Tag Archives: design

Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary for July, 2020

 

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Monthly News Update and Summary – July, 2020

Posted July 1, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com (updated on July 3, 2020)

Early July greetings to you all from my now-extremely-familiar home office – with the Independence Day holiday coming up this weekend and the state I live in (Illinois) slowly (at least on paper) re-emerging from a self-imposed quarantine, I wanted to make sure that I’d put together and delivered my monthly update prior to my move to the den to view the carefully-curated shows that make up my Holiday Watchlist (inc. a recording of the Chicago Symphony playing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0qarHJOSYg). While many of my local countrymen seem to feel that it’s time to “get back to normal” (based on what exactly?), my wife and I are happy to continue on keeping to ourselves, venturing out only as-needed and enjoying the great take-out food and downloaded books, music and movies that have kept us safe and sane over the past few months while this pandemic remains active and dangerous.

I’ve continued to add new bios to the ACHOF site and will soon be adding some new themed searches to the site that will let you dig deep into the ACHOF archives for more stories, interviews and news about your favorite album cover makers. I’ve also spent some quality time trying the impressive number of quality gins and tonics that are now available on the market, so certain aspects of my quarantine time have proven to be quite fruitful (and delicious).

With a lot of the news headlines focused on the state of civil rights, inequality and justice here in the U.S., I thought that it was right to include an article I found (on the UK-based site Culture Matters) that dove into Civil Rights-focused album cover design. It was written back in 2018 (please note that a number of links to supporting images are now broken, but the text descriptions and overall writing are good) – https://www.culturematters.org.uk/index.php/arts/music/item/2724-wearing-politics-on-record-sleeves

In the meantime, I continue to be grateful to those of you who’ve decided to spend some extra quality time on the ACHOF site to enjoy the reams of content available for your there so, in keeping with my ongoing commitment to the delivery of my ongoing series of short-but-sweet monthly summaries of album cover artist and art-related news, interviews, sales and more, let’s get down to business:

Exhibitions and Gallery Show Info

While most galleries and museums continue to be closed to the public, some have announced plans to either/both re-open soon, making sure that they’re doing all they can to keep customers and their employees safe and/or continuing on in their efforts to create content (ala the Morrison Hotel live and recorded speaker series called “Behind The Lens” which, you’ll read below, has added several new video segments) and offer a more-enhanced online presence. Many are also available to help by appointment, so if you’re looking to learn more about what’s taking place in art spaces in your area, I’d invite you to look through the list of sellers I’m maintaining on the ACHOF site –  https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-buying-and-selling-resources-page/ – and then visit their sites to see who is doing what.

Artist News and Interviews

a) In a recording of a live (6/30/2020) video conferenced interview hosted by curator/educator/lecturer Anne Braybon from the FORMAT International Photo Festival, you get to see and hear the latest from famed photographer Brian Griffin (a man with a long list of notable album cover credits). He’s got a new book he’s working on – Part 2 of his “Black Kingdom” biography series (the first book, published in 2013 by Dewi Lewis Publishing, with the second to be titled “Black Country Dada”, covering works of his from the 1980s thru 1990) – and is “at” the festival promoting its 2021 release – https://www.facebook.com/formatfestival/videos/273251277450943/

Braybon and Griffin have a long history together, having worked at Management Today magazine (she as Art Director and he as a significant contributor) and then later on when she took on the role of Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, when she invited Brian to serve as the inaugural photographer for the major three-year project which was developed and directed titled Road to 2012. When a historian/creative director and renowned image-maker share stories of their respective and collective endeavors, much can be learned and thoroughly enjoyed, so I’d suggest you spend some time watching this fascinating interview.

