Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Link Summary for May 2021
Posted April 30, 2021 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Greetings to you all from our on-again/off-again Spring season in Chicagoland. While the temps have been swinging from near-freezing last week up to the 80-degree-mark this week, we’re proceeding on with our clean-ups, plantings, switching out the big bird feeder (seeds for cardinals, nuthatches, woodpeckers and chickadees of various styles and colors) for the hummingbird feeder, etc. assuming that all will manage to grow and prosper in spite of the extremes. Hope that you’re enjoying Springtime wherever you are as well.
Very happy to announce that my wife and I both got our first jabs last week so, with any luck, we’ll be in a better position to mingle with our fellow (fully-vaccinated) human beings in a month or so. That is, of course, if everyone else behaves themselves and joins in on the herd-immunity bandwagon. I’m so used to wearing a mask now – and have built up a nice collection of them, to boot – that I might just wear one whenever I’m in an enclosed space from now on. They’ve done it in Japan and Taipei for years now, so why not here?
While I’ve continued on my research and writing for my paper on box sets and limited-edition packages, I also had the opportunity to interview both Lawrence Azerrad, the winner of this year’s Grammy Award for “Best Box/Limited-Edition package” (for the work done on Wilco’s Ode To Joy set) and the dynamic team of Frank Harkins and Dave Bett, the creative heads for Sony Music’s Columbia and Legacy labels, and so I’ve taken a break from the box set paper to transcribe and edit these two interviews, both of which I hope to share with you in May. Notably, the interview with Frank and Dave was done via Zoom, the first time I’ve used this platform for anything other than watching author readings, design presentations, one wedding (yeah!) and one funeral (boo!). The service provides both audio and video files to those who use it, giving me some interesting options on how I might present things to you going forward. For now, though, we’ll stick to the more traditional article format.
This past month, the quantity and quality of articles/posts/announcements I found regarding all things album cover artist and art continued to provide me with much to share with you, showing that as we begin to emerge from the scourge of a world-wide pandemic, we’re still able to enjoy the great work that is being done in the world of music industry-related visual design, production and the collecting of these works. It’s still a pleasure to report on – and promote – this work and the people who do it and so, without further delay, here’s this month’s summary:
Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info –
a) There are just a couple of days left for you to see famed photographer Brian Griffin’s pop-up exhibition that began this past April 16th in London that put a selection of images from his last two books on display. As Brian put it when the show opened in mid-April, “I am excited to announce a pop-up exhibition of my work will be held at byResidency from the 16 April to 2 May 2021, featuring a series of images from POP and Black Country Dada. The exhibition will feature my new self-published autobiography Black Country Dada 1969–1990, designed and edited by @thecafeteria/@cafeteria_studio – a collaborative, creative design studio based in Sheffield, England.
I will be in attendance every day from 11–7pm. What better way to celebrate the easing of lockdown? Please join me and spread the word! Here’s a link to the show info on Brian’s web site – https://twitter.com/canadawharf/status/1376539970358411268/photo/1
I’m also happy to share that I recently rec’d my first-edition copy of his Black Country Dada 1969-1990 book and it’s really a stunner. I recently found a nice interview/overview about this book on the Personal Work Online site that includes some of the beautiful photos found in the book (including, as you know, one of my all-time favorite images – his cover shot for Depeche Mode’s A Broken Frame) – https://personalwork.online/brian-griffin-photobooks/
b) Via an impressive manifestation of Lawrence Azerrad’s ongoing goal to illustrate the close relationship between music and design, the Grammy-winning designer – along with a a team of international talent and the staff of the Museum of Design in Atlanta, GA – has created a blockbuster of an online exhibition sure to please music/art fans with its depth and quality of content. As you’ll read in this nice intro article on the Its’ Nice That site – https://www.itsnicethat.com/news/lawrence-azerrad-the-future-happened-designing-the-future-of-music-exhibition-120421 – “Designing the Future of Music has been something of a passion project. Around seven years ago, he began to notice “a substantial transformation in the role that album artwork played in our lives,” he says, in how “folks were connecting to, valuing and utilising music”. Therefore he set out to “uncover new ways to celebrate and elevate the full spectrum of the music experience and the role that design can play in this… The show is packed with fascinating work and stories, offering plenty for even the most knowledgeable design and music aficionados to discover.”
