Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for July 6, 2022
Posted July 6, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Hello again – I try as hard as I can to include everything possible in my monthly summaries, but every once in a while things show up at the very last moment or I check my emails once more to see if I’ve missed something and, whaddaya know, one or two (or three or four) items appear that just can’t wait another month to be shared, so please take a look at what follows and see if you agree.
a) Those of you who know me from the time long ago during which I was an art gallery owner will recall that one of the artists whose work I was proud to represent was the man responsible for some of Prog Rock’s best-known imagery – Mr. Paul Whitehead, creator of memorable album images for Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Peter Hammill and the wonderful “Mad Hatter” logo for Charisma Records, among many others. In the years since, I’ve reported on Paul’s career (including his 2016 induction into the ACHOF in the Illustrator category) and today, once again, I’m pleased to be able to announce that Paul is a featured artist in a new themed group show opening this weekend (July 9th, from 8-11pm PST) at the Hive Gallery and Studios, 729 S. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA that’s sure to be of interest to fans of the rock group Genesis in that the art that will be on display was all inspired by the music of original Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett.
Presented by The Chicago Narratists Visual Arts Collective and curated by group director JC Baez (with Hive Gallery director Nathan Cartwright), the show is titled Steve Hackett: Horizons and is, according to the advance PR, “a visual exploration and celebration of the music of Genesis and Steve Hackett.” I reached out to Mr. Baez (who, like me, is based in the Chicago area) to learn more about the show’s inspirations and what would be on display and he was kind enough to share the following details (and images) with me. “Hi Mike – Thanks for your interest in our show. I’m attaching the show’s press release with all the pertinent info, but allow me to explain how the show came together and then I’ll tell you a little about me.
I’m a huge Genesis and Steve fan and Steve and I have known each other since about 2005, when we met each other after a show in Chicago at the Abbey Pub. I asked if I could do a painting of him based on that night’s photos and he agreed. He later connected me to Peter Gabriel for a project that I can’t mention and that allowed us to continue communicating about said project. Back in 2019, I saw Steve at Copernicus Center in Chicago for his Selling England By The Pound Tour and I asked him if he would like to collaborate on a project with the Art Collective I had started recently, The Chicago Narratists. We were already working on a project with YES’s Jon Anderson and, being a friend of Jon’s, I had already been working on a graphic novel titled Violin Stories (I had also illustrated his children’s book When Toola Forgot Her Song). I thought a similar collaboration with Steve would be good, especially as a celebration of his creativity and a way to show how his music had inspired another generation of artists.
I presented Steve with the concept of him choosing 10 to 15 solo and Genesis songs for the artists in my collective to create paintings based on. We would provide sketches and he would provide feedback, based on the ideas he had when writing the songs and what inspired them. We ended up with 12 paintings. The previous year, I had exhibited at a great gallery in Los Angeles – The Hive Gallery and Studios downtown – and the owner Nathan Cartwright and I had discussed having another show this year. I presented him with the idea of the exploration of Steve’s work in painting form and he was very interested, especially because he’s a friend of Paul Whitehead’s. We decided to invite Paul as our special guest, and we are so excited because Paul was an early inspiration for some of us in my collective who were very familiar with Genesis. Even more exciting is the premiere of Paul’s new piece, “Watcher of the Skies”.
The members of The Chicago Narratists (which is a play on words and is short for “narrative artists”) are me, Jon Lyons, Manuel Avila and Janice Aponte and for this show, our special guest artist is, of course, Paul Whitehead.
The pieces created by the artists for the show are as follows:
JC Baez – “Firth of Fifth”, “Blood on the Rooftops”, “Spectral Mornings”, “Wolflight” and “Horizons”.
Manuel Avila– “The Fountain of Salmacis”, “Shadow of the Hierophant” and “Sierra Quemada”.
Jon Lyons – “After The Ordeal”, “After the Ordeal (Swing)” and “After the Ordeal (Shore)”
And from our special guest artist, Paul Whitehead – “Watcher of the Skies” and various prints.
The criteria for the works included in the show was for the artists to follow the suggestions of songs to paint that Steve gave us and to have created the artwork with feedback from Steve, who was very generous with sharing ideas and the history of the songs visualized in these paintings. You have to understand that Steve knows a lot about art, since his father was an artist himself. He was an amazing collaborator!
Steve is touring New Zealand and Asia with his Seconds Out tour and will not be able to attend, as much as we tried and as much as both he and I wanted. That’s why we are so fortunate that another member of the Genesis family, Paul, will be joining us. The work will be available for sale and the Opening Event will take place on Saturday, July 9th from 8-11pm at The Hive Gallery, 729 S. Spring St, Los Angeles, California and both Paul Whitehead and I will be in attendance. The show will be up until July 30th.”