b) In early May, Beatles fans marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the band’s final record together – 1970s Let It Be – and it was photographer Ethan Russell who was commissioned to shoot the four portraits featured on the album’s cover. Recently, the folks at PBS put out a News Hour report featuring an interview (done by Christopher Booker) with Russell in which he discusses what it was like to be with the band to witness the final moments of their amazingly productive career together –  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/watching-the-end-of-the-beatles-through-the-lens-of-a-camera

c) Summertime brings us thoughts of time spent at the beach but, in this recent article published on the Devonlive.com site, you’ll read about how photographer David Montgomery was part of the Hipgnosis creative team that decided to stretch the term “getting ready for a trip to the beach” to an incredible extent, dragging 800 beds on to the sands of a beach in Devon (England) to serve as a backdrop – along with several notable characters – for the cover photo they’d create for Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason album – https://www.devonlive.com/news/history/day-pink-floyd-album-cover-4224756  It turns out that that same locale was also used in several other films, TV shows and, several years before this album, on a music video for Pink Floyd’s The Wall

d) For the past couple of months, I’ve been reporting on how artist Roger Dean has been making the most out of his self-quarantine time by producing a very regular series of video sessions, shot live in his studio, during which he’s let us watch over his shoulder as he was working on a variety of projects, with Dean providing “play-by-play” commentary as he worked. During the month of June, Roger continued on in his efforts, sharing an intro to an online painting course he’s offering (now sold out), a presentation of his architectural efforts and several in-depth Q&A sessions, with his daughter serving as producer and interviewer – https://www.rogerdean.com/interviews/ As always, a fascinating look into the mind and process of such a talented artist as Mr. Dean is.

e)  The team at the Morrison Hotel Galleries continued to be most-generous with their time and resources this past month as they added to their ongoing series of presentations featuring well-known rock photographers taking us on tours through their portfolios (first seen as live events on Instagram, with the videos then archived on the gallery’s site).

Since my last report, they’ve added several new episodes to this series (titled “Behind The Lens”) that will be of interest to album cover and general rock photography fans, beginning with Al Satterwhite in Episode 21 and Allan Tannenbaum in Episode 22. Both men have long and heralded histories providing us with memorable images of many of our favorite musical acts, so be sure to take a look at these and the other previously-pumped episodes on the gallery’s main blog page –   https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/blog/

Items for Sale and/or at Auction

Previously posted, but in case you missed them….I thought you’d want to know about the results of three recent auctions I previously reported on, with some of the results confirming, once again, that “money talks”:

a) To follow up on my early June posting about photographer Mark Seliger’s fund-raising auction of 26 of his photo portraits of celebrities from the worlds of music, film, TV, stage and politics, I’d like to report that the total raised for the COVID-19 relief organizations he’s supporting was a remarkable $232,375, with the item raising the most money – that being Seliger’s portrait of past President Barack Obama – selling for an impressive $37,500. Well done, Mr. Seliger!

Proceeds from this auction, hosted by Christies.com and which ended on June 12th (and raised money to benefit charities through an advocacy campaign called RADArt4Aid), will be shared with the following organizations – The American Red Cross, America’s Food Fund, the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, New York Cares, The Prince’s Trust, World Central Kitchen, UN Women, One Family LA, Direct Relief, Meals on Wheels, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Get Us PPE, Good+ Foundation, Hidden Heroes, The Let Love Rule Foundation, Middle Way House, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, Support + Feed, and Pieta.

Original link – https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/radart4aid/lots/1768?saleid=28910&salenumber=19606

I’m so happy to see the many ways that those involved in the arts have used their talents and their good names to help those in need while we all struggle through the disruptions in our lives caused by this terrible pandemic and the varied responses to it. For more information on this artist, please visit – http://www.markseligerphotography.com

b) In news about another Christie’s auction-related event, bidders participating in a June 18th online auction featuring historic items in many categories brought fat wallets to do their best to take home a truly one-of-a-kind item – George Hardie’s original artwork for the first LP released by Led Zeppelin (titled Led Zeppelin, but known by most as “Led Zeppelin 1”). With bidding beginning on June 2nd, and with the pre-auction estimate for the stipple tracing of the 1937 photograph of the doomed airship Hindenburg estimated in the $20K-30K range, the well-heeled participants quickly drove bidding up to the stratosphere for this type of work, with the final price paid for the work being £260,500, or approximately $325,000.

