ACHOF QUICKIE NEWS UPDATE FOR June 5, 2020
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Greetings to you all – while we continue our slow (hopefully, not too fast) emergence from the COVID-related quarantine we’ve been living under since early March, I am hoping that you are all doing as best you can under the circumstances. While I’m not due to put together a big news summary for a few weeks, I’d read about a couple of things that I felt needed to be shared ASAP – one about an in-progress auction of prints from a noted album cover photographer designed to raise money for COVID-19-related service organizations and the second about some fascinating album cover imagery created for an emerging streaming media platform. Also, I’m sad to say, I’ve included a brief note about the death of a noted album cover designer who was responsible for one of classic rock’s most-memorable psychedelic album covers…
1) Glen Wexler creates an animated album cover for use on Spotify’s new “Spotify Canvas” audio/visual format – In early June, I received an email from photographer/art director Glen Wexler in which he told me about some of his recent work, including an example of a new “live album cover” he created for his long-time music client, new age keyboardist/composer/Emmy Award-nominated songwriter and producer Chuck Wild, better known as recording artist Liquid Mind. Glen’s work is found on 13 of the 16 albums Liquid Mind has released and, according to Glen, when the popular streaming music service Spotify looked to introduce an enhancement to their content under the name “Spotify Canvas”, they invited a handful of artists from different genres to create some examples of these music files with integrated animation loops, with Liquid Mind being selected to represent the New Age music category. You can take a look at this mesmerizing image – an animation of the cover for Liquid Mind XIII: Mindfulness – either below or on a browser via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/wexlerliquidmind13.mov
Glen also shared a bit about the inspiration behind, and process used, to create this work – “. The idea is about expanding the possibilities of album art design for digital platforms which, of course, is now the primary medium to see album art… The album cover was originally created as a static digital illustration. For the animated version, I deconstructed the original art to isolate the woman’s profile. The background and foreground elements were recreated. The layers were animated in After Effects and exported as a movie file with a 20 second audio clip, all designed to seamlessly loop.”
Those of you who’ve been reading should know about my ongoing curiosity as to why musical acts haven’t been a lot more pro-active in this area. While I know that the cost of producing a video-based work is typically more than a static image, acts have long-invested in music videos (with budgets from little money to HUGE money) and, as the tools made it easier to do, animated presentations (ala this recent one from Gordon Lightfoot – https://youtu.be/WdSH0ru4AHQ – pretty cool for a man in his early 80s).
When the Internet became the predominant place to promote and sell music, I was amazed that more acts/labels didn’t devote significant time and resources to giving fans more cool content via their web sites. When I was helping with the launch of MuchMusicUSA/Fuse TV in the late 1990s/early 2000s, I tried hard to get acts and labels to work with me to bring fans more “bonus” items as a way to build stronger relationships with their fans, and some “got it” but, sadly, most didn’t – at least, not for many years, and then they were playing catch-up. What’s weird is that a band like The Beatles “got it” 50 years ago, deriving films, cartoons, lyric books and tons of merch from their album-related imagery. Glen proffered a bit on his own experiences along these lines – “I’ve pitched the idea on animated album covers for over ten years, but as you know, the labels and bands have mistakenly devalued album art as physical sales decline. Of course, this is shortsighted and neglects to recognize the marketing importance of the cover art as the primary visual representation of the music for the life of the recording.” So, taking all of this into account, I had to ask whether his client was pleased with the possibilities presented by the finished product, he replied that “the label manager sent me an email a few days ago expressing his excitement about the social media uses” so, perhaps, this is a good step in the right direction.
Learn more about this most-recent Liquid Mind release on the artist’s web site – https://liquidmindmusic.com/mindfulness/index.html
To see more of Mr. Wexler’s impressive portfolio of music industry-related work, I’d suggest popping on over to his web site at https://www.glenwexlerstudio.com/portfolios-/music-+-entertainment/1/caption
2) Here’s a new story about how a talented and generous visual artist is aiding his fellow humans suffering through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic via an auction – taking place now through June 12th on the Christies.com web site – https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/radart4aid/lots/1768?saleid=28910&salenumber=19606 where all of the proceeds raised by the sale of a collection of limited-edition fine art prints are being used to benefit a slate of COVID-19 relief organizations.