Link to exhibition site – https://thefuturehappened.org/
One of the things I was happy to find as I toured the site was this interview with famed album cover designer Peter Saville – https://thefuturehappened.org/peter-saville. I’d also like to note that I’ll soon be releasing the text of my recent interview with Lawrence regarding his recent Grammy win for the Wilco Ode To Joy package.
As I’ve mentioned in previous months during the past year of pandemic-induced isolation, I continue to urge you to realize that while many public/retail galleries and museums continue to be closed to the public, some have recently re-opened or announced plans to either/both re-open soon (e.g., Chicago’s Art Institute’s limited re-opening in early February), making sure that they’re doing all they can to keep customers and their employees safe and/or continuing on in their efforts to create digital/online content. Many venues – in addition to the online galleries, interviews, live and recorded tours and discussions and other content they’ve created – are also available to help by appointment, so if you’re looking to learn more about what’s taking place in art spaces in your area, I’d invite you to look through the list of sellers I’m maintaining on the ACHOF site – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-buying-and-selling-resources-page/ – and then visit their sites to see who is doing what.
Artist News and Interviews –
a) How do the talented people who’ve created some of our favorite album images stay safe, sane and creative during a pandemic? Here’s a recent interview with famed photographer Janette Beckman about working on album cover projects during COVID – https://www.wmagazine.com/culture/janette-beckman-photographer-interview?
b) While I do enjoy paging through some of the better-known financial publications, I can’t recall when I’ve found anything much about album cover artists, besides the recent interest in how some are exploring adding NFTs to their portfolio. However, with the recent interview with Anthrax drummer/album artist Charlie Benante (along with girlfriend/fellow artist Carla Harvey) on the roles of art and music during the pandemic (Jack Ryan writing for Forbes Magazine) – https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimryan1/2021/03/31/charlie-benante-and-carla-harvey-on-the-role-of-art-and-music-amidst-pandemic/? – I will now keep closer tabs. Charlie is part of an artist collective/management company called Punk Rock & Paintbrushes that has also recently released a 200-page hardcover book (12” x 12” full LP sized) that shows off the talents of the artists that make up this group, who also work together to produce art shows that pair music and art. https://www.punkrockart.com/product/prp-new-book-the-insides-of-artists-written-by-outsiders/#
I saw that another artist I’ve worked with/interviewed in the past – collage-master Winston Smith – is working with this group, so I hope to find out a bit more about them and their ongoing efforts and will share what I find with you sometime soon.
c) The team behind the ongoing Muse By Clio “Art of the Album” series of artist/designer/fan-driven articles about album cover art delivered a number of interesting articles written by people in/around the music business in April, beginning with Jonathan Parks, whose originally-one-man production music operation ALIBI Music has grown into a significant operation, with Parks still responsible for the album imagery. His choices include some classic covers (inc. Martin Sharp’s cover for Cream’s Disraeli Gears) and some done by those (at least in this article) who remain un-named – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-jonathan-parks-alibi . The month’s list of articles continued on with Doremus’ “chief innovation officer” Matthew Don sharing his “Remembrance of 10 Lost Album Covers” – https://musebycl.io/art-album/remembrance-10-lost-album-covers (with “lost” meaning that they no longer are in Don’s music collection, for a variety of reasons); followed thereafter by a “10 Great Album Covers” summary provided by the proprietors of the Hamburg, Germany based design agency Rocket & Wink – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-rocket-wink – whose list included covers both well-known (by me, at least) such as Emil Schult’s classic for Autobahn by Kraftwerk and Donwood’s Kid A cover for Radiohead and, quite honestly, unknown (by me, at least), as were the covers for musical acts Motorpsycho and Moderat. Finally, the month’s coverage ended with another well-chosen “10 Greats” list written by Tinu Mathur of British Columbia’s VRX Studios, who included covers from Jay-Z, Tragically Hip, Smashing Pumpkins and The Clash (how can you NOT include London Calling?) in his list – https://musebycl.io/art-album/10-great-album-covers-chosen-tinu-mathur-vrx-studios
Eager to see what turns up on next month’s collection of articles – keep up the good work, Team Clio.
