated with polyurethane and backed with felt/cork pads. The “Wacky” bowls are real LPs and Laser-discs that have been warped into free-form shapes.
Rediscover Handbags – this Chicago-based firm crafts custom-made handbags, totes and fold-over style handbags out of records album covers. Buyers choose the album cover from their large (over 2000 different designs), genre-sorted collections, and then select the interior/side fabrics that will be used to line the bags, select a strap and complete the order. 4-5 weeks later, your bag arrives and you become the envy of all your friends. Prices range from $125.00 for a small handbag to $250.00 (or more) for the large (12 x 12 x 5) designer totes.
Modern/Pop Art collectors will find a lot to absorb and enjoy when taking in the large selection of unique, vinyl record-based works of art made by one of Snap Gallery’s (U.K.) most-popular artists, Keith Haynes – https://www.snapgalleries.com/portfolio-items/snap-crackle-and-pop/
The gallery is currently showcasing Mr. Haynes’ collection of over 75 different works in an exhibition running now through Saturday, December 1st. Per the gallery’s PR, “Keith’s work explores pop art in its purest form, using album sleeves, record labels, badges and, of course, beautiful vinyl records – the hard currency of pop culture – to create striking and witty pop art pieces with a strong graphic design aesthetic. Whether it’s a graphically iconic portrait or a meaningful song lyric, each piece is created from original vinyl records chosen to enhance the subject matter; in these works the subject and the object are of equal importance.” All I can tell you is that you really need to see these to fully appreciate their artistry.
The Tunes Company – based in Florida, this company offers a wide range of wall and desk clocks made from album covers and album labels. The clocks are made by attaching an image cut from a LP cover to a vintage vinyl record and are mostly priced at $59.95 (some higher, depending on the rarity of the record). www.tunescompany.com
Vinylux – Pennsylvania-based artist Jeff Davis has created an impressive line of household items and gifts from the thousands of records he sources each year (he estimates that he recycles over 40,000 pounds of materials each year) and turns into objects such as clocks (both round and laser-cut into star shapes), mirrors, picture frames, book ends, coasters, bowls, jewelry, sketchbooks, journals, magnets and ornaments. He’s been doing this for over 10 years, with his products found in a number of galleries, retailers and online. To see the current collection and to find out where to buy a Vinylux product, visit the company site at
Album Art Display Frames –
Music/art fans that have nice collections of vinyl may simply need a good way of showcasing their favorite album covers and so an industry has grown to serve this need via the sale of album cover display systems that make it easy to mat/frame your records. Some of the better-known vendors of these framing solutions include:
Rock Art Picture Show – Offers mat and clear acrylic frame kits for LPs, singles, picture discs, comic books and more, all priced under $20 (volume discounts available) – http://www.rockartpictureshow.com/
Art Vinyl – based in the UK, this company sells the well-received “Play & Display” framing system that lets you quickly swap out albums (great for stores with a “what’s playing now” display area). Priced from £39.00 for the single frame to £99.00 for the “triple pack” (in black or white) –
Frame My Record.com – Run by the TX-based Picture Perfect framing and collectibles company, Frame My Record offers album, 45 RPM, 78 RPM, CD and DVD frames/frame kits of professional quality. Featuring custom-cut mats in a variety of styles and a unique mounting process (using conservation-safe
materials), these kits provide album owners with a near-custom look for a more-affordable price. Prices for an LP cover kit with wood frame, one of 18 mat selections and UV-glass front begin at $45.00.
Basic frames are also available from major retailers including Urban Outfitters, Michael’s, Target and IKEA.
Framed Album Covers –
If you’re looking for a simple way to get the whole package (i.e., your favorite
album covers, framed and ready-to-hang) in one fell swoop, this has also become a cottage industry on Etsy, eBay and other sites. In addition to the products made by these enterprising individuals, there are a number of collectors/companies offering vintage album covers for sale – some framed in basic album cover frames and some “a bit more fancy”, but all seem to offer a broad selection of covers in a number of musical styles. To see their latest selections, please visit their sites:
Level Frames – one of the “more fancy” vendors ($150 and up), this company creates full-on, custom-framed presentations of many of your favorite record albums – https://www.levelframes.com/vinyl
Rock Art Picture Show’s Gallery –http://www.rockartpictureshow.com/cgi-bin/gallery/List.cgi?
F=l&A=Album%20Covers presents albums alone or in themed groupings.
Album Cover Books –
Over the years, there have been a number of books written covering the History of the Album Cover, highlighting the development of the art form from its humble beginnings as a simple sleeve with a title, to Alex Steinweiss and Jim Flora and their breakthrough works for Columbia and Decca Records in
the 1930s/40s up to today’s most-recent efforts. Many are written and compiled by well-known cover designers (Roger Dean, Richard Evans, Storm Thorgerson, Nick DeVille, Spencer Drate, others), so they bring an interesting spin to their respective compilations. With their authors’ various perspectives and experiences guiding their respective efforts, all are interesting in their own right and contain hundreds of images for you to enjoy. We keep an updated list on our site –
In addition, there have been several new books released by album cover creators of note – Brian Griffin’s POP, Glen Wexler’s The ’80s Portrait Sessions, Jerry Schatzberg’s tome on Bob Dylan (Dylan By Schatzberg), Mark Seliger’s book of portraits (Mark Seliger Photographs) and Charles Moriarity’s fine book of photos of pre-fame Amy Winehouse – as well as John Foster’s most-recent book featuring in-depth looks at the work of many more purveyors of great album cover design – Album Art: New Music Graphics. Lots to choose from, for sure.
