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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For August/September, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once more to you all – hope that you’ve all had a good time this Summer, however you chose to occupy your time. Even though my work on updating the bio section of the ACHOF site continues slowly but surely, I’m still happy to announce that there’s been a fair amount of album art/artist-related news to review – more interviews, profiles, news about new books and prints, etc. – and as you’ve seen in my previous news summaries, if you simply read the summaries I’ve written and click the links provided, you’ll be able to find out more about the details from sources from around the world on items featuring many of the world’s most-talented album art creators.

I am also pleased to announce that the second part of the two-part article I wrote about album cover art, artists and album art production has been added to the Illustration History web site – https://www.illustrationhistory.org/essays/design-and-illustration-in-the-record-business

Titled Design and Illustration by the “Early Influencers” working in the Record Business, this new article was designed to allow you to meet some of the most-notable purveyors of note-worthy and memorable album packaging and read what they have shared about what they do, why they do it, and what the future holds for this unique craft. To remind you, the Illustration History site is a project of the esteemed Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA) and serves as an educational resource for fans, students and teachers of the fine arts of illustration and design. It’s been an honor to be able to share some of my research and writing on a subject – album cover art – that features so many great examples of work by the talented people who’ve contributed to the visual side of the modern music business, so once again I’d like to thank curator Jesse Kowalski for this opportunity and hope that you’ll spend some time reading both articles and then digging through the site’s impressive archives as well..

In addition, I’ll soon be adding another article to the ACHOF site titled “Album Art and Packaging Trends Timeline and Overview” that seeks to answer, decade-by-decade, beginning in the 1940s up to the present, this important question for those of us interested in the history of album cover art “what was it exactly that the products produced during each decade or era have shown us about Pop Culture and the status of record music promotion at that time?” The article will first be posted on the ACHOF site, with announcements made via social media, and I do hope that you’ll take the time to read, absorb and comment.

Several of you may recall from last month’s summary that I was asked (one of a number of music packaging gurus) to serve as a judge for the upcoming (early October) Making Vinyl Packaging Awards extravaganza that will be a keystone event at this year’s Making Vinyl conference in Detroit. The first round of judging has been completed and, from an impressive number (nearly 250!) of entries in all of the categories, the finalists have just been announced, with the list available for your viewing pleasure at – https://makingvinyl.com/making-vinyl-packaging-awards-announces-finalists-in-12-categories/

I gotta tell you, folks…I really had no idea that there was so much creativity and ingenuity (and, by the looks of some of the packages, resources) being put to task to create new retail packaging for recorded music products until I spent some time – nearly 3 full days! – looking at each of the entries before posting my opinions. What was more interesting to me was to learn more about the people working on these projects, with a nice balance seen between entries submitted by major labels working with “household name” designers/art directors/photographers and the impressive output from people/teams I’ve never had the pleasure to meet before. While I can’t release any of the details now, you can rest assured that I will be introducing myself to some of these new (at least to me) names ASAP and will be sharing the fruits of those efforts with you when I can.

The winning entries – that is, those picked from the aforementioned list of finalists – will be selected by a panel of esteemed judges at the NYC offices of the AIGA design organization and awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony that will be held at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit on the evening of October 1st. You will, of course, find more information on the winners immediately thereafter here on the ACHOF site and, with any luck, will be able to read an interview or two with some of the winners ASAP after.

As always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

1) UPCOMING, RECENTLY-LAUNCHED/CURRENTLY RUNNING AND JUST-CLOSED SHOW/EXHIBITIONS –

a) I’m happy to announce that my friends at the U.K.-based art publisher/art gallery Hypergallery are taking a road trip to Berlin, Germany to stage, along with album cover design great Aubrey Powell, a survey exhibition that will “explore and unpack the significant influence of the Hipgnosis design studio through an unprecedented display of images from the Hipgnosis catalogue.” The show – titled Daring To Dream – is scheduled as part of the European Month of Photography (EMOP) 2018 event and is being co-curated by Emily Smeaton and John Colton, under the watchful eye of Mr. Powell.

The show will run from September 30th thru the 28th of October, staged in a courtyard located on the 1st floor of Bergmannstr. 5, 10961 in Berlin, with an opening party scheduled at that location on the evening of September 29th, beginning at 7PM local time. Mr. Powell will be on hand that evening – along with members of a local opera company – and will be signing copies of his own retrospective book of Hipgnosis-generated album art called Vinyl.Album.Cover.Art which was recently published in Germany by Edel Books. More info can be found on the Hypergallery web site at https://www.hypergallery.com/event-hipgnosis-in-berlin/

I’m eagerly awaiting to see photos from the show/opening night event and will point you to those when they’re available.

b) For those of you who weren’t able to attend the Bill Graham-centered art/memorabilia show (BILL GRAHAM AND THE ROCK & ROLL REVOLUTION) that toured last year, you’re being given a reprive of sorts with the staging of the Summer of Love poster show at the Andaz Gallery/Hotel in Hollywood, CA, put on in cooperation with the Grammy Museum and featuring 17 original posters from the 1960s by noted visual psychedelic artists including Wes Wilson, Bonnie MacLean (AKA Mrs. Bill Graham), Jim Blashfield, Greg Irons and Stanley Mouse.

http://westhollywoodmag.net/press-release-andaz-west-hollywood-and-the-grammy-museum-unveil-original-summer-of-love-posters-in-new-salon-art-exhibit/

If you’d like to read my exhibition recap from the Bill Graham show as it was staged here in the Chicago area last year, click on over to https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/achof-exhibition-tour-bill-graham-and-the-rock-roll-revolution/

c) There’s a show taking place in London in mid-September that, if I understand what it is that I’m reading, looks to introduce show-goers to several new formats of visuals that might be accompanying and augmenting recorded (and live) music as time goes on. Based on work done by musician/artist Beatie Wolfe and cohorts at Nokia Bell Labs, you’ll be given the chance to see/listen/experience works including (as they’re described in this article by Oisin Lunny on the Forbes.com site) “the world’s first live 360˚ Augmented Reality (AR) stream combining live, 360˚ stereoscopic video and real-time AR visuals” that will “create a modern ‘Fantasia-like’ live streamed album experience.” A short video documentary is also there to better-explain what it is that Ms. Wolfe and her chums have created.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/oisinlunny/2018/08/26/beatie-wolfe-explores-the-art-of-music-in-the-digital-age-at-the-va/#6d1f677f1217

The show at the Victoria & Albert Museum – titled “The Art of Music in the Digital Age: a series of world-first designs” – runs from September 15th through September 23rd in the Prince Consort Gallery on Level 3 and will, in addition to the Raw Space Chamber described above, put on display such must-be-seen-to-be-understood items as “a theatre in the palm of your hand, an album as a deck of cards and wearable record ‘jacket’” designed by former D. Bowie tailor Mr. Fish, among other equally-innovative items.