d) While I haven’t seen anything new in their “Greatest Album Photography” series lately, a recent trolling through the online index of the site for the U.K.’s Amateur Photographer publication revealed an interview that I missed from a couple of months ago with top rock photographer Kevin Cummins, well-known for his long list of contributions to the NME music pub – https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/technique/interviews/kevin-cummins-what-it-was-like-to-shoot-punk-joy-division-oasis-blur-and-much-more-145451
In this article, you’ll learn more about Kevin’s work photographing many of the up-and-coming bands in the U.K. music scene in the 1970s, mostly in the Manchester area (Buzzcocks, Joy Division, etc.) and then, after a move to London in the late 1980s, bands including Suede, Blur, Oasis, Radiohead and many more. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a parody he’d done in the early 1990s for NME of the dudes in Blur re-creating the classic cover of Blondie’s Parallel Lines (nice legs, Damon!).
Items for Sale and/or at Auction –
a) The original painting by commercial artist/designer Gary Norman that graced the cover of Boston’s 1978 smash hit album Don’t Look Back was one of the featured items that was included in the “Illustration Art Signature Auction” staged by Heritage Auctions this past week, with final bids accepted – and the winning bids announced – Friday, April 30th.
After receiving the original painting (done with airbrush and acrylics on a 25” x 46” board) back from the label (surprise!), Gary hung it in a spare bedroom, where it’s sat for the past 40 years. According to the article on the Art Daily site – https://artdaily.cc/news/135040/Original-artwork-for-Boston-s–Don-t-Look-Back–heads-to-Heritage-Auctions#.YILvnpBKg7M – he just thought that it was time to find it a new home. Based on the fact that bidding quickly blew through the original $5-7,000 pre-auction estimate , it was no surprise that the painting will be finding itself in a very nice new home sometime soon after it was purchased for $81,250.00.
To see the item as it was presented, head on over to the Heritage Auction site – https://fineart.ha.com/itm/pulp-pulp-like-digests-and-paperback-art/gary-norman-american-20th-century-boston-don-t-look-back-album-cover-1978acrylic-and-airbrush-o/a/8030-71060.s Don’t look back post-auction now and wish you’d been a bidder. Instead of feeling satisfied, you’ll find that someone has become the man you’ll never be – it’s easy when you have the money and then, if you win, to party!
b) Several album cover-related lots are featured in an upcoming Bonham’s auction – https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26708/?#/aa1=1&MR1_length=48&w1=list&q1=album%2520cover&m1=1
Many of the items in the grouping that will be auctioned off on May 5th come from the personal collection of famed UK music producer Harvey Goldsmith, perhaps best-known to fans in the US as the promoter for such famed events as Live Aid, the several live tours of Pink Floyd’s The Wall and the Prince’s Trust charity concerts. As a pre-auction bonus, the team at Bonham’s has organized a Zoom conference-based interview with Mr. Goldsmith on Thursday, April 29th at 6PM London time during which, according to pre-show publicity, he’ll be “joined by Journalist and Broadcaster John Wilson to reflect on his pop culture-defining career, share music industry insider knowledge, and discuss highlights from Goldsmith’s personal collection going under the hammer in our Entertainment Memorabilia auction at Bonhams”.
In addition to the host of items from Mr. Goldsmith’s collection, several lots that devotees of album cover imagery will appreciate include:
1) a concept drawing of the art Ray Lowry was working on for one of the best-known album covers of all time, that being London Calling by The Clash. Photographer Pennie Smith’s slightly-blurred B&W photo of a frustrated Paul Simonon smashing his bass on a stage is burned into our collective minds, but it was designer/artist Ray Lowry’s layout and text (inspired by an early Elvis Presley record cover) that delivered the completed image to us. What’s more, Heaven 17 fans will also have the chance to bid on three of artist Ray Smith’s original cover paintings for the band’s Penthouse & Pavement, The Luxury Gap and How Men Are albums;
2) Beatles fans can bid to own one of three lots from the estate of the late photographer Iain Macmillan, including two art prints of his famous The Beatles On Abbey Road image (pre-auction estimates from $21-28,000) plus a mock-up and set of seven photo prints from the photo session for Paul McCartney’s 1993 Paul Is Live record during which the pair reprised the stroll over the crosswalk located in front of the Abbey Road/EMI studios.
3) Another item that should draw keen interest from both art and music memorabilia collectors is a print of Sir Peter Blake’s cover image for The Who’s 1981 release Face Dances that’s been signed by Sir Peter, four members of the band and eight of the artists whose works were included in Blake’s design (including Clive Barker!). The print was owned by Jim Callaghan, who provided security for the band while on tour from 1975-83 and who got the art (and the signatures) at the record’s launch party. With a pre-auction estimate of $1100 – $1700 – https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26708/lot/124/ – this should also go for a multiple of that.
There are nearly 300 other items of note in the auction, so please go take a look, and here’s wishing Claire Tole-Moir and her team good luck in her efforts.
c) Heritage continues on with another new Entertainment auction that has several dozen album cover-related lots up for sale – https://entertainment.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?N=53+794+793+792+4294943595&Ntk=SI_Titles-Desc&Nty=1&Ntt=album+cover&limitTo=4294943595&ic4=KeywordSearch-A-K-Y-071316
d) While bidding on one-of-a-kind items such as this Xenomorph model that was up for auction 4/29 at the Julien’s Auction house in LA – https://www.julienslive.com/m/lot-details/index/catalog/381/lot/154408 might be a bit alien for most of us (some might think these folks are Koo Koo), fans of the late artist/sculptor/futurist H.R. Giger don’t often get the chance to own one of his original creations, so it was with great interest that I followed the proceedings of this recent auction and am pleased to be able to share the results with you today. The lot, as described on the auction house’s site is an “early, extraordinary, original, authentic, full-size, translucent prototype Xenomorph costume (the full-size “Alien” costume being known as the “Big Chap”) designed by the surrealist artist and sculptor H.R. Giger for Ridley Scott’s Alien (20th Century Fox, 1979). The Xenomorphs are endoparasitoid extraterrestrial species that are the antagonists of the Alien film franchise. Long believed by cinema historians to have been lost and most likely destroyed, this extremely rare costume was a test prototype designed, developed and sculpted by the brilliant Academy Award-winning Giger (who won an Oscar for his work on Alien), working in conjunction with the talented artisans at the renowned Shepperton Studios in the United Kingdom.”
Pre-auction estimates were at $40-80,000 for the suit, which was ultimately sold to the highest bidder at $44,800, a relative steal for such a unique piece of history. Hope we get to see how/where it’s finally installed. I’d have put it inside my front entry, in case someone came in uninvited 😊.
e) I’d mentioned the new-found interest that both art-makers and art buyers have shown in the burgeoning online art market built around the creation and ownership of NFTs, with several artists and music makers who’ve delivered smiles and memories to album art fans in the past (artist Roger Dean, bassist George Porter, Jr. and the Kings of Leon, as examples) having announced the release of NFTs to potential collectors in the past few months. Just recently, legendary hip-hop trio Run-DMC has thrown their (Kangol, I’m assuming) hats into the ring via a limited-edition offering of 12 variations of the album cover art – painted by Reena Tolentino – for the 35th anniversary vinyl album (titled 12on12 Raising Hell) meant to commemorate both the memory of the late Jam Master Jay and the release of 1986’s Raising Hell record.
Read more about it in Sophie Caraan’s article on the HypeBeast.com site – https://hypebeast.com/2021/4/run-dmc-raising-hell-reena-tolentino-12on12-nft-art-release-info
What I found interesting is that the art is being sold in a crypto currency called Ethereum (denominated in ETHs), with the current price being asked for the first group of tokens being 1.51 ETHs, or a bit over $4,100 in just plain dollars. I guess when you dive in to crypto, you must dive in completely…
For some additional related reading, I find myself tipping my hat once again this month to a writer at Forbes Magazine, here’s a link to an article that spells out what NFTs are, how they’re made, how they’re bought and what their future might be – https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2021/02/26/what-is-an-nft-and-should-you-buy-one/?
f) Just a head’s up – Heritage Auction house will be auctioning off some really rare art this coming October (16th and 17th, with bidding beginning online September 27th) in Dallas, inc. based around a collection– The David Swartz collection – of some “banned” covers– with an intro to the collection now available for viewing in their Intelligent Collector magazine – https://intelligentcollector.com/the-swartz-archive/? Catalog online at https://entertainment.ha.com/c/auction-home.zx?saleNo=7233&type=surl-7233a
Special Award Show updates –
As I noted in last month’s summary, in advance of the broadcast of the 50th Anniversary presentation of Canada’s top music award show – The Juno Awards, taking place on Sunday, May 16th, 2020 on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (broadcast nationwide that Sunday beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC Music, CBC-TV, CBC Gem and CBC Radio One, and globally on CBCMusic.ca/junos, as per the info provided by CARAS, the Canadian Recording Academy) – the nominations in the “Album Artwork of the Year” category were announced, and they are:
JUST WORDS, by Lynne Hanson – JARED BARTER (ART DIRECTOR & DESIGNER), MICHAEL ZAVACKY (ART DIRECTOR & ILLUSTRATOR), MARYN DEVINE AND RÉMI THÉRIAULT (PHOTOGRAPHERS);
NOTRE-DAME-DES-SEPT-DOULEURS, by Klô Pelgag – JULIEN HÉBERT (ART DIRECTOR), DAVID BEAUCHEMIN (DESIGNER), FLORENCE OBRECHT (ILLUSTRATOR), MARC-ÉTIENNE MONGRAIN (PHOTOGRAPHER)
MISS COLOMBIA, by Lido Pimienta – LIDO PIMIENTA AND ORLY ANAN (ART DIRECTORS), MAT DUNLAP (DESIGNER), DANIELA MURILLO (PHOTOGRAPHER)
PALIMPSEST from Protest The Hero – LUKE HOSKIN (ART DIRECTOR), JOHN MELOCHE (DESIGNER), MARTIN WITTFOOTH (ILLUSTRATOR) and
PRAY FOR IT, by July Talk – PETER DREIMANIS (ART DIRECTOR, DESIGNER, & PHOTOGRAPHER), SCOTT WARING (ART DIRECTOR & DESIGNER), LEAH FAY GOLDSTEIN (DESIGNER), CALM ELLIOTT-ARMSTRONG, LYLE BELL, AND TY SNADEN (PHOTOGRAPHERS)
“While Toronto is the official Juno host for the awards’ 50th anniversary, the broadcast will be presented to an at-home only audience, with filming taking place at several locations across the country.”
Due to COVID, this past year was a particularly difficult one for musicians in Canada, but that hasn’t stopped Canadian artists from making their mark both at home and world-wide. Football fans will recall that this year’s Super Bowl game featured a dazzling (and, on occasion, vertigo-inspiring) performance by R&B star The Weeknd, the first such honor for a Canadian musician and who also received the most nominations (6) for awards in the upcoming show.
Best of luck to all of the nominees, and be sure to check back here mid-month for the results of this year’s voting.
Miscellaneous Items –
As always, I’m going to have to keep these short-and-sweet (well, most of them, anyway):
OBITS) no one I’m aware of.
a) For a number of years, I’ve tried to document the recurring phenomenon of musicians who have also shared their talents in the visual arts, occasionally making their own album covers (you can read my overview at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/musicians-who-also-designed-album-covers-a-list-for-fans-of-music-and-art/ ). The topic seems to also be the basis for other writers as well, as seen here in this recent article on the Alternative Press site – https://www.altpress.com/features/album-art-designed-by-musicians/
b) Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose – Last month, I was pleased to report about photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s recent victory in court about the unauthorized (and uncompensated) use of her photo of Prince in a series of prints by Andy Warhol. More often than not, this area of intellectual property law finds image-makers on the losing end of these cases, as evidenced in this article about a photog’s suit against a museum who used one of his photos to illustrate a show catalog – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/metropolitan-museum-of-art-copyright-van-halen-1957058?
c) Sometimes, album cover making can be a dangerous undertaking, as seen here in this article about a cover shoot featuring singer Amy Lee from Evanescence – https://metalheadzone.com/amy-lee-shares-the-story-of-how-she-put-her-life-in-danger-for-evanescences-album-cover-art/
d) Daft Punk’s creative director extends his portfolio of work to include nightclub design – https://www.mixmag.net/read/nightclub-designed-daft-punk-creative-director-news
e) Architectural Digest magazine has just discovered that several musical acts have, over the years, teamed up with well-known fine artists to create their album covers. I guess it’s been a while since they looked. Found in their “Celebrity Lifestyle” section – https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/albums-with-the-most-amazing-artwork
f) Artist/scientist inspired by Pink Floyd creates “diffraction art” objects – I was contacted last month by visual artist Mario Teadoru Emmanuel (I hope I got that right), who had some questions about copyrights and shared some info on a project he was working on that was creating imagery similar to the light-thru-a-prism art that what was created in the early 1970s by the Hipgnosis design studio for Pink Floyd. Since this memorable cover for Dark Side of the Moon – created essentially by tracing on paper the output of a physical phenomenon – was first unleashed on an appreciative album-buying public, there have been a number of attempts to recreate it exactly, including one I reported on back in 2017 (https://petapixel.com/2017/03/30/photographer-recreates-dark-side-moon-album-cover-camera/ ).
While I found the efforts fascinating, I’ve never had someone explain the science behind the image and, as we communicated, he shared that he’s developed a new personal style of this kind of art he calls “Diffractionism”. In edited form, here’s how he describes his work – “I invented my own artistic style…Well, invented is maybe too strong of a word. Let’s rather say ‘discovered’. It took a bit of thinking but i did it. I think i coined a term – ‘Diffractionism’. That’s right. I wanted to go with ‘Dispersionism’, but there are already some shady links for that one.
I am fascinated with the dispersion of light. I love diffractions like crazy. It’s amazing, this paradigm of glass, of invisible making visible. So, now that we have physically-based, unbiased path tracers, we can finally simulate and play with true glass. But that’s not all – what defines Diffractionism is the concept of “allowing the media to create”, sharing creation with physics. A true Diffractionist doesn’t know how his work will look in the end – he just helps reality express itself. It’s like you’re a photographer who now has the best camera in the universe. In Diffractionism, you simulate physical reality and let it tell you how it looks.
Welcome to my world! share and like #diffractionism, and let me know in comment what you think of my thesis.”
So, I wrote – Mario – very cool and visually stunning. Can I share a link to this video in my next monthly news summary? Would it be fair to say that you were inspired by Pink Floyd’s DSOTM? When did you first get this idea? Let me know what you’re comfortable sharing with my readers and I’ll be sure to include it. THANKS again, Mike G
I also added, after visiting his site, that I noted he was selling some of these works (with each one a unique take on each of the songs on Dark Side – https://mintable.app/art/item/Talk-to-me-The-Bright-Side-Of-The-Moon—01/KI4EIt_MYUJty7m – and was curious as to his plans along those lines going forward, to which he replied – “Thank you so much for your feedback! I won’t say they are inspired (by DSOTM) – I would say they are a “illustration” of each song from DSOTM. There are 10 images – one for each song – and I even developed titles similar to the original songs. For instance, the one inspired by “Eclipse” I named “Darkening of a heavenly body”. So, I’m not just inspired – I’m deeply immersed in DSOTM. So yes, please share it. I would love for PF fans to see this. Actually, I’m thinking of doing a series based on other albums”… here’s the link to the whole project https://marioteodoru.myportfolio.com/diffractionism and here’s a link to his portfolio – https://marioteodoru.myportfolio.com/work
So, what do you think of this – is it an homage, a parody, something unique and exciting, ??
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed – currently at https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – and returning right around the first of next month another news summary for you. Peace and Love to you all.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2021 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of the trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.