As I mentioned in my earlier reporting, George was paid about $125 for his work back in 1969, which since has been reproduced on countless posters, t-shirts and the nearly 10 million copies of this record sold since its release. He’d stuck the flimsy in a drawer to keep the work after it was used in production. He put a note on it that read “George’s Pension Fund” – you have to wonder how he’d know it would be just that. The item was included in a sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts including a copy of the first newspaper printing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and a letter by George Washington on the significance of the American victory at Yorktown – https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/open-book-fine-travel-americana-literature-history-print-manuscript/original-art-led-zeppelins-debut-lp-88/86909

You can read a summary about this auction and Mr. Hardie’s work in this article on the UK’s Daily Mail web site – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8454899/Artist-designed-Led-Zeppelins-iconic-debut-album-sells-original-tracing-260-000.html?

c) Lastly but not leastly, I’d earlier reported on a huge entertainment industry auction, staged in four sessions over two days (June 19 – 20) by the Julien’s Auction house in which, in addition to a slate of items that included the guitar Kurt Cobain used on a a memorable TV performance and one of Prince’s custom guitars (both items going on to sell for unimaginable amounts of money) a fair number of  album cover-related items were offered. In its catalog of over 800 lots, the two previously-mentioned guitars made headlines on their own, with the 1959 Martin acoustic guitar Cobain used during their 1993 MTV Unplugged appearance selling for an astonishing $6,010,000 (about 6X more than the pre-auction estimate), while the 1984 Prince-owned Cloud 2 Blue Angel guitar, with an estimated value of $400K – $600K, selling for a cool $563,500.

And while both of those items produced many a raised eyebrow, the several items that might have made the album art fan in your life very happy as well included several lots that did well for their owners as well: Lot 1 was a black and white Anton Corbijn photo print from the estate of Karen Roberta Stanley (Steely Dan’s manager at ABC Records and guitarist Walter Becker’s lady friend) that was used on the cover of the band’s Greatest Hits record (pre-auction estimate in the $300 – $500 range, sold for $5120); Lots 41-42 and 45-46 were test proof prints of the iconic album art for Steely Dan’s Aja (est $500-$700), sold for anywhere from $448-$576 per lot; Lot 172 – A printer’s proof of the unreleased original cover art for Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland LP framed with a print of the released artwork to show the slight differences $1-$2K est., sold for $1875; Lot 189 – a framed, limited-edition print of the painting that Joni Mitchell produced for use on the cover of her 1982 album Wild Things Run Fast ($1-2K est), sold for $1280; Lot 195 – while not exactly a “real” album cover image, this was a pretty cool piece of memorabilia…used as a prop in Oliver Stone’s film starring Val Kilmer titled The Doors, this cover image, modeled after the band’s debut cover, substitutes the film’s stars for the original band members (est. $100 – 200), sold for $448; Lot 208 – David Alexander’s photo used on the cover for Hotel California by the Eagles was offered in a limited-edition print ($400 – 600), a steal at $320; Lot 223 – A 1993 art print of the cover art for Elvis Presley’s 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong album ($400-600), selling for only $192; Lot 361 – a Rush band-signed, limited-edition print of the cover for their 1976 hit LP 2112 ($600-800 est) sold for $2560, proving that autographed items still seem to be selling for big money; Lot 522 – a fully-band-signed limited-edition print of the cover for Bon Jovi’s Cross Road, printed in 1995 ($600-800), sold for $1024; Lot 528 – Artist David Welker’s original oil painting used on the cover of Phish’s 1993 album Rift ($10K-20K), sold for nearly 4X the low estimate at $38,400; Lot 714 – a portfolio package including 10 limited-edition prints by artist/musician Klaus Voorman of the art he produced for Ringo Starr’s 1973 album Ringo ($2k-3k), taken home by a thrifty bidder for only $1280; Lot 740 – a framed promo poster of the famed “baby in a pool” photo by Kirk Weddle used on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind LP, signed and hand-embellished by all three of the band members ($6K-8K), sold for an extraordinary $56,250 – https://www.julienslive.com/m/lot-details/index/catalog/320/lot/138595? and, our final item, Lot 831 – a set of 2 printer’s proof prints of artist Alan Aldridge’s unused artwork for the unreleased 1975 album Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus by the Rolling Stones. The package was released over 30 years later, but with different packaging (est $2K – 4k), splitting the difference at $2880. There were many interesting items in this auction, so if you’d like to see more of the details, I’d invite you to tour the online catalog yourself for this auction event at https://www.juliensauctions.com/flip-through-catalog?id=307