The entire effort is delivered as part of the London Design Festival, with more information available at  https://www.londondesignfestival.com/event/beatie-wolfe-art-music-digital-age-series-world-first-designs and additional details on the V&A site at https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/bJR1B3Ng/ldf-2018-the-art-of-music-in-the-digital-age-a-series-of-world-first-designs  If any of you do attend and can share what you’ve seen with the rest of us, it’d be greatly appreciated as we are all curious as to where the future of music-related visuals is headed.

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) NYC Radio show host Zach Martin just posted links to Parts 1 & 2 of his Big Fat American Rock Show! interview with NYC-based album design gurus Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz, well known to album art fans for their award-winning work for Talking Heads, Lou Reed, Bon Jovi, Ramones and many others. The stories they share in Part 1 of how the two worked both alone and together to produce a huge portfolio of commercial work for their clients in the music business over the past 40+ years will make your head spin, so make yourself a dirty olive martini, place yourself in your favorite comfy chair and enjoy the ride – https://youtu.be/4LAwoiNtjy4

In Part 2, Spencer shares the details of who his favorite band is (and why) and how he and Judith seem to do their best work “when everything flows” – https://youtu.be/g144AXr4S_g

On a related note – for both this article and the one you’ll read on the upcoming Making Vinyl trade show – Mr. Drate and Holly Stephey will be hosting an online interview with Mr. Larry Jaffee, the producer of the event and the Packaging Awards show that will be taking place during that event. The live event takes place Friday, August 31st at 5PM EST and you can catch it online at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redvelvetmedia/2018/08/31/larry-jaffee-making-vinyl

You won’t meet anyone with more passion about the resurgence of the vinyl record and the importance of album cover art, so I hope you’ll take the time to listen to this interview.

b) While Madonna may have been making headlines recently for both celebrating her 60th birthday and enduring some music industry flack after delivering a not-so-well-received tribute to the recently-departed Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Award ceremonies, one thorough read of this recent amply-illustrated FOTO Story interview article with photographer Kevin Mazur reminds you of just how much she’s influenced Pop Culture since launching her career as a singer/dancer in the early 1980s in the clubs surrounding New York City. Having met Ms. Ciccone while he was himself a young lad from Long Island (he’s 57 now), Kevin has been on hand to document the Material Girl’s meteoric rise, being on-hand to shoot scores of her concerts (beginning with 1985’s Virgin tour) and producing a huge portfolio of work we’ve all seen in magazines, books and web sites over the years. He’s also produced album cover shots for top musical acts including Bob Dylan, Elton John and U2, but in this article, the focus is on just how much fun he’s had being on hand and moving from gaga-eyed fanboy to long-time friend of someone who has impressed us all with her talent, dedication and fearless approach to success in a really tough business – https://foto.gettyimages.com/celebrity/musicians/madonna-in-motion/

c) NYC-area music art fans might want to quickly click on over to the Eventbrite site (via the link at the end of this notice) to register for what’s sure to be a sold-out event at the Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003) this coming October 19th (from 7-8PM EDT) featuring Metallica’s drummer (and famed fine art collector) Lars Ulrich talking photography with the Brooklyn-based photo duo Herring & Herring (the team behind the album cover imagery for the band’s hit 2016 release Hardwired…To Self Destruct) about how artists like themselves collaborate to create great art.

Herring & Herring consists of Dimitri Scheblanov (who is himself a 2005 graduate of The Cooper Union’s School Of Art) and Jesper Carlsen (who was schooled at the Art Academy on the Danish island of Funen, graduating in 2006) and has worked with Metallica – serving as creative directors, photographers and music video directors – since 2014. In addition to their corporate work – with celebrity clients including musicians Ozzy Osbourne, Beyonce and Questlove, film stars Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and Billy Bob Thorton, TV personalities Fred Armisen, Oprah Winfrey and Andy Cohen and sports celebs Derek Jeter and Abby Wambach (among many others) – the partners also produce and publish the highly-praised image-only photo magazine also titled Herring & Herring (available on newsstands everywhere).

Ulrich will be taking a short break from the band’s tour in support of this album, which kicks off September 2nd with a show in Madison, WI.

Event info/registration  at  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/photography-duo-herring-herring-talk-with-metallicas-lars-ulrich-tickets-49040489424?aff=MetallicaFanClub  The event is free and open to the public, although the promoters warn that pre-registration doesn’t guarantee a seat, so get there early!

Article on the Blabbermouth site – http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/metallicas-lars-ulrich-to-talk-with-photography-duo-herring-herring-at-new-york-city-event/

d) We’ve all had to consider, at some point in our lives, just what the proper “work/life balance” would be in order for us to continue to enjoy both aspects of our day-to-day existences. For some of us, the choices were quite simple, being dictated by the status of our health or of our continued relationships with friends and loved ones. For others, it’s when they’ve noticed “something missing” from the enjoyment of their day-to-day activities, whether at work or at home. For Grammy-winning designer Stephan Sagmeister, as you’ll read in this recent article (and audio interview) by Ayse Burcell on the Salon.com web site, he noticed that “once I started to allow for repetition in the work, there was just less excitement.” What did he do to get his life back in balance? Well, he did something we all wish we could do – he took a year-long sabbatical. To do this, he had to overcome fears of “being forgotten” and/or being seen as “unprofessional” but, once he did, you’ll see that it was time well-spent. I’d suggest taking a break from your own hectic schedules to read and listen to this compelling interview via the link at https://www.salon.com/2018/08/27/the-case-for-taking-a-sabbatical-why-grammy-winning-designer-stefan-sagmeister-took-a-break/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Being touted as the “most-metal” of all memorabilia auctions, the estate of the late singer Ronnie James Dio is soon to offer a nice selection of Dio-owned property at Julien’s auction house that includes original album cover paintings, artwork, costumes and much more – http://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2018/ronnie-dio/index.html

Slated for two days in mid-September at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC (September 15th and 16th), the event (titled PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF RONNIE JAMES DIO) includes well over 600 items and will showcase both “normal” personal effects (his little league baseball jersey, autographed baseballs and jerseys signed by his favorite pro sports players, etc.) and those things he aggregated during his multi-decade career as the lead singer for Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his own band, Dio. Album art collectors will have the opportunity to bid on:

The Last In Line original cover painting (est $20-30K) opening bid $10K – The original acrylic and collage painting executed by Barry Jackson and used as the cover art for the Dio album The Last in Line (Warner Bros., 1984). Framed, 26 1/2 by 45 1/2 inches; Sight, 18 by 37 inches

Sacred Heart original cover painting (est $20-30K) opening bid $10K – The original acrylic and collage painting executed by artist Robert Florczak and used as the cover art for the Dio’s 1985 Warner Bros. Records album Sacred Heart, signed by Florczak in the lower left. Framed, it’s sized at 25 1/4 by 25 1/4 inches;

Dream Evil original artwork (est $2-4K) opening bid $1K – The original acrylic on canvas board painting done by Steve Huston and used as the cover art for the  1987 Dio album Dream Evil (on Vertigo), signed in pencil in the lower right by Huston. This was the last album to feature “Murray” on the cover. Unframed, it measures 27 by 40 inches;

– A trio of Alan Aldridge items from Dio’s personal collection – opening bid $150 – A signed print of the cover art for The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics, a copy of the book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast and an LP copy of the album of the same name. That 1975 album was produced by Roger Glover of the band Deep Purple and featured Dio in the role of “Froggy”. Framed, it measures 24 by 32 1/4 inches

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Fans of the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia know that he considered himself as (as he’s been quoted) “an artist who played music” and that he expressed himself via a paintbrush with just as much passion as he did via his playing and song-writing. In the early 1980s, he began to study the visual arts much more seriously and, from that point until the end of his life, he dedicated himself to drawing, painting and creating images on his computers.

Recently, Jerry’s ex-wife Manasha Garcia and his daughter Keelin Garcia teamed up to create “a mission-based company inspired by musician and artist, Jerry Garcia” that’s called “Jerry Garcia Music Arts” and, as part of this music/fine art company’s launch – and to honor what would have been Jerry’s 76th birthday in August – they’ve released what they’re calling a “thematic pairing of art and music”, meaning that they’ve created both a new fine art print of a JG watercolor titled “Ripple” and have released a newly-remastered live version of the Garcia/Hunter-penned song of the same name on streaming music services including  iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Napster, MediaNet, VerveLife, Tidal, Gracenote, Shazam  and 7Digital..

The print – an unframed, museum-quality giclee piece printed on Hanhnemuhle Bamboo 290 gsm paper and offered in an unsigned edition of 500 – is sized 11”w x 15”h, priced at a very-affordable $130.00 and comes with a certificate of authenticity and is available from Terrapin Stationers in their Terrapin Gallery

https://www.terrapinstationers.com/collections/terrapin-gallery/products/terrapin-gallery-and-jerry-garcia-music-arts-present-ripple-unsigned

A portion of proceeds from these sales support ocean conservation (Mr. Garcia was a strong proponent of saving the coral reefs and even shared these beliefs as he testified before a conservation committee for the State of Hawaii in 1990), with more details about the company and its mission available on their web site at – https://www.jerrygarciamusicarts.com/fine-art.html

b) New clothing and wall art designs featuring album cover-inspired imagery by “speed painting “ master Stephen Fishwick was introduced by art/marketing agency Get Down Art at the MAGIC Las Vegas event at the Mandalay Bay Hotel this past August 13 – 15, with these images and products looking to extend the popularity of several well-known album cover designs to a younger demographic via the fashion brands and trends they’ve shown they appreciate. For example, Pink Floyd’s memorable Dark Side of the Moon cover image, as reworked by Mr. Fishwick, shows the iconic diamond on a paint-splattered background, while the new version of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” image shows Mr. Young bravely facing a very colorful electrical storm. The company is offering these designs and many others printed on t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts for both men and women, along with poster prints on canvas and other household items. Now your kids can wear their own unique iterations of their parents’ favorite album art and, in doing so, inter-generational love and understanding will finally be achieved – https://getdownart.com/collections/icons-collection

5) Other articles of interest –

a) This month’s collection of Sound and Vision articles – which provide in-depth details of the stories behind some of your favorite album art – offered to us by Eben Bensen and the nice people at Juxtapoz Magazine includes quite the range of music/art of both recent and historical vintages. Managing Editor Eben Bensen has stayed true to his promise to give us a new story every week, with the most-recent articles summarized below:

– Michael Trevithick’s Magritte-inspired (well, at least to me) artwork on the cover of the late Nick Drake’s third and final studio release – 1972’s Pink Moon – replaced the photograph originally taken for the project, which showed the musician in declining health – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-nick-drake-s-pink-moon-cover-by-michael-trevithick/

– Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 indie release In The Aeroplane Over The Sea was viewed by music critics as a “game-changer” – an album based on the life of Dutch Holocaust victim Anne Frank – with its artwork the result of a collaboration between songwriter Jeff Magnum and album cover designer Chris Bilheimer and based on the artwork found on a turn-of-the-century travel postcard –   https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-neutral-milk-hotel-s-in-the-aeroplane-over-the-sea/

– In 2009, the Portland, OR (yeah, baby)-based experimental rock band called Portugal The Man released its fourth studio album The Satanic Satanist, which featured a very trippy cover crafted by the band’s own lead singer, John Gourley, who combined photos with watercolors to create the image – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-portugal-the-man-s-the-satanic-satanist-cover-by-john-gourley/

– What is that thing jumping over the hurdle in Joan Ludwig’s photo featured on the cover of Beck’s 1996 hit record Odelay? A floor mop? A batch of ramen noodles? The answer is available via the link at https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-beck-s-odelay-cover-photography-by-joan-ludwig/

b) Now you can help two young-but-experienced artists in Portland, OR (yeah, baby!) launch a new “multi-disciplinary creative studio” via your support of their Indiegogo campaign and, as a reward, receive a limited-edition print and music compilation created just for this fund-raising effort. Over the past 13 years, composer/musician/sound designer Courtland Urbano and award-winning illustrator Anthony M. Benedetto worked on and off together on projects, but after Urbano moved to Portland to join the Humble Beast label roster, Anthony followed in 2014 to join the team as Creative Director. They both realized that, as a team, they could offer external clients a whole slew of services, so they decided to strike out on their own and launch a new agency they’re calling Nova Nimbus, with Anthony currently working out of Court’s garage.

Help Anthony get out of the garage into a proper office with your pledge of support and, with a commitment as little as $75, you’ll get a print of a work Benedetto created to show off both the natural beauty of their Pacific NW location and his respect for great mid-Century graphic design called Modern Romanticism.  Urbano adds music to the package with a download of a 19-cut collection of tracks he’s produced over the years, with both testifying to the fact that they love to listen to his soundscapes while they work, so you ought to, too.

The program runs for about another month, with details available at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nova-nimbus-a-multi-disciplinary-creative-studio/x/18934317?#/

c) Using album cover art to find out the identity of one of the art world’s most-mysterious creators – is Robin Gunningham the real “Banksy”? Those bidding on a work of art printed on the sleeve insert for an early 1990s Bristol-based ska band sure hope he is! Artnet.com’s Henri Nuendorf provides us with the details, and happy value-hunting – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/early-banksy-auction-1329194

d) Orlando Sentinel reporter David Whitley provides “a public service” for us in his article “All Great Album Covers lead back to Abbey Road” by providing us with a “10 Greatest Album Covers of All Time list” (what, again?) based on his contention that “everybody can be an expert” (this is why I stay away from these lists) – http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/audience/david-whitley/os-ae-album-covers-david-whitley-0808-story.html His email is provided at the end of the article, so feel free to respond.

e) Don’t they know that it’s just not safe out there? Several times each year, someone takes it upon his/herself to present a list of the “worst” record covers of all time and, each time, I share a link to this list with the hope that enough of you are outraged to the point of expressing yourself somehow on the author’s site. And while I will be the last one to promote any form of censorship, I would ask that folks look deep inside themselves before releasing “best/worst of all time” lists like this one. Yes, there’s been some horrible/disturbing/nonsensical album art used to package recorded music over the past 70+ years (just as there’s been a lot of “bad” music packaged and offered for sale), but the subject has really been beaten to death and is usually built around the same content, which just makes it boring. Please don’t click on this link. I’m asking you nicely…

http://ajournalofmusicalthings.com/because-everyone-loves-awful-album-cover-art-heres-another-gallery-of-some-of-the-worst/

f) Now, after the last entry, here’s one for the “Looking Forward” folder – Is this the “future” of album covers? Rapper/style icon (and very funny talk show guest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s9joL_AGfo ) Nicki Minaj uses artificial intelligence/virtual reality to bring fans up close-and-personal with her and her album art for her new record Queenhttps://mobile-ar.reality.news/news/snapchat-strikes-familiar-chord-with-shoppable-ar-lens-for-nicki-minajs-new-album-0186464/

That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For March/April, 2018

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR APRIL.

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The month of March – in as far as album cover art-and-artist-related news goes – proceeded in just the opposite of the traditional “in like a lion, out like a lamb” theme in that it started out slowly but loaded up at the end with new info and articles on exhibitions, profiles, award shows, new books and prints and more on everyone’s favorite topic.

March was also a busy one for yours truly in that I was involved in judging a local/national album art competition, putting on a lecture about album art and artists featuring a display of prints from my own collection and, finally, working to produce all of the materials needed to launch the Kickstarter campaign for my new book project. I’m happy to report that everything went well, with an impressive range of talent on display in the Oak Park Art League’s Artifact 33.3 album art show, a nice turnout of album cover lovers at my March 22nd lecture and my overall happiness with the items that were produced to help me launch my fund-raiser, which looks to launch sometime the first week in April. If all goes according to plan, the project will run for 33 days and, if successful, it should provide me with everything needed to get the new book designed, printed and shipped (along with any special rewards you’ve opted for) before the end of the Summer. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for anyone who is a fan of art and music – and that includes YOU – I do hope that you’ll take a look at the project site via the link I’ll include in a special announcement next week.

As I mentioned previously, the last 30 days has given us much to review  in the area of album art and artistry – particularly, in the category of exhibitions (see below) – and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world. Of particular note were the number of international exhibitions on display and/or announced for openings later this Spring, including shows in Scotland, Italy, England, Canada and several in the U.S…these displays approach the world of album covers/music packaging and memorabilia from a number of different angles, so it’s intriguing and exciting to see the passion for this sort of work on display in venues throughout the world.

As always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

a) We all know and love the highly-artistic album cover work of photographer Brian Griffin, so it’s with great pleasure that I can report that there’s a new show of more-recent works – titled Between Here & Now – that’s on display at La Banque Art Centre in Bethune, France – one that features a number of new works taken from his book SPUD (published by Gost Books) that was recently published after Brian’s 2017 artistic residence in that area of the country.

In that some of the bloodiest battles on the Western Front during the first World War were fought only a few miles away from Bethune, Brian was so moved by the area’s history that it inspired him to create images that, in his own inimitable way, illustrated the connection between the land and the “the blood and the bones and the limbs of all (that) became part of the soil.” Writer Eva Clifford provides us with an overview of the display – which is available for viewing now through the 15th of July – in her recent article on the British Journal of Photography’s site – http://www.bjp-online.com/2018/03/brian-griffins-spud-on-the-anomaly-of-potato-growing-in-ww1-battlefields/

Brian provides us with updates on his show via LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6382168208442560512

b) If you happened to be one of the nice people who were able to join me the evening of March 22nd at the Oak Park Art League’s gallery when I presented 25+ prints from my personal collection – and the stories behind how they were made and who made them – I’d like to say “thanks” and hope that you enjoyed your time that night. In addition to the initial selection of prints that were put up on display as part of the opening night ceremonies for the Artifact 33.3. exhibition on March 9th – cover images for records by Supertramp, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and many others – I brought along another group that included works by photographers Brian Griffin, George DuBose and Storm Thorgerson and designs/illustrations by Cal Schenkel, Jamie Reid, Mati Klarwein, R. Crumb, John Van Hamersveld and several others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Goldstein lecture at OPAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2+ hours later, we’d all had our fill and had shared stories about our own collections and experiences (Val Camilletti of Val’s Halla Records even shared the story of the weekend she spent as a Capital Records employee stripping banned cover photos from a certain Beatles record back in the 60s and helping launch the “Butcher Cover” collectibles market!).

As mentioned previously, after receiving dozens of submissions for their Artifact 33.3: National Exhibition of Record Cover Art original album art competition, the Oak Park Art League’s panel of judges – which included local treasure Val Camilletti (owner of Val’s Halla Records), long-time WXRT Program Director Norm Winer, Paul Natkin (one of Chicago’s most-notable rock photographers), me and musician/artist Jon Langford (one of the founders of The Mekons and the alt-country kings The Waco Brothers) – selected what it felt were the best 50 entries from local/outside artists proficient in many areas of design, painting and illustration and displayed the winning entries  in the OPAL gallery in Oak Park, IL beginning  Friday, March 9th.  . These remain on display, along with a number of other rock-themed works of art, until late April, so if you’d like to see them and learn more about the show and the winning entries, please visit their site at – https://www.oakparkartleague.org/artifact-33-3

c) In this month’s list of “there and gone” shows was one that I’d like to have seen – from Friday-Sunday March 23-25 at the Queen’s Park Railway Club in Glasgow, Scotland was a display of works of art and music, curated by artist Ross Sinclair, that featured the work of dozens of artists who also happen to be musicians/musicians who also excel in the visual arts. According to this article on The List (UK) web site by David Pollock, this display does a great job of illustrating a fact long-professed here at the ACHOF, that being that there seems to be something genetic in the make-up of many who participate in the worlds of art and music – something that drives them to experiment, and regularly produce great works, in areas of specialization outside the ones they regularly earn their livings in – https://www.list.co.uk/article/99693-artists-who-make-music-musicians-who-make-art/

I’ve seen these traits on display so often that I was, several years back, driven to produce an article on the topic, which you can find via the link here – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/musicians-that-also-design-album-covers-a-list-for-fans-of-music-and-art/  Suffice it to say that the trend continues…

d) We can always rely on the talented artist/photographer/gallery owner Guido Harari to present us with a comprehensive and entertaining group show each Spring, and his latest effort, which opened March 20th at his Wall of Sound gallery in Italy is no exception. Called Rock ‘N’ Roll Hearts, it features fine art photos from an impressive collective of shooters, many with dozens of examples of album cover photos in their portfolios, including Merry Cyr, Henry Diltz, Art Kane, Gered Mankowitz, Jim Marshall, Mick Rock, Norman Seeff, Masayoshi Sukita and many others, including Mr. Harari himself. You can find out more about who/what is on display (thru June 11th) on the gallery’s site at – http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/rock–n–roll-hearts-e24

e) The Bowie archive-sanctioned, Victoria & Albert Museum organized David Bowie Is show has now moved on to what looks to be its final exhibition space – the Brooklyn Museum in New York – where the impressive display of costumes (over 60 of them), music, videos, photo and graphic imagery, Bowie’s own paintings and ephemera from his own collection – over 400 items in total – will be available for viewing by fans thru July 15thhttps://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/davidbowieis

The nice folks at CNET sent a crew to the museum and came back with a slew of images that allow those of us who don’t live in the area an opportunity to tour the items on display at the Museum in the comfort of our own homes – https://www.cnet.com/pictures/david-bowie-fans-you-cant-miss-this-space-oddity-of-a-show/  The show has set attendance records everywhere it’s been assembled, beginning with the V&A Museum in London in March, 2013 but, like all good things, it comes to an end this Summer, so if you’re in the area and are a fan of all things Bowie, be sure to tour before its gone.

f) With Mr. Bowie fresh in everyone’s minds, the fine people at the Morrison Hotel gallery in Los Angeles recently displayed (2/23 thru 3/23) a pretty impressive Bowie photo exhibition featuring work that highlighted a number of aspects of the artists 50-year career- whether in the studio, on stage and as an artist, actor and fashion icon – as seen by noteworthy photographers such as Brian Duffy, Terry O’Neill, Neal Preston, Mick Rock, Masayoshi Sukita and a number of others.

https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/blog/354U1j/BOWIE-Photography-Exhibition–Sale-Now-At-Our-Galleries-February-23—March-23

The gallery’s opening party was attended by a star-studded lineup of photographers and musicians, including shooters Henry Diltz, Ross Halfin and Jimmy Steinfeld and musicians from bands including Circle Jerks, The Cult and Billy Idol’s band, among others. The folks at Music Connection provided us with some photo coverage of the event – http://www.musicconnection.com/david-bowie-photography-exhibit/

g) A recent article found on the Art Daily site helps introduce us to a photo exhibition in Toronto that give us a close-up look at the city’s burgeoning R&B, rap and hip-hop music/cultural scenes. Readers are given a nice overview of a show called Everything Remains Raw: Photographing Toronto’s Hip Hop Culture from Analogue to Digital that’s on display at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, which is serving (for the fifth time) as a venue for the YU-U-UGE Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival (the world’s largest such event, it is said).

According to the article, “The exhibition consists of three sections—Write Now: Intro to the Esoteric, Not Now but Right Now, and Emanate—highlighting the many aspects of hip hop culture including rhyming, breakdancing, graffiti, and DJing” and features the works of a collection of Toronto-based shooters working to capture the scene in the 1990s and early 2000s. You’ll find photos – including a number which have never been seen in public before – from the archives of photographers (many with album cover credits) including Craig Boyko (Kardinal Offishall), Michael Chambers (Divine Brown and Love & Sas), Stella Fakiyesi (Philosopher Kings), Demuth Flake, Patrick Nichols (Rupert Gayle and Dream Warriors), Sheinina Raj (Ghetto Concept and Laurance Tan) and Nabil Shash, and the exhibition will be up on display from now until October 21st. Read more by following these links: http://artdaily.com/news/102901/The-McMichael-presents-photographic-works-of-Toronto-s-hip-hop-culture and

http://mcmichael.com/event/everything-remains-raw-photographing-torontos-hip-hop-culture-from-analogue-to-digital/

While my exposure to the Canadian music scene harkens back to the late 1990s when I was involved with the MuchMusic  cable TV network there (partnering with them to bring MuchMusicUSA to American audiences), I have to admit that I knew little about the rap/hip-hop scenes there, so even looking through the McMichael’s web pages on this show was really informative.

h) It started off as an interesting hobby – taking rubbings from the gravestones of notable musicians – but it wasn’t until he’d run out of paper one day 10 years ago and decided to try using the paper sleeve from an old LP that St. Louis, MO-area resident John Wegrzyn hit on an interesting way to memorialize some of the world’s most-notable blues musicians. Now, in a display of his unique album cover-sized rubbings at the National Blues Museum in St. Louis called See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, you’ll find a fascinating selection of John’s works of art based on the carved memorials for a range of blues masters from back in the day to much more recently, including Willie Dixon, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Professor Longhair, Stevie Ray Vaughan and dozens more.

Writing for The Riverfront Times blog, Allison Babka takes us on a mini-tour of the show –https://www.riverfronttimes.com/musicblog/2018/03/16/belleville-mans-gravestone-art-exhibit-ensures-that-the-blues-will-never-die – and introduces us to a man with a passion for gravesites and graphite pencils. The show runs through May 19th, with more details available on the Museum’s site at https://www.nationalbluesmuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhbits/

i) Sneaking into this month’s summary on the last day of March was the announcement of the opening of an exhibition on display in the gallery of the Winchester Discovery Centre (in Winchester, Hampshire, UK) featuring a collection of the works for the stage, dance and film by famed illustrator Gerald Scarfe, well-known to album art fans as the talented man behind the visuals for Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

According to this recent article on the Art Daily site (http://artdaily.com/news/103607/Drawing-a-crowd–Gerald-Scarfe-Stage—Screen-exhibition-comes-to-Hampshire ) “Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen will feature more than 100 preliminary sketches, storyboards, photographs, ephemera, costumes, set pieces and animation cels” that catalog Scarfe’s contributions to productions from The Wall (1979) to the English National Ballet’s The Nutcracker (2002). Organized by London’s House of Illustration, one of the most-unique aspects of what’s on display are the collections of costumes and props that were used in various live/recorded productions and, of course, an impressive array of Scarfe’s work on The Wall along with the 1972 short film titled A Long Drawn Out Trip (“a stream-of-consciousness piece that reflected Scarfe’s perception of American culture”) that was seen by members of Pink Floyd and then lead to their ultimate collaboration on The Wall.

Specifics about the show – which runs now through June 27th – can be found on the Hampshire Cultural Trust’s site at http://www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/event/gerald-scarfe-stage-and-screen-exhibition

j) While its opening is still a couple of months away, I am excited to report the news of a new John/Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool in Liverpool, UK that will include a lot for those of us who’ve always appreciated that pair’s contributions to the world of music-related art. Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is one large part of the city’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as “European Capital of Culture” and will, according to the Museum’s PR, have visitors “taking a chronological journey… the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 December 1980.”

On display during the shows run, which begins on May 18th and will stay up for nearly a year (through April 22nd, 2019), are many items of original art created by the pair (individually and together) such as Yoko’s Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting, Painting to Hammer A Nail and Apple: Acorn Peace, War Is Over and others, along with a selection of hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including those to songs including “In My Life”, ”Give Peace a Chance”, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and “Woman”. There will also be a music room where visitors can listen to the couple’s music and review all of the album art that we remember and love. You can learn more about this tantalizing show on the museum’s web site at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/doublefantasy while those with a bit of patience for poorly spaced and punctuated overview articles can read more on one found recently on the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/news/UK/111842/John-and-Yoko-s-story-in-their-own-words-at-Museum-of-Liverpool

k) Noted album cover designers/authors Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz are teaming up with another accomplished (and Grammy-nominated) designer, Sylvia Reed to gather and curate record art show that will be put up at the One Space Art Gallery in NYC at a date TBD. According to the info I rec’d recently from Mr. Drate, the curators are asking designers everywhere to send in their best examples of well-designed record packaging for consideration, with entries due no later than June 1, 2018 to be eligible for consideration for this show.

The show will be called For The Record: The Vinyl Cover Show 2018 and will be the latest in a series of such shows the curators have staged over the years, including a well-received show that took place at The One Club back in 1995 called the “Special CD Packaging Show” (which featured over 100 examples of album art on display) and another show that was held in May, 2004 at the sadly-closed CBGB Gallery built in support of the release of their Rock Posters of the 90s books and which included 250+ posters sourced from 50 different designers, so it’s clear that this team has been working hard for years to share the talents of the artists working in the music business with their fans and collectors of these works.

More details about this show and the folks behind it can be found on their Facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/spencer.drate/posts/10156195245043288

If you’d like to see all of the books that the dynamic duo of Drate and Salavetz have authored (21 and counting), here’s a handy link to their author’s page on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/author/spencerdrate

Of course, I’ll give you more info on this show as it becomes available. Designers, send in your best!

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) One of the music industry’s best-known and often-lauded album cover artists – Neville Brody – has spent the past seven years as Dean of the School of Communication at the U.K.’s Royal College of Art, but as you’ll read in this Design Week article by Aimee McLaughlin, he’ll be transitioning this coming September to a new role as a professor of visual communication – https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-february-4-march-2018/neville-brody-to-step-down-from-role-at-rca/

In addition to the many album cover designs he’s credited with over the years, Mr. Brody is the author of one of the design industry’s best-selling books, The Graphic Language of Neville Brody (the second volume published in 1994), which sold over 100,000 copies to become one of the world’s best-selling books about graphic design. In 1989, Brody launched “Neville Brody Studios” and, with cohort Cornel Windlin (a talented graphic artist and typeface designer), the studio took on a number of commissions and successful collaborations with other respected design firms. First renaming the firm Research Studios in 1994 and, most-recently, Brody Associates (http://brody-associates.com/) , Neville and his team have worked on an impressive portfolio of projects for clients in many industries world-wide, including media companies such as the BBC, D&AD, The Guardian, MTV Europe, Paramount Studios, The Times (London) and Wallpaper*Magazine,  venues such as Parco (Japan), The Barbican (London) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) and retail product firms including Apple, Asics, Bentley, Bonfire Snowboarding, Chloe, Deutsche Bank, Dom Perignon, Homechoice, Microsoft, Nike, Salomon, Sony Playstation, YSL and many others. We wish him well as he soon moves on to the next phase of his career in academia.

b) When Public Enemy’s Chuck D teamed with rocket scientist/painter B.E. Johnson back in 1990 to come up with the soon-to-be-quite-memorable cover art for the group’s Fear of a Black Planet record, he’d hoped to drive home the point that that his Black Planet would be both large and cast a big shadow on planet Earth, but someone with Johnson’s special skills realized that it was important to show him how that should only be done in such a way that it’d survive as both a metaphor and a scientifically-correct image.

With a new group of products recently hitting the streets – clothing and accessories – from two hot design labels (Undercover and Supreme) that proudly display elements from the FOABP album artwork in their designs, the folks at the Hypebeast.com site turned to contributor Keith Estiler to turn to the artist to get an updated version of the “making of” story, which is now available on the site via this link – https://hypebeast.com/2018/3/fear-of-a-black-planet-artwork-undercover-supreme-be-johnson

There’s also a nice 90-second video available in which the acclaimed rapper shares a bit about the times and circumstances that compelled him and his music-making chums to produce that record and its visual counterparts – https://www.instagram.com/p/BgMJFN0Hh_X/?utm_source=ig_embed&action=save

c) Back in college, Chuck Sperry double-majored in Art and Journalism and fully anticipated working as a writer/journalist, but a gig as the school newspaper’s cartoonist and the advice/mentorship of a friend of his family (Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Peters) started him down another path (from Missouri to New York and then San Francisco, one that has lead him to be one of the most-prolific and admired artists working for clients in the music business. Over the years, his screen-printed posters for almost every major act (yes, all of them!) and for The Fillmore concert venue have made clients, fans and collectors very happy with their inspired artwork and quality printing, which also lead Chuck to expanding his design offerings to products including skateboards, concert merch and, as you might figure, several album covers, including ones for Jello Biafra, Social Unrest, Madness and several others.

While he’s presently working on an exhibition opening soon (Heaven of Many a Tangled Hue, at Spoke Art in San Francisco), the folks at Juxtapoz Magazine caught up with him to have him spill some of the details of his career up to this point, beginning with his early forays into the field, many of the influences he’s had (including Gilbert Shelton, William Morris and writer Mary Shelley, among others) and what art this highly-collected artist has in his own art collection.

