Individual Achievement Award Nominees – Class of 2014

Individual Achievement category Nominees – ACHOF Class of 2014

Included in this category are designers, illustrators, photographers and art directors who, while not working primarily in the music-packaging field, created a memorable album cover. In some cases, the nominee may have had his/her career cut short due to illness or death (a condition that seems to have plagued the burgeoning recorded music industry), while in other examples, an artist’s talents in one specialty were noted and they were then asked to apply those talents in some unique way to an album cover project. In more than one instance, the nominee was a friend/relative/business associate/guru of someone related to the featured musical act and, therefore, entrusted with this important responsibility. Regardless of the circumstances, each nominee has left an indelible mark on the art of the album cover.

This year’s nominated artists produced their best-known work some time after 1990.

Darren Hughes (Design/Art Direction) – Nominated for his work on the cover for Hey Ma by the British alt rock group James

In April, 2008, the band James released their 10th studio album titled Hey Ma, the follow-up to their 2001 release titled Pleased To Meet You and the first since re-uniting after a 7-year hiatus. Reviews of the record noted that while the music was done in a manner that would please fans, the songs’ lyrics were decidedly more political, with anti-war and immigration reform themes taking center stage. The band hired Darren Hughes and the LOVE agency to create a memorable package and to re-design some of their related graphics, including their logo.

The results proved to be both striking and controversial, with the cover featuring a photo of a baby, sitting next to toy blocks that spelled out the record’s title and reaching for a large gun lying nearby. After previewing the artwork, the local media deemed the image “outrageous” and the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority banned the artwork from appearing in any promotional campaigns, prompting Hughes to comment that the media was disingenuous showing outrage about his image rather than the growing examples of violence and an unbridled gun culture featured in the news shown on all media platforms. The band stuck by its decision to use the offending image, but the ultimately had to come up with an alternative promo image when certain retailers and media outlets refused to allow the original artwork to be used in their stores or on their billboards/magazines.

In spite of the difficulties surrounding the Hey Ma baby cover, the word-of-mouth from fans and critics helped the record sell well, with the band’s subsequent world tour proving to be quite successful.

See more about this artwork via either of the following web sites:   or

(b. May, 1974 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, UK)  Rejecting the “family career” of coal mining and looking to prepare for a career in the arts, Darren left Barnsley in 1992 to move to London, where he enrolled in a Graphic Design degree program at the Camberwell College of Arts. While working on his Bachelor of Arts degree (which he received with Honors in 1997), Hughes apprenticed with Alan Kitching and Kelvyn Smith at the Typography Letterpress Workshop, which ultimately lead to a position as a lecturer/assistant in the Typography/Letterpress program at the Royal College of Art, where he worked until 1999. That year, he decided to enroll in the school’s Master of Arts in Art & Design Communication program, receiving that honor from the world-renowned university in 2001 while simultaneously gaining more design experience working for two firms – Imagination and Meta Design – where he worked until graduating.

After a brief stint as a designer at Crescent Lodge Design, in 2002 Darren accepted a position as an Art Director at a start-up called Albion London, a digital creative agency that, today, employs over 90 people. At Albion London,  he worked on campaigns including the launch of Skype (the video service now owned by Microsoft), Innocent Drinks and Virgin, remaining there until 2005. After working transiently as Head of Design at Springer & Jacoby International, in 2005 Darren then moved to Amsterdam to work for international creative titan Wieden + Kennedy as a Designer/Art Director, working on projects for clients including Coca Cola, EA Games, Nike and P&G/Old Spice. In 2008, he accepted an offer to move back to the UK to join LOVE Creative in Manchester as a Creative Director, working on large-scale projects for Sony (including the launches of the PlayStation PSP and the PlayStation  3), a position he remained at until 2012, when he to launch his career as a freelance designer/art director. Since then, he’s added portfolio clients including IdeasByMusic, Zero Lites and Zucchini Digital Engineering.

Throughout his career, Darren has worked to share his passion for design with students all over the world, lecturing and tutoring at schools/universities including the Kent Institute of Art & Design, the London College of Communication, the University of Brighton, the Southampton Institute and the Miami Ad School.

More information on this artist is available on his web site at

Sacha Jafri (Illustrator) -Nominated for his work on Silver Rails for Jack Bruce

According to details provided on the late Mr. Bruce’s web site, the art work for the album cover was designed by Jafri in the style of a 1950’s Columbia Records jazz album. Jack’s 14th (his first in over 10 years and, sadly, his last) solo album was released to the delight of his faithful fan base and a large quantity of critical praise. The record was recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London and, in addition to Jack’s excellent bass and vocals, featured the work of several well-known musicians, including Robin Trower, Bernie Marsden and Phil Manzanera.

As a member of the seminal rock trio Cream, Bruce was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and, in 2006, he was given a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy/Grammy organization for Cream’s long-lasting impact on the music business. Bruce reunited with his original band-mates – Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker – for a series of reunion concerts both in London and New York beginning in May 2005, with their final show at NY’s Madison Square Garden taking place October 26, 2005.

(b. 1977 in the U.K) – As a young man of Iranian/Indian/French descent, Jafri attended and graduated from several of the country’s best schools, beginning with Eton College and then the Kent Institute of Art & Design (graduating in 1996), receiving both Bachelor of Arts (with first class honors) and Master of Arts degrees from Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art in 1999. His approach to pop art/painting was met with tremendous interest, culminating first in a popular touring show – launched in 2005 and on display in 12 museums throughout the world – of 20 of his early works paired with a then recently-discovered trove of 14 prints by Andy Warhol titled “Jafri Meets Warhol”, followed by a retrospective show of his work in 2008 at the Museum of Modern and Islamic Art in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

His paintings are in the permanent collections of museums and galleries around the world including The Royal Academ y of Arts and the House of Lords in London; the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Chagall Museum in Nice, France and the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. Celebrities who’ve added Jafri’s work to their personal collections include HH Prince Albert of Monaco, David Beckham, Sir Richard Branson, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Roger Federer, Bill Gates, Sir Ben Kingsley, Madonna, John McEnroe, U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and the Royal Families of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sharjah.

In 2009, Jafri was selected to serve as a judge on the illustrious panel of artists, tastemakers and human rights experts that would choose the winner of that year’s Freedom To Create Prize, awarded each year ” to support and recognize artists who strive for social change in places where there is no Freedom to Create”. Then, in 2010, Jafri was awarded with the Karic Award for his Humanitarian and Artistic endeavors, with the foundation particularly impressed with the millions of dollars the artist has raised for charities world wide via the sale/auction of his works.

More recently, Jafri was commissioned to create the official “1000-day countdown” painting, along with the Lord Mayor’s Olympic painting, for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

More information on this artist is available via his listing on the Artnet website at

To see the complete list of this year’s inductees – including the winner in this category – please click here.

To see the complete list of this year’s nominees, please click here.

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