Tag Archives: Album Cover Hall of Fame

Interview with artist Kyle Lambert on his work on the cover for Muse’s Simulation Theory

 

Interview with artist Kyle Lambert on his work on the cover for Muse’s  Simulation Theory

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted March 22, 2019 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Those of you who’ve been reading my interviews with album cover artists over the years have seen many examples of “crossover” talents. In some cases, its musicians who, whether through their genes or through constant exposure to the visual arts, have taken on very active roles – as art director, illustrator, designer, photographer or muse – in the projects that produce the imagery that helps promote their music to the press and fan bases. In other examples, it is a visual artist’s exposure to new music (and the people that make it) that leads them to pursue opportunities to collaborate with a musical act or their label’s art departments. I’ve also shown you several instances when a visual artist who has built a portfolio of work for clients in the music business has then gone on to more/greater fame in other aspects of the art world (fine art, music videos, film and television, advertising, etc.).

Back in 2009, I published an interview article about a design firm called Pacific Eye & Ear (lead by Ernie Cefalu) who had an illustrator on staff at the time – Drew Struzan – who’d done some memorable covers in the 1970s for musical acts including Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Iron Butterfly, Bee Gees and others – who’d later go on to great fame and fortune as a movie poster artist, creating iconic images for movie series including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Back To The Future and many, many more. Drew was a commercial artist (he stopped taking on commercial commissions several years ago) who learned how to work in a variety of traditional media – acrylics, pen and ink, airbrush, etc. – and then brought his own unique eye and abilities to create masterworks for each of his clients and, as a result, became an artist greatly respected by both music/movie fans and experts/critics in the fine art world.

Last year, working to update a list of people who’d worked on Grammy Award-winning projects (in this case, the rock band Muse and their 2016 “Best Rock Album”-winning effort Drones), I saw an article about the band’s then-upcoming release (Simulation Theory, released in November, 2018 on Warner Bros. Records) and that they’d hired a young movie poster artist – Kyle Lambert, whose work on promo imagery for hit movies including Stranger Things and Jurassic Park, among others – to work with them to come up with just the right cover art for that record and was so impressed with his successful effort on that music industry project – his first album cover – that I knew I’d have to find out more and share that conversation with you. Lambert’s choice of digital tools might rankle the egos of certain purists from the art world, but the results – done with a fan’s passion for his subject material – are certain to have evoked wide smiles from both casual fans of the visual arts to the most die-hard of ComicCon attendees.

I interviewed the ever-in-demand Mr. Lambert via email over the past few months about his work on this cover (its inspirations, the use of specific tools and what it was like to take on a collaboration with an internationally-renowned music industry client) and am now happy to share that with you, below:

Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – Kyle, I first want to thank you for taking a break for a few minutes from what seems to be a very busy work schedule to answer a few questions about your project with Muse.  If it’s OK with you, I’d like to first take you through my “regular” list of questions and so, to get things started, can you tell me how it was that you were first introduced to your clients – that is Muse, their management, the label or anyone else who served as your artistic cohorts on this project? Had you worked with them before?

Kyle Lambert – This was the first time I worked with Muse. I was contacted by Creative Director Jesse Lee Stout on behalf of the band to create the album cover for what would be their eighth studio album. Jesse was my point of contact throughout the process and the one who provided me with the brief and supplied feedback at various stages of the process.

Mike G – Prior to working on this project, were you familiar at all with the band, it’s “style” and approach to music and their back catalog?

Kyle L – I grew up listening to Muse while I was in school. I remember the song “Time Is Running Out” (from the 2003 album Absolution – MG) being a particular favorite among my friends. When I was hired for this job, I immediately went back to their catalog and listened to their music to reacquaint myself with their sound.

MG – I really want to know a) whether you got to hear any of the new record’s music before starting on the design project and b) whether any of the music influenced your approach to the design.

KL – At the time I was brought on board for the project, Muse had already released three singles that would be featured on the album and also had produced some visually creative music videos.

MG – So, was there a particular track from the record’s track list of what was to be included in the package – or something special about the music overall – that served as the inspiration for the package’s overall design?

KL – The final art combines portraits of Matt (Bellamy), Chris (Wolstenholme) and Dom (i.e., Dominic Howard) with the characters seen in the music videos for the songs “Something Human”,” Thought Contagion”, “Dig Down” and “The Dark Side”. In particular, I really responded to the video for the track “Thought Contagion”. The video has a really vibrant color palette and was filled with characters that looked like they belonged in a science fiction movie. After seeing it, I had a very clear idea about what I wanted to create for the album cover.

MG – Knowing what you grew to know about the people involved and your overall knowledge of “what works” in the entertainment business, do you feel that there’s something that makes Muse different from other bands in their “category”? Was the band – or the people at Warner Bros. Records – known to have a particular approach to promoting and packaging their music?

KL – Muse are a notoriously creative band, and the band members are the driving force behind all aspects related to their music. The idea to have a movie poster image serve as the album cover came from Dom, who was also involved in reviewing my designs throughout the process.

I think this direct contact with the artists was refreshing and led to the artwork being a true reflection of the sound of the album. For Muse, this was a unique approach to advertising their music, as they had never previously appeared personally on any of their album covers.

MG – Certainly a good example of a band working hard to deliver something “more” to their fans. So, let’s talk tech for a bit. How did you choose the tools you’d use on this effort? Can you help me better understand the “how the heck did you do that?” aspects of the project? I know that Apple products were used pretty extensively, but do you normally use their hardware and software to create your art?

Simulation Theory work drawing – Photo Credit Kyle Lambert and Muse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KL – The workflow that I used for this album cover is consistent with how I’ve worked on movie posters in the past. I use an app called Procreate on an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil to sketch the initial idea for the artwork, and to do the detailed drawing. I use these tools because the Apple Pencil provides me with a very natural drawing experience, and this setup also allows me to work mobile if necessary. Most of the coloring is done using Adobe Photoshop on a Mac in combination with a Wacom tablet. I prefer to color in Photoshop because, at this stage of the process, I need a lot of layers and working on a bigger screen helps see more of the artwork. To finish it, I go back to Procreate to add some final highlights and details.

MG – It seems like you’ve found a good set of tools for this kind of work. Can you tell me whether any other special tools or techniques were used and incorporated into your work processes and how they helped you create the finished product?

Muse’s Simulation Theory iPad Drawing – Photo Credit Kyle Lambert and Muse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KL – One of the aspects of the artwork that took a while to figure out was the spaceship you see at the top. Initially, I placed a smaller version in the top right hand corner at an angle, but everybody wanted a more prominent placement for it. They felt it would be cool to have the spaceship looming above the band, similar to how Star Wars movies begin (Editor’s Note – the original Star Wars movie poster displayed the dreaded Death Star space ship and other fighter vessels).

I thought this was a great idea, but it did lead me down a path of drawing multiple iterations of the ship to convince the viewer that it’s coming towards them. For the final version, the ship is perfectly centered, which allowed me to use a feature in Procreate called the “symmetry tool”. It essentially let me draw only half of the ship, and then this tool mirrored my drawing on the other side of the page, which saved me a ton of time.

MG – Taking into account all of the production coordination needed for this work, can you tell me how long this process took – from start to finished product?

KL – I was given two weeks to illustrate the cover, which is quite typical for the entertainment industry, where everything is heading towards a specific release date, and so a quick turnaround is expected. This timeline also included a few rounds of changes and approval processes.

MG – So, no sleep allowed, right? While you’ve already described a lot about the process and how and when the artists were involved in the day-to-day development and review of your work, when all was said and done, did you feel as though you were given enough time and resources to do what you wanted to do? Were your clients happy with the results, and how did they express that to you?

Kyle Meets Muse – Photo Credit – Kyle Lambert and Muse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KL-Like you said, most of this was already answered in your previous questions, but I can tell you that Muse were really happy with how the final artwork turned out. The band invited me to meet them a few weeks after finishing the project, and I got to personally give them an insight into my work process.

MG – Of course, as I’m always hoping to give my readers something special in my interview articles, I’d like to ask you – without betraying any confidences, of course – if there are any other anecdotal bits of info about this project you’d be willing to share…every project I’ve ever looked into seems to have something of an “a-ha moment” or an “OMG moment”, so anything you’d be willing to share with me and my readers would be quite a treat!

KL – For me, my “OMG moments” have been seeing the reception of the artwork and all of the creative ways it has been used to market the album. Beyond posters and billboards, it was also turned into a digital coloring book, a retro 80s cassette, an Etch-A-Sketch portrait and a wrap for an arcade game. It was even featured in the music video for another track from the album – “Algorithm”!

Link to bonus content – follow this link to read a recent interview with Muse regarding the “look and feel” of their Simulation Theory record done by reporter Ed Masley for the Arizona Republic news service – 2/19/19 – https://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/music/2019/02/19/muse-interview-simulation-theory-tour-levitation-stranger-things/2882662002/

About our interviewee, artist Kyle Lambert –

Artist Kyle Lambert – Photo Credit – Kyle Lambert and Greg Preston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born in July, 1987 and raised and educated in Manchester, U.K., Kyle Lambert is an Illustrator whose portfolio includes advertising/promo and related work for a number of the world’s top brands including Apple, Adobe, Disney, GQ, Marvel, NBC, Netflix, Paramount Studios, the San Diego Zoo, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, Vanity Fair and Variety, among others. He is perhaps best known for his artwork for the hugely-popular and award-winning Netflix science fiction/horror series Stranger Things, but fans have also raved about his artwork for The Blacklist and Timeless for NBC, Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams’ 2011 film Super 8 and posters and packaging he’s done for releases for the films Jumanji, Jurassic Park and Wicker Man.

After first studying traditional painting techniques and attaining a B.A. in Illustration/Animation from The Manchester Metropolitan University – Kyle soon transitioned over to the use of digital tools/techniques and was first hired to create illustrated posters for an Apple fan event called Macworld in 2011. The posters were created on an iPad and were displayed at the event. You can find some images of this work on Kyle’s Behance page: https://www.behance.net/gallery/3926845/Mara-Digital-Painting

He continued his work for Apple Inc., U.K., as a Creative Trainer, teaching students how to use creative applications (such as the Final Cut Studio, Aperture, iLife, iWork, Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects as well as Autodesk’s Maya 3-D modeling package) while providing them with the support and inspiration they’d need to launch their own careers. He moved to Los Angeles, CA in 2016 to open his own studio (Kyle Art Studio) after he completed his commission to do the poster artwork for Season 1 of the aforementioned Stranger Things series for Netflix and where he’s been kept quite busy ever since.

You can follow Kyle’s career via his web site at http://www.kylelambert.com/

About Muse’s Simulation Theory

Muse Simulation Theory Box Set Package – Photo Credit Warner Bros Records and Muse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally released in November 2018 via multiple formats (CD, Deluxe CD, Vinyl, Cassette and Digital Downloads, as well as a CD/Vinyl Box Set) on Warner Bros. Records, Simulation Theory immediately topped the U.K., Dutch and Swiss sales charts (topping out at #12 on the Billboard charts in the U.S.). In addition to Kyle’s design and illustration credits (for the cover and for related merchandise, including clothing, song books and lithograph prints based on his artwork), other packaging/production credits go to MUSE and Jesse Lee Stout for Art Direction and Jesse Lee Stout and Alex Tenta for Graphic Design. For the Deluxe set, that artwork was created by artist Paul Shipper.

To see all of the available ways you might purchase this record, click on over to https://usstore.muse.mu/music/simulation-theory-super-deluxe-cd-vinyl-boxset-1.html , while a t-shirt featuring Kyle’s cover art illustration is available at https://usstore.muse.mu/clothing/mens/stacked-logo-simulation-theory-t-shirt-5.html

All images are credited as noted – Copyright 2018-2019 Kyle Lambert, Muse and Greg Preston – and are used by permission to illustrate this article. All text Copyright 2019 Mike Goldstein/AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All rights reserved.

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for March 8, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for March 8, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Hope that you’re all looking forward to the day – soon, we hope – that the temps pick up, the buds appear on your trees and shrubs and all traces of ice and snow disappear from our lives. Enough already, right? In any case, you may recall when I said that I wasn’t going to be posting monthly news summaries for a while (in order to be able to devote more time to organizing the materials for my book and some other projects I’m involved with), I am still going to share a headline or two when I think that there’s something timely you should know about… Here’s some news about some exhibitions/apprearances you might want to look into, as well as info on a Kickstarter-hosted book project that will be of interest to fans of Hip-Hop and overall great photography…

a) My friends at the UK’s Hypergallery are debuting a new show in Berlin, Germany that’s built around the fan-pleasing covers created by the talented Michael Spencer Jones for the British mega-group Oasis that’s meant to show us that, 25 years later (since the release of Definitely Maybe), these memorable images still impress us with their beauty and inspired craftsmanship. Setting the Scene: Oasis 25 includes the cover images we all know and love along with many never-before-seen photos, alt versions and memorabilia used in the making of these covers.

The show – hosted by the Browse Gallery will also provide fans and collectors with retellings of how the images were made, what inspired them and several surprises that, if I told you, wouldn’t be surprises any longer, so if you’d like to go see the show yourselves beginning on March 9th(it runs there thru April 7th), click on over to the Ticketmaster site to reserve a spot now – https://www.ticketmaster.de/artist/setting-the-scene-oasis-25-tickets/1009188?

More details on the show, including dates and directions to the gallery, can be found on the Browse Gallery site at https://browse.gallery/en/exhibitions-2019/setting-the-scene-oasis25/

You can also preview some of the MSJ prints that will be on sale during the show on the gallery’s web site at https://www.hypergallery.com/shop/filter/designer/michael-spencer-jones?curpage=designer&dir=asc&order=name

b) My regular readers will recall my previous coverage of photographer Glen Wexler’s successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce a book (Glen Wexler: The 80s Portrait Sessions) of many of his most-memorable shots from that era, so it is now with great pleasure that I’d like to announce the upcoming book launch event and exhibition slated beginning on March 21st at the Mr. Musichead gallery/event space on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, CA – https://www.mrmusichead.com/events/2019/3/22/glen-wexler-exhibition-the-80s-portrait-sessions

The night of the show opening will be a humdinger, for sure, with an opening cocktail reception beginning at 7PM local time and a series of live music performances, with a portion of the proceeds set to benefit the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

If you’d like to learn more about Glen’s book, you can click on over to the video he and his publisher put together for the Kickstarter campaign – https://www.kickstarter.com/f820260b-0aa6-4b39-b820-908b9370db7a   You might also want to take a fast trip over to this page on the Bontena site – https://www.bontena.com/contents/2019/02/Interview-with-Glen-Wexler-Photographer-Director-and-Visual-Artist-19021802? to read a recent interview with Glen written by Melisa Kaya.

c) A recent article written by Victoria Priola for the SI Live site gives us the details about a rather-expansive album cover art exhibition currently on display (now through March 23rd) in the gallery at the College of Staten Island (NY) – https://expo.silive.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/02/d7d8fcf90e2068/the-college-of-staten-island-hangs-200-album-covers-in-art-gallery-for-new-exhibit.html Titled If A Song Could Be Freedom… Organized Sounds of Resistance, the show is built around a 200+ item collection of politically-themed album covers donated by Brookly’s Interference Archive (“a volunteer-run library, gallery, and archive of historical materials related to social and political activism and movements”) and is, according to the show’s organizers, works to “expose the broad scope of the intersection of music and politics.” Album sleeves from the 1960s to the present make up the bulk of what you’ll find there.

d) Sorry, almost missed this one, but it’s not too late for those of you in the Chicago area (hey, that’s me!) to traipse on down to the gallery in the café area of the Logan Center on the campus of the University of Chicago before March 31st to view a show of works from one of the local Hip-Hop music scene’s most-admired album cover artists – Nikko Washington, whose role as the artistic director of the Savemoney Hip-Hop collective has given him the opportunity to design some memorable covers and promo materials for musical acts including Vic Mensa, Noname and Towkio, among others.

A recently-posted article by Hannah Edgar on the Chicago Magazine site  – http://www.chicagomag.com/arts-culture/March-2019/Nikko-Washington-53-til-Infinity/– features an interview with the talented designer and includes his comments on some of the newer works he’s got on display. You’ll learn a bit more about Mr. Washington’s unique approach to creating his art, his past personal histories with some of the musicians he’s created imagery for and his frustration with how gentrification has wrung much of the original soul from where he grew up (Hyde Park), forcing a move to another neighborhood in the city (Pilsen, itself going through a lot of changes) to enable him to “keep it real”. It also gives you clues as to the where the title of Nikko’s show – 53 ‘Til Infinity – originates.

More info on the solo show now up is available on the University’s web site – https://arts.uchicago.edu/event/nikko-washington-53-til-infinity – and if you’d like to enjoy a deeper look into the artist’s portfolio of work, I can think of no place better to do that than on his web site at https://www.nikkowashington.com/

e) As a photojournalist who began documenting the local Hip-Hop music scene in the early 2000’s with a disposable camera (and has since gone on to become the official photographer for the always-in-demand musical group The Roots), Mel D. Cole has also shot album photos for Jadakiss, Trey Songz and The White Mandingos and established himself as one of the principal documenters of the Modern Era of Hip-Hop. Mel’s come up with a great title for his new bookGREAT: Photographs of Hip Hop 2002-2019 – which features photos of many of the genre’s most-noted artists at various stages of their careers. You’ll see candid shots, beautiful portraits and performance photos of A$AP, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Common, Rihanna, The Roots, RZA, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and many others, and the book’s forward is being provided by famed drummer, music historian and late night TV star Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots.

The Kickstarter program now live (through March 29th) at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greatthebook/mel-d-cole-presents-great-pictures-of-hip-hop-2002? offers fans a number of different ways to help Mr. Cole raise the $55,000 he needs to complete his project, with support levels beginning at $25 (which gets you a very nice postcard deck) up to $400, which will secure you one of 500 “Personal Photographer’s Edition” packages that includes a signed book, the aforementioned postcard package and a limited-edition signed photo print all packed in a custom clamshell case. The book itself will cost you $65-$75 including shipping, with a targeted delivery date of December of this year.

I wasn’t familiar with Mr. Cole’s portfolio of work until recently, but after visiting his site at https://meldcole.com/allaccess and seeing the scope of his archives, I’m now a fan (and suspect that you will be, too).

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for February 15, 2019

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Breaking News Update for February 15, 2019

 

 

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

I recently learned about two new album art-centric merchandising programs that have been launched – one, by a well-known manufacturer of classic leisure ware that will sport imagery from one of classic rock’s biggest acts and a second by two island nations in the South Pacific – one large and one much smaller – who have released some new coinage that features album art by one of the area’s biggest rock exports…

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Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for February 8, 2019

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Breaking News Update for February 8, 2019

 

 

 

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Here are three album cover art and book-related stories, just in time for your weekend reading pleasure:

1) Just heard from rock photographer Glen Wexler today regarding the impressive consumer response to his upcoming new book Glen Wexler: The 80s Portrait Sessions. You may recall my earlier report about his super-successful Kickstarter project of late last year (which was fully-subscribed at the time), but now he’s worked it out with his publisher and will be offering 50 more first-run copies to his fans at the same pre-order price of $75, with the book shipping in about three weeks. He’s still accepting orders for the fine art prints, posters and deluxe-edition book box set (which includes a print of Michael Jackson), so if you hurry on over to   https://www.facebook.com/glen.wexler/timeline, you’ll be able to see/read more and snap up a copy before they’re gone.

2) Designer and author of one of my most-referenced album art books (Album Art: New Music Graphics) John Foster has launched a new “making of” series of album art articles on The Vinyl Factory site. After the success of his previous sequence of monthly album art summaries (“Judging A Cover By Its Cover”) on the same site, John’s new monthly column will feature one cover he selects for a deep-dive look/see, with the debut article built around artist Dave Thomas (AKA “DLT”) and his work on the package for It Won/t Be Like This All The Time by The Twilight Sad on Rock Action Records – https://thevinylfactory.com/features/twilight-sad-it-wont-be-like-this-record-sleeve-design/

3) I first became aware of the writing skills of author/heavy-metal music aficionado Ramon Oscuro back in 2015 after learning about his book And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers and the regular series of “making of” articles on the topic of metal music album art that appears on the Metal Underground site. As I wrote at the time, the book included the stories behind over 50 memorable metal covers and explored the enormous range of styles and subject material featured in those images.  Now, for 2019, Ramon is prepping a new, limited-edition Volume 2 of his book – 252 illustrated pages of “exclusive interviews and comments by members of Judas Priest, Slayer, Soulfly, Amorphis, Testament, Carcass, Orphaned Land, Cannibal Corpse, Emperor, Candlemass, etc., and legendary visual artists like Costin Chioreanu, Eliran Kantor, Travis Smith, Dan Seagrave, Valnoir, and more.”

Whatever you might think of the subject material, there’s no denying the artistry often on display. There have been some beautifully-disturbing covers created in this genre, so it is nice to be able to better-understand – in the words of the people who produced these works – their underpinnings and back stories. Pre-orders for the 200 author-signed copies (sensibly priced at $58.97 each, to ship in March) that will be produced in this edition are now being accepted, so I’d suggest clicking on over to his order page at https://andjusticeforart.bigcartel.com/product/and-justice-for-art-stories-about-heavy-metal-album-covers-volume-2 to reserve one for your collection now.

If you’d like to take a quick video tour through the book in advance, he’s made that easy to do via this link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_eah8XwA9A

Album Cover Hall of Fame Art and Artist News Update for February 1, 2019

 

Album Cover Art and Artist News Update for February 1, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

We made it! It was rather exciting to step out into a -54 F wind chill (-21 F actual temp) yesterday morning here on Chicago’s North Shore – it’s amazing how fast your eyeglasses freeze to your nose.

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Interview with SMOG Design about the I’ll Be Your Girl box set for The Decemberists

The Decemberists’ I’ll Be Your Girl Box Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Smog Design, Inc. about the making of their award-winning package for The Decemberists’ I’ll Be Your Girl

 

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

 As we’ve seen take place a number of times since the introduction of the modern album cover 70 years ago, certain market-savvy musical acts have teamed up with specific visual artists to collaborate on their overall “visual branding” (sorry for the buzzwords) for significant portions of their careers. Examples of these pairings include artist Phillip Travers working with the Moody Blues, Roger Dean’s visual stylings for YES, team Hipgnosis’ catalog of covers for Pink Floyd and Cal Schenkel’s mind-bending images for Frank Zappa and his chums (among others).

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Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for January 18, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Breaking News Update for January 18, 2019

Posted on January 18, 2019 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

I recently learned about two new album art-centric art programs that have been launched – one, by a large music label with a long history of great and genre-leading design and a second by a large home furnishings retailer whose goal seems to be to include large-scale Beatles-related imagery in any self-respecting music fan’s home, office and/or lobby area…

1) Blue Note Records, founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion, has a well-deserved reputation for trend-setting album cover design (for noted jazz acts including Art Blakely, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk and others), with projects lead by designers and artists/photographers including Reid Miles, John Hermansader, Francis Wolff and Andy Warhol, among others. During the 1950s and 60s, Blue Note designs helped set the standard for modern album art, with classic covers such as Dexter Gordon’s GO, Art Blakely’s Free For All, Sonny Clark’s Cool Struttin’ and, one of my personal favorites, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s 1962 record Hub Tones (which, I think, had to have influenced designer Raymond Pettibon’s logo for punkers Black Flag), all which demonstrated the prodigious talents of the aforementioned producers via their impressive use of new era photography, typography and overall graphic design. Recently, the Blue Note team selected 12 of their most-stunning cover designs and have released them in a series of large-scale (either 22”, 33” or 44” square) framed art prints on canvas, priced at $295, $399 and $499 respectively – https://shop.udiscovermusic.com/collections/blue-note/products/thelonius-monk-framed-canvas-art?

The new series is covered nicely in a recent article by Estelle Caswell on the Vox web site, which provides a particular focus on the “look” of Blue Note records in the hands of Reid Miles. The article also includes a link to a short film they’ve produced on the subject titled The Greatest Album Covers of Jazzhttps://www.vox.com/videos/2019/1/2/18165211/jazz-album-design-blue-note-records which packs a lot of educational insight into its < seven minutes.

2) With 21 prints on canvas ranging in price from $199 to $650, the Chicago-based home furnishings retailer Crate & Barrel recently launched an impressive addition to their art print collection using licensed imagery – primarily photos and album cover prints – that make it easy to update your décor any time at all. Do you want to know a secret? Well, the prints range in size from 20” square (Yellow Submarine) to 50” square (With The Beatles), with other prints based on photos including shots of the Fab Four in various studio, airport and park-like settings around the world, so whether you’re fixing a hole or just want to see your favorite Beatles images here, there and everywhere, I need you to click on this link – https://www.crateandbarrel.com/decorating-and-accessories/beatles-prints/1 – because I’ve got a feeling that you’ll see that there’s a place in your home for one of these fine examples of rock ‘n’ roll music imagery.

Bonus item – in another example of “time marches on” whether we like it or not, the folks at the U.K.’s Radio X have recently posted an article that brings us some updated stories and pictures of the people that were featured on a number of our favorite album covers. You’ll see what the two little girls we saw on the cover of 1993’s Siamese Dream for Smashing Pumpkins look like now as adults (still playing dress-up); learn and see more of everyone’s favorite nasty nurse character (as seen on Blink 182’s Enema of the State and NOT one to be considered for inclusion in any New Right fundraiser); what U2’s Boy looks like now that he’s a man and many other examples from the Rolling Stones, The Smiths, Pink Floyd, Super Furry Animals and others – https://www.radiox.co.uk/features/what-do-these-famous-cover-stars-look-like-now/  Art is timeless, but it’s subjects get old and wrinkly just like everyone else…

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2019 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for January 11, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Breaking News Update

posted January 11th, 2019 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

For your weekend reading pleasure – here are a few timely links to articles or events I thought you should know about….

– Noted British artist/musician/illustrator Rodney Matthews is kicking off 2019 with a return to his English roots and a two-day-only album cover show in a city – Birmingham – often considered the birthplace of “heavy metal” music. With album cover clients (including Amon Duul, Asia, Hawkwind, Magnum, Nazareth and many others) who’ve relied on Matthews for just the right fantasy imagery to keep their fans happy, it’s no wonder that Rodney has been kept busy (over 140 covers and counting!) for over 50 years.

The show’s titled “Electric Rock” and will be staged the weekend of January 19th and 20th at Highbury Hall in Birmingham (4 Yew Tree Road, B13 8QG) and Matthews’ entire portfolio of album cover art will be on display, including many never-been-shown original artworks and related memorabilia. Fans of the Stormbringer book and the Shadow Master video game, as well as collectors of fantasy artwork and Big O posters will find much to see (and to buy to display proudly at home). More on the show – as well as details of special VIP admission packages – can be found on the artist’s site at – https://www.rodneymatthewsstudios.com/pages/electric-rock

I’ve also been hording links to the many recent “making of” articles that have been published over the past 4-8 weeks, and so without further delay:

Revolver Magazine’s J. Bennet shares the details behind the collaboration of two talented visual artists (designer P.R. Brown and painter/musician Marilyn Manson) that resulted in the the making of the cover for Mr. Manson’s 1996 record (produced by Trent Reznor) Antichrist Superstarhttps://www.revolvermag.com/culture/marilyn-mansons-antichrist-superstar-story-behind-album-cover-art

Juxtapoz Magazine’s “Sound & Vision” series of album cover art-related articles continues in fine form with the following:

– While photographer Karl Ferris and guitar legend Jimi Hendrix shared a mutual admiration for one another’s talents (with Hendrix once telling Karl that “You‘re doing with photography what I’m doing with music – going far out beyond the limits”), there were times when Hendrix and his bandmates were less-than-happy with the covers that the record companies produced for their retail products. Here’s the story behind one of those times – the Hindu-inspired psychedelic cover for the Experience’s Axis: Bold As Love LP – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/illustration/sound-and-vision-the-jimi-hendrix-experience-vibrant-axis-bold-as-love/

– An existing shot – a stark, red and black photo from designer/photographer Sean McCabe’s portfolio -seems like the perfect image to illustrate the cover of the 2002 debut record – titled Turn On The Bright Lights – from NYC-based rockers Interpol –  https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/design/sound-and-vision-interpol-s-2002-debut-turn-on-the-bright-lights/

– Is it cute, weird or just a little bit dirty…influential designer/artist Mark Kelley was asked by his chum, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, to come up with the cover image for their second major-label release (1992’s Dirty), and whether you get it or not, it certainly became something that stuck in our collective memories – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-sonic-youth-dirty-album-cover-art-by-mike-kelley/

That’s all for now – back to you sometime soon with more on our favorite people working on our favorite album packages.

Mike G

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2019 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update for January 8, 2019

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update

January 8, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2018 Best Art Vinyl Awards

Winners of the Best Art Vinyl Awards 2018 – Copyright 2019 Art Vinyl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amsterdam-based designer/artist Rahi Rezvani (http://www.rahirezvani.com/home/), perhaps best-known for his portfolio of designs for the Netherlands Dance Theater and other works with performance artist Marina Abramovic and Dutch singer Alain Clark, earned top honors in this year’s Best Art Vinyl Awards for his cover for British rockers Editors 2018 album Violence.

From the 50 nominees originally posted for voting last year, the 2nd place design award went to Tom Hingston (along with photographer Julia Noni) at the London-based Hingston Studio (http://www.hingston.net/) for their work on the cover of Cocoa Sugar, the third studio album by UK electronic dance band Young Fathers. Third place in this year’s competition went to the team at the Sheffield, UK-based design group The Designers Republic (http://www.thedesignersrepublic.com/) for their design work on Aphex Twin’s Collapse EP.

The awards were presented in ceremonies at the Hari Hotel in London, and you can take a look at all of this year’s nominees (along with the winners) on the Art Vinyl site at https://www.artvinyl.com/award-year/2018/

That’s all for now – back to you sometime soon with more on our favorite people working on our favorite album packages.

Mike G

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2019 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Art & Artist News Update for January 4th, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update

posted January 4th, 2019, by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Hope that you all had happy new year celebrations (some of you may still be in the midst of one!) and, while I said that I wasn’t going to be posting monthly news summaries for a while (in order to be able to devote more time to organizing the materials for my book and some other projects I’m involved with), I am still going to share a headline or two when I think that there’s something timely you should know about…

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