Profile on rock poster/album cover artist Chuck Sperry in Juxtapoz Magazinehttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/collectibles/the-interweaving-worlds-of-chuck-sperry/

Details of new show at Spoke Gallery – https://spoke-art.com/blogs/news/coming-soon-to-sf-chuck-sperry-heaven-of-many-a-tangled-hue

d) Cover Our Tracks’s Loring Kemp was recently privileged to enjoy a conversation with goth/post-punk pioneer David J. Haskins (AKA “David J”), best-known as the bassist and lyricist for two seminal British bands – Bauhaus and, later, Love & Rockets. While we’ve all been impressed with his musical output, it was these bands’ (often dark) visuals that really helped them stand out from the many bands we enjoyed in the late 70s and 80s, so it is a great pleasure to read more as Loring and David take us all on an historical tour through the art that includes aspects of “Dada, noir and fantasy fiction” – a bit atypical for the timeframe, I think – enjoy this “Kick In The Eye” via the link – https://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2018/03/05/Kick-in-the-Eye-David-J-on-the-visual-art-of-Bauhaus-and-Love-and-Rockets

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) An auction to raise funds for the Benefit Shop Foundation in Mt. Kisco, NY will be taking place this coming April 18th that features large-format (6ft. square!) album cover artwork from noted artist Joe Taylor – http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/6071-choice-artworks-abound-at-benefit-shop-april-18

The Texas-born Taylor is perhaps best-known for the mega-scale promo billboards he created to promote new releases inside Tower Records stores in the 1970s and 1980s. What makes this particular auction item even more special is that, as the normal course of business, Taylor took the large masonite boards after they were used and painted them over with new artwork, so this huge re-creation of Buckwheat Zydeco’s Hey Joe LP is a rare remnant of his work, indeed. According to the article, “When the music store closed, it reportedly offered artworks to a select group, including the woman who owned this painting for many years, hanging it in her L.A.-home before moving to a smaller home in New York City.” Taylor has also written a book, Art & Music, that shares the stories behind his billboard artwork.

Since leaving the art/advertising world a number of years ago, Taylor has spent his time as Owner/Operator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum – a museum that presents the Earth’s history from a Creationist perspective – in Crosbyton, TX (near Lubbock). He has also put up a display at the museum of the remaining album art paintings he retained ownership of – http://mtblanco.com/2016/03/joe-taylors-album-art/

I’m sure that the winning bidder will be the envy of all his/her/their friends…

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) April means Record Store Day month, and this year’s offerings are truly impressive. Now that the vinyl LP business has busted through the $1 billion sales mark again, musical acts and record labels are much more willing to put the extra effort and resources into these collectible offerings (yes, even the young ones are wanting to have and hold special physical goods). Rather than try to highlight what’s going to be made available, I’ll leave that up to the folks at Goldmine Magazine, who’ve put together a nice summary (with highlights) on their web site – http://www.goldminemag.com/news/record-store-day-releases-list-2018 and in a multi-page spread (pages 19-22) in the May 2018 edition of their print magazine.

This year’s Record Store Day Ambassadors at the Grammy Award winners Run The Jewels, and their special offering is a limited-edition metal box set titled The Stay Gold Collectors Jewel Box, a package that includes an etched 12” EP with custom art, a special turntable slipmat and that box – a handy place to store your most-precious vinyl LPs. Album cover fans will recall that RTJ and artist Timothy Saccenti were the winners of this year’s Best Art Vinyl competition….

If you’d like more info on the releases and Record Store Day (April 21), bop on over to the RSD site at http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases  I’m eagerly awaiting the release of a fully-restored – including 3D Lenticular cover – version of Their Satanic Majesties Request on splatter vinyl, available exclusively at an independent record dealer near you.

b) Genesis Publications has begun taking pre-orders on a new book about the recent (June, 2017) concert at Wembley Stadium in London by R&RHOF inductees ELO, done in cooperation with ELO lead/producer/keeper of the flame Jeff Lynne – http://www.genesis-publications.com/book/9781905662524/wembley-or-bust?

The book documents the production, staging and performance by the greatly-expanded (12 pc.) band, which presented the 60,000+ fans with an amazing video/musical/pyrotechnic display, with the star of the show (visually) being their world-famous flying saucer. In addition to the amazing photography and a full behind-the-scenes tour lead by Mr. Lynne, the limited-edition (1,500 total) packages will be signed by Jeff and, depending on the version purchased, will include other collectible items such as vinyl picture discs, custom slipcases/bindings and, in the Deluxe version (only 350 of these will be made), a specially-made ELO space ship cutout/assembly. Last I heard, sales were brisk, so be sure to visit the publisher’s site soon if you’d like to reserve a copy for yourself/your loved ones.

5) Other articles of interest –

a) This year’s Juno Awards were announced on March 25th at 8PM in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. If you’ll recall my earlier article on this award show, the nominees in the Album Artwork category were:

EVERYTHING NOW – Arcade Fire – Catherine Lepage & Simon Rivest (Art Directors); COCONUT CHRISTMAS – The Lost Fingers – Geneviève Lapointe (Art Director), Martin Tremblay (Photographer); MECHANICS OF DOMINION – Esmerine – Jean-Sébastien Denis (Art Director & Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (Designer);FREUDIAN – Daniel Caesar – Keavan Yazdani (Art Director & Photographer), Sean Brown (Designer), Eric Lachance (Illustrator) and STUBBORN PERSISTENT ILLUSIONS — Do Make Think Say – Marianne Collins (Art Director & Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (Designer), Steve Farmer (Photographer)

And the winners of this year’s Juno Award for Album Artwork were…the talented team of people – Marianne Collins (AD/Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (designer) and Steve Farmer (photographer) – who produced this year’s Juno Award-winning album cover art for Do Make Say Think’s album Stubborn Persistent Illusions. They were up against some pretty stiff “big name” competition this year, but it’s nice to see that great talent wins out even when it’s delivered from rural Nova Scotia! Our heartiest congratulations go out to the production team, the record label and the musical act, and you can read more about this winning team via the link – https://junoawards.ca/nomination/2018-album-artwork-marianne-collins-ian-ilavsky-steve-farmer/

More to come soon….like I said, there was a LOT of info to sort through this month!

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For January/February, 2018

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR FEBRUARY.

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The first month of 2018 really delivered for fans of album cover artistry, with kudos for Best Record Packaging and Box Sets/Limited Edition packages handed out at the Grammy Awards on January 28th along with the top picks for the annual Best Art Vinyl awards – chosen by voters around the world – announced earlier in the month on January 9th. As you’ll see in my recaps way down in Section 5, there were plenty of surprises – including a TIE (!!) – and praise handed out to the very talented producers of this year’s top vote-getters, so to all those who complain that “album art is dead”, I think that you should take a look at all of the nominated works before backing that horse from this point forward…

Some good news also about my book – I’ve just had the proposed details for my project approved by the folks at Kickstarter so, with any luck, I should be able to share a link to my project page for your review (and, if you like what you see, your support) sometime in the next month or so. With any luck, I should be able to get the books designed, printed and shipped to you sometime this Summer – and let us all say, “it’s about damn time”.