I asked JC to tell me a bit more about himself and, as it turns out, he’s an artist and illustrator with a pretty impressive resume who, in addition to the aforementioned folks he’s collaborated with in the past, has worked on a graphic novel with fellow Chicagoan Walter Koenig (Ensign Chekov from Star Trek), storyboards for Neil Gaiman’s upcoming Amazon mini-series Anansi Boys and album covers/package art for a broad range of recording artists including Jon Anderson, guitarist Phil Keaggy, multi-instrumentalist Tony Gerber, rock band ShowPony and U.K. Hip-Hop artist Akala. I think that both J.C.’s CV and Mr. Hackett’s active participation in the project adds a lot of credibility to the show’s premise and guarantees that what attendees will find will be both unique and impressive.
All in all, it looks like this will be a great show for fans of both classic rock music and beautiful, music-inspired imagery, so I’d invite you to click on over to the gallery’s site to learn more about it – https://hivegallery.com/exhibitions/2022/horizons-steve-hackett-show-more/
b) U.K.-based gallery and print publisher Hypergallery recently announced two things that peaked my interest and, therefore (I’m hoping) yours as well… It’s the 50th anniversary of the rock band Styx (wow – another Chicago-related item – am I detecting a pattern here?) and, in celebration of that milestone and the band’s return to touring, the group collaborated with the always-impressive artist/designer Ioannis to release a limited-edition print of his artwork for the Return To Paradise live album package – https://hypergallery.com/en-us/collections/styx/products/return-to-paradise . Available in an edition of 100 prints, each work is signed by both the artist and by the members of the band.
Additionally, the gallery is launching an exhibition at their home space in Henley-on-Thames that brings the great James Marsh-designed visuals produced over the past 40 years for the U.K. new wave band Talk Talk. Per the gallery’s pre-show press, “Hypergallery is delighted to be able to bring this exhibition of signed, limited edition silkscreens and archival inkjets showcasing the jewels in Marsh’s impressive and distinctive portfolio home to Henley, following it’s inaugural outing in collaboration with Haddenham Arts Centre in Ely, Cambridgeshire and Easter week at Show Off Gallery in Whitstable.”
In addition to the prints that will be on display (by appointment throughout the month of July), the gallery we will be showing off Marsh’s collection of small-edition artist books along with the third edition of the hugely successful tome Spirit of Talk Talk by James Marsh, Chris Roberts and Toby Benjamin, published by Rocket 88. Learn more about this show on the gallery’s site at https://hypergallery.com/en-us/collections/flights-of-fancy and, if you have a minute, I’d like to invite you to read (or re-read) the interview I did with the supremely-talented Mr. Marsh about his work for Talk Talk – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/
c) OBIT – Arnold Skolnick, the creator of one of the best-known graphic images of the late 1960s – that being the poster for the August 15-17, 1969 “Woodstock Music and Art Fair” that took place on farmland in Upstate New York serving up “3 Days of Peace and Music” to an estimated half-million attendees, died this past June 15th in Amherst, MA of respiratory failure. He was 85 years old.
After the show’s producers (and local record retailers) rejected the original promo poster design, which featured a naked woman and, ultimately, the wrong address for the event, Skolnick was paid $12,000 for the job (which he divided with copywriter Ira Arnold) and was told he had two days to deliver it. As he’d been sketching birds while vacationing, he had a basic main image ready (but originally put it on a flute, changing his mind later on) and worked around the clock to deliver what would be the artwork we all know and love (with the final address inserted last-minute)
Skolnick actually did make it out to the festival grounds for one day but left right before it started raining. Good move – we all saw the mudslide.
While he might be best-remembered for his Woodstock poster, Mr. Skolnick did go on to a distinguished career as a commercial designer, artist and book publisher, founding both Imago Design, a design company that specialized in art books and, in 1990, Chameleon Books, another fine art book publishing concern that has released over 50 titles.
Obit on the ArtDaily.com site (originally on the New York Times site) – https://artdaily.cc/news/147812/Arnold-Skolnick–whose-poster-embodied-Woodstock–dies-at-85#
Obit on the Legacy.com site with picture of the artist – https://www.legacy.com/news/celebrity-deaths/arnold-skolnick-1937-2022-woodstock-poster-artist/
That’s all for now – I’ll get back to you again during the month if I see anything exciting. Otherwise, look for my regular monthly news summary on or around the first of August.
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