The auction features 26 or photographer Mark Seliger’s portraits of celebrities from the worlds of music, film, TV, stage and politics, including (in alphabetical order): Jennifer Aniston, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, Laura Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Billie Eilish, Jerry Garcia, Tom Hanks, John Lee Hooker, Nicole Kidman, Lenny Kravitz, Kendrick Lamar, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Courtney Love, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Willie Nelson, Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Keith Richards, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon, with 100% of the proceeds of sale from each portrait being donated to the subject’s charity of choice.
Here’s some more info taken from the auction’s press release – “Christie’s, Mark Seliger Studio, and RAD (Red Carpet Advocacy) are thrilled to announce a new joint fundraising and advocacy campaign, RADArt4Aid, a dedicated global auction to benefit multiple COVID-19 relief organizations. Award-winning American photographer Mark Seliger, known for iconic portraits of politicians, musicians, actors and celebrities featured on the covers of Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, is kindly contributing limited-edition prints from his own archives to raise as much money as possible for charity during these unprecedented times. RAD is producing the campaign and driving advocacy for the benefiting charities, which include The American Red Cross, America’s Food Fund, the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, New York Cares, The Prince’s Trust, World Central Kitchen, UN Women, One Family LA, Direct Relief, Meals on Wheels, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Get Us PPE, Good+ Foundation, Hidden Heroes, The Let Love Rule Foundation, Middle Way House, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, Support + Feed, and Pieta.”
Album cover fans will note Mr. Seliger’s numerous album cover credits, which include – Lenny Kravitz – Greatest Hits; Paul McCartney – Back In The U.S.; Sheryl Crow – The Very Best of Sheryl Crow; Tony Bennett – Playin’ With My Friends and The Ultimate Tony Bennett; Bob Dylan – Blues; Bon Jovi – These Days; Ice-T – The Ice Opinion; Britney Spears – Oops!…I Did It Again and Elvis Costello – Il Sogno among others.
After a 15 year stint as a shooter for Rolling Stone Magazine (where he’d contribute over 125 cover photos and countless other editorial images, in 2002 Mark left Rolling Stone to take on assignments for magazines within the Conde’ Nast publishing group, shooting photos for GQ, Italian Vogue and Vanity Fair while also taking on commercial assignments for Miramax, MTV Networks, Sony and Universal Pictures. His specialty is creating stunning, large-scale prints using a high-end photographic printing process called “platinum palladium printing”, similar to the technique used by artistically-inclined photographers such as Edward S. Curtis, Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz.
Throughout his career, Seliger has received many awards for his photographs, including the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards from the Society of Publication Designers in 2001 and 2004. Books featuring his work include: Listen (published by Rizzoli International in 2010); Mark Seliger: In My Stairwell (Rizzoli, 2005); Lenny Kravitz (Arena Editions, 2001); Physionomie (Editions du Collectionneur, 2000) and When They Came to Take My Father – Voices of the Holocaust (Skyhorse, 1996). In addition to the many other books on various subjects that he’s licensed his photos to, Seliger has also exhibited his work in museums and galleries all over the world.
For more information on this artist, please visit – http://www.markseligerphotography.com
3) It’s with great sadness that I must note the death on June 2nd of artist (and musician and teacher) Terry Quick, whose work on the cover art for The Zombies’ 1968 sophomore release Odessey & Oracle bent many a mind back in the day (was the spelling mistake intentional, or was it part of a conspiracy to mess with our heads?).
Quick was also responsible for the cover for the still-hard-at-work band’s 2015 record titled Still Got That Hunger, certainly putting him in the running (now, posthumously) for the award for “most years in between album art gigs”. Terry died in his home in Salisbury, England at the age of 78. A note on the group’s Facebook page included the following – “Terry’s visionary cover art is eternally connected to our 1968 album Odessey and Oracle. Almost 50 years later, he graced us again with the covers for our album Still Got That Hunger and book The Odessey,” concluding with “Most importantly, Terry’s irrepressible and mischievous spirit left a smile on the face of every person he met, and that spirit will live on forever in his artwork. Our hearts go out to his wife Erica and their family. Rest in peace dear friend.”
Read more online on the Digital Journal.com site – http://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/music/artist-poet-songwriter-and-educator-terry-quirk-dies-at-78/article/572557
That’s all for now – see you later with a new summary article.