As we begin the second month of 2018, I’d like my early Valentine’s Day presents to you all to be a) my just-published interview article in the March issue of GOLDMINE Magazine (page 50) about designer/photographer/pilot Bob Minkin’s work on the packaging for some of the fan favorite Dick’s Picks records released in the early 2000s by The Grateful Dead (my second article in this magazine this year, I’m proud to say), along with the following album cover artist news summary and preview. It will hopefully be just as nourishing and satisfying as a box of chocolates and one I think you’ll want to spend a few minutes reviewing and sharing with your friends. Besides the aforementioned award details, the past month was another one chock-full of news on this topic, delivering a trove of articles I know you’ll want to read, unearthing many new details about those folks who are actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest exhibitions, new books, prints and products and several interesting interviews and artist profiles, along with other related reporting from sources providing these details around the world. With so much to read and see, you should be pleased that I’m not one of those Americans who promotes the notion that nobody else in the world is as talented and praise-worthy as we are – just take a look at the portfolios of record packages produced by some of the people featured in this month’s summary and I think you’ll agree that their works speak for themselves…

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Announcing the 2017 Inductees into the Album Cover Hall of Fame

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

This latest class of honorees in the 6 major categories – as voted on by a world-wide panel of music, art and marketing experts in the area of album cover art & packaging – represents the “who’s who” of creative and production talent, with many recognized names from the fine art and design world.

Since officially launching the site in 2012, we’ve inducted five classes of Inductees based on the results from the group’s yearly surveys (the initial three classes focused on nominees who began their careers as album cover artists between the years 1960 – 1975, 1976 – 1990 and from 1991 – present, while the last two years’ voting looked at all producers active any time since 1960). Hundreds of additional biographies were added for consideration by the esteemed panel of writers, curators of galleries (retail and online) that focus on album cover imagery, art/design museum curators and music marketing experts.

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Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For September/October, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR OCTOBER, 2017.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this first day of October, 2017. When I signed off with you 30 days ago, never did I think that I’d be sending out my next news summary on the heels of not one but three more catastrophic weather events (Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the Mexico City-area earthquake) and that millions of people in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean would be in such need of the basic necessities of life…then, this would be followed up in a 9/28 article by the Washington Post that detailed the results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that stated that, now, a majority of Americans admit that “climate change contributed to the severity of the recent hurricanes” (as opposed to the results of the same poll, taken a dozen years ago, which showed that most Americans “dismissed the role of global warming and said such severe weather events just happen from time to time”).

Ya think?

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Album Cover Artist and Art News Summary and Preview for August/September, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER, 2017.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this first day of September, 2017. Since we last spoke, there’s been both a major astronomical event (the 8/21 total solar eclipse) and a major – i.e., catastrophic – meteorological event (Hurricane Harvey) along with a very disturbing display in Virginia of how some folks here in the U.S. just can’t seem to bring themselves to fully share the advantages and opportunities afforded to us here so, when you look at how those events have impacted people in very real ways, I have to ask myself why I’m spending my time reporting on album art/artist-related news versus focusing my efforts on activities that might somehow change/improve the world and the lives of folks just trying to enjoy the little time we’re given here on Earth.

I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don’t.

I know that art and music can combine to make our lives better in so many ways, and I also know how much I appreciate the talents of the people who work to bring these bits of joy and beauty to us, so in spite of the fact that my writing and reporting will most-probably disappear into the Ether over time, the positive notes and responses I get from my readers continue to provide me with some incentive to continue on in this overall-trivial-but-sometimes-rewarding effort.

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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of April 2017

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL, 2017

Happy May 1st to you all. While the weather here in the Chicago area has certainly swung towards Springtime (a day spent in the gardens at the nearby Baha’i Temple found the magnolias and spring flowers in full bloom), it hasn’t quite “stuck the landing”, but I’ve gone ahead and planted basil on my balcony and can vouch for the fact that there are trees with leaves on them as I look out my office window as I write this month’s summary and continue to work on my book.

Speaking of which – I’ve scripted my presentations for my upcoming crowd-funding project and, with any luck, will have something for you to look at quite soon. As I mentioned before, I’m mostly focused on deciding what to/not to include in this first collection (that’s been the toughest part, because I want to share everyone’s stories), but it looks like this will be a 400+ page book, so fans will most certainly find things in it relating to many of their favorite album cover creators. I also finished my inventory of the premiums (art prints, mostly) that will be used to incentivize you to support me at various funding levels, so I do hope you’ll take a look at my offering once it’s up and running. More to come, for sure.

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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of February, 2017

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUary, 2017

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from Chicagoland. It’s “awards season”, what with the Grammy Awards, BAFTAs, Writer’s Guild and Independent Spirit Awards and, to end the month with a bang,  the Oscars (followed, in a few months, by another flurry including the Billboard, Tony and BET Awards shows). I don’t know about you, but I’m growing a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of these shows and am somewhat confused as regards their relevance beyond the steady stream of production-related income enjoyed by the folks that stage them…Of course, people should be proud of what they do and want to praise the best examples of work within their respective fields of artistic endeavor, but I find it somewhat sad that some of the most-talented people – those working behinds the scenes, with their credits listed well-down from the top (you know, the part that’s sped through at an impossible-to-read pace during on-screen credit rolls) – are only mentioned in passing or, as we saw during the Oscar telecast, relegated to their own sparsely-attended and covered award ceremonies. Trust me, I understand why this is the case. I mean, who wouldn’t rather see a popular musician’s acceptance speech than hear from the recording engineer or the music video director (or the team that created the group’s logo and album cover), so that’s what sponsors and fans expect to see during an award show telecast. I guess that we fans of cover art can only take solace in the fact that you’ll probably see many more people wearing Dark Side of the Moon t-shirts than clothing emblazoned with a photo of Katy Perry thanking her fans, the label, her manager and her accountant for their support…

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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of January, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF january, 2017

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from Chicagoland. The other night, I went to my first local Grammy chapter event – something dubbed a “member celebration” (due to the fact that there are scores of Grammy nominees living in the area) and held in a ballroom at a local landmark – the Chicago Athletic Club on Michigan Ave. Having moved here from Portland and having participated on occasion in local events sponsored there by the Pacific NW chapter (based in Seattle, about 3 hours away), it was great to see an event so well-attended and easy-to-get-to at the same time. The highlight for me that evening was a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir, a group of young people from all over the city who, when assembled and lead by a talented director, lifted spirits with an impressive set. It would also be inspiring to be able to work with both this and other local professional organizations to promote the talents of people that contribute great designs to the music industry, so wish me luck in my efforts.

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Album Cover Art And Artist News Summary For The Month Of September, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER ART AND ARTIST NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2016

It’s the beginning of October, 2016, with the Fall season in full force here in Chicago – leaves changing colors, the humidity taking a back seat to crisp evening temps and, for those of us new (again) to the area, the famously-frigid Winter weather looming in front of us, with only the thoughts of a hot deep-dish pizza making the prospects tolerable. If you’re either a hearty soul or someone living in warmer climes, I hope that all you’re thinking about right now is a) “how will I survive this Election season?” (don’t forget to VOTE!) and b) “what the heck is going on in the album art/artist world these day, to which I’d like to propose that you now spend a few minutes catching up on your album cover art/artist-related news which, as you all know by now, you’ll find summarized in both my weekly and monthly recaps.

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