Licensed Album Cover Image-based Products –
Dennilu – while you might not be able to find (and afford) the original artwork created for the cover of The Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine, you can turn to talented artist Jon Blosdale and purchase one of his hand-crafted (and Beatles-authorized), limited-edition re-creations. These multi-layered, hand-painted sericels are uniquely mounted and framed to give you the feel of a 3-D image ($1195 plus S&H) – http://www.beatlescartoon.com/YellowSubmarine/ysac_framing/ys_ac_index.htm
You can read my interview with Jon about his art and, in particular, the work it took for him to bring this YS-based artwork to life, via the link at https://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2008/11/
Eclipse Gift Ideas (via Amazon.com) – album art-based mouse pads; hundreds of choices – https://www.amazon.com/l/10173439011
KnuckleBonz 3-D Album Cover Recreations – Some of you who might remember my old gallery days will recall that I sold items from a line of intricately-crafted sculptures of iconic rockers/rock imagery made by a company called KnuckleBonz and, I’m glad to report, they’ve recently announced some new additions to the line of limited-edition album cover art recreations they’re producing called “3D Vinyl”. The first two items they announced earlier this Summer were stunning renditions of two great albums – Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, both of which are perfectly suited for a 3-dimensional sculpture.
Since then, they’ve released additional titles from top acts including KISS, Motley Crue, Megadeth and Mercyful Fate ($249 each, ready-to-hang) – https://knucklebonz.com/product-category/3d-vinyl/
LPGI album cover fabric posters – large poly fabric prints made to hang on a wall or, with the available “Rock N Roll Kite” kit, fly high in the sky – http://www.lpgi.com/fabric-posters.html
PopArtUK album cover art prints on wood, canvas, etc. – https://www.popartuk.com/music/rock.asp?product-type=6
Rocker Rags album cover t-shirts – many, many acts are included – http://www.rockerrags.com/rock-album-t-shirts/
Rockabilia lists nearly 600 (!!) different t-shirt designs, along with a wide range of cover-based merchandise including sweat shirts, beer and coffee mugs, timepieces, seatbelt belts, fleece blankets and pub/shot glasses –
Album Cover Fine Art and Photography –
If you’re looking to truly impress your best-loved album art fan, the ultimate gift would be one of the many fine art prints available, either produced by the designers and/or photographers that created the original images or via their publishers and licensees. Products in this category will vary greatly in price, quality, rarity, etc., so please take your time and get to know some or all of the various purveyors listed.
The Album Cover Hall of Fame is always searching for galleries and other retailers that offer selections of prints in many genres and styles, with an updated list available on our site via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-buying-and-selling-resources-page/ (please note – we do NOT have any affiliation with the galleries listed, so feel free to contact any of them directly for help with your specific needs).
Other Items of Interest –
Our chums at Snap Galleries are also offering music/art fans a chance to get truly creative in their gift-giving efforts for “that someone special” via their large-scale “The Temple of Wax” custom-made vinyl record re-creations (from 40cm up to 100cm, or approx. 39”, in diameter). Select one of the four sizes available, any frame style and then let them know which single, EP or LP you’d like and, 4-5 weeks later, the finished work arrives at your door (free shipping of unframed-yet-ready-to-hang works of art anywhere in the world). See examples of these bespoke works of art at https://www.snapgalleries.com/product/the-temple-of-wax-bespoke-large-format-artwork/
Staying on the oversized LP record theme, here’s a record album-shaped doormat that can be personalized, too – https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/personalized-record-doormat
You might also want to take a gander at these Gama-Go Record Placemats – well, they look like real records, but they’re actually made from heat-resistant silicon – https://www.musiciansfriend.com/lifestyle/gamago-record-placemats–set-of-2
Limited-edition/Record Store Day Vinyl Records/Sets – of course, what most record fans really want is a record (!!), and while you can certainly fill their soon-to-be-distended stockings with traditional LPs and singles, the resurgence of vinyl over the past several years has prompted many musical acts and record labels to pull out all of the stops when it comes to collectible record packages, particularly around the annual Record Store Day celebrations and the end-of-the-year Holidays. If you’ve been reading my columns and news summaries, there are so many great examples of these now that it’d be impossible to list them all for you, but there have been a number of award-winning designs this year that were so well-done and innovative that I can certainly point you to the Winners & Nominees page on the recently-awarded “Making Vinyl Awards” site – https://makingvinyl.com/packaging-awards-finalist-2018/ – for inspiration.
To see all of the specially-produced, limited-edition vinyl records being released on RSD’s “Black Friday” list, click on over to https://recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases where you’ll find the latest details.
In the same basic category, but with a rather unique product, is the “VOYAGER GOLDEN RECORD 3xLP BOX SET” published by Ozma Records. Working with Grammy Award-winning (inc. one for this particular product) designer Lawrence Azerrad, the set includes – in addition to a book, poster and three gold-colored vinyl record discs – a reproduction of the golden record that was packed inside the Voyager 1 and 2 space crafts, with the hope that, if discovered by an alien civilization, the information would serve to introduce them to our planet and its peoples.
Enjoy your Holiday shopping experience, and don’t forget to get yourself something nice as well…
All images are Copyright 2018 by their respective owners and are used for illustrative purposes only. All text Copyright 2018 Mike Goldstein/AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All rights reserved.