Tag Archives: art director

Interview With Designer James Faulkner – Public Image Ltd’s 9 Album Cover

Interview with James Faulkner – Public Image Ltd’s 9 album cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Interview Topic – the making of the album cover artwork for Public Image Ltd’s 9, a 1989 release on the Virgin Records label

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

When a team is assembled to create an album cover/package, a lot of talent can be brought to the table. In larger-scale endeavors – like the ones you’d often see for big-name acts, backed by significant budgets – a team might include an art director, a designer, a photographer and/or an illustrator (sometimes, both, particularly if there were logos and lettering to be done) and, as the folks tasked with these parts of a project would often find (and want to take advantage of), new techniques, materials and tools would be brought to bear. In the 80s and 90s, as computer-aided design was integrated into a products development and production, sometimes the tools that were “state of the art” at the time were found to be challenging to use, which would either slow down and frustrate some of the players or be seen as an opportunity to experiment and come up with something never before seen. Things like the budget, the production schedule and other distractions might force folks to knuckle down and get creative or, as might be the case in the production of the cover for PiL’s 1989 release simply titled 9 (which stood for the fact that it was the band’s ninth record), to frustrate the art director and leave him with less-than-fond memories of the process and, as a result, of the people who were there to apply their skills to the project via these new technologies.

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Album Cover News Summary for July, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF JULY, 2016

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s the first day of August, 2016. What’s new, you might ask. Well, assuming that you’re not outdoors (too much sun) or aren’t taking shelter from freak storms (or from the gusts of hot air emanating from your TV sets these days), I’m thinking that you’re enjoying the summer overall and are sharing your love of whatever drives your passions with your friends and family. All of us lovers of album cover imagery are a bit of a family, wouldn’t you agree (albeit a sometimes-dysfunctional one, with yours truly as your “arty” Uncle Mike (and NOT your Wicked Uncle Ernie – apologies to all un-wicked Ernies).

In this month’s summary – continuing on in the new and much-appreciated “less talk, more info” format – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to impress us fans, critics and other observers of the art form with their collective output, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics:

1) Upcoming, recently-launched and just-closed show/exhibitions –

a) While the extremely-well-attended Ramones-centered art/memorabilia show at the Queens Museum may have closed this past weekend (July 31st), the kind folks at local public TV network WLIW/Channel 13 have posted a 7 minute video presentation on their Metrofocus web site – http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2016/07/ramones-exhibit-rocks-queens/ – that includes a brief tour through the show, where you’ll see photos by George DuBose, Roberta Bayley and others (including various iterations of Arturo Vega’s iconic presidential seal-like logo for the band) along with interviews with Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh, Johnny’s widow Linda, the band’s former tour manager Monte Melnick and the exhibition’s curator, Marc Miller, a fellow with a long history of producing punk-based art/music shows. Hey ho, if you can’t go, watch the video…

b) Up for a brief run (mid-July through July 30th) at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery on the campus of Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY was an album art show featuring over 1000 record covers on loan from local collectors and the archives of the school’s own radio station (WUSB).

ON THE RECORD: ALBUM COVER ART was presented in conjunction with the Stony Brook Film Festival at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, a venue that has also hosted performances by many of the musical acts (including local talent such as Bob Dylan, Blue Oyster Cult, Cyndi Lauper, Lou Reed and others) whose record albums are on display in this show.

One of the people that curated the exhibition – Karen Levitov, the gallery’s Director – was kind enough to share some additional background info, exhibit details and some photos of the display with me, which I’ll now share with you – “Last summer we had a Vintage Film Poster show during the Film Festival that got a terrific response, so we wanted something just as fun and appealing this summer. Our campus radio station, WUSB 90.1 FM was relocating and packing up its vinyl archive, so we decided to collaborate with them to put this show together. The gallery has a playlist of songs from the albums in the gallery and a documentary video on album cover art…We have over 1000 albums:  811 album covers on the walls and in display cases, plus over 200 playable vinyl records in our listening lounge and children’s area.

Album cover artists represented in the show include famous graphic designers, photographers and artists including Andy Warhol, Shusei Nagaoka, Robert Rauschenberg, Damien Hirst, Brian Duffy, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley, Banksy and many more. Rare and unique albums include The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today with the original cover known as the “butcher cover”; The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request (with its 3D cover); John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Virgins nude cover and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers cover by Andy Warhol  – with a real zipper!”

The festivities were kicked off with a special Q&A session with one of the founding members of Blue Oyster Cult, drummer Albert Bouchard, so if you missed the show, you can still learn more about it on the gallery’s site at http://zuccairegallery.stonybrook.edu/2016/07/on-the-record-album-cover-art/   

c) London’s Somerset House gallery is hosting an exhibition of art – both well-known and newly-created just for this show – inspired by the films of director Stanley Kubrick (from now until August 24th, sponsored by Canon). Included in the show’s display catalog are several works and work-related materials produced by airbrush artist Philip Castle, creator of memorable imagery for album covers and promotional efforts for artists including David Bowie, Pulp, Sir Paul McCartney, Metronomy and The Cars (see the item in Section 2, below, regarding a profile on the artist and his work). More info on the show is available online at http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/daydreaming-with-stanley-kubrick

d) In late 1950s – early 1960s London, three upstart young photographers – Brian Duffy, David Bailey and Terence Donovan – were on hand to both document and participate first hand in the rapidly-modernizing changes in the fashion and entertainment scenes. In addition to capturing memorable portraits of stars who arose from within the scene – actors, designers, artists and musicians (you’ll recall Duffy’s shots of David Bowie, including the famous cover for his Aladdin Sane LP, along with Bailey’s psychedelic cover image for the Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup), it was arguably Donovan who presented the broadest portfolio of artistically-crafted photos (and, later on, videos), including some that served to help launch the careers of his subjects.

While Bailey and Duffy have had a number of books and museum/gallery shows chronicling their careers, it wasn’t until now that Donovan’s contributions have been given the honor of a major retrospective. Now running at the Photographers’ Gallery in London is a show presented in association with camera manufacturer Ricoh (running through September 25th) titled Terence Donovan: Speed of Light that will include, in addition to a stunning collection of photos, a nice collection of related materials, including contact sheets, notes, diaries, sketchbooks and many previously-unseen items.

The Telegraph‘s Robin Muir gives us a preview of the show, along with some background on the photographer whose subjects have included everyone from Twiggy to Yassir Arafat.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/photography/what-to-see/terence-donovan-the-man-who-launched-a-thousand-stars/

Find out more about the show at the gallery’s site – http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/terence-donovan-speed-of-light-2

On a related note, being published immediately after this show closes is a new book of Donovan’s most-beautiful portraits titled, quite appropriately, Terence Donovan Portraits. The book’s authored by Philippe Garner, a Director and International Head of Photographs and of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design at the Christie’s  auction house. Released this month in Europe (and due to hit the streets in the U.S. on September 27th), the 176-page book is being published by Damiani, with more details available on the company’s web site – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

e) Just a reminder that the “Fine Art of Rock” exhibition – featuring the album cover works of Ernie Cefalu, Joe Garnett, Ingrid Haenke, Drew Struzan and the other talented artists that made up the roster of famed album art design studio Pacific Eye & Ear – launched in July at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum for a run that will continue there through November 20th. On display will be original illustrations, paintings and working materials created for records by bands including Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly, The Doors, Aerosmith, Grand Funk Railroad and many others. There’s a nice preview article by writer Bob Mehr that’s been posted on The Commercial Appeal: Memphis that also includes comments by Ernie – http://www.commercialappeal.com/entertainment/music/features/the-fine-art-of-rock-pays-tribute-to-album-cover-images-at-memphis-rock-n-soul-museum-376179b5-0e8b–386706541.html and for more info about the venue, click on over to their web site at http://memphisrocknsoul.org/

On a related note – The folks at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum recently alerted me about a selection of photos posted on the Facebook page of classic rock aficionado John Gable taken during his visit to the Fine Art of Rock exhibition currently on display at the museum, so if you’d like to take a brief tour of some of the notable album art on display there, click on over to John’s gallery at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10206818128717266&set=pcb.10206818132277355&type=3&theater

f) Designer/blogger extraordinaire Simon Robinson recently posted an article on his ST33 site that introduces readers to a new exhibition which launched on the 14th of July that includes a display of over 500 album covers created for musical acts of the Jewish faith – in a wide variety of musical styles – that is currently on display at the Jewish Museum in London, UK. According to the museum’s site, the show – titled “Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl” (gotta love the name, no?) celebrates “the history of Jewish inventors, musicians, composers, music producers and songwriters.”

In addition to being able to view examples of early phonographs and gramophone (which, by the way, was invented and patented, along with the first phonograph record, in 1887 by Emil Berliner, a German-Jewish immigrant to the USA), visitors can track the growth of recorded music through the 20th Century to the present, “from Jewish folk music to Yiddish theatre songs, from Broadway musicals to rock‘n’roll via the rebels of punk and psychedelic rock. Hear personal stories from artists, musicians and collectors. Explore the art of the record sleeve and enjoy a display of 500 records including iconic sleeves from Amy Winehouse, the Ramones, Bob Dylan, and Barbara Streisand.” The show runs through October 16th.

Read Simon’s intro to this interesting, historic display on his site at https://st33.wordpress.com/

More info on the show is also available on the museum’s site at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/jukebox

g) Billboard Magazine contributor Gail Mitchell just posted an intro article about the newest exhibition that just launched at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles that should be a treat for Beatles fans. This show, curated by the Grammy Museum and Fab Four Exhibits, has been entertaining audiences all across the US since it opened up in NYC in 2014 (setting attendance records wherever it stopped), has now “come home” to the LA-based museum and will be appearing there through September 5th.

According to the museum’s press, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” brings us back to the early ‘60s when rock & roll was re-energized–some say saved–by four lads from Liverpool. The exhibit covers the period from early 1964 through mid-1966—the years Beatlemania ran rampant in America. During this time the band affected nearly every aspect of pop culture, including fashion, art, advertising, media, and, of course, music. On display are many Beatles-related pop culture artifacts from the period, as well as correspondence, instruments, posters, photographs, interviews, interactive displays, and an oral history booth in which visitors can leave their own impressions of The Beatles. Screenings and a series of talks reveal the continuing impact of the Beatles.”

Based on the show’s description and photos, there will be a lot of items on display that will be of interest to record art fans. Related events include one that vinyl lovers will have enjoyed – a specially-produced “Record Theater” event on July 18th which featured the music from the band’s 1966 release Revolver – the record featuring Klaus Voorman’s fantastic psychedelic ink drawing on the cover.

To read Gail’s article online, click on over to the Billboard site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7431018/beatles-exhibit-grammy-museum

and, for more information on the show and all the related screenings, discussions and events, visit the museum site at

http://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhibits/ladies-and-gentlementhe-beatles

h) As part of the kick off festivities surrounding the “Chunk of Punk” photo exhibition which launched July 8th at the High Street Gallery at the Uncorked Wine Bar in Akron, OH (featuring the works of Jill Furmanovsky, album cover contributor extra-ordinaire), the Akron Art Museum hosted a special talk about the local rock music scene that featured both Ms. Furmanovsky and local music legend Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Chunk of Punk was part of Punk Week in Akron, which celebrates the genre via a series of events including concerts, film screenings and related displays of artistry. More on this event can be found on the Museum’s web site at

https://akronartmuseum.org/calendar/artist-talk-jill-furmanovsky-with-chrissie-hynde/10486

Up-to-the-minute updates of this exhibitions can be found on the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/22HighStreetGallery/

i) The Panopticon Gallery in Boston, MA has a new group photography show running now through September 13th that they’re calling Music To Our Ears and which features a fine collection of photographs – portraits, concert photography, etc. – by a dozen respected shooters including Charlie Sawyer, Roger Farrington, Marc Lacatell, Rowland Scherman and others, as well as shots from Ron Pownall, the man responsible for album package shots for a number of renowned musical acts including Joe Perry, Rick Derringer, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rainbow and many others.

According to the gallery’s site, the exhibition will also include “some music posters courtesy of our friends at the International Poster Gallery and some new guitars by Booches Custom Guitars.”

Prior to the launching of this event, Pownall was interviewed by Jody Feinberg for the Abington Wicked Local web site – http://abington.wickedlocal.com/entertainment/20160610/rock-n-roll-photography-on-display-at-cohasset-arts-event    There, you’ll learn about highlights from Ron’s career, including a photo taken in 1976 capturing the then 19-year-old Charlie Baker – now the Governor of Massachusetts – at an Aerosmith concert in Providence…

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) 20 years ago, a young photographer named Jonathan Mannion was hired by Rocafella Records to shoot a photo for the cover of the debut record (titled Reasonable Doubt) by a rapper named Shawn Carter who was looking for someone who’d present him to new audiences as someone who’d already established himself as the best in his profession. Shawn Carter went on to become music mogul Jay-Z and, as part of the festivities held to celebrate the record’s 20th anniversary, Mannion’s intimate photos from that session were presented in a “pop-up” exhibition called, quite reasonably, “PROPHECY”. A total of 22 images were shown at the private event – Vibe‘s Josias Valdez was on the guest list, talked to Mannion about how everything came together then and what’s next in this nicely-crafted illustrated interview – http://www.vibe.com/2016/07/jonathan-mannion-interview/

Just received an email from Mr. Mannion in which he details some of the latest things he’s been working on, including album covers for 2 Chains (College Grove), Dj Khaled (Major Key) and Gucci Mane (GUWOP). He’s also just teamed with  retailer PINTRILL to release a series of pins based on album art images Mannion’s done for Jay-Z, including some that celebrate the anniversary of their working together on Reasonable Doubthttp://www.pintrill.com/products/mannion-pin-pack?variant=21301575300

b) Houston-based artist Kevin Peterson received a call from someone on April Fool’s Day saying that they wanted to use a painting of his on the upcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers’ record The Getaway. Of course he thought it was a joke…that was, until he was assured that front man Anthony Keidis had seen the work – an ultra-realistic painting titled “Coalition II” of a young girl strolling down a graffiti-marked street along with a bear, a raccoon, a fox and a black bird – and felt that it would perfectly-represent (according to Patrick Flanary’s interview with Peterson recently posted on the Billboard.com web site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7408793/red-hot-chili-peppers-album-cover-choice) “the strength that it takes growing up in the world today, those traumas that it takes to get through it, and to survive and thrive.” Like Keidis, Peterson is a recovering drug user himself who found a new beginning in the Arts, so there’s some poetic justice in how the two found each other for this project.

c) After meeting artist Andy Warhol in the late 1950s while he worked as a waiter in a NYC restaurant (to supplement his starving artist career at the time), the two formed a tight bond that ultimately led to both a romantic and creative relationship that would last 10 years and out of which would spring “The Factory”, a place where strange and wonderful things took place. That person – Billy Name (originally, William Linich, Jr. ), one of the last few of the original cast of characters who called The Factory home, died recently at the age of 76.

While he spent the rest of his life post-Factory as a poet, Name’s photographs were included on the famous packaging for The Velvet Underground and Nico (the band’s  Warhol-produced debut album, as well as their self-titled third record, where he’s also a character who knows right from wrong (“…But, Billy said, both those words are dead”) in the group’s  song from that record called “That’s the Story of My Life”.

You can read Name’s obituary in The Guardian via the link – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/18/billy-name-andy-warhol-factory-photographer-dies-76

d) Man Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James – best-known for his 2015 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings – is featured in a recent interview with Jason Parham on TheFader.com site in which he recounts his earlier career as Creative Director (and album art producer) for top-selling Jamaican musician/recording artist Sean Paul. The two attended the same college in Jamaica before meeting professionally via Sean Paul’s manager in 1999 (while James worked as an independent writer/designer for commercial clients) to collaborate on the musician’s Stage One record. In the interview, you’ll learn more about James’ influences (Bjork and Pen & Pixel – quite the range!) and some additional details on several of the other covers he created for his famed fellow alum –

http://www.thefader.com/2016/07/12/sean-paul-album-covers-marlon-james

e) See item in Section 4 about a recent interview in The Guardian with acclaimed artist/musician Klaus Voorman’s regarding his just-released graphic novel about his time with The Beatles.

f) Interesting profile of artist Philip Castle in a recent posting on The Guardian‘s site by reporter Jonathan Jones. Album art fans will recall Castle’s contribution to the cover art featuring Brian Duffy’s memorable photo of David Bowie found on the Aladdin Sane LP (Castle created the silver teardrop found on Bowie’s shoulder, while film poster fans will recall his campy artwork crafted for Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks. While both of those efforts earned Castle many fans in the entertainment world, it was his artwork for Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 futuristic crime masterpiece A Clockwork Orange – now included in a show at London’s Somerset House gallery called “Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick” – that cemented his place in Pop Culture history. Kubrick’s very hands-on, detail-oriented work ethic had him send Castle art and sculptures used in the film for use in his prep for the poster work (leaving him with great souvenirs!), and Castle would go on to work with Kubrick again on the art for his celebrated war feature Full Metal Jacket. Read all the details via the link at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/07/stanley-kubrick-and-me-designing-clockwork-orange-poster

For some additional insight into this artist and, in particular, his album cover artwork, you might also want to spend a few minutes watching this 2011 video interview with London-based photographer Steve Mepsted posted on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbEAb2HoLVc

g) Another “local boy done good” feature was recently posted on the Somerset Live (UK) site that reminds us of the great talent of fantasy artist Rodney Matthews, who recently licensed one of his works for use on the cover of the latest compilation record by the Rolling Stones (Another Time, Another Place II). Matthews’ art has been featured on scores of books, posters and a number of album covers, including those for Asia, Hawkwind, Barclay James Harvest, Nazareth, The Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep and Rick Wakeman, but in this case, it was an image he’d done 40+ years ago while working for the famed Big O poster house – one that had caught the eyes of the Stones’ production team and, miraculously, ended up being used – without Matthews’ consent – on a U.S. tour poster for the band that the new record’s publisher requested be used on the recent release – this time, with credit and, I’m assuming, some compensation. Good work always wins out in the end…

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/8203-paulton-artist-designsthe-rolling-stones-album-cover/story-29453182-detail/story.html

h) When two collaborators in music both hold degrees from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, you’d have to think that they’d be looking for just the right images to grace the covers of their records and, in the case of the band Quilt and co-founding members Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski, you’d be right! For the cover of their 2016 release Plaza, after they came upon an image of a 1992 illustration by the late artist Ken Price (who also provided the cover art for The Paperhead’s 2014 release titled Africa Avenue) and realized that the artwork would be perfect for their upcoming record, they contacted the artist’s estate (managed by his son Jackson), made an impassioned plea for a license, and were rewarded with the permission they sought.

In Katherine Turman’s recent article for The Village Voice, you’ll meet these two talented young people and learn more about their ongoing efforts to “stitch together music and visual art”, much to the pleasure of their fans – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/perfect-cover-for-their-latest-album-quilt-stitch-together-music-and-visual-art-8768833

i) The works of legendary hip-hop photo specialist Ernie Paniccioli were featured recently in a rather-cool new project launched in Edmonton, Canada called the “Knowledge is Pow Wow” (which according to the project’s site, “will explore religious pluralism and social justice through inclusive conversation and creative expression …young adults from Edmonton’s downtown communities will hear from leaders representing Indigenous, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim faiths and culture.”). Paniccioli, a Cree Native American who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, got his start in photography in the streets of his neighborhood, capturing images of the graffiti culture that reigned in the 1970s. His images got him a lot of attention, particularly from the artists in the emerging hip-hop/rap music scenes there and he was asked by a number of the soon-to-be-stars of the time – Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and many others – to provide them with shots for their album packages and promotions.

For an interview with Ernie done prior to the exhibition that was posted recently on the CBC News web site, click on over to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/famed-cree-hip-hop-photographer-s-work-on-display-in-edmonton-1.3652907

j) One of the design groups most-responsible for the over-the-top, bling-filled covers found on many of the rap genre’s best-known acts of the 1990s – 2000s was a Houston-based firm called Pen & Pixel, founded by two brothers (Aaron and Shaun Brauch) and whose work was featured on three-quarters of a billion albums, including 38 gold and 12 platinum-selling discs. The firm grew quickly and expanded their client list to include mainstream musical acts including Cher, Destiny’s Child, Lyle Lovett, Chris Rock and ZZ Top only to become victims of the many changes that rocked the music business, with the brothers leaving to start other careers – Aaron as a serial entrepreneur and business development consultant while Shaun continued on as an executive/creative director for several creative services companies.

New York Times contributor Will Stephenson recently posted a “Letter Of Recommendation” article that chronicles the firm’s rise and fall and how their designs established – at least for a while – the design guide for the proper proportions of cars, jewelry, money and scantily-clad women that should appear on any self-respecting rapper’s latest release.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-pen-pixel.html?

k) Not sure how I missed this when it aired a couple of months back, but Rene Montagne of NPR Radio’s “Morning Edition” did a very nice interview with one of the best-known artists to work in the Bay Area since the mid-1960s – that being, Wes Wilson, the guy credited with crafting the trippy, balloon-y fonts that became a mainstay of gig poster designs from that era (he’s also applied his talents to album art of the day, most-notably on the cover for Cream’s Disraeli Gears LP). Samples of Wilson’s posters were included in the grand re-opening exhibitions staged when the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art threw open its doors after a major renovation and there are more examples of his work in the museum’s permanent collection – https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Wes_Wilson

Listen to Wilson as he recalls how and why he got into the field, what motivated and shaped his work and how he hoped that his works would show, during the time when the war in Vietnam was raging, that “things are going to get better”. http://www.npr.org/2016/05/13/477900499/psychedelic-font-how-wes-wilson-turned-hippie-era-turmoil-into-art?

l) One of the most-impressive gallery collections of rock music-related fine art prints I’ve had the pleasure of seeing was on display at the San Francisco Art Exchange and, during my last visit, I had the pleasure of meeting the staff there, including the co-owner, Theron Kabrich. For those who haven’t seen the gallery’s collection (available online on their site at www.sfae.com), you’ll find editioned prints by many of the masters of album cover imagery, including designers Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson and photographers Joel Brodsky, Elliott Landy, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock and others – usually presented in collections that will appeal to lovers of the imagery of rock’s foremost musical acts.

In his most-recent “Art Dealer Show” audio interview/podcast, art world veteran Danny Stern (who got his first gallery job at SFAE) talks to his mentor Kabrich about his start in the business – having transitioned from a career in the fields of psychology and mental health to his career in the art world after, according to his site bio ” he had traveled throughout Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Nepal and India, collecting art and objects along the way. This set a new chapter in motion from a career in clinical psychology to one as a fine art dealer.” Today, along with his co-owner Jim Hartley, Kabrich presents his gallery’s clients with fine examples of the works of the people that have produced many of the world’s best-known images from the world of Popular Culture, so it’s a rare opportunity to be able to listen to him discuss a whole range of topics with his learned cohort.

The 67-minute-long podcast is available via streaming/download, etc. – http://artdealer.show/004-theron-kabrich/

m) Ask six designers about their favorite/most-inspirational album cover designs and, of course, you get six completely-different stories, but in this recent article on The Guardian (UK) site built around interviews by Kathryn Bromwich, Imogen Carter and Katie Forster, I was particularly-intrigued by the appearance of several “classic” record covers in the answers proffered by some of these young-but-talented design pros. Included in the list of influential designs are covers by bands such as Sparks (their 1975 record Indiscreet is a favorite of Bedwyr Williams), The Human League (Inspiration, their 1979 record which profoundly impressed Julie Verhoeven) and Pink Floyd, whose 1969 record Ummagumma suggests the compositions of the Dutch Masters to Alice Anderson.

Always interesting to learn more about what goes on in the heads of today’s most-creative designers, I think…

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jun/26/art-on-your-sleeve-artists-album-covers-juergen-teller-lynette-yiadom-boakye

n) Orange County, CA has produced a staggering number of talented people who’ve left their marks on the entertainment business – Steve Martin, Bob Deal (AKA Mick Mars) of Motley Crew and Gwen Stefani are just a few we can mention – but few have contributed as influential and long-lasting an item as the logo design created by Westminster High School graduate Gerard Huerta – that being the AC/DC lettering and logo that has graced the covers, sleeves, t-shirts, tattoos, posters and other memorabilia purchased by millions of fans since its introduction in 1976. Huerta began his career at CBS Records in New York designing album covers and creating letterforms for Boston (see the article on this cover later on in this posting), AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Stephen Stills and Foreigner. He started Gerard Huerta Design in 1976 and has been drawing custom letters and logos ever since.

OC Register staff writer Peter Larsen recently posted a profile on the ever-busy artist at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/huerta-720158-westminster-lettering.html

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gerard several years back about his work on that iconic logo and so I invite you to take a gander at that article on my old archive site –

http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/07/cover-story—a.html

o) Record covers have always reflected the fashions of the day, so leave it to the writers from Vogue Magazine to track down and interview a person that many of us classic album art fans know, but only from the waist down to his knees! Of course, I’m talking about Corey Grant Tippin – make-up artist, model, actor and Andy Warhol muse/chum, whose mid-section was featured prominently on the un-zippable album cover created for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers record, released in 1971.

In this article by Laird Borrelli-Persson that serves to introduce the relationship between Tippin and famed 70s illustrator Antonio Lopez (whose works are the subject of a new show on display at the new El Museo del Barrio “Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion”), the interviewer questions Tippin about Lopez, his career as an in-demand make-up artist and working with Warhol and the team that created the acclaimed and controversial record cover –

http://www.vogue.com/13448063/corey-grant-tippin-interview-antonio-lopez-andy-warhol-sticky-fingers/

p) Writer Vikki Tobak’s new interview series for the Mass Appeal web site launches with an interview with one of the best-known photographers who has covered emerging music scenes over the past several decades – Janette Beckman. Ms. Beckman’s credits in the album art world include cover shots for The Police (Outlandos D’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta and Every Breath You Take: The Singles); Squeeze (Six Of One); Gang Starr (No More Mr. Nice Guy); Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (On The Strength) and Salt-n-Pepa’s A Salt With A Deadly Pepa and Push It, among others, as well as the subject of this recent interview – an iconic image taken of British rapper Slick Rick during a Def Jam press shoot in NYC for The Great Adventures of Slick Rick album in 1989.

The interview dives into “the making of” this and other shots from her career and provides camera nerds with the details of the equipment she employed to make the magic happen – http://massappeal.com/contact-high-the-stories-behind-hip-hops-most-iconic-photographs/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) St. Paul’s Gallery, one of the premiere publishers/galleries that specialize in album cover art prints, just informed me of a sale they’re running in conjunction of the recent opening of the world-traveling “Bowie Is” exhibition at the MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna – in Spain (see http://davidbowieis.it/en/ for more details). From now until this Friday, August 5th, the nice people at St. Paul’s are offering a 10% discount (via the promo code LIDNI231 entered at check-out) on any of the fine Bowie-related art prints they have available, including prints (some of which have copies also on display as part of the Bowie Is show, organized by the V&A Museum) by acclaimed artists/photographers such as John Rowlands, Celia Philo & Philip Castle, Terry Pastor and others. Some of the prints were co-signed by Mr. Bowie prior to his sad death this past January, making them all the more collectible. To see the entire offering (prints, limited-edition books, posters, sculpture, etc.), follow the link to the gallery’s site – http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=264&numRecordPosition=1

b) The team at Gotta Have It Rock & Roll auction house have just released a summary of the prices paid for items that were included their recently-held auction, with bidding closed on Saturday, July 30th. Fans of unique, album art-related items will find several examples of items that found new homes with collectors who participated in the “Rock and Pop Culture Auction – July 2016” event, including several groups of photos of the late artist formerly known as Prince (each of the three sets sold for a mere $100) and an abstract painting done by singer Alanis Morissette, which sold for $5363, well above the $4000 top pre-auction estimate.

Collectors seemed to be holding on tight to their purses/wallets as many items went unsold, including a set of photo proofs/negatives done for records by Steven Van Zant, artwork for Journey’s Time 3 box set (autographed by singer Steve Perry), a pair of photos offered up by the estate of Herb Worthington that were used on covers for Fleetwood Mac and Lita Ford (although, a Worthington-owned RIAA Platinum LP plaque for Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna did sell for $587, near the top of the estimated value range) and an art board featuring a 16 x 20″ Neal Preston photo shot for the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Live 75 – 85 record album. If you’d like to see more of the results, click on over to https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html   Congratulations to all who found something nice to add to their personal collections.

c) Lovers of the artwork of the late Rick Griffin were in for a treat this past month with the announcement of a special auction of his works hosted by the Psychedelic Art Exchange. Griffin, who created the now-famous artwork for the cover of the Grateful Dead’s trippy 1969 album AOXOMOXOA, along with covers for musical acts including Kerry Livgren, Cold Blood, MAN, The Packards, Darrell Mansfield and others, was also a celebrated poster artist, creating hundreds of designs for acts playing at Bay-area venues. In the late 1960s, Griffin teamed up with several other celebrated local artists, including Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson to start an agency specializing in psychedelic posters called Berkeley Bonaparte and, in the list of over 100 posters that were included in this auction, you’d have found wonderful examples of this work, along with images he created for his other loves, such as surfing, comic books and religion.

Take a look at what curator Glen Trosch has put together for you to look at in this month’s new auction and, if you’re so inclined, add to your collections, via the link – http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) There’s a new Klaus Voorman book (a graphic novel) that tells the story of his relationship with The Beatles beginning with his first encounter with the group in 1960 in a Hamburg, Germany bar. Birth of an Icon: Revolver 50 includes the story about his Grammy-winning illustrations done for the cover of Revolver for The Beatles. In a recent interview with Robin Stummer for The Guardian web site, Voorman shares some of his recollections (“I created the Revolver cover. It was on the third floor of a house, in a little attic apartment, it was in the kitchen. Parliament Hill, Hampstead. I was staying there. I went back there recently, the building is exactly the same.”) which remain quite vivid even after all these years.

Trained as both a graphic artist and a musician, Voormann and his girlfriend, the photographer Astrid Kirchherr, met the band early in their career (the Pete Best/Stu Sutcliffe days) and inspired their looks at the time (black clothes, leathers and low-cut bangs). Astrid spent hours shooting the band (some of her best-known shots were used on the album packages for the band and several solo LPs, including George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music and John Lennon’s Signature Box compilation). Voormann went on to spend much of the 60s and 70s alternating stints on the pop and rock circuit, playing bass with Manfred Mann, George Harrison and John Lennon – including on Lennon’s Imagine – with his work in graphic design and fine art. Did covers for the Bee Gees (Bee Gees 1st and Idea, more for Beatles-related projects (inc. 1995’s Anthology compilation and Ringo’s Ringo), his own 2009 solo album A Sideman’s Journey (featuring guest appearances by former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Yusuf Islam, Jim Keltner, Joe Walsh and others) and, more recently, a quite-Revolver-like illustration for the cover of Japanese rockers Glay’s 2014 release titled Music Life.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jul/23/beatles-revolver-cover-klaus-voormann

Book info on Voorman’s site (set for an early August release) – http://www.voormann.com/shop/birth_of_an_icon_revolver_50

b) The works of one of the “Early Influencers” of record album artwork – artist David Stone Martin – have always intrigued fans of album art with their simple-yet-compelling lines and colors – just ask any fan of the many (over 400!) covers he created for records by acts including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and others who appeared on the several labels headed by the great jazz promoter Norman Granz (Asch, Clef and others) during the 1940s-50s. While some of the covers have been available previously as fine art prints, there’s a new, much-larger collection that’s being offered at the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX that comes from publisher Audioframe as the result of their pain-staking efforts to restore vintage plates and recreate the excitement of the original designs. Each print is hand-numbered and is stamped by DSM’s archive. There are 4 sizes available, in editions from 200 for the 14″ square prints, offered at $380, to just 25 prints in the huge 44″ square versions, priced at $1995. To see the entire collection, visit the Modern Rocks site at http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/buy-david-stone-martin-prints/

c) Tom Sheehan’s photos have been featured on hundreds of album covers and packages throughout the years (inc. those for the Flamin’ Groovies, Ian Dury, Aztec Camera, The Charlatans UK and others), but it is his photos of Robert Smith and his mates in The Cure – taken beginning in 1982 while he worked as the principal photographer for Melody Maker magazine – that are probably his best-known works, so it’s exciting to see a hand-picked selection of them taken over a 23-year period (thru 2005) compiled and offered in a soon-to-be-published new book. In Between Days. The Cure in photographs 1982 – 2005 is scheduled to be released this coming November in two beautiful editions – the Deluxe (2500 copies) and the Super Deluxe (just 700 copies) – each with 240 pages of photos and text, with the Super Deluxe version including a signed COA, a deluxe slipcover and an envelope containing three 5×7″ photos, suitable for framing. The Price for the Deluxe version is £48.00, while the Super Deluxe is available for £70.00, with pre-orders now being accepted on The Flood Gallery’s site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/collections/the-cure-in-between-days?

d) The late Nirvana guitarist/songwriter Kurt Cobain showed a love for the visual arts by contributing album images for his band’s In Utero and Incesticide records, some of which will be on display as part of the recently-announced touring show of his art, organized by his family and Jampol Artist Management – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/kurt-cobain-art-exhibition-522386. Kurt’s visual arts genes live on in the artwork now being produced by his only child, the now 23-year-old Frances Bean Cobain, who has begun offering prints of her humorous-but-slightly-macabre artwork via the Depop online art store (https://www.depop.com/en-us/space_witch666). Ranging in price from $150 to $400 per print, the nine different images include, according to this recent article on the ArtNet site by Sarah Cascone, several works that were included in her first series released back in 2010 and illustrate that the young Ms. Cobain shares some of her Dad’s slightly-strange, dark humor…learn more via the link – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/frances-bean-cobain-art-for-sale-355262

e) Another reason to have braved the crowds at last month’s Comic-Con in San Diego is presented in this article by Ethan Anderton on the Slashfilm.com site about two sets of limited-edition items – one set of special-edition vinyl recordings and another set of related album cover art prints – featuring your favorite characters from one of last year’s most-successful animated films – Pixar Animation’s Inside Out. While supplies lasted at the show, festival goers were able to purchase 7″ vinyl copies of music taken from Michael Giacchino’s score for the film (not previously released on vinyl) that will be produced by specialty supplier Mondo in small batches (2500 copies in each) that feature both colored discs and artwork focused on one of the movie’s main characters (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Riley). Also at the show, the first group of limited-edition (200 each out of 420 total per image) 18″ x 24″ prints of the albums’ different covers (done by the Toronto, Canada-based Phantom City Creative team, the same group that produced the stunning album art for Mondo’s soundtrack album for the Hannibal film soundtrack) were offered up by the folks at Cyclops Print Works, with the rest being made available by the publisher after the show.

To see all of the aforementioned art that’s available, link on over to the Slashfilm article now – http://www.slashfilm.com/inside-out-vinyl/

Visit the Cyclops Print Works site to get your own copy of one or more of these new collectibles – https://www.cyclopsprintworks.com/

You’ll find another Mondo-based article down in Section 5 that I’m sure you’ll enjoy as well…

f) Please see the article in Section 1 of this recap about the new book coming out featuring portrait photos by the great Terence Donovan – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

g) Photographer Drew Carolan, well-known for his compelling album cover photos featuring musical acts including Ziggy Marley, Eric B. & Rakim, Living Colour and many others, shared with me some information about a book he’s going to release this fall that should be of great interest to fans of the early 80s music scene as it transitioned from punk to the more hardcore styles. Over a two year period – from 1983 to 1985 – Drew set up shop near famed rock club CBGBs in the Bowery section of New York City to document – in an effort called the “Matinee Project” – the people who participated in the scene and attended the hardcore/metalcore events that were held nearby. Partnering with Radio Raheem Records (home of bands including Agnostic Front, Charred Remains, The Androids and other hardcore stalwarts), the deluxe hardcover book – titled Matinee: All Ages – On The Bowery NYC 1983 – 1985 is sure to please fans and those interested in seeing shots from this most-fascinating musical/pop culture era. Several years ago, Carolan created a video that highlights the time he spent creating this series which should serve as a great intro to his project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jN46nf0nl0

To sign up for updates on the availability of this book, please visit http://www.radioraheemrecords.com/matineebook

h) While not easily falling in to this category’s basics (i.e., new prints, books and other arty collectibles), this item is of enough import that I felt it should be mentioned as it does involve collectibles of another type – i.e., postage stamps. On July 7th, the U.K.’s Royal Mail released a series of stamps that feature images connected to one of the nation’s best-known treasures, that being the rock band Pink Floyd. The collection of 10 different images gracing the new stamps include several of the band’s iconic album covers including early releases such as The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and Animals, up to the group’s final 2014 release The Endless River. Four additional stamps feature photos of the band performing live on tour, including shots from concerts at London’s UFO Club in 1966, the Dark Side of the Moon tour in 1973, 1981’s The Wall tour and 1994’s The Division Bell tour.

Besides the stamps, there are a number of related items that are being promoted by the mail service, including souvenir sheets and presentation packs, framed collections, two cover collections, including one commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of group founder Syd Barrett and a special numbered limited-edition item called a “Moon Maxi Sheet” that presents 10 of the Dark Side of the Moon stamps on top of a 9 x 7 replica of the renowned prismatic cover art.

As you might imagine, there has been a fair amount of coverage about this new collection, so if you’d like to learn more, click on over to this article on the BBC site – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-36382247

or another example on the Belfast Telegraph site at http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/music/news/pink-floyd-stamps-to-feature-innovative-album-covers-34747737.html

To see and buy these new items, pop on over to the Royal Mail site at http://www.royalmail.com/pinkfloydstamps

i) Comic book publisher Storm Entertainment has released a new comic novel that presents the life and times of the late artist Prince. Titled Tribute: Prince and penned by writer Michael L. Frizell, the comic book features artwork by Ernesto Lovera and Vincenzo Sansone. Lovera has previous credits doing artwork for tribute comics on other famous subjects, including Britain’s Royal Family, pin-up model Bettie Page and an earlier (2013) book on Prince titled Fame, while Sansone has done work on books about John Wayne and Pope Francis. Writer Frizell’s past comic book work covers famous figures in popular culture, politics and music, including books on Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Nancy Reagan, Bono, Miley Cyrus, The Osbournes, Jerry Garcia and Amy Winehouse. Over the years, Storm Entertainment, formerly known as Blue Water Comics, has released a number of tribute comic book biographies, including ones on David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and many others.

Rolling Stone Magazine contributor Althea Legaspi provides us with additional details and comments from the creators of this 24-page tribute to another artist who has left this planet way too soon –  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tribute-prince-new-comic-book-released-20160609#

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Some of you might recall a posting some time back about a new “Floating Record” turntable I’d bought via a Kickstarter project in support of a Chicago company called Grammovox. As a Grammovox owner/supporter, I’ve been the recipient of a regular email newsletter in which they share info on new products (including a retro-style Bluetooth speaker) and on vinyl record products that, when mounted to be played on the vertically-oriented turntable, look extra cool – picture discs, colored vinyl and, in the case I’m sharing with you today, a series of records made by an artist named Curtis Godino that are filled with various liquids. Very lava-lamp visuals, you’d have to figure. Two notable commissions for Godino include “blood-filled” records for clients including Waxwork Records’ Friday The 13th soundtrack and Mondo’s soundtrack for the blood-drenched film ALIENS.

Grammovox staffers recently interviewed the Brooklyn, NY-based artist about the wide range of liquid disc projects – for both musical and fine art clients – for their blog titled The Reverb, which you can reach via the link at https://www.gramovox.com/blogs/posts/interview-with-curtis-godino?

b) Today’s second story about record releases with interesting delivery options shows us a new album titled Ecume on the AntiVJ label by Belgian record producer Thomas Vaquie’, who collaborated with the appropriately-named (for an album package designer) artist Yannick Jacquet (!!) to create a sleeve made of concrete cast resin that’s been inscribed with 3D representations of the waveforms of some of the album’s music. Writing for the Stoneyroads.com dance music web site, Joseph Smith gives us an overview of the limited-edition (25 sets) offering – priced at €90 (not including shipping!) – http://stoneyroads.com/2016/07/artist-creates-concrete-record-sleeve-for-album

c) Levi’s 505C jeans – whether you know it or not – have been featured on two of rock’s most-iconic album covers – Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones and the debut record by NY punk legends Ramones, and with retro styling having a bit of a comeback, the clothing company has decided to re-issue this series in order to fulfill the desires of punkers and Factory-wannabes of all ages to dress as their heroes did.

http://www.gq.com/story/levis-505c-new-style-archives-denim-jeans

d) R.I.P. cartoonist and illustrator Jack Davis, one of the founding editors of Mad Magazine, who died Wednesday at the age of 91. Over his long career, Davis gave us memorable images for a variety of book, magazine and commercial advertising clients (e.g., he designed the original bug that screamed “RAID!” on the bug spray commercials), but besides his great cartoons for Mad, I remember him best for his poster for the 1963 film (then DVD) It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World and his album cover for Johnny Cash’s 1966 record Everybody Loves A Nut.

His colleagues at Mad posted a tribute to him that gives you a nice retrospective of his career – http://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2016/07/27/mad-remembers-jack-davis-artist

Truly a great – sad to see him go.

e) Being that we find ourselves – both here in the U.S. and abroad – in the midst of a fair amount of political news-making (elections, party overthrows, military coups, etc.), we’d be disappointed if somebody didn’t use the opportunity to create a series of album cover-influenced images featuring a selection of those folks making the headlines. Well, no reason to be disappointed – the team of reporter Graeme Demianyk and picture editor Tahira Mirza of the U.K. edition of the Huffington Post have crafted a selection of 10 covers that insert politicians including former PM David Cameron, past London mayor Boris Johnson and ex-Labour Party leader Ed Miliband into familiar album art scenes from musical acts including the Beach Boys, Sting, Johnny Cash and Madonna, among others. The creators’ reasoning for this work was stated quite simply – “Sometimes politicians look like they’d rather have been in a band. We’ve tried to make it happen”. I wonder if any of the politicians featured in the grouping would have rather been in the theater? I could definitely see Nigel Farage playing Aaron Burr on a poster for Hamilton http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/album-covers-politicians_uk_57754d63e4b0b9c0dc08ce37

f) They keep trying to get away with this crap…blame it on the “if it’s on the Internet, it must be free” approach to art/photo license management…Photographer Glen Craig, whose portraits and performance photos of many of rock music’s best-known acts (Rolling Stones, James Brown, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and many, many others) have been seen in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and books over the years and, along the way, he’s had special relationships with many of the musical acts he’s taken photos of. Blues guitarist B.B. King was one of those acts, with Craig’s photos of the “King of the Blues” gracing the covers and inside pages of top music magazines of the day including Cashbox, Hullaballoo, Guitar Player, Downbeat and others, so you know that it was a pretty well-known fact that the two were connected.

This seems to have escaped the fact of those responsible for putting together the cover art for several more-recent Universal Music releases of performances by Mr. King, including 2012’s Ladies & Gentlemen…Mr. B.B. King, whose cover shot is one from Mr. Craig’s archives and was not licensed for this use. Not too happy to have found this out by happenstance, Mr. Craig recently sued the label and Mr. King’s estate to recoup royalties he should have earned from a proper license, with the details of the lawsuit and its outcome still pending. The folks on the TMZ.com site recently posted a startling expose of this atrocity, which you can review via the link at http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/11/b-b-king-universal-music-sued-album-photos/   (right next to the link to the article titled “Gigi Hadid’s HUGE Breasts Spill Out…WOW!). Love them TMZers, don’t you?

g) And I thought that I held grudges for too-long a time…It seems that, back in 2013, a spat was ignited between singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens and Jehnny Beth of the UK-based punk band The Savages after Stevens posted a critique of the typography that The Savages used on their Silence Yourself debut record. While the band didn’t respond at the time (Stevens did say that he liked the music), Jehnny showed us that the wound remained deeply ingrained in her psyche when she asked the radio jock she was being interviewed by to not play a Stevens song during the show because “…he wrote a quite funny blog post about how much he hated our album cover.” Stereogum’s James Rettig gives us the details in this recent posting – http://www.stereogum.com/1886227/savages-jehnny-beth-responds-to-sufjan-stevens-critique-of-their-album-cover/news/ All I can say, in the vernacular common for an earlier time, is “take a lude, dude”…

h) If you have a story or personal recollection about the late artist/illustrator Richard Amsel (well known for his film poster and album cover work), the guy that is making a documentary film about the artist is looking for your help. As part of his effort to gather materials for his film, Adam McDaniel was at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con gathering, camera in hand, ready to capture your stories for posterity. In particular, he was looking for other artists who might have worked with Amsel sometime during his career, so if you missed each other during your trip to this huge pop culture extravaganza and have a story you’d like to share, please contact Adam via email at cinemalad5@aol.com. For more information on this film project, please visit their site at http://cinemalad5.wix.com/richardamselmovie

i) While not an article on album cover art per se, I did discover an article about a new book that’ll be hitting the shelves later this year that covers and highlights the work of people – illustrators, graphic designers and industrial designers who, according to a quote from the book’s author,” in many ways, have been left out of design history.” Sound familiar?

The new book, titled The Art of Atari, was written by Tim Lapetino, executive director of the Museum of Video Game Art (playmova.org) and, according to writer Colin Campbell’s recent article for the Polygon web site, “celebrates the packaging and games that were part and parcel of the late-1970s and early-1980s era of console gaming.” Reading through this article, there were many parallels between the perceived roles that designers played in this burgeoning industry – creating eye-catching packaging, marketing materials, advertising, etc. – while in the shadows of the “stars” of the genre (i.e., the video game programmers) with their counterparts in the music business, who typically are the record label execs, band managers and the musical acts themselves that I am pleased to find out that there are others like me (and you, my readers) who have realized just how important it is to provide greater visibility and praise for the “unsung heroes” of these entertainment areas.  I hope to reach out to Tim to find out more about his work and his new online museum but, in the meantime, I hope you’ll take a look at this preview – http://www.polygon.com/features/2016/7/4/12083190/inside-the-art-of-atari

j) In the annals of rock music album art history, few band logos/images have been more memorable than Boston’s Spaceship Guitar, the Roger Huyssen-produced illustration (featuring Gerard Huerta’s lettering) which was found on the cover of the band’s 1976 debut record and which went on to sell over 25 million copies world-wide, becoming the second best-selling debut record of all time.

This year, for their 40th Anniversary tour, the group asked the folks at Seattle-based design/animation shop Straightface Studios to expand upon that original design to create an impressive 3-D animation that provides the backdrop to the band’s live concert production. The two-month project produced thousands of hi-res frames used to create the video, with the awe-inspiring results available for viewing as part of writer Kurt Schlosser’s recent article on the Geek Wire site – http://www.geekwire.com/2016/boston-concert-seattle-straightface/

I have more than a feeling that you’ll like what you see (sorry, I just had to do it).

k) We’re often inspired by the images we find on the covers of our favorite record albums, but this is the first time that I’ve read an article where a noted design/innovation consultant has been able to extract the DNA from classic album cover art and apply it to the exploration of how effective teams of people work together to innovate in the workplace (wow – I haven’t written a sentence like that since leaving the Corporate world 10 years ago, and it still stings a bit…).

In this recent article in the Huffington Post by Geoff Tuff (who heads up the Doblin group within Deloitte) titled “Innovation Lessons from the Dark Side“, the author describes how, after deep deliberation, the Hipgnosis-designed cover art for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon presented to him “a reflection on how innovation teams can serve as a prism to play two essential roles for their business: dispersion and re-composition.” By “dispersion”, Tuff means feeding a core business in on one side of a prism and having it come out – through the application of a number of innovative ideas – refracted into a myriad of colorful results. “Re-composition” hopes that truly-capable teams are able to look at the many different ways innovation takes place in the “outside world” and then focus on what’s best for their own efforts going forward.

We’ve all noticed that the titles of the songs on the album – “Time”, “Us & Them”, “Money” and others – all relate quite clearly to

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoff-tuff/innovation-lessons-from-t_b_10364740.html

l) The things some artists will do in order to achieve just the “right” look for their album cover photo! While I typically will not send my readers to gossip sites, this recent article on the Perez Hilton site includes a video of heart-throb Nick Jonas standing still while a sheet of glass is broken over his head, with the results captured via high-speed photography and used on the cover of his latest release titled Last Year Was Complicated. Photography by Yu Tsai, with design and art direction by Kyle Goen (AKA Kyledidthis), the guy responsible for recent album covers for pop artists including Babyface, Ariana Grande, Kid CuDi and Erykah Badu. I’m impressed that Kyle was able to convince the musician (and his management) that this was the best way to produce this image – it harkens back to the days (prior to computer graphics) when art directors had to use their imaginations and available resources to create images like this one…

http://perezhilton.com/2016-06-08-nick-jonas-album-cover-art-last-year-was-complicated-broken-glass-head#

m) Attention all album packaging designers – it’s that time of year again to submit your entries to the annual A Design Awards international design competition. If you’re unfamiliar with these awards, here’s a little more of an intro as provided by the organization’s PR folks – “The A’ Design Award & Competition has been established to promote and recognize the best design works in all countries and in all creative disciplines. The primary aim of the A’ Design Award & Competition is to create a global awareness and understanding for good design practices and principles by highlighting the best designs in all countries and in all industrial fields. The ultimate aim of the A’ Design Awards is to push designers, companies and brands worldwide to create superior products and projects that benefit the society.

The A’ Design Award & Competition has a philanthropic goal to advance society by pushing the frontiers of science, design, creativity and technology forward by creating incentives for innovators to come up with better ideas. The A’ Design Competition aims to create incentives that ignite and reward creativity, original ideas and concept generation in all industrial sectors.”

To those of you who work for clients in the music/entertainment industries, there’s an award category called “GRAPHICS AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN AWARD” that focuses on marketing/promo design – posters, flyers, logos, consumer/trade ads, etc. – with more details on that category available via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/graphicsandadvertisingdesign.html

Packaging designers can find out the details of submissions in the “PACKAGING DESIGN” award category via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/packagingdesign.html

Regular submissions will be accepted until September 15th, with the actual judging/award announcements coming out next April, so watch this space for any updates and for information on the winners in these categories. Best of luck to all who enter!

That’s all for now – look for updates every week (usually on Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month (after the move to our new home near Chicago!) with another summary for you.

All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved.

Album Cover News Recap – August, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – August, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s September and the world has finally cooled off a bit – well, the stock market is on a wild ride and there are still fires burning in Eastern Oregon and Washington, which has done a number on our air quality here in Portland – but the album art world continues to burn up the news wires, with August delivering a continuous stream of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feeds. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, and you won’t find one speck of anything Trump or Hillary-related (we need to focus on something new and exciting, right?)…

There were interviews galore with the noted men and women who’ve added their talents to the world of creating/preserving album cover art, including Brazilian artist Marcello Vaseo (new cover for Slayer), John Simpson (Sgt. Pepper’s mural in MA), John Berg and Eric Meola (on the 40th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run), Paul Cornell and Tony Parker (rock comics), Paul Natkin (on a career retrospective) and, for fans of the Charlie Rose interview, one with musician/artists Skrillex and Diplo.

In the fine art book category, artists and their publishers were promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring the works of Barbara Pyle (70s-era Springsteen), Janet Macoska (DEVO and many others), Robert Del Naja (AKA “3D” – famed graffiti artist and member of Massive Attack) and a newly-revised book on the 50+ record covers produced by Andy Warhol, written by Paul Marechal.

In August, several noted exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery were launched, with museum curators and gallery owners around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll find info on exhibits such as one in Woodstock, NY,  featuring the works of several rock photographers (including Elliott Landy and Graham Nash); a multi-media show called Sound & Vision in St. Louis, MO; the latest mounting of the David Bowie Is travelling show (now in Australia) and Bay area gallery owned Scott Nichols’ show featuring 75+ notable rock photos from top shooters in the field.

Other stories included Rachael Stevens’ monthly record sleeve review, a look at illustrator Dave McMacken’s studio/gallery in Astoria, OR, several illustrators alt-takes on the well-known cover photo found on NWA’s Straight Outta Compton record,  info on the latest record-themed postage stamp issued by the USPS (featuring Elvis Presley), and you won’t want to miss Canadian singer Kalle Mattson’s  new video for his single “Avalanche” that has him re-creating 35 classic album cover images. Of course, I don’t have room to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the list – I’m sure you’ll find something that piques your interest!

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the several new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m prepping to provide as much new info as I can to the expert panel that make up the voters of the ACHOF, with our next class set to be inducted in late November, 2015. And while I know that with all of the distractions caused by the back-to-school season that might keep you from checking in with us every day, I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I continue to say (every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

August 31st –

1) Following in the footsteps of Sir Peter Blake is Springfield, MA artist John Simpson who, in addition to recreating the famous Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s cover in a mural on a wall in the town’s Court House Square, has also painted a number of portraits as part of the “City Mosaics” project that, according to Noah R. Bombard’s article on the topic on the Masslive.com site, “features portraits of mostly music and film stars ranging from Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash to local celebrities like Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno.” Simpson’s been working on this project for over a year (at the same time, working hard to keep graffiti off of his existing works!), and you can learn more about the project and the artist in a video interview also featured on the story page – http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2015/08/springfield_symphony_orchestras_kevin_rhodes_added_to_court_square_artwork.html 

2) Over on the “And Justice For Art” site, fans of album cover art found on metal music recordings can find a recent interview article with Brazilian designer Marcello Vasco about his most-recent commission, that for the cover image for Slayer’s new album Relentless. Vasco has done a number of covers for bands in the genre, but getting to do a cover for such a well-known band – and one with a long history of impressive cover art – forced the designer to dig deep to create something new and yet “classic” at the same time (don’t want to disappoint metal fans – it can get dangerous if you do!). After producing a lot of comps, I think you’ll agree with the band that this is a worthy addition to their cover collection – http://www.andjusticeforart.com/2015/06/slayers-brazilian-connection-interview.html

3) Not to be confused with the British punk band from the late 1970s, the fictional rock group featured in the first 4 issues of the new comic series This Damned Band (out on DarkHorse comics, with art by Tony Parker and words by Paul Cornell) – named MotherFather – seems to have a lot more to think about than most bands trying to crack the music business in the early 1970s – i.e., how to separate their stage act (which involved devil-worshiping) from the fact that the Horned One took their antics quite seriously! Writing for the Comics Alliance site, writer Patrick A. Reed inteviews Parker and Cornell – both well-known for their previous work on well-established graphic novels including Mass Effect and Wolverine – about creating a new approach to a series based on a topic – life in the music industry – that’s had a very mixed history of success with fans throughout comic history. http://comicsalliance.com/paul-cornell-tony-parker-this-damned-band-interview/

August 29th – Just heard from photo great Elliott Landy about a new exhibition that opened up today at the Fletcher Gallery in Woodstock, NY and, if you can make it to the opening party, you’ll get a chance to meet Elliott along with two of the three other artists whose works will be on display – Graham Nash, Joel Bernstein and Amy Granatham. According to Elliott – “Graham, Amy and I will be at the opening night, Saturday, August 29th from 5-8 pm at the Fletcher Gallery, 40 Mill Hill Rd. Woodstock, NY.” The show’s titled “Legends At Large” and, in addition to some of the best-known works he’s produced – covers for Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison and others – Mr. Landy tells me that “I’ve selected some one of a kind prints that I don’t normally exhibit, including a Sepia toned Band print used on the 1968 cover of Rolling Stone, a one of a kind Cibachrome print of Jim Morrison, several personally made silver gelatin prints along with a selection of my favorites.”
The exhibiton runs through Oct. 14th, and I am hoping to add some photos from the event soon. More info via the link – http://www.fletchergallery.com/572463/about-us/

August 28th – 1) On the Noisey Music By Vice site, staffers there are happy to share the results of the images they commissioned from six of their favorite illustrators who were asked to re-do the cover of NWA’s Straight Outta Compton record (a record that’s been getting a lot of attention lately due to the success of the top-grossing movie out by the same name). I think that you’ll find their respective efforts interesting and amusing, particularly the remake by UK-based illustrator Tom Slater, who wanted to show us the group’s family-friendly side – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/we-asked-six-illustrators-to-re-imagine-the-straight-outta-compton-album-cover

2) Recently, TV interviewer Charlie Rose presented an interview with two top-selling EDM artists – Wesley “Diplo” Pentz and Sonny “Skrillex” Moore – in which they discussed their unique approach to the successful blending of art and music. In some of the clips showing the duo in performance, you’ll see how integral the visual aspects are to the overall enjoyment of their music, and Charlie works to get them to explain just how important that is in any modern act’s quest for fame and fortune in a media-saturated world – http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60609054  (about 26 minutes in to the episode)

3) In another example of the growing availability of “one-stop shopping” in the music production business, Daily Breeze reporter  Nereida Moreno takes us to All Welcome Records in Inglewood, CA, a studio where musical acts looking to take the next step in their careers (i.e., making a record) will find a staff of mentors, engineers and Art Director Anthony Woods, whose team (including photographer Allie Paz) is available to produce designs and photographs for the custom packaging they’ll produce for their clients. Bring your talent and your checkbook – best of luck! http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/20150825/all-welcome-records-in-inglewood-serves-as-one-stop-shop-for-musicians

August 27th –  1) Famed album cover illustrator Dave McMacken (Frank Zappa, AC/DC, The Beatles, Kansas, etc.) has opened a new art studio/gallery (called “Ratz & Co.) in the hip-and-happening port town of Astoria, OR that showcases both his work and that of several other artists, including Cal Schenkel, another noted Zappa record cover alumnus. A native of Newport, OR, McMacken lived and worked all over the U.S. before returning to his Pacific NW roots a few years ago, so if you’re ever looking for something unique to add to your collection, do as Daily Astorian reporter Edward Stratton did and stop in to visit Dave – you’ll be glad you did – http://www.dailyastorian.com/20140515/ratz-and-co-keeps-it-weird

2) Creative Review‘s Rachael Stevens has just posted her monthly overview of what’s new and exciting in record sleeve design, with new works on records by Chemical Brothers, FKA twigs (who gave us last year’s most-lauded cover), The Orb and several others. I was particularly impressed with the techniques employed by artist/photographer Chen Man in creating the captivating cover for Venetian Snares’ record titled Your Face (not like any face I’ve ever seen, and yet, I can’t stop looking at it!). See the rest via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/august/record-sleeves-of-the-month

3) Last but not least – fans of “old fashioned” record stores will be pleased to finally see the official trailer for Colin Hanks‘ ode to all things Tower Records, with the Harrison-like title All Things Must Pass. What began long ago as a Kickstarter program will be in theaters October 16th, but you can get a sneak peak via the link at http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/allthingsmustpass/

August 26th – 1) August 25th was the 40th anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s seminal record, Born To Run, which featured a great album cover photo by Eric Meola. Being that Meola’s originally from Syracuse, NY, Syracuse.com writer Sean Kirst tracked down the talented photographer to get him to reminisce a bit about that original photo session and to find out what he’s been up to lately (storm-chasing on the Great Plains!).
http://www.syracuse.com/kirst/index.ssf/2015/08/fifty_years_after_release_of_his_legendary_cover_photo_syracuse-born_eric_meola.html
In a related story, NJ.com‘s Bobby Oliver posted an illustrated interview with “unofficial” Springsteen photographer Barbara Pyle, a friend of the band who was also on hand during the sessions leading up to the release of the BTR record and shot a number of interesting candid photos of the band while they worked through the many takes required to make The Boss and his band-mates happy with the finished release. She’s put these photos in a new book just out titled Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band 1975, and you can see samples of her work via the link at http://www.nj.com/entertainment/music/index.ssf/2015/08/exclusive_born_to_run_era_springsteen_photos_detai.html
Finally, “E Street Radio” (on Sirius/XM radio) contributor Kevin Farrell premiered a specially-produced radio show yesterday (to be re-run several times over the next few days) during which he interviews both photographer Eric Meola (see above) and famed Columbia Records art director John Berg – along with others – about their memories of their respective roles in the creation of this Springsteen classic. Writing for the Asbury Park PressChris Jordan gives us the rest of the important details of this superfan’s celebration of an important day in the band’s history – http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/2015/08/25/boss-way-celebrate-bruce-springsteen-born-run-day/32334703/

2) For an article featured in Rolling Stone Magazine back in 1968 (issue 8!), noted writer Thomas Albright (the man credited with creating the term “underground music”) gave readers his views on the then state-of-the-art in album cover design. Now available for reading on the Rolling Stone archive site, I found his take on the subject quite compelling, particularly as he notes that “album covers are now becoming as creative as the music within“, taking some of their inspiration from the emerging art scene of the day. While he finds some of the works produced fairly mundane, he does find a lot of talent on display in the works found on Beatles records (particularly, the cover collage on the just-released Sgt. Pepper’s LP), as well as the humor displayed on Zappa & The Mothers’ parody of said record cover collage, found on that band’s We’re Only In It For the Money. It’s also keen to see which of Albright’s favorites would go on to be considered “classic” examples of album art design – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/the-new-album-art-19680406

August 25th – 1) In another example of a “Top 100 album covers of all time” list – sure to spark some discussion and many questions as to what the criteria were in selecting “the best” – the editorial team on the Insomniac site have, at least, presented a list that focuses on a niche that boasts huge audiences and not an awful lot of respect from the music press in general. It shows Electronic Music as a genre that has a long history (nope, it didn’t start at the Pitchfork Festival – sorry!), with some of the most-popular of the acts – Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Tomita, etc. – also packaging their music in covers featuring leading-edge artistry by some of the best-known talent from the fine art world. I remember attending a computer music conference in the early 90s when I was selling an MPC “PC upgrade kit” (remember those?) featuring a Roland SCC-1 card and recall hearing from fans of this genre about musical acts from other parts of the world for the first time – it was truly a movement by artists from all different backgrounds and disciplines, and the album art that accompanied it represented that quite appropriately –
https://www.insomniac.com/media/100-best-electronic-music-album-covers/1

2) Inspiration for album art comes from many sources, but I have to admit that I haven’t seen many better examples of an artist in the field sharing the details of where he finds art that inspires him that Lief Podhajsky’s recent posting on the Junkee site titled “Nine Of Europe’s Best Art Galleries That You Won’t Find On The Tourist Trail”. Being located in London gives Lief the opportunity to traipse across Europe with relative ease, allowing him to visit museums and galleries that display many different styles of art in a variety of motivational settings, such as the new Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, contemporary arts in the collection at The Me Collectors Room in Berlin and closer to (his) home, exhibits at the Pace, Saatchi and Whitechapel galleries. Follow Podhajsky – whose created many a record cover for modern acts including Kelis, Tame Impala and Bonobo, just to name a few – as he takes you on a tour of his favorite places to find new influences for his latest projects –
http://junkee.com/nine-of-europes-best-art-galleries-thatll-take-you-off-the-tourist-trail-4/63495

August 24th – 1) Not quite sure what to make of this recent article on the NME site in which they present a comprehensive overview of the artwork featured on 27 album and singles covers by The Smiths. While I was happy to learn who some of the characters were that were featured on Morrissey & Co’s covers, I’d have preferred to learn a bit more about why these images were chosen besides “Morrissey always liked to include pictures of his favorite pop stars on his records” (unless, of course, it was that simple). In any case, the band always gave fans something provocative and interesting to look at, particularly if you were a fan of James Dean – http://www.nme.com/photos/the-smiths-the-stories-behind-the-sleeves/384620#/photo/1

2) I did want to promote an article written by Bruce Jenkins on his Vinyl Connection site regarding album covers featuring images taken inside automobiles. Looking to follow up a couple of earlier postings he did built around covers that used photos or drawings of cars on the cover – a very popular motif used throughout the modern rock era – Bruce sharpened his focus and brought us inside, letting us look out the windshields and side windows of records by Pennywise, Bela Fleck, Mars Volta and several others. Not sure if he’s done an article on covers featuring motorcycles and scooters (Meatloaf, Hendrix, The Who and others come to mind) but, if not, here’s your next assignment – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/08/18/7-car-covers-from-the-inside/

3) Here’s another article on do-it-yourself record-making, with this one highlighting a new service called Vinylify that, for around $55, will press and package a custom 33-1/3 vinyl LP for you. Based in Amsterdam, the company gives customers the opportunity to create both the record and the album cover easily online, so those of us who felt restricted by the artistic opportunities afforded us creating customized cassette mix-tapes can now – for a price – expand our musical and visual canvases back to a full 12″ square. Read more about this service in Paul Ridden‘s article on the Gizmag.com site – http://www.gizmag.com/vinylify-custom-cut-records/38954/ or, if you’re ready to go, take a look at some of the examples of records already created by amateur label owners via the link – http://vinylify.com/#examples

August 21st – 1) Perfectly timed for that week’s premiere of the new movie about famed gangsta rappers N.W.A. was Wayne Drash‘s article about the photograph found on the cover of the group’s debut record Straight Outta Compton. Eric Poppleton’s well-known photo was taken during a day in which the photographer followed Dr. Dre and Co. around Los Angeles, at one point deciding to lay down on the ground in an alley and take a shot up (perhaps a bad term, considering the number of guns featured as the group peers down at him) and the rest, they say, is history. Read all the details, and click through a grouping of 26 other famous record cover that accompany this article, via the link – http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/14/entertainment/straight-outta-compton-photograph/index.html

2) Straight Outta Akron – back in 1978, photographer Janet Macoska assembled the members of local new wavers DEVO in front of a well-known area eatery – the Chili Dog Mac diner – and produced a photo that became a popular poster of the band, found in the collections of art museums (and, in my case, personal collections of rock art collectors such as yours truly). The location now is part of the Akron Civic Theater and, as part of a special commission for the local business/tourism bureau, a huge reproduction of the photo now graces the building in the same spot the original was taken 37 years ago. Devo member Gerald Casale was on hand for the unveiling this past week, with the event covered by Kathleen Folkerth on the Akron.com site. Janet has a new book of her rock photography due out soon – look for “All Access Cleveland: The Rock and Roll Photography of Janet Macoska,” by Cleveland Landmarks Publishing at your local book-sellers. http://www.akron.com/akron-ohio-entertainment-news.asp?aID=27438

3) The Proud Galleries in London and Chelsea have two shows now running that will be of interest to rock photography fans in that area. “Led Zeppelin From the Beginning 1963-1975“, which runs thru October 4th, features Yardbird/New Yardbird/Led Zep photos of Beck, Clapton, Page and others taken by former Yardbird Chris Dreja, jargen Angel, Lynn Goldsmith, Dan Fong, Michael Putland and others, while in “Masters & Luminaries“, which runs through the 13th of September, Proud features works by a number of the photographers they’ve featured during their 20 year existence, including Brian Duffy (Bowie), Brian Aris (Debbie Harry), David McCabe (Dylan and Warhol at The Factory) and many others. Based on what I’ve seen of their exhibits over the years, they have every right to be Proud (I’m certainly the first to use that pun). More details at https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