d) I don’t often get a chance to share info on a couple of album art-derived items that are both incredibly timely and in support of such a good cause, but today I’m simply sharing a couple of links to web sites where you can buy i) a Black Lives Matter t-shirt that’s being produced and sold by the masters of metal music, Black Sabbath. The design is simple and straight-forward, using the well-known type style and color scheme that’s found on the cover of the band’s 3rd studio album – Masters of Reality – to spell out BLM. 100% of the proceeds of the sale of this shirt are going directly to the BLM organization in support of their ongoing efforts to bring about a society built on “Freedom, Liberation and Justice”. I hope that you’ll support the band in this effort and share this posting with anyone you think will want to join us as we work together to achieve a truly fair, honest and just country – https://blacksabbathapparelshop.com/products/black-lives-matter-t-shirt?variant=32403498696794

ii) As part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the release of Sonic Youth’s Goo album, the band has just started selling a really cool-looking face mask that’s based on Raymond Pettibon’s memorable pen-and-ink artwork found on the record’s cover. This is the second mask that the band has made, with the first sporting an adaptation of the band’s 2004 Sonic Nurse artwork. In both cases, proceeds from the sales of these masks are earmarked for charitable organizations that the band supports, including Act Blue’s AOC COVID Relief Fund, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and Bed Stuy Strong. Overseas orders support Doctors Without Borders in the U.K. and Germany.

Goo Facemask

 

Peace and Love to you all (don’t forget to say this to a friend on Ringo’s 80th birthday – 12PM your time on July 7th).

e) COMING SOON IN SEPTEMBER – The final Secret 7” fund-raising auction, originally scheduled for this past May, has been re-scheduled – Readers of this site might remember having seen my annual reporting on the “Secret 7” hand-made record sleeve project and the impressive amount of talent on display each year. 2020 celebrates the organization’s seventh edition of the show – with this year being the final one – and so, as you might imagine, there will be a number of big-name participants who’ll be donating both music and art in an effort to raise funds for their chosen charity – pioneering humanitarian aid agency Help Refugees. As I quoted in an article about the project earlier this year, “Combining Music and Art for Good, Secret 7” takes 7 tracks from 7 of the best-known musicians around and presses each one 100 times to 7” vinyl. We then openly invite visual artists to create artwork for the 7 tracks, resulting in 700 unique records which are exhibited in London from September 4th through the 13th before being sold on a first come, first served basis (limit 4 to a customer – no online sales) in a quick sale staged on the final day“. Priced at £70 each, buyers don’t know who created the artwork or even which song it’s for, until they have parted with their cash. In past years, lucky buyers have gone home with art by contributors such as David Shrigley, Gilbert & George, Ai Weiwei, Es Devlin, Sir Paul Smith, Sir Antony Gormley, Jeremy Deller, Polly Morgan, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Yoko Ono, Sir Peter Blake, Julian Opie, Martin Parr, Jenny Holzer, