ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR MAY.
BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM
I don’t know how the rest of the world is handling the changing of the seasons – or the lack thereof – but I’m really hoping that we see a regular Spring weather pattern here in the Chicago area soon (I really want to plant my herbs). Spending more time indoors has had one benefit, though – I’ve been able to research and gather a very nice selection of articles to fill each of the five regular sections included in my monthly news summary. Indeed, the information about the exhibitions, artist profiles, new books and prints, auctions and sales and other items of interest serves as an ongoing testament to the fact that music industry-related visual artistry continues to make fans and draw audiences world-wide.
On a personal note – while, at the moment, it seems as though the Kickstarter project I launched in support of my new book project will fall (far) short of its goal, I’m trying not to get too down about it and, in fact, am now quite energized to find a publisher or two who might be able to help me bring this book to album art/artist fans both here in the U.S. and to readers/fans overseas as well. There are still a few days before the KS project draws to a close, so if you are interested in reserving a copy of the limited-edition version of the book for your very own, I’d invite you to visit the project page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/232122114/unsung-heroes-stories-from-your-favorite-album-cov before May 8th.
As I mentioned previously, the last 30 days has given us a lot to look at in the area of album art and artistry and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world, including: album art and rock photo shows in the U.S., the U.K. and Italy featuring works by and/or about David Bowie, photographers Charles Moriarity and Art Kane and John Lennon/Yoko Ono, among many others; profiles on album art-makers including creative director Craig Braun, photographers Frank Ockenfels and Gunnar Stahl and the designer/illustrator known as Sixmau; another intriguing podcast from GOLDMINE Magazine about an impressive line of portable record players; info on the upcoming NY-area art show booth hosted by printmaker Gary Lichtenstein featuring new works by former Def Jam Records creative guru Cey Adams; new books coming out by two noted photographers – long-time Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger and Astrid Kirchherr, who chronicled the early growth of a band called The Beatles – as well as a book of Amy Winehouse photos by the aforementioned Mr. Moriarity, plus my mini-review of John Foster’s recent book on album art/artists (titled ALBUM ART: NEW MUSIC GRAPHICS and, as always, a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics such as the premiere of a new documentary film about famed Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita (perhaps best known for his enormously-influential folio of portraits of David Bowie), a new 35th anniversary DVD about the making of the album cover for Michael Jackson’s huge hit Thriller, a “best album cover art” listing that is actually fairly thought-provoking, a restaurant in Wisconsin that offers rock music-themed craft cocktails (with an LP-style menu to match), details on vinyl LP-inspired bathroom fixtures (!!) and much, much more.
As always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.
1) UPCOMING, RECENTLY-LAUNCHED/CURRENTLY RUNNING AND JUST-CLOSED SHOW/EXHIBITIONS –
a) To follow-up on last month’s details about the David Bowie Is show currently running at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, there’s a new article by Claire Voon on the HyperAllergic site that shows you just how far NYC-area promo teams are willing to go to deliver “All Bowie, All The Time” to his legions of fans – https://hyperallergic.com/438500/david-bowie-metrocards-spotify-mta/
You’ll read more about how NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) newly-released line of pre-paid fare cards (AKA “MetroCards”) that feature one of five (5) well-known DB images, with each one representing one of his best-known personas (Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust, etc.). Customers at the Broadway/Lafayette and Bleeker Street stations can step up to the special kiosks and try their luck on collecting one, two or all five of the specially-designed cards ($6.50 minimum for 2-rides) and also look around the station for several other Bowie-themed art displays, including silhouettes on the famed white tile walls, lyrics printed on stair risers and a very cool photo image that has been sliced into strips and laid in sequence along a number of cross-beams, allowing viewers standing at just the right angle to see the entire image at once.
250,000 total cards were printed, but with 5 million+ subway riders using the service every day, they’ll probably be snapped up rather quickly. I’ve already found sets of all five cards being offered on eBay for approx. $150.00!
The Bowie archive-sanctioned, Victoria & Albert Museum-organized David Bowie Is show has now moved on to what looks to be its final exhibition space – the Brooklyn Museum in New York – where the impressive display of costumes (over 60 of them), music, videos, photo and graphic imagery, Bowie’s own paintings and ephemera from his own collection – over 400 items in total – will be available for viewing by fans thru July 15th – https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/davidbowieis
b) Irish photographer Charles Moriarity was first introduced to singer Amy Winehouse in London in 2003 while she was looking for – and not finding – “just the right shot” for the cover for her debut album Frank. They stopped for a bottle of white wine and spent some time wandering the streets of the city, getting to know each other a bit better. The two hit it off nicely and, ultimately, found a pub on Princeton Street and a chum with a couple of cute dogs, both which served as the backdrops to what would end up being that cover shot (they also rendezvoused again in New York City while she continued recording in order to get some additional shots for the rest of the album package. Over the course of the next several years, while Winehouse worked hard on recording and touring, Charles would stay in close touch until he made the decision to move from London back to his native Ireland several years later, after which they lost touch.
While we all know that the story doesn’t end well for Ms. Winehouse (Charles admits that he was shocked when he saw her obvious decline in the press coverage she received throughout the remainder of her short-but-glorious career), Moriarity had rebuffed some of the more-exploitative offers he received to use these early photos commercially in the immediate aftermath of her death in 2011 but more recently, after the National Portrait Gallery asked that one of his photos be added to their permanent collection and a meeting with Asif Kapdia, the director of the acclaimed 2015 documentary about Winehouse (Amy), he decided that the world would benefit from the opportunity to see a collection of these images, with the results being a photo exhibition in Dublin featuring a collection of 25 early shots by Charles Moriarity – http://chq.ie/amy-winehouse-photo-exhibition-comes-to-chq/
along with a book (Before Frank) that shows, in 50+ photographs, the transformation from a young girl (recording Frank at the age of 19) to a world-renowned recording artist. The hardbound book’s 144 pages contain an introduction by Dazed Arts and Culture editor Ashleigh Kane, a foreword by Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia (director of Amy) along with an interview with Charles Moriarty by acclaimed author Martin Belk.
Irish Mirror contributor Demelza De-Burka has penned an article/profile that intros this show, the corresponding book and shares some of the details about the relationship between the two young artists – https://www.irishmirror.ie/showbiz/irish-showbiz/irish-photographer-who-close-friends-12386226
c) When Arthur Kanofsky was young, he was fascinated with fairy tales, fantasy illustrations and, as a Boy Scout in his Bronx troupe, reptiles (earning himself a Reptile Study merit badge!). Hoping to become a world-famous artist when he grew up, he took the first step in preparation for this career when he enrolled in NY’s Cooper Union College but, a year into his studies, he was drafted into the Army, bringing his talents to a special unit – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops AKA “The Ghost Army”. These artistically-trained troops were sent in to areas where they created the illusion of the presence of actual Army units, fooling the enemy into thinking that they were out-manned/gunned via inflatable tanks, artillery, sound effects and dummy battalions. After his deployment, he returned to the U.S. and worked briefly in the theater before returning to his studies in art, design and photography at Cooper Union and graduating with honors in 1950.
With his experience and impressive talents clear to prospective employers, Arthur (now Kane) accepted a position as the art director for Seventeen Magazine becoming, at age 26, one of the youngest holding this position at a major publication. With his highly-unique talents and experiences combining to give Kane exceptional conceptual/compositional skill set, over the years Kane became a must-have photographer for all of the best-known photo journals and magazines of his time, with his works appearing in the U.S. in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Look, McCall’s and others and overseas in the Italian versions of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Amica, Stern, German Vogue and Zeit. His subjects included celebrities in the fields of music (Bob Dylan, Cream, Aretha Franklin, Jefferson Airplane, Jim Morrison, Sonny & Cher, The Who and Frank Zappa), art (Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and Cy Twombly) and photo illustrations for a wide range of subjects, from the struggle for civil rights down South to the plight of wounded war vets and many articles on the politics and cultural changes taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.
Having developed his skills as a playwright, songwriter and videographer, Kane was able to offer his advertising and commercial clients a broad range of services including, as we now know, photos for album covers by many of the music industry’s best-known acts. Examples of his album cover credits include – Johnny Winter – White, Hot & Blue; Jim Morrison – An American Prayer; The Who – The Kids Are Alright, The BBC Sessions and Greatest Hits; Judas Priest – Point of Entry; Gloria Gaynor – I Am Gloria Gaynor and I Am What I Am and Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The Royal Albert Hall Concert. Beginning in 1989, Kane led a series of week-long summer photography workshops featuring a number of his notable peers at his studios in Cape May, New Jersey, which he continued hosting until his death in 1995.
His works were honored many times during his career, with major awards including the “Photographer of the Year” Award in 1964 from the American Society of Magazine Photographers, the “Page One Award” in 1966 from the Newspaper Guild of America, the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Medal for Distinguished Achievement awarded by Cooper-Union in 1967 as well as medals and awards from the Art Directors Clubs in Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. His works were also included in a number of museum and gallery shows around the world, with the last one on display back in 2015 at the Palazzo Santa Margherita in Modena, Italy – a retrospective show titled Art Kane, Visionary. This year, beginning May 3rd, a somewhat-abridged version of that show, curated by the Wall of Sound Gallery’s Guido Harari, brings examples of Kane’s great works back to Italy (in Turin, at the Spazio Don Chisciotte tthrough July 14th as part of the FO.TO.” Festival (see more at https://www.fotografi-a-torino.it/art-kane-visionary – it’s in Italian, of course).
According to Mr. Harari, he’ll have 40 iconic images, “including all of Kane’s rock portraits – those of The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison, Cream, Johnny Winter, Aretha Franklin, Sonny & Chér and the historic ‘Harlem 1958’, considered quite likely the most significant image in jazz history. All the photographs on show and more are featured in the catalogue published by Wall Of Sound Gallery.”
d) Down in Austin, TX, the team at the Modern Rocks Gallery kicked off a new show called “The Art of the Contact Sheet” with an opening reception on Friday, April 27th that featured examples of this unique photo art print format from rock photographers such as legendary Columbia Records photographer, Don Hunstein and the photographer responsible for the iconic Aladdin Sane album cover for David Bowie, Brian Duffy. Other leading music photographers included in the show are Barrie Wentzell, Alec Byrne, Tracy Anne Hart, Alan Messer, Allan Ballard, Matt Anker, David Corio and more.
Featuring large-format (several sizes, from A2 to A0) contact sheets from photo shoots of musical acts such as AC/DC, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Nirvana, Ramones, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Frank Zappa and several others, the prints show several of the artists at different times during their careers and often include alternative shots where their true personalities shine through. I’m particularly fond of Don Hunstein’s shots of a young Bob Dylan, shot in 1963, mugging for the camera, with his best work and world-wide recognition just ahead of him. I’m sure you’ll all find something that resonates with you so, if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the gallery sometime between now and the show’s close on August 31st and say “hello” to Steven (the owner) or, if you can’t attend in person, be sure to look at what’s available on the gallery’s site at https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/contact-sheet-prints
e) Here’s a reminder for folks of the designer persuasion – in last month’s summary, I’d reported on an exhibition/competition currently being managed by noted album cover designers/authors Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz and Sylvia Reed that’s looking for submissions. According to the info I rec’d from Mr. Drate, the curators are asking designers everywhere to send in their best examples of well-designed record packaging for consideration, with entries due no later than June 1, 2018 to be eligible for consideration for this show.
After the initial competition is over and the best entries selected, the curators will be teaming up with the folks at NYC’s One Space Art Gallery to put up a show (actual dates TBD) that will be called For The Record: The Vinyl Cover Show 2018, the latest in a series of such shows the curators have staged over the years, including a well-received show that took place at The One Club back in 1995 called the “Special CD Packaging Show” (which featured over 100 examples of album art on display) and another show that was held in May, 2004 at the sadly-closed CBGB Gallery built in support of the release of their Rock Posters of the 90s books and which included 250+ posters sourced from 50 different designers. It’s quite clear that this team has been working hard for years to promote the talents of the artists working in the music business with their fans and collectors of these works.
More details about this show and the folks behind it can be found on their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/spencer.drate/posts/10156195245043288
Of course, I’m hoping to be able to share more info on the winners of this competition and the gallery show as it becomes available.
f) While its opening is still a few weeks away, I am still excited to report the news of a new John/Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool in Liverpool, UK that will include a lot for those of us who’ve always appreciated that pair’s contributions to the world of music-related art. Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is one large part of the city’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as “European Capital of Culture” and will, according to the Museum’s PR, have visitors “taking a chronological journey… the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 December 1980.”
On display during the shows run, which begins on May 18th and will stay up for nearly a year (through April 22nd, 2019), are many items of original art created by the pair (individually and together) such as Yoko’s Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting, Painting to Hammer A Nail and Apple: Acorn Peace, War Is Over and others, along with a selection of hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including those to songs including “In My Life”, ”Give Peace a Chance”, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and “Woman”. There will also be a music room where visitors can listen to the couple’s music and review all of the album art that we remember and love. You can learn more about this tantalizing show on the museum’s web site at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/doublefantasy while those with a bit of patience for poorly spaced and punctuated overview articles can read more on one found recently on the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/news/UK/111842/John-and-Yoko-s-story-in-their-own-words-at-Museum-of-Liverpool
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) Craig Braun, a man with some pretty-impressive album cover credits including packages for Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper and, working with Andy Warhol and a talented design team, brought us both the famous “banana cover” for the Velvet Underground & Nico’s debut record and Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones in 1971, is featured in a multi-page spread in the March issue (Issue #12) of Long Live Vinyl (U.K) magazine. In this interview with writer Teri Saccone, Craig takes us through some of the details of his storied career, including his start in the record business in Chicago (go Cubs!) in the early 1960s to the formation of one of the best-known vinyl record packaging companies (Album Graphics, Inc., or AGI) and on to his partnership with designer Tom Wilkes in 1973 to form the design firm Wilkes & Braun, Inc. where, in addition to being awarded a number of illustrious album cover art commissions, the pair were awarded a Grammy Award in 1974 for “Best Recording Package” for their designs for the London Symphony Orchestra’s 1973 recording of the orchestral stage version of The Who’s Tommy.
After earning a reputation as a somewhat “over-the-top” creative director (i.e., one not afraid to spend his client’s money on one-of-a-kind packaging ideas), Braun’s success found him enjoying both the good and the bad of a “rock-star lifestyle” before moving on to “corporate jobs” at several large record labels in the 1980s. After the recorded music business began to take a hatchet to packaging budgets, Craig chose – at the age of 55 – to pursue another passion of his – acting. He spent years studying his craft with legendary acting coach, Milton Katselas, in his master class and, in 2010, Craig was named a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio. He has since appeared in many films (inc. Great Expectations in 1998, Flawless in 1999 and Swordfish in 2001) and TV shows including Law & Order, Cold Case, E.R. and Gone. Returning to his design roots for a special occasion in 2017, Craig was enlisted to emcee the rejuvenated Alex Awards ceremony at the “Making Vinyl” trade show.
While you can’t yet read the article online, I did find that the publication has also had several album art-related articles in the past, including 2 posts in their Essential Covers section (http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/classic-album/essential-covers/) where you’ll see career-spanning summaries on Roger Dean and Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal and in their “The Story Behind The Sleeves” archives, you’ll find postings on covers for Alice Cooper, Bjork, Miles Davis and the Mothers of Invention – http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/story-behind-sleeve/
For more information on this artist, please visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0105733/
b) Keeping his passion for photography mostly to himself while growing up in a suburb of Niagrara Falls, NY, young Frank Ockenfels’ talents weren’t truly discovered until his senior year in high school, when he was asked to shoot the scores of photos needed for his high school yearbook. In 1978, he moved down to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts there, whereupon he met a fellow student named Jodi Peckman. Jodi got a job working at Rolling Stone Magazine and asked her friend to help her with projects here and there, once being sent to photograph Buster Poindexter at a New Year’s Eve performance. After graduation, he worked as an assistant to photographer Joshua Greene (famed celebrity photographer Milton Greene’s son) and at other related jobs until his “big break” came in 1988, when Rolling Stone selected a photo he’d taken of singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman to run full-page in the magazine. Her new album was a hit and, as a result, others wanted to hire the guy who’d taken the best-known picture of the new star, which began a string of commissions to capture the images of many of the world’s best-known celebrities that continues to this day. Ockenfels is perhaps best-known to rock music fans for his portfolio of images taken of the late David Bowie from 1989 to 2006, including album cover/package shots for records including Earthling, Reality and Hours…
The School of Visual Arts is particularly proud of the achievements of many of its alumni, illustrated here by this recent article and intro video found on the school’s site and corresponding to the inclusion of a number of Ockenfels shots in the David Bowie Is exhibition currently on display in Brooklyn, NY. Just goes to prove that both a good education and strong social networks can work together to bring talented people great opportunities (I sound like a school recruiter, don’t I?) – http://www.sva.edu/features/sva-features-alumnus-and-photographer-frank-ockenfels-3-strikes-with-light-video
c) While fans and journalists alike are working hard to figure out which drug reference – “Kidz on Drugs,” “King Overdose” or “Kill Our Demonz” – is the true meaning behind rapper J. Cole’s new album titled KOD, album art fans have a new artist to focus their attention on – 22-year-old Detroit artist Kamau Haroon, a.k.a. Sixmau. He’d just completed work for rapper Childish Manor when he was commissioned to come up with a memorable cover image for this recently-released new record and, as J’na Jefferson describes it in this recent posting on the VIBE web site – https://www.vibe.com/2018/04/sixmau-j-cole-album-artwork/, delivering a painting that depicts “a glassy-eyed Cole is featured wearing a crown. Children smoking, drinking lean, snorting coke and dropping acid are seen beneath his elegant robe, and two eerie skulls are pictured above them.”
The artist was happy to explain a bit about himself, his career and some of the inspirations and direction he received in this collaboration between two musically and visually-inclined talents, and you can see more of his work on his own site at https://www.sixmau.com/ (note – the home page features an image which reminded me of one you’d see after your computer had been hijacked, but fear not…).
d) With newer hip-hop acts showing more and more creativity when it comes to their related visuals, I was intrigued by this recent profile of 25-year-old hip-hop/fashion photographer Gunnar Stahl on the Coveteur.com site – http://coveteur.com/2018/03/15/gunner-stahl-hip-hop-photographer-profile/ as his portfolio now has been enhanced by the addition of two newer album covers for Playboi Carti and Rae Sremmrud (both on Interscope). Writer Jodi Taylor spent some time recently in Atlanta with the young photographer, who’d she’d met late in 2017 when he’d just returned from a working trip to Tokyo and was getting ready to jet down to Miami for his next assignment and, after a whirlwind three months of work, had just returned from Los Angeles and had a lot of info to share about his rocket-propelled career these days.
According to the article, drastic circumstances had the self-taught photographer discovering and then settling on the use of film cameras, with Stahl describing it this way – “’I was doing digital, but then my camera broke,’ he explains. ‘I just had no other choice but to use film.’ Film is now what he is known for, with a quick scroll through his IG presenting you with film portraits of pretty much every rapper. You’ll see the likes of A$AP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott, Skepta, and even Jaden Smith all within one quick glance.”
Researching for this posting led me to find another interview and video profile of this in-demand shooter, which you can read and watch via the link at – http://www.thefader.com/2016/09/20/gunner-stahl-documentary-video-interview More about his latest projects can be found on his blog at http://www.blog.gunnerstahl.us/
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) Last I heard from the folks at the famed Gary Lichtenstein Editions print house/gallery in New Jersey, they were hosting a gallery show late last year built around the ground-breaking hip-hop photography of Janette Beckman (“Legends of Hip-Hop”). Now, in a promo email I just received, I’ve learned that they’re going to be manning a booth at the upcoming Art New York fair (May 3 – 6 at the Pier 94 exhibition hall in NYC) and will have some new works by artist Cey Adams, who us album art fans know and love for his previous work as the creative director for Def Jam Records during their mid-late 1980s heydays, bringing us memorable covers for musical acts including Mary J Bilge, Notorious B.I.G, Faith Evans, Ice Cube, R Kelly and, most-notably, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.
Since that time, Adams has gone on to work independently on a string of projects for clients on both coasts of the U.S. Included in this work were campaigns for Coca-Cola, HBO, Ervin “Magic” Johnson and Nike, NY-area radio stations Hot 97 and WBLS and, working with curators and designers at the Experience Music Project/Museum in Seattle, Adams brought meaningful designs to the hip-hop-centric displays there. Additionally, he’s produced logos for Dave Chapelle’s popular The Chapelle Show, more album covers, stage designs, tour merchandise and more for a wide range of clients including Adidas, Burton Snowboards, Comedy Central, Eminem, Foo Fighters, Don Henley, Moet & Chandon, Stevie Nicks and Roca Wear. Later this year, you’ll find Mr. Adams’ talents on display again in a special box set to be released by Smithsonian Records – the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap – which will feature both his packaging design and a special poster he created just for this set.
In 2008, Harper Collins Design published a book co-authored by Adams and Bill Adler, Def Jam’s former Director of Publicity, titled DEFINITION: The Art & Design of Hip-Hop that presented a comprehensive look at “hip-hop as a visual phenomenon. In 2011, Adams and Adler paired again, this time for Rizzoli, to produce Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label, a retrospective of Def Jam’s design output over the label’s first 25 years.
The photos of Cey’s new works look quite nice, but I’d invite anyone in the NYC area to head on over to the show and see them in person – https://www.artnyfair.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=10&tabindex=9&dealerID=36906
Last minute update – I’ve just learned that Cey Adams will be in the Gary Lichtenstein Editions booth at the upcoming Art New York Fair this Saturday, May 5th, 3pm-4pm to talk about his new work and sign copies of his new catalog of work. Gary Lichtenstein Editions – Booth ANY-107 at Art New York, Pier 94 Exhibition space, NYC.
b) An auction to raise funds for the Benefit Shop Foundation in Mt. Kisco, NY took place this past April 18th that featured large-format (6ft. square!) album cover artwork from noted artist Joe Taylor – http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/6071-choice-artworks-abound-at-benefit-shop-april-18 and, as a follow-up, I’m pleased to report that the item raised $2,000 – nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!
The Texas-born Taylor is perhaps best-known for the mega-scale promo billboards he created to promote new releases inside Tower Records stores in the 1970s and 1980s. What made this particular auction item even more rare and unique was that Taylor took the large masonite boards he used on each project and painted them over after they were used with new artwork, so this huge re-creation of Buckwheat Zydeco’s Hey Joe LP is a rare remnant of his work, indeed (Taylor has also written a book, Art & Music, that shares the stories behind his billboard artwork).
Since leaving the art/advertising world a number of years ago, Taylor has spent his time as Owner/Operator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum – a museum that presents the Earth’s history from a Creationist perspective – in Crosbyton, TX (near Lubbock). He has also put up a display at the museum of the remaining album art paintings he retained ownership of – http://mtblanco.com/2016/03/joe-taylors-album-art/
I’m sure that the winning bidder will soon be the envy of all his/her/their friends…
4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –
a) During his 15-year career as a photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine, Mark Seliger contributed countless images to the publication, including over 125 cover shots. He’d then expand his portfolio to include work as a popular director of music videos, directing shorts for Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz, Willie Nelson and others. In the area of album cover art, he’d contribute memorable cover images for records by Tony Bennett, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Ice-T, Lenny Kravitz, Paul McCartney, Britney Spears and many others.
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. To note his artistic output, throughout his career Seliger has been bestowed with 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.
With such an illustrious background, it’s with great joy that I’d like to report that there is a new book coming out May 1st by Abrams Books that’s simply titled Mark Seliger Photographs. The 256-page publication features 173 illustrations, with portraits of celebrities including David Byrne, Kurt Cobain, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jay-Z , Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen and Emma Stone, along with some great, never-before-seen examples of works taken during his travels throughout the world. There’s an interview of Seliger done by writer/director Judd Apatow during which Marc shares the stories behind some of his best-known shots, so it seems sure that there’s as much interesting to read as there is to see.
b) While you’ve already read my intro article about photography Charles Moriarity’s new photo exhibition in Dublin, Ireland built around a selection of the photos found in his new book about the late Amy Winehouse (Before Frank), I took a look at his site and, in addition to more info on the book, there’s a nice 4-minute+ video intro on the site that gives you a somewhat-more-intimate look into the interactions between these two rising young artists – https://beforefrank.com/ The book’s set to be released this May.
c) Last month, I purchased my own copy of John Foster’s latest book on album cover design and designers – Album Art: New Music Graphics – the details of which I’d shared with you in last month’s news summary. As I said, what makes this book all the more interesting is that it’s been compiled and authored by an award-winning, working designer, with Foster serving as the principal of the MD-based design firm Bad People Good Things and in possession of a portfolio of notable album art credits. He’s also written a number of other design-oriented books included titles such as New Masters of Poster Design (Volumes 1 and 2), Paper and Ink Workshop and 1,000 Indie Posters, among others, and is an in-demand speaker at design industry conferences, so you know he knows his material through and through.
Now that I’ve had a chance to go through the book myself, I did want to let you know that, in addition to all of the nice images used to illustrate the book and interviews with several well-regarded designers I’ve covered over time here at the ACHOF (including Art Chantry, Stefan Sagmeister and Spencer Drate/Judith Salavetz, among others), there are portfolios of work and details of a world-spanning list of designers I’ve never seen before that serve to make this book very different from the many books we’ve seen on the subject in the past. For example, from Denmark, you’ll see cover images created by Jacob Jensen and Hvass & Hannibal for acts (new acts, to me) such as Prins Thomas and Efterklang; from Germany, designers Feld and SchultzSchultz and their work for Ben Lukas Boysen and Daniel Stefanik and, from Australia, Daniel Oorloff, whose crafted photo-collage-based covers for Lucid and Sam Setton, among others.
The 320 page book was being released in the UK on March 8th by the noted Thames and Hudson Ltd publishing house (I got mine via Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Album-Art-New-Music-Graphics/dp/0500294151/ref=sr_1_1? ) , and if you’d like to see more of Foster’s work, I’d invite you to visit his company’s site at http://www.badpeoplegoodthings.com/?page_id=2
d) When the young designer/artist/photographer Astrid Kirchherr was attending college in Hamburg, Germany (the Meisterschule) in the late 1950s, she befriended two other students – Klaus Voorman and Jurgen Vollmer – who shared her interests in Pop culture and music. Voorman became her love interest and, in 1960, the two stumbled in to a club on the Reeperbahn called the Kaiserkeller where they listened to a band from England called The Beatles (who, at the time, consisted of five members, including drummer Pete Best and guitarist Stu Sutcliffe), bringing their friend Vollmer back with them to the club immediately thereafter. Kirchherr became entranced with the young lads from Britain, and one of the bandmembers – Sutcliffe, himself a former art school student – found himself smitten with the beautiful blonde, with the pair starting to date soon after. She’d soon apply her skills as a designer and fashionista to her friends hair and wardrobe, with Astrid being credited for the band’s early “mop-top” haircuts and tailored suits.
With access to the band both onstage and behind the scenes now easily granted, Kirchherr asked the band if they’d mind her bringing a camera along, with the goal being to get them to pose artistically for her as she had sensed something special about the band and its members. Now, over 50 years after these photos were taken, Astrid has teamed with publisher Damani to release a new book of these important photos of the beginnings of a band that would become the most-influential in rock music history. Titled ASTRID KIRCHHERR WITH THE BEATLES (co-authored by Maurizio Guidoni), the book’s imagery focuses on a period of time – from 1960 through 1968 – during which she chronicled the band from its hard-working club band beginnings, during their brief times away from their rapidly-rising careers, on the set of the making of the movie A Hard Day’s Night and up to the time she produced a headshot of George Harrison for his 1968 solo record Wonderwall Music. While her photos have been included in several limited-edition and commercial books of Beatles photos, this is the first time that many of the photos in this 96-page photo-book have been made available to the general public.
You can find this book on the publisher’s web site at https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/634
5) Other articles of interest –
a) Still feel that, for its sonic purity and well-designed packaging, vinyl LPs are still the best expressions of the various ways you can purchase your music? If so, there’s a company in Italy that would like you to consider extending that love for all things vinyl to how you outfit your bathroom. WTF, you say? Well, if you click on over to the MyModernMet site, writer Emma Taggart is happy to show you the various designs now available from the Olympia Ceramica company in their “Vinyl Collection” of LP-and-turntable-inspired bathroom vanities and fixtures. “Resembling a retro sound system, vinyl artwork is featured in the center of the basin; the sink’s faucet mimics a stylus; and taps, styled as “volume” knobs, can be used to adjust the water flow and temperature.
The stylish sink also includes a shelf for storage, a towel bar, a leather toiletry bag, and even an LED mirror featuring lights that resemble an audio equalizer. The best part? Each piece also comes equipped with built-in bluetooth speakers so you can listen to your favorite tunes while you brush your teeth.”
Can’t wait to find out when these are available for delivery and what the prices will be but, I’m assuming, you’ll soon be seeing these in the public and private bathrooms of many (well-heeled) music businesses – https://mymodernmet.com/bathroom-sinks-vinyl-collection-olympia-ceramica/
b) Another design-inspired article that should be of interest to LP fans – Goldmine’s recent podcast includes a discussion with Marshall Blonstein, a former record industry exec who is now co-owner of a company that makes a line of really impressive portable “record players” (much improved over the Kenner “Close&Play” models I remember growing up) – http://www.goldminemag.com/features/ufo-portable-turntable-subject-goldmine-magazine-podcast-episode-24
I’m particularly intrigued with the “UFO” model – a boombox for us Geezers!
c) Last month, I’d reported on a couple of group photo exhibitions – one in Italy and another in Los Angeles – in which the works of famed photographer Masayoshi Sukita were featured prominently. Sukita is probably best-known for his portfolio of photos that captured 40 years of David Bowie’s life and career, with several of his shots used on the covers of some of Bowie’s best-known recordings (from Heroes to The Next Day). In addition to Bowie, Sukita has collaborated with other trend-setting musical acts such as Marc Bolan (T. Rex), Iggy Pop, David Sylvian and influential Japanese electronic music band YMO to create memorable portraits to help chronicle and promote their respective careers.
Now, there’s a new film that premiered at the recent Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy that chronicles the work of this important lensman, with a focus on his unique and intimate portraiture of Mr. Bowie taken during the dozens of photo sessions they worked on together. Sukita – The Shoot Must Go On follows the upward-arcing career path of the now 82-year-old photographer, taking viewers behind the scenes – often with Sukita providing the commentary – during his studio and on-location work with his favorite clients. Included in the film is a special look at “the making of” the album cover for YMO’s second album (Solid State Survivor) and words of praise from many of Sukita-san’s fellow creatives, including famed Japanese composer Sakamoto Ryuichi, musician Hotei Tomoyasu (best-known here for his song “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” featured in the film Kill Bill), guitarist MIYAVI and film director Jim Jarmusch, who teamed with Sukita to create the arresting visuals for his 1989 film Mystery Train.
The documentary is directed and produced by Aihara Hiromi and will be in general release beginning May 19th, so check your local theaters/film festivals/streaming services for showtimes/availability. Reporter Patrick Brzeski gives us a preview on the Hollywood Reporter site at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/far-east-film-fest-premiere-documentary-david-bowies-photographer-1098267
And if you’d like to watch the trailer for the film (in Japanese, mostly) – http://sukita-movie.com/
d) Whenever I see an article in which the author(s) list their favorite album cover designs/images, I typically feel deflated, as I’m forced to wonder why these articles were written. Is there an album art or music-related exhibition taking place nearby, or is there a local artist currently working in the music space that they felt needed profiling, or did they need to fill some space on a page? These articles tend to simply give us a collection of album cover images and little or no useful information about them.
Once in a while, though, even though I don’t quite understand what inspired the article, I am impressed with the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of an article that has pressed its authors to select their favorite designs and then also delivers us the “whos” and the “whys” relating to each featured item. Such is an article recently posted by the Michigan Daily News Music Writers Roundtable on important album cover works – https://www.michigandaily.com/section/arts/album-cover-art-round-table
Compiled by Shima Sadaghiyani, Daily Music Editor for the Ann Arbor, MI-based college daily newspaper, the panel selects several of “the classics” (Revolver by The Beatles, Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book and Doolittle by the Pixies) along with a number of newer “hidden gems”, such as the covers for the Memory Tapes’ 2009 record Seek Magic, M.I.A.’s colorful 2007 release Kala and Lorde’s 2017 megahit Melodrama. While of course I’m impressed with the fact that college writers can find great pleasure and inspiration from “the oldies” as well as the covers for today’s generation’s packaged music. When looking at the cover for the Stevie Wonder record, writer Laura Szubay notes that “only two years previously, on Signed, Sealed And Delivered, Wonder was popping cheerfully out of a cardboard box labeled ‘Handle With Care.’ Now he was sitting on the ground, his face turned thoughtfully to the earth, solemn and contemplative,” while writer Sam Lu shares his take on the connection between the intimate oil painting featured on the cover of Lorde’s Melodrama with the music found inside – “Lorde condenses the essence of teenage relationships in all of their turbulent glory, from the before to the during to the after, and does it all without abandon. She leaves us with a final parting gift: an image of her at her most striking, when she’s unflinchingly staring right at the viewer.”
There’s hope yet for these young people…
e) I’m having a hard time thinking of a recorded music product with as much (well-deserved) notoriety as Wu-Tang Clan’s 2015 one-off double album – the “ultimate box set” – titled Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. When news of its upcoming availability via auction – coming after a six-year production schedule – was announced several years ago, it caused a sensation in the press as many in the media were perplexed as to who would ever buy such a thing, which also came with an entire agreement that limited the owner to how it could be shared with others (no commercial exploitation, period). Unless you’ve lived off the planet since the sale, you know that it was purchased at auction for $2 million by now-convicted pharma wunderkind Martin Shkreli only to be forfeited in a 2018 sale of assets to cover a $7.3 million dollar judgment against him after his conviction for securities fraud.
Now, further trouble seems to be following this record in the case of photographer Warren Patterson, whose work graces the cover of the infamous album and who is now suing the rappers for $1 million, claiming that he was never paid for the 80 hours of work he put in to the project. Hypebeast’s Isaac Rouse shares the sordid details in his article – https://hypebeast.com/2018/4/wu-tan-clan-sued-once-upon-a-time-in-shaolin-cover
As it turns out, the Department of Justice is still trying to locate the record, which has not yet been turned over even though its owner is in jail and is appealing his conviction.
f) It’s been 35 years since Michael Jackson’s best-selling-album-of-all-time (66 million copies sold so far!) Thriller was released, with that album featuring portrait photographer Dick Zimmerman’s iconic shot of the not-yet-surgically-destroyed young singer stretched out wearing a white suit (with the gatefold inside cover showing Jackson acting all buddy-buddy with a tiger cub). The new 35th anniversary DVD package now available on Zimmerman’s FanArtClubGallery.com site ($24.95) on the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller features an updated interview with Zimmerman and includes loads of behind-the-scenes footage taken during the photo session for the record cover.
More details about the project and the new DVD can be found via this press release posted at https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/18/03/p11422213/michael-jackson-thriller-photographer-interviewed-for-just-released-vi along with this feature you’ll find on a popular MJ fan site, the UK’s Michael Jackson World Net (also celebrating their 20th anniversary) – http://www.mjworld.net/news/2018/03/30/dick-zimmerman-talks-about-michael/
You can order one for your very own at http://fanclubartgallery.com/product/thriller-35th-anniversary-interview-with-dick-zimmerman-dvd/ , and you’ll also see that Zimmerman runs a gallery that sells limited-edition art prints based on some of the celeb photos he’s taken over the years, etc. – http://fanclubartgallery.com/store/
g) Missed this when it first ran several months ago, but now that I’ve found it, I wanted to share this info as it helps us laypeople understand the thought processes of those talented people who are tasked to make the packaging for our favorite retail music products – https://99designs.com/blog/design-other/how-to-design-album-cover/
While I’m quite certain that most designers working in the field don’t follow these guidelines all that closely, it is interesting to see that, in a day where it seems that most people are focused on success via rote memorization and/or applications development, even an outlined process like the one presented here reserves time and energy for existential searches, inspiration and the importance of finding the right people to collaborate with.
h) When those of us who’ve worked in the recorded music business hear the word “mixer”, it immediately brings to mind either the piece of studio equipment used to select and blend inputs from various sources or the people that operate these machines. In today’s foodie scenes, folks us laypeople used to call “bartenders” are now known as “mixologists” and, in many cases, seem to have advanced degrees in chemistry as best evidenced by the strange and wonderful concoctions they create. Recently, a Madison, WI-based restaurant called Merchant has developed and launched a craft cocktail program with inspirations drawn from the titles of classic rock tunes and uses album cover-style imagery to help market them. Want a “Black Magic Woman”? Order one and you’ll get a cocktail made from a blend of tequila, mezcal, fruit juices and other ingredients, while ordering a “Killer Queen” brings you a gin drink with sherry, poppy liquor (?), various juices and bitters. The menu looks like an LP cover, with co-production and “song-writing” (i.e., cocktail-invention) credits listed as they would be on a recorded music product. Contributor Lindsay Christians for The Cap Times shares the important details – http://host.madison.com/ct/entertainment/dining/with-s-rock-inspired-cocktail-list-merchant-is-stayin-alive/article_489df93e-4375-5779-b1e0-3ae6a36af903.html
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you. If you’ve found that these stories have added some joy and appreciation for the arts to your lives, I’d like to ask you to let your friends and loved ones know more about the album art and artistry-related information you’ve found here on the ACHOF site.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 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.