August 20th –  1) Gotta love how news is distributed on the Web – today, I’m reporting on someone else’s reporting about someone else’s video blog concerning the trend-setting album covers featured throughout the career of The Beatles, with a particular focus on everyone’s #1-rated record cover – the one for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In this article by Joe Blevins on the A.V. Club site, you’ll learn about a recent video posting by Nerdwriter1 titled “How The Beatles Changed Album Covers” in which he discusses – quite knowledgeably, I might add – how each Beatles cover served nicely as a snapshot of how the Fab Four felt about their place at that moment in Pop Culture along with their development as a musical unit. He provides a brief-but-informative backgrounder on album covers in general before digging in to the band’s efforts – based on some of the other videos he’s produced in the three years he’s been creating these shorts about art and pop culture, this might be a good YouTube channel to subscribe to going forward – http://www.avclub.com/article/video-argues-beatles-lp-covers-tell-bands-story-223792
To take an even more-detailed dig into the history of Beatles record covers, here’s a link to a 15-page article by Ian Inglis in the Jan. 2001 edition of Popular Music (you can read it free online, after registration) – http://www.jstor.org/stable/853696?&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

2) James Stafford‘s latest “Cover Stories” posting takes us back to the early days of the punk music scene in Los Angeles by giving us the story behind the flaming cover image found on the debut record for John Doe/Billy Zoom’s band X. Like so many examples of the do-it-yourself punk ethic, this cover was the result of the owner of the band’s label – Slash Records’ Bob Biggs – taking matters into his own hands – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-x-los-angeles/

3) C’mon, admit it – rock and roll has always had a strong basis in “if you like it, buy it”, so it’s no surprise to find an article like the one Elly Ayers posted recently on AOL’s Cambio site – one targeted at young girls who, at least in this case, actually WANT to look like their parents did back in the 1960s. “How To Rock The Best 1960s Album Cover Looks” gives us six instances where the magazine’s fashionistas have reviewed the clothes worn on classic rock/pop album covers – including records by Bob Dylan, Sonny & Cher and several Motown hit-makers – and then suggest similar ensembles readers can buy at some of their favorite clothing outlets. Lookout Topshop, Vans, Zara and A&F – prepare to be trampled by youngsters looking to put on their best Highway 61 Revisited look! What, no Nehru? http://www.cambio.com/2015/08/13/rock-best-1960s-album-cover-looks/

August 19th – 1) Patti Smith’s best-selling memoir titled Just Kids – which focuses on her relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the man that provided us with an album cover photo (the one found on her record Horses) that is included in nearly every “best album cover” list ever published, will serve as the basis of a new Showtime TV series produced in cooperation with Penny Dreadful creator John Logan. Smith’s 2010 book won several major awards after its release, including the National Book Award for non-fiction and gave readers an intimate look at the influence these two artists had on the emerging music and art scenes in NYC during the late 1960s – early 1970s. Read more in Caitlin White‘s recent article on the Bustle web site –
http://www.bustle.com/articles/103713-patti-smith-memoir-just-kids-will-be-adapted-into-showtime-limited-tv-series-by-penny-dreadful

2) San Francisco-based photo gallery owner Scott Nichols has taken a photo of The Who in concert – in which Nichols is seen as part of the crowd in attendance – and used it as the basis of a new show running in his space that features 75 iconic rock-and-roll photo images produced by a “who’s who” of rock photographers (Baron Wolman, Elliott Landy, Linda McCartney, Ebet Roberts and several others including Michael Zagaris, the man who shot the photo Nichols is seen in). Running now through September 16th, “It’s Only Rock & Roll” features several well-known album cover images in its collection, including shots featured on records for Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Blind Faith and others. Back in the mid-1970s, when the photo of The Who at Winterland was taken, Nichols was the stage manager for a U.C. Berkeley student-run organization called “Superb”, who worked with local concert venues to produce shows, and that served as his entree into show business. You can get all of the details on the gallery’s site at http://www.scottnicholsgallery.com/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/

3) Here’s another nice example of the frequent cross-over between the worlds of fashion and album cover photography…former model-turned-shooter Ellen Von Unwerth has taken memorable fashion photos and celebrity portraits that have graced the covers and pages of many of the top magazines, so when top pop music act Rihanna needed an impactful image for the cover of her 2011 record Talk Talk, she turned to someone that she felt would be able to capture both her beauty and the attitude she brings to her music – that someone being Von Unwerth. In this recent article by Caroline Leaper on the Marie Claire site, you’ll find this photo and several more including shots of Natalie Portman, Gisele Bundchen and the impressive product of rock icon Mick Jagger and fashion model Jerry Hall’s relationship, Georgia May Jagger (who is herself a popular fashion model). http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/fashion/550069/ellen-von-unwerth-pictures-the-fashion-and-celebrity-photographer-s-greatest-shoots.html#index=1

August 18th – 1) There’s a new book out about the wonderfully-talented artist and musician Robert Del Naja, a man that’s lead a double life in the arts, splitting his time between his graphic artist personna (the graffiti artist known as “3D“) and his work as the singer/songwriter and album art designer for the UK hip-hop group known as Massive Attack. The 400-page career retrospective is titled 3D and the Art of Massive Attack and provides readers with a well-illustrated look back at Robert’s rise from early 80s Bristol (UK)-area street art denizen to an artist whose style and outspoken anti-war/government work has influenced many others in the field, including another well-known purveyor of art in this genre, Banksy. You can read Robert Whitfield’s overview of the book and the talent featured in it in this recent article on The 405 site – http://www.thefourohfive.com/culture/review/3d-and-the-art-of-massive-attack-143

2) Recently discovered a new purveyor of pop culture-related and rock and roll fine art/photography called House of Roulx, a spin-off of JG Autographs, a company located in Peabody, MA run by two brothers, Jared and Trevor Gendron. They just released a new series of art prints taken by the late photographer Peter Warrack, who happened to be on-hand to shoot what turned out to be the last live show done by Janis Joplin, performing in front of a crowd of 40,000 fans at the Harvard Stadium. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the show (Aug.12th), the company now offers a selection of photos from this event, sold individually or in specially-packaged sets of 24 of these images, including a $2500 one-of-a-kind set that also includes an original Jace McTier painting of Ms. Joplin. I’d also like to note that the publisher is also offering a number of photos – including several famous album cover images (Ramones, Run-DMC, The B-52s and others) – by photographer George DuBose. Read and see more about the exclusive Joplin photo collection via the link at http://www.houseofroulx.com/collections/janis-joplin-the-last-concert

3) What’s the line – “everything that’s old is new again”? Here’s an interesting example of a revival of a seemingly-on-its-way-out technology – the fax – being used creatively by pop duo Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans (AKA YACHT, which stands for “Young Americans Challenging High Technology”) to help deliver a unique experience to folks who are considering buying their latest music offering titled I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler. While I won’t spoil you with all of the details here (better to read the story by Lizzie Plaugic on The Verge‘s web site), I was impressed with the creativity of their approach to giving fans something new and yet retro in its approach to delivering their album art and liner notes/manifesto.
http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/11/9130155/yacht-band-album-i-thought-the-future-would-be-cooler-fax-machine

August 17th – 1) Writing for Music TimesRyan Book notes the recent 50th anniversary of the day that the Beatles’ song Help! (from the film of the same name) hit #1 on the charts. While he was a fan of the song and the movie, he offers less enthusiasm when talking about the outfits that the band members were forced to wear for the cover photo (remember those weird blue raincoats?) and this motivated him to look back a bit to find a selection of other covers in which the folks included in the cover shots also chose to dress rather strangely. As you might figure, each decade showed us musicians clothed in period garb which, in the cases show, should not have us yearning for a return to the fashion of the day…http://www.musictimes.com/articles/44994/20150807/7-bad-dress-codes-album-art-beatles-rolling-stones-kiss.htm

2) While the ACHOF’s main focus is on the artists that have created memorable album cover images, we can’t forget that another reason that fans always liked record cover packages was that the information provided on most of the packages – AKA “the liner notes” – often served to give us some insight into the minds of the people making the music we purchased. And, just as the bands often chose to hire the top artists of the day, they also often decided to take advantage of the talents of their favorite authors and poets to take care of the verbiage for their releases (the Grammy organization still awards a Grammy each year for “best liner notes”, so it’s still an integral part of the album-making process), so I think that you’ll enjoy the run-down of some of the literary greats that provided their services to many of your favorite acts over the years, served to us in Chris Mugan‘s recent article on The Independent (UK) site – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/album-sleeve-notes-dont-have-to-be-boring-just-look-at-those-written-by-thomas-pynchon-hunter-s-thompson-and-other-literary-greats-10445086.html
Personally, I’m just impressed with the article’s URL – well written!

3) While I was in Chicago in early August, I had the chance to stop by the River North Arts District area and stopped in to see the Zack Whitford photo show that I’d written about recently at the Hilton|Asmus Contemorary Art Gallery (mounted for music fans hitting the Windy City this summer to attend the Grateful Dead’s final shows and the yearly Lollapalooza event). I have to say that I was impressed with both the gallery and young Mr. Whitford’s photos of friends and bandmates of his Dad (Brad Whitford of Aerosmith). His portraiture is really nicely-done and he should enjoy a long career in the business. The gallery just sent notice that they’re having the show’s closing reception on Wednesday, Aug. 19th, with a new show scheduled to open in mid-September that will feature the photos of Paiit Boyd, Henry Diltz and Carinthia West – more details available on the gallery’s site at http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/schedule.html?utm_source=ZACK+WHITFORD+CLOSING+II&utm_campaign=RESCHEDULED+Zack+Whitford+Closing+reception
Thanks again to Africa Hilton for her hospitality during our visit – keep up the nice work!

August 14th – 1) For those of you who have owned the soundtrack to the Woodstock film for all these years and have wondered “just who are those people on the cover”, here are two items that will serve to both identify these individuals and, if you’re in the upstate NY area over the weekend, a chance to meet them as well!
In an article posted recently on The Guardian‘s web site titled “That’s Me In The Picture”, Bobbi Ercoline (the girl wrapped in the blanket, wearing sunglasses) gives us the story about how she, her then-boyfriend-now-longtime-husband Nick and their friend Corky ended up in Burk Uzzle’s cover photo. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/aug/07/thats-me-in-the-picture-woodstock-bobbi-ercoline
Bobbi and Nick were also on hand to chat, sign autographs and sip the local wine at an event at The Winery at St. George in Mohegan Lake, NY called “Woodstock At The Winery”. In addition to these album cover celebs, you’ll find music, food and, of course, hand-made goods for sale. Read more about it in Frank Mojica‘s article on the topic on the Yorktown (NY) Daily Voice site – http://yorktown.dailyvoice.com/events/famed-woodstock-album-cover-couple-be-yorktown

2) St. Louis-area music/art fans are also in for a treat during the month of August while a new group of multi-media exhibitions – collectively called Sound + Vision – are on display at several local venues. At venues including the Kranzberg Arts Center, the Craft Alliance Center Of Art And Design and The Dark Room Wine Bar, you’ll find displays of photography by Abby Gillardi, Kenny Williamson and John Paul Torno; artist Mark Dethrow‘s grouping of 51 portraits he’s painted of his re-interpretations of classic David Bowie album covers and several live music performances. You’ll find the details in Willis Ryder Arnold‘s recent article on the KWMU/St. Louis Public Radio site – http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/multi-gallery-show-explores-connections-between-fine-art-and-rock-and-roll-fandom

3) They say that Elvis will live forever in the minds and hearts of fans, and so its only appropriate that the USPS has just released a new “Forever” 49-cent postage stamp and a specially-produced CD of classic Elvis tunes. Both the stamp and the CD feature an Alfred Wertheimer image of “The King” taken in 1955 (when he was 20 years old – he’d have turned 80 this year) and, in addition to the stamp and CD, fans can also buy a folio featuring a mint 1993 Elvis stamp, 16 of the new stamps and a specially-produced booklet of info/images ($24.95) or a framed, ready-to-hang 14″ x 17″ framed art collectible that includes another Wertheimer photo, four of the new stamps and a reproduction signature plaque ($39.95). The designer for the project was Leslie Badani, with art director credits given to Antonio Alcala. Learn more about these items on the USPS web site – https://www.usps.com/stamps/elvis-presley.htm

August 13th – 1) Well-known punk album artist Raymond Pettibon has created the cover for this year’s edition of Best American Comics, the publication that brings readers the most up-to-date examples of the “best of” in the fields of cartooning, illustration and graphic novels. You’ll remember Pettibon’s work for Black Flag, The Minutemen and Sonic Youth, among others, but his status as an innovator in editorial cartooning and a chronicler of all aspects of American Pop Culture made him an obvious choice for this year’s efforts. J.E. Reich gives us the details in this article on the Tech Times web site (warning – the site has an annoying habit of playing video ads while you’re there – the price you have to pay sometimes, I suppose). http://www.techtimes.com/articles/74508/20150805/best-american-comics-series-gets-new-look.htm

2) Staying the punk rock genre, here’s a story that involves not one but two well-known NYC-based shooters who’ve made their mark by giving us years of great images of the early punk scene there. You’ll recall Roberta Bayley‘s iconic photos of The Ramones – particularly her shot of them in a nearby alley that graced the cover of their 1976 debut record – and David Godlis‘ memorable shots of Patti Smith, Richard Hell and other denizens of the CBGB’s era. Well, they’re still neighbors, and Godlis tried to do the neighborly thing recently when Bayley and her dog were attacked while walking to nearby Washington Park, with the details provided here in Lincoln Anderson‘s article on The Villager web site. Very sorry for your loss, Roberta… http://thevillager.com/2015/08/06/famed-punk-photogs-dog-dies-after-attack-by-big-crusty-pit-bull/

3) Just want to give a shout-out to long-time ACHOF friend and talented artist Jeff Davis at Vinylux for being selected as an “Eco Choice Awards” finalist at the NY Now event this week. His beautifully-designed 78RPM album clock was included in the “Sustainability – Designs for a Better World” exhibition at the Jacob Javitz Center – I think you’ll agree that the honors were well-deserved. Keep up the great work, Jeff! http://www.nynow.com/press-release/thirty-finalists-to-compete-for-three-eco-choice-awards/

August 12th – 1) I really enjoyed reading Yo Mannion‘s post on the DJ Booth site about his efforts to learn more about some of the great cover photographers whose work has somewhat been overlooked in the age of “selfies” and phone-camera-based photography. While many musical acts have fed the photo frenzy via their own multiple posts of amateur photos on their own Twitter/Instagram/etc sites, the author was really interested in who created the most-memorable images of his favorite acts and found the answers in the works of shooters including Jonathan Mannion, Danny Clinch, Janette Beckman and many others. Glad to see that there’s still a longing for quality from “the younger generation” – http://www.djbooth.net/index/news/entry/2015-08-03-classic-hip-hop-photography

2) Love these stories of how a fan ends up shooting a photo that ends up on the cover of his favorite act’s latest record! In Joanna Bartlett‘s story on The Register-Guard‘s (Eugene, OR) site, you’ll read about how Bradley Cook – who hadn’t known anything about Buddy Guy and his influence on modern rock guitar-playing until a chance meeting at a festival – took his new-found passion for Guy’s music and, after years of attending shows and snapping fan photos (which he shared with the guitar legend), getting a request to use one of the photos on Guy’s most-recent record, Born To Play Guitar. Read all of the heart-warming details via the link – http://registerguard.com/rg/entertainment/33307937-67/buddy-guy-fan-gets-own-shot-at-glory.html.csp

3) Well, for an old guy, I at least was able to recognize half the cover images in this latest quiz, designed to test your knowledge of popular covers that would be most-familiar to Millennials…Let me know how you do on this VH-1-sponsored quiz (please forgive me for not knowing Katy Perry vs. Britney vs. Pink, OK?) – http://www.vh1.com/news/43977/youre-not-a-millennial-unless-you-can-name-these-album-covers/

August 11th – Back from my road trip and happy to share these three items with you:

1) Canadian singer Kalle Mattson created a very cool new video for his single “Avalanche” that has him re-creating 35 classic album cover images (7 just in the intro!). It’s a great example of how classic album art continues to inspire today’s young musical artists.
http://www.npr.org/2015/07/29/427427711/first-watch-kalle-mattson-avalanche
I’m very impressed – I mean, he included Trout Mask Replica, for goodness sake!

2) In this recent article for the Gigwise site, writer Will Butler works to track down 15 people who were featured on album covers from acts including Arctic Monkey, Smashing Pumpkins and many others, While some (the Nirvana baby and the Blink-182 nurse) have been covered frequently, there were a number of “new bits” of information shared, particularly on some of the children featured on record covers who have since grown into adulthood…http://www.gigwise.com/photos/101879/15-people-behind-the-album-covers-arctic-monkeys-bob-dylan

3) Late last month, a group of music industry heavyweights including U2’s Bono and The Edge, along with Jimmy Iovine, combined their resources to commission NYC-based artist Peter Sis to create a special commemorative work of art to honor Yoko Ono for her ongoing contributions to Amnesty International, with the resulting work – a tapestry featuring the island of Manhattan re-done “Yellow Submarine-style” – unveiled where it is currently installed at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Yoko has raised millions of dollars for the group via the donation of a share of all of the royalties from John Lennon’s post-Beatles music, so it is fit that, on the tapestry, Lennon is the captain steering the ship. AP’s Luqman Adeniyi provides us with the details and photos in an article recently posted on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6649120/john-lennon-yellow-submarine-tapestry-ellis-island

August 2nd –  1) As a follow-up to two books he released last year on the artist, author Paul Marechal has updated and re-released a book on the record cover artwork done by Andy Warhol titled Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Record Covers (published by Prestel). As a working artist in the album cover arena since 1949, Warhol received over 50 commissions for record cover work, beginning in the jazz genre before taking on projects for popular acts including the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and his own favorite band, the Velvet Underground. Reporter Michael Machosky has put together a nice backgrounder that provides additional details on the late artist’s career in the music business, and you’ll find it on the Trib Live site via the link – http://triblive.com/aande/books/8737524-74/warhol-marechal-says#axzz3hhYanwsE

2) Having been seen by over 1 million people thus far in its various showings in museums around the world (setting a record for a V&A Museum-curated show), the David Bowie Is exhibit has moved again, this time to the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) in Melbourne, where it will be viewable until November 1st. You’ll find costumes, stage sets, hand-written lyrics, photographs and, of course, lots of album cover-related materials, so if you’re in the area, take an afternoon and immerse yourself in all things Bowie, with details via the link – http://www.acmi.net.au/exhibitions/bowie/

3) Are you Jewish and looking for a unique arts and crafts project to work on this weekend? Writing for the Jewish JournalJonathan Fong provides readers with step by step instructions on how to make a new tzedakah (i.e., charitable donation) box out of a record album cover. Rightly so, he suggests staying away from using your rare copy of the White Album by The Beatles and, instead, he uses a Mel Torme cover (I’m thinking Dylan or Barbra Steisand, but hey, that’s just me). Even if you’re not Jewish, the box is a great method to collect money for your favorite charity, so if you’re a fan of music and charitable to boot, here’s your chance to make something special – http://www.jewishjournal.com/lifestyle/article/a_new_tzedakah_box_from_an_old_album_cover

August 1st – This one almost slipped by – fellow Chicagoan (I haven’t lived there in 30+ years, but still love my Cubbies) and famed rock shooter Paul Natkin was the subject of a brief-but-inspiring exhibition that ended August 2nd at the Ed Paschke Art Center in Jefferson Park. Simply titled “Superstars”, the show’s name makes perfect sense when you see the list of music celebs he’s photographed during his 40+ year career (with his first concert gig capturing local club icon Bonnie Raitt performing in Evanston in 1976). In this interview for the Gapers Block site, writer Nancy Bishop talks to Paul about his encounters with Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, a host of Chicago Blues greats and what he’s working on these days (including his blog on which he talks about life these days as a professional photographer) – http://gapersblock.com/ac/2015/07/27/paul-natkin-relives-his-life-in-rock-photography-from-abba-to-zz-top/

Ending – That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.

Copyright 2015, Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com & RockPoP Productions – All rights reserved.

Interview with Susan Archie, 2015 Grammy Award Winning Designer

Interview with Susan Archie, principal of World of anArchie, winner of the 2015 Grammy Award for “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” for her work on The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27), released by Third Man Records/Revenant Records.

Paramount, Third Man Records, Revenant Records, Susan Archie, Grammy Award, Box Set, Interview, Album Cover Hall of Fame, 2015, article, interview

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood & Jack White, art directors

With a thorough understanding of digital technologies being such a key driver to success in today’s music business, music fans often forget that the earliest recorded music came about as the result of an application of a new technology – i.e., those introduced by the early French and American inventors of the phonograph and the gramophone. While we take for granted the various advances in recording technology that have taken place since the late-1800s, without the energies applied – and risks taken by – music industry pioneers, there would be no archives of the performances given by the musical acts that have gone on to influence modern music and music engineering.

Like many an American industrial enterprise, the early U.S. recording business was also an attractive one to those individuals and companies looking to entice the public to buy their products, with some companies (Edison and Victor, for example) impressing consumers with the quality (sound and manufacturing) of their hardware (AKA record playing devices) and software (recorded content, in its many forms – first cylinders, then 78RPM discs, etc.) and others looking to simply “spend-a-little, make a lot” as production of devices and content quickly scaled up as the century turned.

In that second camp were the owners of the Wisconsin Chair Company who, around the start of World War 1,  launched a brand called Paramount to manufacture phonographs and, to provide a broad range of recorded content to play on those phonographs, operated Paramount Records as a way to produce what would turn out to be hundreds of ground-breaking recordings “on the cheap”. By the time Paramount ceased operations in 1932, it had compiled recordings of an impressive of performers spanning early jazz, blues, gospel, the Vaudeville and operatic stages and other popular musical styles. Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap – March, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame.com’s Album Cover News Recap – March, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Ah, Spring’s in the air (and, at least out our way, the air’s quite warm and flower-scented) and, around the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe, album art and artists were making headlines throughout the month of March. Our news feed was chock-full of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items, some of which I’ll highlight now (with the rest, in greater detail, following the intro paragraphs).

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get into the heads and hearts of talented cover image producers including  Stanley Donwood, Gary Panter and Tony Hung, along with my own interview with photographer Emilie Sandy on her Deja Vu portraits featuring famous photographers striking poses made famous in their own album cover images.

Purveyors of fine art books were busy promoting their new releases, with packages on the Rolling Stones, John & Yoko, Linda McCartney’s portfolio of portraits and on Paul Weller/Jam/Style Council, as well as photographer Tim Mantoani’s book featuring photos of other famous photographers posing with their favorite photos (telling us the stories behind them), among others.

Exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery included the works of Don Adkins, George DuBose, Chris Bilheimer, Kevin Cummins and Cey Adams. The Bjork show at NYC’s MOMA garnered a lot of press attention, while the travelling David Bowie show moved on to Paris and a collection of Herb Ritts’ photos were put on display at the R&RHOF in Cleveland, Ohio. We were happy to provide cover art fans an in-depth look at the cover art show hosted at Inasmuch Gallery in Oklahoma City, OK.

Other stories included a look at the artwork of Ben Wilkerson Tousley and the Pen & Pixel team, and there were two stories on 3-D cover art – one on works by Rick Valentin and a second on Nick Relph’s Hot Chip custom covers (over 400 flavors!).  News continued with  the announcement of the nominees for this year’s IMA Awards for album cover art/packaging and number of “best ofs”, “best so far”, and Top 10s (already?), plus news of the sale of a house featured on a Pink Floyd cover and the destruction, by a local terrorist, of an iconic U2 album cover cactus. Finally, there was info on how the sale of album art can saves lives – in this case, that of Robert Freeman, whose family held an auction to raise funds for his health care.

Of course, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m still working hard to update those already there with new information and to add another 50-75 new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). I’ve got several interviews and/or features slated to be published in April, including one with Susan Archie (one of this year’s Grammy winners). In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were having to pay attention to Life’s distractions or, hopefully, you were out doing whatever it is that makes your days happy. As I’ve said many times (even last month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics (don’t you agree?), so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day (including April’s Record Store Day) to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

March 31st – 1) The nominees for the record packaging-related categories for the 14th annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs) have been posted, and it looks to be quite the international cast of designers, artists and photographers. Here are the details in both categories:

In the Album Art/Photography category, the nominees are
– Dan Seagrave, for Incite’s Up In Hell;
– Eleanor Crane, for Patrick Joseph’s Moon King;
– Ivo Cordeiro (photograph) & Rodrigo Lameiras / WhiteLab (post-production), for Melech Mechaya’s Strange People (Back Panel Card);
– Monica Bruyn/Rabidt Graphix, for Kathryn McKee’s Sang Chaud;
– Stevhen Koji Baianu, for The Dolomites’ Japan Years: Vol 1

In the Album Packaging category, the nominees are
– Chia-Wei Lai/David Lai Workshop, for  I don’t mind drifting alone with the wave by Frandé;
– Pei-Shih Wu & TotalBrand+TotalDesign Co., for Dream Lotus Symphony Orchestra & Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir’s Prajna: The Great Wisdom;
– Qing-Yang Xiao, for Chau Wakin & Zhang De Chun’s Jiang Hu | The Rhapsody;
– Qing-Yang Xiao, for Song Zu Ying’s The Epic of Love;
– Sergej Bulić/ART’S visual & process communications for Sudar Percussion & Matej Mestrovic’s Eat Suite (Album Can Packaging)

According to the group’s press release, “The eclectic mix of established and rising talent nominated in The 14th IMAs were culled from thousands of submissions that were released during the program’s eligibility period, between June, 2013 thru December, 2014. Winners will be determined by a panel of influential artist and industry judges as well as numerous talent buyers from high profile showcase platforms and performance venues throughout the world…In addition to the Winners selected by the Artist & Industry judges, music fans from around the world have until Friday, July 31, 2015 to vote for their favorite Nominees at The Vox Pop Jukebox, the fan-determined portion of The IMAs.

To see the full list of IMA Nominees in all categories, visit their site at http://www.independentmusicawards.com/…/14th-annual-indepe…/

2) Not sure if everyone has seen the postage stamp designs available in the Music Icons series from the US Postal Service, but my order arrived in the mail yesterday and I thought that I’d share some of the info on the people who designed these products, as a couple of them have a number of album cover art credits as well.

Released on a regular basis since 2013, the series now includes stamps featuring the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix (Greg Breeding/Journey Group was the Art Director and the trippy illustration was done by Rudy Gutierrez, the guy responsible for the cover for Santana’s Shaman LP); Ray Charles (Ethel Kessler was the AD, Yves Carriere supplied the photo and design was by 3X Grammy nominee Neal Ashby, well-known for his covers for Thievery Corporation and many others); Janis Joplin (photo by David Gahr and AD by Antonio Alcala); Johnny Cash (another Greg Breeding creation based on Frank Bez’s 1963 photo of the Man in Black) and Tejano music legend Lydia Mendoza, with art by a team including Antonio Alcala, Neal Ashby and his business partner Patrick Donohue.

While not quite the perfect product for album cover lovers (the UK still has us beat on that effort with their earlier series of stamps based on great British album cover designs), it is still nice to see music-related artwork priced for everyone to own (only 49 cents!).
http://uspsstamps.com/stamps/series/music-icons

March 30th – 1) While not exactly album COVER art, here’s a fine example of creative album art. I’d seen Daniel Edlen‘s work a few years back when i had my gallery, but it looks as though he’s really upped his game as evidenced by this new article by Benjamin Starr on his Visual News site…Album covers are integrated into each presentation of Elden’s artwork, which is painted directly on to each vinyl record. In this illustrated article, you’ll see examples of his portraits of Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, Frank Zappa and many others.  http://www.visualnews.com/…/portraits-of-musicians-on-old-…/

2) Artist Stanley Donwood, best-known for his intriguing album cover work for Radiohead, is the subject of a new interview with The Independent‘s Matilda Battersby in which he relays “the true story” of how he first re-kindled his relationship with his former Exeter classmate Thom Yorke, which ultimately led to their creative collaboration to produce the band’s cover imagery over the past 20+ years. The story includes references to busking and fire-breathing, so be sure to wear protective clothing while you read this interesting historical retelling – http://www.independent.co.uk/…/from-radiohead-to-jg-ballard…

3) Creative cover imagery continues to be on display in the world of rap/hip-hop music, with the use of illustration drawing a lot of attention to the artists that are creating fine covers for acts including Chance The Rapper, Action Bronson, Killer Mike, Big Pooh and many others. Writing for XXL, Sidney Madden has put together a collection of some of the most-recent examples, for your review. Note to Sidney – thanks for the slideshow, but it would have been nice to know who did the work..just saying… http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2015/…/animated-rap-album-covers/

March 27th – 1) A show opened March 27th at the House of Vans gallery in London is the “Heated Words: Initial Research” exhibition that, according to its PR, “is an immersive mixed media primer that serves as introduction to an ongoing investigation in to the life and times of a forgotten typeface.” What that means in plain-speak is that the show will focus on how and why a particular font named Fraktur became the default typeface for hundreds of hip-hop album covers. Photographer George DuBose – whose photos and notes are included in the show – traces its first uses back to a project he did for rapper Biz Markie but, as you’ll see on the show’s site, the use exploded from there…more details via the show’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/812614378804007

2) Following up yesterday’s post about Phil Hartman and his work – you’ll recall that Phil was a regular on Pee Wee’s Playhouse, which featured wild and crazy set designs by Gary Panter. Last night, to highlight his works featured in the Myopia exhibition currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Denver, Panter participated in a discussion (part of the museum’s “Who Made The 80s” lecture series) about his work with Paul Ruebens (AKA Pee Wee) and other iconoclasts, such as The Germs, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Frank Zappa. Writing for Westword, Bree Davies has posted an interview with the guy responsible for keeping us young and childish even as adults – http://www.westword.com/…/gary-panter-has-designed-everythi…

3) The work of Don Adkins, the photographer possibly best-known for his cover shot for the Bitch record titled Be My Slave that was just too-S&M-ish for Tipper Gore in the early 80s (leading her to rally for album labeling, to save our super-sensitive eyeballs from her definition of “questionable content”), is the subject of an otherwise easy-to-view exhibition up that began Sunday, March 29th at the Frame & Art Department in Hermosa Beach, CA. Adkins, who has worked primarily as a tour photographer, will be showing portraits he’s taken of musical acts including Motley Crue, Poison, Billy Joel, Heart, Peter Gabriel and Glen Campbell, taken during his 2011 farewell tour. The show runs through Sunday, April 12, with an artist’s reception Saturday, April 4th from 6-9pm at the gallery. More on this show via Michael Hixon’s article on The Beach Reporter site –
http://tbrnews.com/…/article_bb4cce10-d279-11e4-ae85-974576…

March 26th – 1) Quite the coincidence…just as I was beginning to research and write some more bios for the ACHOF site (I’m in the G’s at this point in time), along comes some additional information on someone that most of us know via his career as a comedian (and who did a dead-on Bill Clinton impersonation) but who actually had established himself beforehand as a graphic artist, illustrator and album cover art director – the late, great Phil Hartman. Writing for Fast Company magazine, John Brownlee has posted a very nice retrospective of some of Hartman’s better-known covers for clients such as America, Firesign Theater, Poco and Steely Dan. Hartman has over 40 cover credits, but we’re all happy that he had the opportunity to stretch his wings and show us his acting chops before we lost him – follow the link for more – http://www.fastcodesign.com/…/8-album-covers-designed-by-le…

2) Musician Paul Weller has teamed up with photographer Lawrence Watson and Genesis Publishing to release a new, 300+ page limited-edition book featuring over 800 photos of Weller’s solo career, along with an exclusive vinyl record. Since his rise to fame as a member of The Jam and The Style Council, Weller has released 11 studio albums, five live albums, 39 singles and three EPs, nearly all of which feature Watson’s photography – the two having met back in 1988 after Watson had shot the cover photo for The Style Council’s Confessions of a Pop Group record. For more info on the book – titled Into Tomorrow – and its availability, please visit (but hurry – Weller’s last photo book sold out very quickly!) –
http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/…/paul-wellers-later-career…

3) The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover has inspired yet another fascinating new product! Designer Wilmer Murillo has teamed up with a Taiwanese maker of on-demand, 3-D toys to create a set of “designer figures” that let collectors re-create the Fab Four’s famous walk across the street in front of EMI’s Abbey Road studios. Murillo’s interpretations of J, P, G & R remind me of the Sgt. Pepper‘s-inspired Japanese action figures that came out in the 90’s (I think via Kidrobot – does anyone remember?). Anyway, if you can read Chinese, you can hop on the ZecZec.com site (a Taiwanese crowd-funding site ala Kickstarter) and reserve a set of these for yourself or any Beatle fan –
http://blog.wilmermurillo.com/…/the-bitoy-design-collaborat…

March 25th – 1) Fans of advanced technologies will enjoy Hugh Hart’s Fast Company article on musician/tech-head Rick Valentin‘s approach to creating album cover imagery for the new record release by Thoughts Detecting Machine. Using a modified 3-D printer and software that let’s him grab wave forms from his music, he’s come up with a way to let him add customized graphics to the record’s packaging so that each record purchased is encased in a unique work of art. Rick attributes his inspiration for the basic theme of his cover to Peter Saville’s classic cover for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures but, you’ll have to admit, this is one application of modern technology that raises the bar and gives producers of physical music products a way to attract new fans and buyers. More on this, with video and photo illustrations, is available via the link – http://www.fastcocreate.com/…/diy-musician-translates-audio…

2) With SXSW wrapped up, visitors to Austin, TX can still see an exhibition of album cover designer Chris Bilheimer‘s Polaroid photo collection on display at the Bearded Lady Screen Printing location there. What you’ll find are nicely-laid-out groupings of Bilheimer’s shots of friends and associates you’ll know, including members of R.E.M., Green Day and celebrities from film and TV, along with photos he took from 1995 through 2008 of everyday things and places that interested him. The show’s up until April 11, and you can read/see more about it in Kevin Curtin’s article on the Austin Chronicle site – http://www.austinchronicle.com/…/playback-sxsw-news-and-si…/

3) Artist Ben Wilkerson Tousley has been quite in demand lately, completing commissions for book covers, film/TV graphics and the like, but it is his work in the field of album cover art that is the focus of Jason Lamphier’s article on the Out.com site. His work is done in a variety of styles and materials – from collages to ultra-clean embossed vinyl covers – and, based on the positive reaction to his efforts – his list of indie music clients should grow nicely over time (he’s only 28 years old – I see quite the future ahead of him if he maintains this level of creativity). Take a look at a collection of his work, and read the stories behind each of the pictured creations, via the link at http://www.out.com/…/album-designs-benjamin-wilkerson-tousl…

March 24th – 1) Writing for the Creative Review site, Mark Sinclair gives us an interview with art director Tony Hung about his work on the album cover for the first new recording by Blur in 12 years. Titled The Magic Whip, the cover features imagery based on Hung’s interpretation of Damon Albarn’s collection of photos and souvenirs he brought home from a trip to Hong Kong, where the band recorded music for the new album (set to be released in late April). The custom neon created for the cover is very nicely photographed by Nick Wilson, and regular buyers of LPs from Asian countries will get a kick out of the “obi-strip” included on the package. Read the entire illustrated interview via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/…/blur-the-magic-whip-neon-…

2) Fans of Pink Floyd’s album covers converged recently to bid on a garden cottage in Dungeness, U.K. that was featured on the Hipgnosis-designed cover of the band’s 1981 compilation album titled A Collection of Great Dance Songs and, when the smoke cleared after the auctioneer’s gavel came down, a lucky bidder purchased the somewhat ramshackle building for £215,000 (approx. $319,000) – £55,000 above the pre-auction estimate. Quite the souvenir, I have to say. I’m curious as to whether the new owners will be putting on rope harnesses to dance in front of their new home…Read the gory details – complete with photos of the property in its current condition – in Sam Lennon’s article on the Kent Online site – http://www.kentonline.co.uk/…/news/wish-you-were-here-33929/

3) In one more example of album artists “gettin’ no respect”, MXDWN.com writer Carlett Spike relays the story about the outcome of a long, drawn-out lawsuit between rock band Tool and the graphic artist that created the album cover for their 10,000 Days album. Turns out that a friend of guitarist Adam Jones had been hired to create the cover and, for some reason, was not credited for the work. He sued to correct this and the band then hired an insurance company to defend them against such inconveniences. The insurance company soon sued the band as well for “technicalities”, the band counter-sued and, 8 years later, an exciting conclusion was reached…No spoiler here, read the details for yourself –
http://music.mxdwn.com/…/tool-wins-lawsuit-over-album-cove…/

March 23rd – 1) To raise money for the ongoing care of the ailing photo great Robert Freeman, his family archive has released a new, limited-edition print of one of Freeman’s best-known photos – his 1965 photo titled “John Lennon with Panda”. According to The Daily Mail‘s Bianca London, Freeman’s son Dean has said that his 78-year-old father – a proud and eccentric individual – has refused all offers of aid and support from his family, forcing them to take this step in order to make sure that resources are in place to maintain the quality and dignity of life that this man – the one credited for shooting album cover shots for the first 5 Beatles albums – so richly deserves. The monies raised from this effort will also be used to maintain the elder Freeman’s archives, which contain memorable images of many important and influential people of the era – Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Ringo Starr, and others – some of whom were featured in the first Pirelli annual calendar, another of Freeman’s noteworthy accomplishments. For more info and links to the archives, click on over to the article at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Iconic-John-Lennon-snap-shot-f…

2) Writing for PASTE Magazine, Chris Kissel has posted an article in which he summarizes his take on “The Five Best Album Covers of 2015 (So Far)” and provides in-depth looks at, and the stories behind, these impressive examples of album cover artistry. Included in the list are covers from musical acts such as Purity Ring, Father John Misty, THEEsatisfaction, Moon Duo and Radical Dads – all very different and all the result of a young artist’s/illustrator’s take how best to represent the latest musical output from their music industry clients. Something for every lover of album cover art – http://www.pastemagazine.com/…/the-stories-behind-the-five-…
Looks like a good start to the year in album artwork, wouldn’t you agree?

March 20th – 1) Writing for the Creative Review, Rachael Steven just posted her list of “Record Sleeves of the Month“, and the examples she’s included really do show off the wide range of creativity still being shown by those working in the music packaging field. With Record Store Day rapidly approaching (mid-April), some acts are going all out to do something different and, therefore, memorable and sale-able. I’m particularly impressed with designer/photographer Alexander Brown’s simple-yet-elegant white vinyl box for Amon Tobin’s new release titled Dark Jovian, as well as Ghostpoet’s new cover for their record Shedding Skin that is based on hi-res photos of skin cell biopsies (!!). See/read more via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/…/record-sleeves-of-the-mon…

2) Famed album cover artist Nick Egan was kind enough to share some of the details of a multi-media show & sale taking place in Los Angeles tonight, including some pix of some of his new (non-cover) prints (see the collage accompanying this posting). The exhibition is called “Steal Music/Buy Art” and, in addition to live performances and video/film screenings, there’s an art show with prints and posters from top area designers and photographers, including Egan, Edward Colver, Greg Jacobs and many more. The show kicked off last night, so head on over to the Angel City Brewery on Alameda in Downtown LA tonight to take part in the party there – Lina Lecaro provides more of the details in this LA Weekly article – http://www.laweekly.com/…/party-pick-of-the-week-steal-musi…

3) Finally, Diffuser.FM‘s Chris Kissel poses an interesting question – “How is an album like a bottle of wine?” and, referencing a recent AdWeek interview with rocker Maynard James Keenan (who also owns a winery) where Keenan regretted losing control of his music in the digital world – happy that you can’t download his wine (!!) – Kissel suggests that one of the most-important advantages of a physical product is the large-scale presentation of the album cover art. Just as great wines are the result of a successful collaboration between grape growers and wine-makers, memorable album packages are the result of talented musicians pairing with graphic artists/art directors to produce a sleeve or package that makes fans happy with their purchase and provides some additional emotional connection between musical acts and their fans – something that is hard to do with a thumbnail image on your phone, he suggests. Read his entire essay, and then post your own thoughts when you get the chance – http://diffuser.fm/how-is-an-album-like-a-bottle-of-wine/

March 19th – 1) The talents of the Houston, TX-based design/marketing firm Pen & Pixel are on display in a new article on the Hot New Hip Hop (HNHH) site titled “The 10 Greatest Pen & Pixel Album Covers”, written by Angus Walker. Any fan of the genre will immediately recognize the firm’s classic design elements – diamond-encrusted 3-D fonts, bold use of color and graphic elements that look like they’re ripped from the most explosive scenes from any of today’s bad guys vs. good guys high-intensity action films (cars, guns, money, jewelry and buff-and-beautiful protagonists). Since the 1990s, they’ve done work for labels including No Limit, Cash Money, Suave House and other well-known deep South music producers and have since expanded their services to include music and video production, web design and marketing and logo/branding work. Each cover shown nearly leaps off the page, so test your reflexes and take a look at some top-rated efforts from this successful album cover design firm – http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/the-10-greatest-pen-and-pixel-a…

2) Classic album art, like classic rock music, continues to inspire today’s new recording acts, so it is wonderful to see a musical act’s efforts to honor one of David Bowie’s best-known cover scenes – Bowie as “Ziggy Stardust”, standing beneath a light in an alley, as he’s found on 1972’s Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust… – in a stunning recreation of the scene that’s used on the cover of their own album. In Barry Leighton’s article on the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald site, you’ll meet musician Ben Goddard, who is a member of a Malmesbury band called The Long Players and, working with photographer Jon Sneddon, found an ideal place on St. Dennis Lane to substitute for the original Heddon St., London, location and prepared it for use in this effort. I think that you’ll agree that the participants have done a truly amazing job – even more amazing in that it was done to promote the band’s March 15th local concert during which they played the entire Bowie record from start to finish! See the results via the link – http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/…/11856706.Malmesbury_mu…/

3) Finally (for today), more Bjork-related coverage, this time provided by Juxtapoz Magazine in their nicely-illustrated coverage of the show currently running in NYC’s Museum of Modern Art that provides a career-spanning retrospective of her work as a creative artist in the fields of music and visuals. Included in the article is an interview with the show’s curator and many of her daring (in so many ways) album cover images. Whatever you may think of this artist’s music (I’m still not sure I like it), the attention she pays to the graphics and videos that accompany her work is simply mind-boggling. Enjoy the show, via the link – http://beyondthecover.juxtapoz.com/april-2015-bjork

March 18th – As a follow-up to my recent posting about an album art show -titled “Tailored Jackets”, taking place now through the end of the month at Oklahoma City Community College’s Inasmuch Foundation Gallery, I got in touch with the show’s organizer, Scott Tigert, to see if I could get my hands on some additional info/imagery to share with you. Not only did Scott come through with additional photos, he was also kind enough to provide me with the details about how the show was conceived and sourced, as well as with samples of the information he and the exhibition show team researched and presented to the show’s visitors. I have organized the items he’s submitted into a new variation on our “Featured Fan Collection” themed articles, presented to you today as an “ACHOF Exhibition Tour”…Hope you’ll take a moment to take a virtual tour through the show and then share this with your friends as well. I’d like to thank Scott and all the nice folks at the school and the gallery who worked so hard to put this very informative and entertaining show together – looking forward to the third installment (please let us know if there’s going to be one, of course).

https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/achof-exhibit…/

March 17th – 1) A host of new works featuring images that have inspired the world view of Def Jam Records album cover artist Cey Adams are included in a new exhibition running now at the Rush Arts Gallery in NYC’s Chelsea area. Titled “Trusted Brands”, you’ll find his interpretations of brands and logos which, like album covers, have informed popular culture. Like some of the covers he’s credited for creating – including those for acts including LL Cool J, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys – Adams feels that there are many logos that may have simply been marketing tools when they were created but have now become part and parcel of our collective consciousnesses. You can read and see more about this show, which ran through March 28th, in writer Roger Clark’s article and video report, both found on the NY1 web site at http://www.ny1.com/…/artist-of-iconic-def-jam-album-covers-…

2) The creative collaborations of talented designers often produce works that are more-impressive than the sum of their parts, so its not at all surprising to see that the efforts of the team of architect Bjarke Ingels and designer Stefan Sagmeister – well known in album cover art circles for his work on designs for Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne and the Talkiing Heads, among others – have been so impressive that they’re now the subject of a new (and now sold out!) book by art publisher Taschen. Titled Hot To Cold, the book shows and tells the story of how the two met (several years ago at a TED Talk), discovered that they were “kindred spirits” and determined then to team up to build great spaces. The book accompanies an exhibition running now through August at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, and for a look at the duo’s book-signing at Taschen’s store in Soho, NYC, you can simply click on the link to reporter Laura Feinstein’s article on the GOOD Magazine site – http://magazine.good.is/art…/bjarke-ingels-stefan-sagmeister

March 16th – 1) When rapper Kendrick Lamar decided that he wanted to feature an album cover image of an oppressed people banding together to take their government back, he tapped a photographer who, besides shooting album cover images for scores of international jazz/classical artists, has published a series of portraits of Senegalese wrestlers who’ve banded together to publicize and improve their bleak existences. Denis Rouvre‘s Lamb served as a follow-up to another series of portraits he took of people pushed to the brinks of their ability to endure hardship – survivors of the tsunami in Japan – and this new project seems to be tailor-made for his abilities – more on the cover and the photographer is included in writer Matthew Trammell’s recent article on The Fader site – http://www.thefader.com/…/meet-the-french-photographer-behi…

2) To follow-up the previous week’s article regarding the non-scientific-but-interesting selection of the “Top 10” album covers in Portland, OR’s music history, the folks at Plywerks (makers of the new Vinny series of album cover frames) have posted a series of photos capturing the kick-off event for their products and presenting the winners of the voting that night –http://www.plywerk.com/blog/2015/03/top-pdx-records/
Here are the Top 4 records – #1 is Menomena’s 2007 record Friend & Foe; #2 is Paul Revere & The Raiders’ 1963 release Sande’; #3 is Over The Edge, the 1983 release by Oregon punk rockers Wipers and at #4 – fans of Portlandia rejoice – Sleater-Kinney’s 1999 album The Hot Rock. Congratulations to the winners for covers well done.

March 13th – 1) Album art/rock photo fans that attended the Art Basel show in Hong Kong in March were fortunate to have been able to stop by the Taschen Publishing booth to take a look at (and, perhaps, buy) one of the two recent releases that feature, respectively, photos of John Lennon & Yoko Ono (in Kishin Shinoyama‘s John & Yoko, Double Fantasy) and the Rolling Stones in the 500-page, “Sumo-sized” book titled The Rolling Stones. Both books are available in limited-edition/signed offerings that include signed photo prints (“Collector’s” editions). While several of these editions have already sold out, others remain (priced anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the photo print included), so this is a great opportunity to “kick the tires” before purchasing one of these great books – more info on this on the Artsy site – https://www.artsy.net/…/editorial-taschen-brings-john-yoko-…

2) Allison Meier’s article on the Hyperallergic site about artist Victor Moscoso‘s new gallery show running now (thru April 25th) at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Manhattan brings you inside the gallery to see the artist’s full-range of psychedelic works, including his drawings/paintings for Zap! Comix, a wide range of gig posters for nearly every major band playing in the Bay area and, of interest to ACHOF fans, his album cover work for Steve Miller, Jerry Garcia, Sopwith Camel and Herbie Hancock. Victor Moscoso: Psychedelic Drawings 1967 – 1982 helps illustrate Victor’s role as one of the most-significant creative artists of his era, along with Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, Clay Wilson and others that contributed to the burgeoning San Francisco art scene, so if you can’t see the show in-person, take a moment to enjoy Allison’s preview via the link –http://hyperallergic.com/…/strange-days-in-victor-moscosos…/

March 12th – 1) Here’s another example of a photographer shooting portraits of other photographers…As the professional photo industry was moving from film to digital, one photographer – Tim Mantoani – felt that it was important to take advantage – perhaps one last time – of the availability of large-format film and thought that it’d be interesting to ask his fellow shooters to participate in a project where he’d photograph them with their “favorite” or best-known images. Since 2006, he’s taken over 150 portraits and collected anecdotes for each and, just recently, has released a book called Behind Photographs, where you’ll find album cover artists including Jim Marshall, Bob Gruen and MarK Seliger talking about their favorite shots of (respectively) the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, as well as that of many others who’ve shot some very well-known images in the areas of sports, politics, celebrity and US/World history. 14 of these stories are featured in an article by Christian Storm on the Business Insider site, reachable via the link – http://www.businessinsider.com/portraits-stories-14-iconic-…

2) Artist/Art Director Mario Hugo has worked long and hard to achieve success in the competitive graphic arts arena and, along the way, knew that there were a number of good (or great) works produced that, for one reason or another, were not approved for use by his clients. He also knew that that was certainly the case for most other creatives in his field so, recently, he contacted some of them and asked them to contribute examples of good-but-rejected designs to a new blog he launched called Recently Rejected. Some of the works submitted were those done for music industry clients and, in Carey Dunne’s recent article for the Fast Company site, you’ll get some insight into the projects that, although they produced some memorable imagery, just didn’t ring the client’s bell – http://www.fastcodesign.com/…/12-rejected-designs-that-show…

March 11th – Another photography-oriented “three-fur”… 1) When the ACHOF was launched, the voting panel chose a group of “early influencers” to honor – those selected being folks who had contributed to the acknowledgement of album cover imagery as an art form. While he was not included in the original selection as it is that our focus is on rock and pop music-oriented album covers, most-certainly some were left out and, with today’s posting, I hope to correct that to some extent. Although Chuck Stewart has always been labeled as a “jazz photographer”, with hundreds of credits for cover shots for jazz greats including Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and scores of others, his reputation brought him many other early rock and pop cover commissions, shooting covers for James Brown, Bo Diddley, Mary Wells, George Benson, Tito Puente and “the chairman” (and label owner) Frank Sinatra. Writing for Newsweek (and recording a video interview you’ll find there as well), reporter Jared T. Miller interviewed this photo great in his Teaneck, NJ home, which you can enjoy as well via the link – http://www.newsweek.com/through-chuck-stewarts-lens-history…

2) Album cover work provided the jumping off point for another talented shooter who has successfully branched out in to both fashion photography and video direction – in this case, for UK-based creative Jason Arber. In a recent interview with Chris Gampat for The Phoblographer web site, you’ll trace the path from record cover designer – with credits on packages for artists including Mike Hughes, Janet Jackson, Oasis and The Pandemonium, among others – to his career as a web designer, art/culture magazine publisher and now creative lead for his own photo/video studio called Phantom Limb. You’ll find the liberally illustrated article via the link at http://www.thephoblographer.com/…/jason-arber-creative-fas…/

3) Well, it is time again for a new Tumblr photoblog where iconic album cover images are re-imagined by a designer, in this case being a designer who is also in love with cats. Begun in 2012 by Alfra Martini with a cover featuring “David Meowie & Bing Catsby”, The Kitten Covers blog has added a large number of images that all feature a kittenish twist on a well-known image. You’ll find covers for The Clash, Queen, N.W.A., Heart and, my personal favorite (what’s yours? please share) Unknown Whiskers by the Purr Division (!!) – The Cat Channel‘s Cari Jorgenson provides an introduction via the link – http://www.catchannel.com/…/cats-recreate-classic-album-cov…
Wonder if they’ll have a selection of Litter Box Sets soon 😉

March 10th – 1) The David Bowie travelling exhibition (“David Bowie Is”) has been setting records at every stop during its run (currently, in Paris, France), with many of the items on display from Bowie’s official archives, which are quite extensive and, based on the info provided in this Jemma Buckley article in The Daily Mail, will soon include a set of lifelike masks depicting Mr. Bowie at various stages during his career. Originally, the life masks were made of Bowie’s face as part of his participation in the making of the movie “The Man Who Fell To Earth” and these props were discovered in storage and given to UK-based artist Mark Wardel, who proceeded to replicate and then decorate them to depict Bowie as he looked, for example, on the cover of his Aladdin Sane LP. Bowie was so impressed that he bought an entire set, which will now be part of his collection. Read more, and see some examples of these impressive masks, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Aladdin-Vain-Bowie-snaps-entir…

2) The late Linda McCartney’s photos and designs were found on many popular album covers (and illustrating scores of magazine articles) while she was active as a photographer from the late 1960s up to her untimely death in 1998. You’ll find her work on records such as her hubby’s McCartney, Ram, Venus and Mars (and others), as well as discs for Jimi Hendrix, Pretenders and Neil Young and, in a new book published by Taschen called Linda McCartney: Life In Photographs. The book includes a treasure trove of images of the photographers friends and acquaintances, including The Beatles (surprise!), the Rolling Stones, actors Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw and many of her family doing what comes naturally when you’re some of the most-visible celebrities in the world. Writing for the Daily Mail site MailOnline, Caroline Howe gives us an illustrated preview, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Candid-camera-photographs-Love…

March 9th – 1) On Thursday night, March 5th, I was happy to have been able to attend the launch of the new “Vinny” line of album cover art frames and accessories at the Madehere PDX store. These items are made by Plywerk, a Portland (OR)-based company that produces a full line of handmade products – picture frames, record crates and works of art fused to their “restoration juniper” wood backings – and is currently hosting a CrowdSupply.com project to allow fans to purchase these new products prior to their retail release. The record stand is available for $44, the 12″ square frame is $59 and you can visit their site for more info. As part of their launch, the company turned to Portland Mercury art/music writer Ned Lannamann to help select the “Top 10 Portland Album Cover of All Time”, and the list features covers for PDX-based bands old and new, including The Dandy Warhols, The Thermals, Dead Moon, Lifesavas, Sleater-Kinney, Paul Revere & The Raiders and several others. Review the selections – http://www.portlandmercury.com/…/the-top-10-portland-album-… and see the results of final voting on the Plywerks.com site.

2) One of the best-known photographers who worked in the fields of fashion, celebrity and album cover imagery – the late Herb Ritts – is the subject of a new exhibition that launched Friday the 13th of March at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. In “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits”, you’ll find over 30 shots of some of the best-known musical acts of their era – David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Cher, Bob Dylan, Chris Isaak, k.d. lang, Madonna, Prince,Tina Turner and many others – along with video interviews, alt shots and other portraits from his years providing editorial and advertising imagery for magazines including Interview, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Visitors are also able to take their own photos in front of backdrops taken by Ritts – more on this in Jeff Niesel’s article on the topic on the Cleveland Scene site at http://www.clevescene.com/…/rock-hall-to-open-new-photo-exh…

March 6th – 1) Album art fans in the nation’s center are being treated to a new exhibition titled “Tailored Jackets – 2nd Fitting” featuring a collection of 59 signed album covers representing 80 years of album artistry. The grouping is owned by Scott Tigert, a Cultural Programs assistant at Oklahoma City Community College at 7777 S. May Ave. and was on display at the Inasmuch Gallery of the Visual and Performing Arts Center from March 6th through March 27th. Attendees were able to enter a drawing for a 1923 poster featuring pop star (at the time) Bessie Smith – more details about the show are available via the link – http://www.occc.edu/cp/currentgallery.html

2) How are your Catalan language skills? While it might help fully-understand this news report about the opening of the Johnson Gallery in Barcelona (mentioned in the previous day’s news posting), viewers will most-certainly get a good sense of the joy folks in attendance felt with the show and the appearance of one of the featured photographers, George DuBose, who (in English, thankfully) gives us a little info on some of his photos that are included in the show, including album cover shots he took of The Ramones and B-52s. Enjoy reporter Victor Jonama’s report as found on the BTV web site – http://www.btv.cat/…/johnson-gallery-una-galeria-dedicada-…/

3) The art world has suffered much in terms of vandals destroying history but, rather than revisiting the atrocities that have taken place in Iraq, we’re treated to one closer to home. The iconic Joshua Tree that was featured on the cover of U2‘s 1987 album of the same name was toppled a number of years ago, but fans still take regular pilgrimages to the spot and, this year, one of them arrived shortly after someone had taken a saw to the tree in order to take home a large souvenir from it…what’s next – IEDs near Abbey Road Studios? The pathetic details are found on The Daily Mail (UK) web site, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/U2-fan-pilgrimaged-band-s-Josh…

4) Just posted a new interview with photographer Emilie Sandy about her “Deja Vu” photo series, which features new portraits of well-known music industry photographers posed as if they were the subjects in some of their best-known shots. You’ll learn a bit more about how she organized these sessions and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business – Anton Corbijn, Chris Gabrin, Gered Mankowitz, Robert Whitaker and many others – as they recreated their famous portraits of artists such as Miles Davis, Elvis Costello, John Lennon and others. Liberally illustrated, you’ll find this article posted at the following link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/interview-wit…/

March 5th – Limited only by your imaginations…. 1) Winnipeg Jets goal-tender Ondrej Pavelec is such a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen that he goes all-out to integrate all things Boss into his daily routine. For most of us, that would mean playing Springsteen tunes while wearing a concert t-shirt, but for the 27-year-old Czech native, the best way to maintain a high level of Bruce-on-the-brain was to have his protective helmet/mask decorated with images taken from the covers of his favorite records. On the custom-painted gear, you’ll find snippets lifted from Born In The USA, The River, Magic and Born To Run. The work was done by Swedish artist Dave Gunnarson, whose “DaveArt” business has provided airbrush art for many NHL players. More on this in Bobby Olivier’s recent article on the NJ.com site – http://www.nj.com/…/springsteens_albums_commemorated_on_nhl…

2) Artist Eisen Bernardo attracted a lot of attention recently with his “Mag+Art” project, where he combined cover images from magazines with famous works of art to create new works of Pop Art. His next logical step was to go all Christian Marclay on us and combine album covers with masterworks, which he has done quite nicely in a series that focuses on the covers of Taylor Swift albums. Titled “Album+Art Tribute To Taylor Swift”, you’ll find the singer’s covers blended in to works by Dutch, German, French and Italian masters. While the jury’s out as to whether her music lasts as long as the influence of these painters, it’s obvious that she has a great fan in this artist based in the Philippines – https://www.behance.net/…/…/AlbumArt-Tribute-to-Taylor-Swift

March 4th – 1) The works of photographer George DuBose – well-known to album art fans for his many cover shots for artists in Punk (Ramones, Misfits), New Wave (B-52s, Go-Go’s, others) and early Rap/Hip-Hop (Biz Markie, Notorious B.I.G., more) – were included in the kick-off show for a new rock-n-roll photo gallery that opened on March 5th in Barcelona, Spain. The Johnson Gallery (named after blues legend Robert Johnson) is the brainchild of fan/collector/entrepreneur Philippe Delecluse, who’ll be offering a slate of images from George and other respected rock photographers including Mick Rock, Adrian Boot and Curtis Knapp. When the gallery opens its doors, visitors were able to view over 50 images and listen to a concert given by Johnny & The Blues Workers. Since the gallery’s site is still under construction, here are the important details in case you’re in the area and want to join Philippe and his team in the post-grand-opening festivities – Gallery Johnson, Pg. Rector Oliveras, 4, 08009 Barcelona. (C. Arago between Roger de Llúria and Bruc). Open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 16 to 8:00 p.m. Email: galeriajohnson@gmail.com

More info: galeriajohnson.com (coming soon). To preview some of George’s works that will be available thru the gallery, please visit his website at http://www.george-dubose.com/

2) Well, the first reviews of Bjork’s new show at MOMA in NYC are in and, well, at least this particular reviewer wasn’t all that impressed…Long an artist that has stretched the limits of normalcy in the visuals that accompany her music (her album covers and music videos all being great examples of her willingness to experiment), the museum’s show is segmented into displays built around each of her eight studio albums, with costumes, props, photographs and other items included that should assist fans in getting a better look behind the scenes of the pop mistresses artistic endeavors. In his review for the ArtNet News site (http://news.artnet.com/…/ladies-and-gentlemen-the-bjork-sho…), Ben Davis shares his frustration with everything from the displays to the audio guide that accompanies the show (it “doesn’t actually guide you”). If any of you have seen the show and can provide your own details and opinions, please share them here.

March 3rd – 1) Possibly the best-known photographer who covered the rock music scene in Manchester, UK beginning in the late 1970s, Kevin Cummins is now the subject of a new exhibition now on display at the Lucy Bell Fine Art gallery on Norman Road in East Sussex, UK, from now until April 10th. The show’s titled “Disclosure” and includes over 50 images Cummins took of the players that made up the “Madchester” music scene, including Joy Division, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Morrissey, The Smiths, Stone Roses and Manic Street Preachers, along with other members of rock royalty – including the Rolling Stones and David Bowie – who he’d shoot portraits of and album covers for later in his career. Read more about the artist and this show in this article on the Art Daily site at http://artdaily.com/…/Exhibition-at-Lucy-Bell-Fine-Art-feat…

2) Anyone who cruised Sunset Boulevard and the surrounding areas will recall the many billboards you’d have seen promoting the latest releases by major music acts, and it was welcoming to see Robert Landau‘s book on the subject when it was published a couple years back. One of the best-known designers to have contributed to these mega-sized works of art was John Van Hamersveld (whose Exile On Main Street billboards for the Rolling Stones became quite famous for their mind-blowing imagery), and now that he’s got a gallery of his own in San Pedro, he’s brought together a number of photos of those works – along with Mr. Landau – and hosted an event on March 5th during which visitors were treated to a special presentation about these billboards, followed by a book-signing and the release of several limited-edition prints. For details about the event, please visit the Post-Future Art site at http://www.post-future.com/williams/williams.html

3) Just a reminder to all Bowie art fans – the “David Bowie Is” exhibition is now on display at the Philharmonie de Paris from now until the end of May. The show was a HUGE success in London so, with its emphasis on design, fashion and art, I’m predicting a respectable turn-out during the exhibition’s run in France. There will be a number of design and music-related events that will take place at various times while the show is on display, so if you’d like to learn more, please visit the show’s site at
http://davidbowieis.philharmoniedeparis.fr/en
This palace to the arts is easy to reach via the Paris Metro (Line 5, Porte de Pantin station), and the building by Jean Nouvel is a wonder in itself…

March 2nd – 1) With all the excitement and controversy regarding that white/gold/blue/black dress, it only makes sense that a music industry writer with a keen eye for color would put together an article wondering what the similar process of over-saturating colors might have done to some of our favorite record covers. Let’s thank Music Times writer Ryan Brook for this in-depth look at what our ability/inability to see certain colors – in this case, blue – differently under different lighting conditions might have done to our appreciation of records from Nirvana, Weezer, The Eagles, John Coltrane and several others. http://www.musictimes.com/…/blue-dress-viral-light-sensatio…

I just hope that this is all over soon.

2) I continue to be impressed with the imagination shown by music marketers with regards to coming up with new ways to differentiate their clients’ packaging…Here’s an example of a band that hooked up with an “on demand’ printing company to create a unique album cover for each and every physical copy produced! As you’ll see in this article by the staff at HUH., designer Nick Relph prepared a basic style guide for Hot Chip’s upcoming release (to be titled Why Make Sense?) and, when orders start to come in, a cover printed in one of over 500 colors will be used, along with similar-but-slightly-different graphics, when the record is finally put into its sleeve. I hope to find out more about this process but, in the meantime, you can view an animation that shows some of the many options available when you place your order – http://www.huhmagazine.co.uk/…/every-physical-copy-of-hot-c…

3) At least once a year, an article is written about the occasional use of nastier-than-normal album art to help package and promote new music. This year’s article is presented to us by Gavin Edwards, writing for Rolling Stone Magazine, and includes 20 records that, in their own special way, were considered “naughty” by both the press and record retailers, many of whom would not sell the records until they’d been veiled somehow. Not sure exactly what prompted this year’s offering – maybe the $500M box office so far for 50 Shades of Greyhttp://www.rollingstone.com/…/as-nasty-as-they-wanna-be-the…

That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed – https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.

 

Album Cover News Recap – February, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – February, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Although the month was a short one, you really can’t say that it was at all lacking in interesting album cover-related news. There were three new and very-talented recipients in the “Packaging” categories for this year’s Grammy Awards, announced here on February 8th and, via a show launched two days prior, LA-area music and art fans were treated to the opening of a very-comprehensive display of album/rock art at the Forest Lawn Museum called “Revolutions 2”.

Early February also was the time when two more major exhibitions were launched – one in California and one in Rhode Island – that contained carefully-curated selections of rock and album cover art, with several others following both in the U.S. and U.K. (plus one in Dubai!). Of particular note is the show at the Barbican in London, where fans can see selections from the personal collections of artists associated with album art, including Andy Warhol, Martin Parr and Sir Peter Blake.

Continuing to be popular are articles focusing on album art themes, including psychedelic music and heavy metal imagery, as well as one that presented an list of almost-unbearable album covers for records where the music was just as bad. There were video interviews with designers and photographers that helped you learn more about their inspirations, work (and play) habits and the stories behind many of your favorite album covers (yes, some drugs were involved in several famous examples!). Album art made “the big time” (i.e., a feature on network TV) when CBS Sunday Morning profiled photographer Henry Diltz and he shared his stories about his life shooting covers for The Doors, James Taylor and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (how cool was that?).

A number of notable gallery shows opened for your viewing pleasure during the month, with the works of artists including Robert Williams, photographer Guy Webster and the many famous and soon-to-be famous friends of agent provocateur/gallerist Robert Fraser, while new books featuring the works of Aubrey Powell/Hipgnosis, Graham Nash, Kishin Shinoyama and Art Kane were released for purchase by fans of great album art and imagery.

Of course, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m still working hard to update those already there with new information and to add another 50-75 new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). I’ve got several interviews slated to be published this month, including one with one of this year’s Grammy winners and a U.K. based photographer who has published a series of very unusual and compelling prints featuring portraits of many of your favorite album cover photographers. In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were out shoveling snow (or gathering supplies for extended home stays – will Winter ever end?) or doing whatever it is that makes you happy and satisfied. As I’ve said many times, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics (don’t you agree?), so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

February 27th – 1) Happy to announce the posting of my latest “Featured Fan Collection” article, this one featuring items from the collection of avid record collector and curator of the “Jackets Required: 40 Years of Album Cover Design” exhibition (on display at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library through Mar. 27th, 2015) Robert Garzillo. Robert shares his opinions on the “Top 10” covers from his own collection, showing us his unique sense of both style and history in his selections. I also asked him to give us his take on the importance of album cover imagery in today’s music business and whether he thinks it helps reflect – or influence – trends in Pop Culture even now, and I think that you’ll appreciate what he shares with us – please feel free to share with anyone you know who might enjoy strolling through 40 years of great cover design – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/featured-fan-…/

2) The team at NPR Music have just published a video interview with album art producer extraordinaire Gary Burden in which he takes us all on a tour of his Laurel Canyon (CA) stomping grounds, home in the 60s & 70s to an amazing collection of music talent – Mamas & Papas, Joni Mitchell, CS&N and many others – who became both his friends and his clients. There’s nearly 15 minutes of details, and a chance to relive an important era in music/music art history – http://www.npr.org/…/02/25/388693…/gary-burden-on-world-cafe

3) Rapper Eminem’s boyhood home was featured on the cover of his 2013 Grammy-winning album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 but, since the record’s release, the home was demolished and, as fans feared, lost to history. However, since that time, there have been claims made by fans that pieces of this home – most-notably, the front door with the number 19946 (the home’s address was 19946 Dresden, in Detroit, MI) spray-painted on it – are now in the hands of a couple of fans who allegedly scavenged them from the site. Originally, the culprits were going to be charged with theft after they were discovered with the door but, in a surprising turn-around of events, the authorities are not going to press charges against a fan who’d purchased the relic from two other fans in Tampa, FL. The young fan hopes to either re-unite the door with its original owner, or donate it to a museum. More on this impressive piece of music memorabilia in Eric Lacy’s article on the MLive web site –http://www.mlive.com/…/…/eminem_fans_who_allegedly_took.html

February 26th – 1) Here’s a bit more detail about the “Revolutions 2” exhibition at the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale that I’d reported on previously, graciously provided by San Gabriel Valley Tribune writer Michelle Mills. Michelle was able to talk with several of the participating artists whose works are included in the show, including Hugh Brown (IRS & Rhino Records) and Mike Salisbury (Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, more), as well as painter and sculptor Artis Lane. Read more in Michelle’s article, as seen on the San Bernardino Country Sun site – http://www.sbsun.com/…/revolutions-2-fetes-iconic-music-art…

2) In a show titled “That’s Entertainment!” now on display at The Empty Quarter gallery in Dubai, the works of photographers Helmut Newton, Frank Worth and Peter Sanders – who all earned fame for their photos of celebrities from all walks of life – are seen, with many images now available as fine art prints. Newton brought his subjects into equally-interesting, non-studio settings – villas, luxury vehicles, hotel lobbies – and contributed photos for albums by Van Halen, Scorpions and the Rolling Stones. Worth’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and other mid-century stars are well-known by any fan of the era, while Sanders was on hand to capture the careers of everyone from Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix to T. Rex, Procol Harum and Mott The Hoople. Take a break from the mid-day sun and enjoy this show, on display now through March 16th –
http://www.theemptyquarter.com/index.php?p=exhibits_current

3) While the best-known Beatle-related album cover boo-boo has been the infamous “Butcher Cover”, WZLX reporter Alisha Jackson shows us that that wasn’t the only time that a Fab Four cover required last-minute replacing. It turns out that, in early 1970, the band was set to release a compilation record titled Beatles Again, and had printed all the labels as such. With the song “Hey Jude” gaining popularity, it was then decided to change the album’s name to Hey Jude, requiring a change in the album cover as well. Panic and mistakes ensued, with Apple Records exec Neil Aspinall relating his take on what then happened and, in his opinion, who was to blame. To read the stunning conclusion, click on over to the WZLX (Boston, MA) site – http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/…/the-beatles-hey-profanity-hey-j…/ You’ll also be able to find out more about another reported editing malfunction that left some Paul-mouthed profanity in the mix…

February 25th – 1) The LA-area is getting all the good album cover-related shows these days (yes, I’m jealous)…Running now through April 27th at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery in Hollywood is an exhibition featuring selections from the life’s work (so far) of artists, journalist and agent-provocateur Robert Williams, best-known to album art fans for the original “robot rapist” cover art for Guns ‘n’ Roses 1987 record titled Appetite For Destruction. “Slang Aesthetics! Robt. Williams” tracks his career from his role as art director for 60’s customizer Ed “Big Daddy” Roth to his contributions to early underground magazines (Zap Comix) to his launching of the “alternative art” (AKA “lowbrow art”) magazine Juxtapoz, along with his works in painting, print-making and sculpture that were promoted to collectors and fans through shows at leading galleries in LA, NYC and abroad. LA Times writer Carolina A. Miranda gives us a look at the show and the talented man behind the art in her recent article on thelatimes.com web site – http://www.latimes.com/…/la-et-cam-lowbrow-master-robert-wi…

2) Manchester, U.K. born and educated designer/art director David James is the subject of a new profile in the series titled “The Creative Class” found on the Business Of Fashion site. Best known today as the creative head for the leading design magzaine AnOther, James’ work as an independent designer has also benefited advertising and celebrity clients including Prada (who he’s worked with for over 20 years), but album cover fans will remember his stylish work on covers for Boy George, Neneh Cherry and Soul II Soul. Bringing his sense of fashion – along with a roster of design/photography talent – from the music and entertainment worlds to the fashion world established his credentials as a “go to guy” when clients wanted a unique take for their new campaigns. Rebecca May Johnson’s profile of this multi-talented artist is available for viewing via the link http://www.businessoffashion.com/…/creative-class-david-jam…

February 24th – 1) In the 1960s, London-based art dealer Robert Fraser established himself as one of the most-progressive supporters of pop art, artists and the culture they helped develop. His gallery became one of the main gathering places for the artists, musicians and patrons of their efforts (much like Andy Warhol’s “Factory” in New York), and Fraser’s influence on the scene’s participants would be long-lasting. It was Fraser who paired The Beatles with, first, artist Peter Blake, who’d lead the project that produced the cover for their Sgt. Pepper’s LP, and then with Richard Hamilton to come up with the simple-yet-powerful design for the band’s “White Album”, and he went on to have an impact on the art and music scene up to his death from AIDS in 1986. To help fans of Pop Culture gain an appreciation of the man and legacy, he people at London’s Pace Gallery have just launched a seven-week exhibition (running now through March 28th) that puts on display works by the many artists he helped introduce to collectors through his efforts, including Warhol, Jim Dine, Keith Haring, J.M. Basquiat and several others. Writing for the Wall Street Journal‘s Feature Section, Liesl Schillinger gives us a detailed account of the man and the scene he helped both invent and grow, with his influences still acknowledged today – http://www.wsj.com/…/art-dealer-robert-frasers-swinging-lon…

2) For anyone who has spent time in the Ozark Mountains, you’ll appreciate photographer Jim Mayfield’s fixation on the beauty that can be found there – from the simple beauty of a local sky, or tree or local elder sitting on a porch with his favorite pipe. Album cover fans will recall his three cover photos for the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, all featuring the scenery and the people of the place he’s called home for most of his 68 years. In this article by Juliana Goodwin in the Springfield News-Leader, readers will get the chance to learn more about the path that the graduate of the Art Center College of Design took to establish himself as one of the foremost documentarians of the regions history, resources, people and the natural beauty they enjoy –
http://www.news-leader.com/…/jim-mayfields-photog…/23509075/

February 23rd – 1) While it only makes sense that folks in the album cover creation business would also be art collectors themselves, it is a rare occasion when us fans are given the opportunity to take a look at these collections. Let’s then thank the curators at the Barbican Art Gallery in London for putting together the “Magnificent Obsessions” show – running now thru May 25th – which puts on display over 8,000 objects borrowed from the collections of artists including Andy Warhol, Martin Parr, Damien Hirst, Sir Peter Blake and many others. There are dolls, musket balls and elephant figurines from Sir Peter’s eclectic acquisitions, skulls and stuffed animals owned by Mr. Hirst, several of Mr. Warhol’s prized cookie jars and a wall of album covers owned by Mexico’s Dr. Lakra. NY Times International Art writer Farah Nayeri gives us the show’s details, along with interviews and commentary by the curator and some of the participants in her recent Times article –
http://www.nytimes.com/…/magnificent-obsessions-show-at-the…

2) Sir Peter Blake also appeared in an article by Simmy Richman in the U.K.’s Independent in which the writer tracks down one of the production team members for Blake’s probably best-known album cover work – i.e., the collage created for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record – to learn that there was quite a bit of chaos present on the set where all of those cut-outs, wax figures and other objects were assembled to create the iconic final image. Richman located (via Facebook) photographer Michael Collins’ assistant during the project – Nigel Hartnup, now living in France – who was able to share more details about his involvement and what happened to at least one of the cut-outs from the shoot (Sir Peter still owns the Marilyn Monroe figure). More details via the link – http://www.independent.co.uk/…/wed-like-to-take-you-home-wi…

February 20th – 1) One of the best-known and often-discussed album covers to date is the Peter Saville-designed image found on Joy Division‘s Unknown Pleasures album. The 1979 release was unusual for a number of reasons – most notably that it was the band’s debut studio album and the cover doesn’t mention the band at all – but the memorable cover image has been somewhat of a mystery that, finally and in great detail, is unveiled by Scientific American’s art director for info-graphics Jen Christiansen via the following link – http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/…/pop-culture-pulsar-o…/ 
The article digs deep, interviewing designer Saville, finding the origins of the design he adapted and, finally, interviewing the scientist that published the original figure as part of his astronomical research in the early 1970s. Very thorough and thought-provoking!

2) 2014 ACHOF Inductee Brian Roettinger is the subject in NY Times reporter J.C. Gabel’s recent interview during which the designer talks openly about the most-influential aspects of his life (his family’s impressive record collection and suburban surroundings, to start) and about his career path that has lead him from creating album covers and gig posters for LA-area punk/metal bands early in his career to his award-winning work for Jay-Z (Magna Carta Holy Grail), Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special and, soon, Florence & The Machine’s upcoming album titled How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Quite the trip –http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/…/brian-roettinger-art-…/

February 19th – It’s all about album cover photography today! Three stories for your enjoyment and education:

1) The work of famed photographer Art Kane is the subject of a new book – curated by his son and daughter-in-law – released by Reel Art Press. Titled Art Kane, the book includes over 200 photos taken from Kane’s long career as a photographer, art director (and, later on, playwright and videographer) for magazines (LIFE, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and others) and for clients in the advertising and music arenas. His shot of The Who – taken originally for a feature in LIFE and used later for the album cover for the band’s The Kids Are Alright LP – is considered one of the best-known (and often-imitated) images in modern rock history. You can learn more about the man and the new book in Eliza Berman’s recent article in Time Magazine – http://time.com/3689728/art-kane-photographs/

2) Singer, songwriter and major contributor to the improvement of digital photo printing Graham Nash has a new photo show running now through May 31 at the Mumm Fine Art Gallery in Napa, CA that includes a number of portraits of musical friends such as David Crosby and Joni Mitchell. Nash’s introduction to photography as a young man began with a disturbing incident, with Graham’s father presenting him with a new camera, only to be arrested shortly afterwards for stealing said camera. Rather than pointing the finger at the real thief, his father would go on to spend a year in jail for the crime…Bay Area NBC News reporter Joe Rosato, Jr. provides us with a video news piece about the man and his new photo show, via the link – http://www.nbcbayarea.com/…/Graham-Nash-Singer-Songwriter-P…

3) When photographer Kishin Shinoyama snapped a photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono sharing a kiss near the pond in NYC’s Central Park (which would be used as the cover for the couple’s last studio album Double Fantasy), little did he know that, just a few weeks later, Lennon would be dead. During that day in the park, Shinoyama shot over 800 photos, with many of them never released, and so it is of great joy to Lennon fans that the folks at Taschen have teamed up with the photographer and John’s widow Yoko to publish a limited-edition art book titled “Kishin Shinoyama. John Lennon & Yoko Ono. Double Fantasy”. The 174 page book is being offered to collectors in two versions – the $700 “Collector’s Edition” book, signed by both Ono and Shinoyama, is in a limited-editon of 1980 copies, while the two $1800 “Art Edition” models (in editions of 125 copies each) come with your choice of one of two signed photo prints. Rebecca Bengal of the New York Times provides us with an intro to this new book, which includes a link to the video promo trailer – http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/…/john-lennon-yoko-ono-…/

February 18th – 1) The readers of the popular R&B/Hip-Hop site The Boombox have spoken (via the site’s annual Fan Choice Awards poll) and have selected – by a large margin – the cover of artist Jhene Aiko’s Souled Out record as “Album Cover of the Year 2015”. With design and art direction done by Salt Lake City-based designer Chris Le and the team at C-LeGFX (who has done design and film work for a host of clients including Island/Def Jam, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Records, among others), the cover depicting Ms. Aiko apparently suspended between Earth and the Heavens proved very popular with the site’s readership, garnering over 58% of all votes (with YG’s My Krazy Life, getting the second-most number of votes, approx. 22% of the total). You can take a look at the results on the Boombox site via the link at – http://theboombox.com/jhene-aiko-souled-out-wins-album-cov…/

2) Accomplished album cover designer Paula Scher lectured to an auditorium full of lucky students as part of the Stuckerman School at Penn State University’s ongoing lecture series. A long-time principal at the NYC-based Pentagram design studio, Ms. Scher spent many years in the record business, working in the 1970s-80s as the creative director at Atlantic and CBS Records before going on to bring her talents to projects for clients including Bloomberg, Citibank, Comedy Central, The Public Theater, New York Times, Target, Tiffany,The American Museum of Natural History and many others. To find out more about this opportunity to meet one of the most-prolific graphic designers at work today, follow the link to the Penn State News site at http://news.psu.edu/…/graphic-designer-scher-lecture-penn-s…

3) In my ongoing effort to present the work of “mere commercial artists” to those in the fine art world establishment, one of the questions I’m presented with from time to time is whether applying your talents as a designer to music products is simply “selling out”. I’ve heard passionate claims by those on both sides of the issue and, while I’ve always been one to hope that the talented creatives that produce the packaging for our favorite musicians/music products earn enough money to keep themselves fed, happy and eager to continue to work in the music business, it is interesting to read and attempt to process opposing/mixed views, so it is with this in mind that I link you to a recent article by writer Paddy Johnson on the ArtNet site titled “Do Artist Branding and Hollywood Talent Agency Deals Kill an Artist’s Soul?”. Let me know what you think – http://news.artnet.com/…/do-artist-branding-and-hollywood-t…

February 17th – 1) In this recent interview article by Andy Butler on the Designboom site, Smiling Wolf designer director Simon Rhodes talks about his agency’s work (including album packaging for several music industry clients), his “Brian Eno”-style approach to creativity (via “lateral thinking”) and how his appreciation of record cover design as a teenager helped him truly understand the important role that he could play in working for clients in the music, art, industrial design and fine art worlds. I was particularly impressed with the work he showed for Elevator Studios – quite the branding package! http://www.designboom.com/…/interview-with-simon-rhodes-di…/

2) With revenues from the sale of music products – both physical and digital – losing steam, musical acts of all types have to look at other ways to both build closer relationships with their fans and make money via touring, licensing and merchandise sales. While many larger (i.e., more successful) acts can rely on their labels, agents, etc., to help them fully-explore these needs, most indie/small label acts have to invest the time and resources themselves, so any help they can get in doing this correctly is always welcome. Of course, one of the most-important items that need to be created are graphics-based (logos, cover art, related merch, stage designs, promo posters, etc.), so in the article written by the staffers at the ToneDeaf site, two of Australia’s top merchandising specialists – LPATM’s Brian “BT” Taranto and 24Hundred’s Duane Jackson – give readers a “Merchandising 101” course, adding important details such as understanding your fan base, focusing on quality and. most-importantly, remembering (as much as it hurts, sometimes) that THIS IS A BUSINESS! Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who is trying to earn a living in today’s tricky music business arena – http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/…/guide-creating-selling-best-mu…

February 16th – 1) Famed album cover designer and partner in the illustrious Hipgnosis studio Aubrey “Po” Powell is the subject of a recent “Flyodian Slip” radio show, which premiered  Feb.16 and ran through Feb. 22 in markets the show is broadcast in. Host Craig Bailey talks with Powell about his career producing covers for many great bands, talks about the release of his new book on the subject (titled Hipgnosis: Portraits and published by Thames & Hudson) and rooming with original Floyd singer/songwriter Syd Barrett. Transcripts from the show, along with streaming files, will be available on the show’s site at http://www.floydianslip.com/…/pink-floyd-designer-aubrey-p…/

2) Although Grammy-nominated album cover designer Xiao Qing-Yang didn’t take home this year’s trophy, the designer is a certified star in his native Taiwan, and the loss hasn’t slowed his career, as evidenced by his latest commission – creating the latest “Story Island – Round the World” in-flight meal service motif for Taiwan-based EVA Airlines. The award-winning designer will apply his talents to tablecloths, menus and other related items for the airline’s Premium and Business Class customers. Like a good album cover, Xiao’s designs help strengthen the relationship between producer and customer, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see his efforts represented on notable music packages going forward. More on the Travel Daily News Asia web site – http://www.traveldailynews.asia/…/eva-chooses-grammy-nomine…

3) Do bad music and bad art inevitably find each other? If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve purchased records that had great covers, only to find that the music packaged inside was not quite what you’d hoped for. Well, if you take a look at this video produced by Jimbo Stephens (as related to us by writer Ryan Kristobak on the Huffington Post site), there are many examples of absolutely horrible music getting the packaging it deserves – tasteless, offensive and/or featuring head-scratchingly poor production values. You’ve seen some of these examples in previous articles on bad cover design, but I haven’t seen several of them before and, necessarily, refuse to suffer alone…follow this link, if you are a glutton for punishment – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/worst-album-covers-_n_66147… Please note – there are some REALLY offensive images included in the clip, so be sure to keep sensitive eyeballs at bay.

February 13th – 1) As Idaho-based designer Rocky Davies was growing up in the 1980s, he found himself a fan of cartoons, comics, toys and video games and, surrounded by all of this input, decided early on to learn to draw so that he, too, could contribute to the art forms he loved. Graduating from BYU with a degree in illustration, he began his career as a freelance designer, but never forgot about his favorite characters from the 80s and recently decided to devote some time to developing a series of art images that place some of his favorite villains – including the Joker, Freddy and the Sta-Puf Marshmallow Man – front and center in album covers for many tunes from the era. “Sweet dreams are made of these” takes on a whole new (nightmarish) meaning – click here to see Rocky’s portfolio of these alt-covers – http://www.rockydavies.com/?p=1393

2) A music-focused bar in Cardiff, Wales wanted to create some visuals for an upcoming event that combined the venue’s love of music with their support for the annual Six Nations rugby tournament and, if you take a look at the article and illustrations found on the Wales Online site written by David Owens, you’ll find the results of their efforts – a series of “classic” album cover images where the original featured characters have been replaced with images of Welsh rugby stars. The Full Moon Bar is now the home of Leigh Halfpenny as the alien in Aladdin Sane, and Gethin Jenkins is now a really Bad man…see the slide show via the link – http://www.walesonline.co.uk/…/rock-met-rugby-welsh-stars-8…

3) Vinyl Connection‘s Bruce Jenkins gives us an in-depth look at the cover of Procol Harum’s 1974 release titled Exotic Birds and Fruit in the latest edition of the ongoing series he calls “Art On Your Sleeve”. Bruce digs in to a number of aspects of the band’s eighth album, with insights on the choice of art, the lighting and why he thinks the cover might feature birds that have been sedated. Always an interesting take on classic album cover design – enjoy – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/02/12/art-on-your-sleeve/

February 12th – 1) Wanted to point you to this article regarding the recent feature done for the CBS News “Sunday Morning” show on famed album cover photographer Henry Diltz, the many responsible for a number of truly memorable photos of acts including CSN&Y, The Doors, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and many others. Reporter Anthony Mason was taken to Diltz’s archive where he was shown a number of images that those of us “Boomers” will acknowledge having seen hundreds of times – the cover shot for JT’s Sweet Baby James LP, the photo of Misters Nash, Stills & Crosby seating on THAT couch in front of THAT house and, of course, the photo of The Doors standing in the window of the somewhat-decrepit Morrison Hotel in Los Angeles. Quite the afternoon, I think…You can watch the segment and view a nice slideshow of a number of Diltz’s photos on the new net’s site via the link at http://www.cbsnews.com/…/capturing-an-era-of-rock-nobility…/

2) While I don’t have a lot of personal experience or knowledge about album cover designers who work for clients in the Latin-music market, I did just run across an interview by a writer working for the NBC News Latino site (named Juan Castillo) with a very-prolific designer by the name of Ruben Cubillos that I thought I’d share. A former performer himself, Cubillos was always impressed with the album art he saw growing up in San Antonio – in particular, the covers and logo designs done for The Commodores – and committed to himself early on to the development of his artistic talents, hoping that he’d one day excel in the field. 150+ record covers later – including ones for musical acts including Ruben Ramos,Selena and Juan Gabriel, to name just a few – Castillo has achieved that goal and looks forward to continuing to bring his artistic sensibilities to his future efforts. More on this at http://www.nbcnews.com/…/latino-album-cover-artist-ruben-cu…

3) Looking to approach your record collection – and find new music, too – in an original and different way? How about searching by color? A site was launched by the design collective called Open Work that is called Predominant.ly and, using computer power to do what I can only imagine a computer can do, fans can search for their favorite records, old and new, by the colors featured in their cover art. Going to the home page, you’re presented with what looks like the color chart found in most image-processing programs. Simply move your cursor to the color you’re most-interested, click it and presto!, you’re given a list of albums where that color is featured predominantly. While I can’t tell you why it exists, it certainly seems to work well. This might be worth some extra looking in to…Read more in the Paste Magazine feature on this intriguing new site –
http://www.pastemagazine.com/…/predominantly-wants-you-to-c…

February 11th – 1) It’s not nice to fool Mother Mitchell – in a recent New York magazine interview article, recounted here by John R. Kennedy for Canada’s Global News site, singer Joni Mitchell explains that the reason why she agreed to appear in blackface on the cover of her 1977 album titled Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter was to “freak out” the photographer who with, according to Ms. Mitchell, she was locked in a psychological battle with that day. As the shoot went on, she would retreat to change into different costumes she’d prepared and, on her fourth change, returned to the set dressed as a black man, tricking the crew who wanted to know who this never-before-seen person was on the set. And even today, Joni still states that she has much in common with black men having, as she’s quoted, experienced what it’s like being one herself.
The interview also touches on many other topics, including her take on the possibility that Taylor Swift (whose music Joni’s never heard) might play Mitchell in a proposed biopic…more via the link – http://globalnews.ca/…/joni-mitchell-reflects-on-posing-in…/

2) As part of the DIY site’s “Hall of Fame:Inside The Artwork” series, writer El Hunt introduces us to photographer Ness Sherry, who gives us the back-story to the wintery B&W image shot for the cover of Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm. While I found the story quite interesting, the one thing that most-impressed me was the fact that, rather than the setting for the photo being some Easter-bloc country’s barren wasteland, it was actually photographed in Northampton, U.K.! This reminded me of a similar photo – the one taken by Brian Griffin and used on the cover of Depeche Mode’s A Broken Frame – which, rather than being the result of Brian’s trip to Italy or Russia to find a peasant woman working in a wheat field, was also a scene taken from alongside a highway in England…click on over to DIY Magazine’s site for more – http://diymag.com/…/inside-the-artwork-story-behind-silent-…

3) An author with a doctorate from the International Centre for Music Studies in the U.K., Elodie Roy brings readers a very insightful take on the relationship – a “visual enhancement”, as she calls it – between fans and active participants in today’s various musical cultures and the memorable photographs that have appeared on record albums. While, as a child, she was often frightened by the images she saw on popular albums (remember Peter Gabriel’s “melty face” cover – quite shocking, no?), she admits that, as she grew older, the images she found on retail music packaging actually drew her into the sonic and visual worlds created by each musical act. In a recent editorial she wrote for the PopMatters site, Roy goes on to give us a range of examples of images being used, throughout the history of retail music, to help establish a link between artist and fan (she also gives us a brief look at two new books that help add backup to her contentions). I always felt a strong connection to the art used to package my favorite music – now, there’s scientific proof that it exists! http://www.popmatters.com/…/190093-the-visual-enchantment-…/

February 10th – 1) For as long as rock music has been around, there has been a loyal group of fans of “psychedelia” – the music, the art and the spirituality often found in the art and music – and although it’s been called different things over time (“New Age”, “Transcendentalism”, etc.), one thing is certain – the artwork created by a short list of talented designer/illustrators continues to impress, amaze and occasionally confound viewers and fans of the genre.

In this article on the site for the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technology (IEET), you’ll meet – via text and video – one of the best known “visionary” artists working today, Alex Grey, who, in addition to fine art and illustrations seen in a variety of settings – has created album covers for bands including Tool, David Byrne, Beastie Boys and, with probably his best-known work (his painting Muscle System/Pregnant Woman) for Nirvana, featured on their In Utero album. In an article titled “Psychedelic Spirituality”, you’ll learn more about the artist, his inspirations and the “spiritual and practical uses of the Cannabis plant”. Free your mind and visit http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/grey20150128 for more.

2) I love it when the hometown paper heaps praise on “a local boy done good” (my quotes)…Ravenswood, WV native Don Pendleton and his design team won a Grammy Award this past Sunday (yes, there were other awards handed out to talent that wasn’t Beyonce on that date – sorry, Kanye) and the editors at the Herald-Dispatch proudly made the announcement to his neighbors. Pendleton won for his work on the packaging for Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt record, having been introduced to the band via bassist Jeff Ament, who was a fan of the artist’s work (having purchased examples for his own art collection back in 2009) and a fellow skateboarding aficionado. In addition to the cover art, Pendleton helped create a variety of items to help complete the package (stickers & artwork for each song) and promote the band’s tour and other promo appearances.
Read more of this hometown tribute via the link at http://www.herald-dispatch.com/…/Marshall-grad-Don-Pendleto…

3) It was my sad duty to have reported the death February 9th of Rex Ray, the talented San Francisco Bay-area artist who was responsible for a number of well-known album covers for musical acts including David Bowie, The Residents, Joe Satriani and Matmos, among others. Ray was an extraordinary collage artist and painter whose works are in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art and many others. For the past several years, his designs and unique art pieces have been featured in the Jonathan Adler design stores nationwide.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rex several years ago about his work on the cover image for David Bowie’s 2003 release titled Reality (see link, below) and found him to be a very nice guy with a simple approach to art – he just worked hard to create beauty from a variety of materials and, if you look at his portfolio of work, I think that you’ll agree that he accomplished that quite clearly. You can read more about Rex in this article by Sam Whiting on the SFGate web site – http://www.sfgate.com/…/Collage-artist-Rex-Ray-dies-6071830…

and, if you’d like to read my interview with him, follow this link –http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/…/2008/05/cover-story-int…

February 9th – 1) There’s a new show now on display at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library that will be of great interest to fans of great design and, more specifically, great album cover design. The show, titled “Jackets Required: 40 Years of Album Cover Design” was organized by librarian (and accomplished record collector) Robert Garzillo and includes 100 covers that appeared during the years 1940 – 1980 featuring the work of many ACHOF “Early Influencers”, including Alex Steinweiss, Saul Bass, Jim Flora, Josef Albers, Andy Warhol and others. The covers represent music released in a number of different genres and give the viewer a good sense of how album art both reflected the designs of the times and also helped take record packaging in new directions. I hope to have more about this show to share with you soon. In the meantime, you can read more about the exhibition – which runs now through March 27th – in Bill Van Siclen’s article in the Providence Journalhttp://www.providencejournal.com/…/20150208-risd-exhibit-al… or on the library’s site at http://library.risd.edu/exhibitions-current.html

2) The Napa Vallery Museum is now hosting a new show featuring works from the portfolio of photographer Guy Webster, the man responsible for many notable album cover images, including covers for The Rolling Stones, The Mamas & The Papas, The Turtles and many others. “Big Shots: The Photography of Guy Webster”, on display now through March 15th, the LA-based Webster was on hand in the 60s – 70s to capture images of rising stars in many aspects of the entertainment industry and, in this show, you’ll find a host of photos of stars including musicians Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Simon & Garfunkel (among others) as well as film/TV stars such as Jack Nicholson, Raquel Welsh and Natalie Wood. On March 12, Guy will be on-hand to do an Artist Talk about his career. I’ve seen videos of his presentations and would highly-recommend attending this talk to anyone in the area…More info on this can be found on the Museum’s site at http://napavalleymuseum.org/?page_id=3063

3) Found an article I thought you all might like about a metal music fan who is working hard – with varying degrees of success – to establish himself as a working photographer covering the genre in Southern California. In this article in the OC Weekly by Rachael Mattice, Adrian Mejia gives us the often-dirty details of what it takes to shoot memorable photographs of musical acts in the clubs and theaters they’re working, all while ducking the punches, kicks, thrown objects and flying bodies often found up in front of the stage during these events. His commitment to his craft has earned him the respect of both the venues he works in and the artists he photographs – now, if he can live long enough to build on to his career, I expect that we’ll be seeing more of his work as time goes on! More via the link at http://blogs.ocweekly.com/…/a_local_metal_photographer_give…

February 8th – And the winners of this year’s Grammy Awards in the packaging categories are:

1) For “Best Recording Package” – the team that produced the package for Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt (on Republic Records) – Jeff Ament, Don Pendleton, Joe Spix & Jerome Turner, art directors

2) For “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” – the team that produced the package for The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27) on Third Man/Revenant Records – Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood & Jack White, art directors

3) For “Best Album Notes” – Ashley Kahn, for his work on Offering: Live At Temple University

Congratulations to all of the winners – to see the complete details of nominees and winners in this category, please click on over to the Grammy site at http://www.grammy.com/Nominees?genre=22

February 6th – 1) Opening today at the museum at Forest Lawn – “Revolutions 2 – The Art of Music”, featuring hundreds of examples of album cover and music-related fine art from an impressive line-up of designers, illustrators, photographers and other contributors to great cover art. On display now through August 2nd, you’ll find prints and original works by artists including Hugh Brown, Ernie Cefalu, Roger Dean, Joe Garnett, Rick Griffin, Kadir Nelson, Joe Petagno, Tom Recchion, Mike Salisbury, Alex Steinweiss, Drew Struzan, Guy Webster and many others. There will be several related events to this show, so please visit the Forest Lawn site at http://forestlawn.com/event/revolutions-2/ to learn more about this exciting event. I hope to have some pictures of the display for you soon, so stay tuned.

2) One of the artists whose works are included in the aforementioned exhibit at Forest Lawn is designer/art director Ernie Cefalu who, over the years, has been responsible for noted album covers for Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Iron Butterfly, Jesus Christ Superstar and many others. For her “Face To Face” series of artist interviews, Linda Woodyard McFadden interviewed Ernie about his role in one of the best-known designs in Rock & Roll history – i.e., the “Lips & Tongue” logo for The Rolling Stones. During this 14-minute video, Linda and Ernie take a look at the “birth” of this design via original sketches, comps and other fascinating pieces that went into “the making of” this iconic design –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eUQn4bJs64&feature=youtu.be

3) Here’s a link to an article in the Taipei Times about the two Taiwanese artists who are nominated for Best Recording Package for their impressive work on the Muddy Basin Ramblers’ Formosa Medicine Show record. Over the years, Taiwan-based artists have been nominated a half-dozen times for submissions in this category, but none has ever won. And while they’re up against some big-name competition (including records for Pearl Jam and the Pixies), last year’s winners were honored for their work for indie band Reckless Kelly, so there’s always a chance that these “underdogs” could win. I’m quite certain that both they (writer David Chen and graphic designer Andrew Wong) and their clients would be VERY happy with a win – http://www.taipeitimes.com/…/feat/arc…/2015/02/02/2003610619

February 5th – 1) Interesting post on the ArtNet site by Cait Munro about musician David Byrne and his affinity towards “outsider art”, shown quite nicely by his commission of one of the world’s most-prolific artists – the late Rev. Howard Finster – to create the cover for the Talking Heads Little Creatures album. Byrne has been collecting works in this genre since the 1980s and continues to visit shows looking for whatever’s new and exciting in the area. To read more about Byrne and his collection, click on over to the article at http://news.artnet.com/i…/david-byrne-on-outsider-art-238262 

If you’re interested in reading more about Finster and his “Paradise Garden” compound and museum in GA, I interviewed the curator – David Leonardis – several years ago and found out more about this fascinating gentleman and the work he did (and why he did it). http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/…/2007/09/cover-story-rem…

2) To help commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1, the city of Liverpool and the Tate Museum have hired legendary album cover designer Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s and Band Aid fame) to produce a customized design for one of the famed “Ferries Across The Mersey”. The ferry, called “The Snowdrop”, will be re-painted with a unique design called Everybody Razzle Dazzle, and will be launched along with a fully-coordinated schedule of educational programs for schools and opportunities for other local writers and artists to contribute to. Writing for the Liverpool Echo, Catherine Jones provides us with more details and a nice slide show of the artwork created by the now 82-year-old Sir Peter – http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/…/sir-peter-blake-give-merse…

February 4th – As promised, here is a link to the “Albers In Command” FB page – https://www.facebook.com/events/1414938145466313/ There, you’ll find photos of the show on display at The Ace Hotel in LA and get to see some of the actual covers Albers designed in the 1960s. Thanks again to the show’s curator, Nitzan Hermon, for giving us “the inside scoop” on this wonderful display of design talent.

February 3rd – 1) A number of years ago, while I still lived in the NYC area, my wife and I drove out to Long Island’s wine country to see an exhibit of rock & roll fine art that was set up in a barn on a winery’s estate. There, we found a number of album cover prints featuring The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many others. The show was put on by a company called “Rock Art Show” who, it turns out, worked with a local radio station to co-promote their activities. Just the other day, I saw an interview with Scott Segelbaum, who started the company back in 1991 and has expanded the collection to include concert photos, gold records and artwork by John Lennon and Ringo Starr (to name just a few). In the interview, he talks about what motivated him to start his business, how he selected what would be shown and how he works hand-in-hand with local radio stations nationwide to bring fans shows of great variety and quality – perfect for us collectors of album cover fine art and photography. Read this interview – conducted by Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media Research – on the company’s site at http://jacobsmediablog.com/…/radios-most-innovative-scott-…/

2) Its wonderful to see someone whose career began in the album art world now make strong showings in the “fine art world”. Ryan McGinness, a NYC-based artist, did his first album cover work while still an art school student (doing covers for Gerald Levert, Speed McQueen and Inner Circle in the mid-late 1990s), is the subject of a new show titled Ryan McGinness: Studio Visit now on display (through April 19th) at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Virginia Beach. In 2009, the museum commissioned Ryan to create a work of art for the museum’s collection, and the new show works to give viewers a look behind the scenes of the artist’s process as he created this 16-panel work. Read more about it on the museum’s web site – http://www.virginiamoca.org/ryan-mcginness-studio-visit

February 2nd – 1) My ongoing research has led me to the site of photographer Emilie Sandy, where I found info/imagerly on a project she did several years back that, if you haven’t seen it already, you should take the time to do so. Called “Deja Vu”, Sandy recruited a number of highly-regarded music industry photographers – Anton Corbijn, Bob Gruen, Chris Gabrin, Gered Mankowitz and many others – to work with her to “recreate” one of their best-known photos, and the results are really impressive. You’ll see well-known album cover shots for Elvis Costello, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash and many others redone to now feature their creators in the starring roles. Great idea, very well-executed. I will find out more and report back to you all with additional info as I get it – in the meantime, enjoy the show – http://emiliesandy.com/portrait/deja-vu/

2) With the credit for the album cover shot for one of the past year’s best-selling records – Grammy-nominated singer Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour – bringing her work to a much-larger audience, it seems that London-based photographer Stephanie Sian Smith still finds time to shoot beautiful images of her friends, the world around her and her cat Ron while taking care of the editorial and portrait needs of her ever-expanding list of clients. In this new video (sponsored by Nikon) on The Telegraph‘s site, you’ll get a chance to meet Ms. Smith and follow her while she works on a recent project – shooting portraits of young women with their cats (sounds like she’d have some experience on the subject, no?) –http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/stephanie-sian-smith-photograp…

That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed – https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.

Interview with Glen Wexler – Heaven and Earth Dig album cover

Today’s Interview Topic – the making of the album cover artwork for Heaven & Earth’s Dig, a 2013 release on Quarto Valley Records.

Glen Wexler, photographer, album cover, Heaven and Earth, Dig, interview, ACHOF, Mike Goldstein, article, photograph, album art, record sleeve, Boston, Led Zeppelin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve always been fascinated by the work of art historians and scientists who’ve developed and deployed technologies that have allowed them to look beneath the surface of centuries-old paintings to find either earlier versions of those same works or, in the case of 2007 investigation of a Renaissance portrait of a young woman that, after digitally peeling back the layers of oil paints, a work that turned out to be an undiscovered (and incredibly-valuable) masterpiece by Leonardo daVinci (watch this episode of Nova on PBS for the complete story – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/mystery-masterpiece.html). The results of efforts taken by forensic scientists have produced results that, in some cases, have flown in the face of the assumptions and determinations made by art experts (as exemplified by the aforementioned daVinci and a similar episode featuring a work supposedly by Jackson Pollock), while in others, we’ve been able to gain a better understanding of the processes followed by great artists as they experimented with ideas prior to the execution of a masterwork.

As it’s my goal as a journalist (and fan of album cover art) to present you with stories about “the making of” popular album cover images via the interviews I do with the creative talent behind them, I always try and get a better understanding of just how a great image came to life. In many cases, it’s certain that most good album cover artists are constantly building upon what they’ve learned via the execution of previous cover art commissions. In today’s example – the cover for Heaven & Earth’s Dig, done by designer/photographer Glen Wexler – it seems clear that the work he produced for his client comes as the result of a concept whose time had come, simply being the perfect time for the application of ideas he’d developed over several years and preceding projects.

Being as it is that the band’s music is, in itself, a more up-to-date iteration of classic “arena rock” from a long-ago era (rebuilt using vintage instrumental layers and modern production techniques), I think that you’ll find Glen’s approach to the creation of this album package – the cover, along with the stylish imagery featured on the LP sleeve, booklet, etc. – has followed that of the time-honored traditions used by past masters, with the results just as impressive. In today’s interview, we hear about this project’s details from “the master” himself, as well as his take on how/whether today’s album cover art is done in such a way as it will stand “the test of time”….

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Interview with Kosh – Linda Ronstadt’s Lush Life album cover

Interview with Kosh about the making of the album cover art and packaging for Linda Ronstadt’s Lush Life, a 1984 release on Asylum Records

Kosh, John Kosh, designer, art director, Linda Ronstadt, album cover, record cover, record sleeve, package, sleeve, Lush Life, Grammy, Grammy Award, award winner

 

 

 

 

by Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com 

You may recall my recent interview with David Larkham about his long-standing creative collaboration with Elton John and the many album cover projects they worked on together. What I neglected to mention was that there were a number of such partnerships that produced many of our favorite images for record packages (and merchandise, stage sets, music videos, etc.) over the years. Other examples include historic couplings such as Pink Floyd and Hipgnosis, Anton Corbijn and U2, George DuBose and The Ramones, Peter Travers and The Moody Blues, Roger Dean and YES, Cal Schenkel and Frank Zappa, James Marsh and Talk Talk and many others. These examples help illustrate the importance of the establishment of a “shared vision” between a musical act and the person/people entrusted to build a visual identity for that act and, once that synergy has been established, how it can grow into an integral part of how that act is seen – and appreciated – by its fans.

One sterling example of such a relationship is that between recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Linda Ronstadt and the Grammy-winning designer/art director known as “Kosh”. Since the young designer met the singer in the mid-1970s (after her success with her Grammy-winning country-rock masterpiece, 1974’s Heart Like A Wheel, with design by Rod Dyer and photo by her friend Eve Babitz), the two talented artists have joined forces to release two dozen (!!) great albums, with Kosh and his team winning three Grammy Awards for “Best Recording Package” for their work over the years. The third Grammy was awarded in 1985 for Kosh’s cover designs for Lush Life, the second of three albums of big band jazz-era pop standards, with arrangements – and musical bed – provided by bandleader Nelson Riddle.

Released in November, 1984. the immensely popular record quickly became a platinum-seller, with Linda earning a Grammy Award nomination (in 1986) for “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female” for her rendition of the title song, Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” (while she didn’t win for this particular song, Linda did go on to win 11 Grammys during her illustrious career). The first record in the trilogy of recordings dedicated to “the great American songbook” – 1983’s What’s New – established the now-popular practice of rock singers adding their own unique stylings to the classic tunes of a bygone era, with its commercial and critical success proving the viability of such projects to other artists and record labels going forward.  The Lush Life record project would again be honored by the Recording Academy when Nelson Riddle, who died in late 1985, was posthumously awarded a 1985 Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying A Vocal” at the 28th Annual Grammy Award ceremony in early 1986 for the title track, “Lush Life”.

With Ms. Ronstadt’s induction into this year’s class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame fresh in our memories, I contacted the still quite-busy Mr. Kosh in his studios in the Los Angeles area to ask him to give us his take on the making of the package for Lush Life, along with his feelings about his team, his creative partnership with Ms. Ronstadt and the general state of music packaging and graphics these days.  I think that – quite understandably – this relationship thrived on a mutual sense of admiration of the talents each party brought to the table, as you’ll see evidenced in the following transcript…

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Interview with David Larkham – Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album cover

Interview with David Larkham – The making of the album cover artwork for Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

David Larkham, Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, album cover, album cover art, record sleeve, Ian Beck, interview, Mike Goldstein, Album Cover Hall of Fame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Mike Goldstein, curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

April 18, 2014

Like great music, great art always stands the test of time.

Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road came as the result of several short-but-very-productive song-writing/recording efforts by Elton, Bernie Taupin, his bandmates and his producer and, although the record received rather lukewarm reviews from some critics at the time, it went on to be Elton’s best-selling studio recording, from which emerged his much-beloved show opening sequence (“Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”), three huge hit singles (“Bennie & The Jets”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” and the title cut) and a song (“Candle In The Wind”) – originally written in honor of Marilyn Monroe and re-written in 1997 as a tribute to the passing of Princess Diana – that then became the second best-selling single of all time. His seventh studio record, it was undeniably the record that launched Mr. John into the Pop music stratosphere.  So much for the critics and their ability to appreciate a work’s overall importance in both the portfolio of an influential artist and the ongoing development of the Pop music genre.

No such difficulty exists when considering the enduring impact of David Larkham‘s designs for Elton John throughout the years. The original package for this double album – and its 3-panel design – was also, in itself, quite unique and memorable. With that much album real estate to fill, it was an extraordinary feat accomplished by the album cover team who delivered six panels of impressive design, illustration, photography and typography, featuring individual illustrations for each song included on the record as well as the lyrics which, at least for me, made the listening experience all the more enjoyable (and dependent on having the album cover close at hand).

David Larkham, Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, album cover, album cover art, record sleeve, Ian Beck, interview, Mike Goldstein, Album Cover Hall of Fame

 

 

 

 

 

Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 40th Anniversary Set

Late 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘s release and, in March, 2014, an imposing 40th anniversary “super deluxe re-release” package was produced containing five discs (two of which were of a particularly well-performed 1973 concert played in London’s Hammersmith Odeon and another containing covers of GYBR songs by a number of current musical faves) and a DVD of a documentary titled Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean and Other Things. The set also included a 100-page illustrated hardback book of rare photos, memorabilia and articles containing interviews with Elton John and Bernie Taupin. I caught up with Mr. Larkham in late February of this year and have worked with him since to bring ACHOF fans an updated, behind-the-scenes look at how this remarkable album package was conceived and assembled by a team of highly-talented artists, working with a client who was about to become the biggest pop star in the world….

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ACHOF Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Mick Haggerty

Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Mick Haggerty

by Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
March 24, 2014

Every once in a while, I get to pinch myself with pleasure when I realize that I’ve been given the opportunity to meet and interview many of the talented artists that have created some of the world’s most-iconic album cover images. While, of course, I appreciate most all of the works I’ve featured in these articles, there are certain works that, for my own personal reasons, are deeply-affecting to me and, therefore, are often images that I’ve added to my own art collection, and so when I get a chance to interview the people who’ve produced these particular images, the whole enterprise takes on additional meaning and emotion for me.

In today’s Featured Artist Portfolio, I’m pleased to highlight the accomplishments of a designer who has created more than one of my favorite album covers – that being the supremely talented Mick Haggerty. As someone who has created covers for musical acts both here and in the U.K., it also gives me pleasure to learn more about a small number of covers for bands that, for whatever reason, never had much of a following in the U.S. but, as you’ll see, some of those images will impress you as much (or more) than some of his better-known covers. Great art is great art, no matter whether you’re just seeing it for the first time or appreciating it again for the hundredth time, don’t you agree?

So, without any further delay, please enjoy a selection of works by Mick Haggerty, along with some running commentary provided by the designer himself.

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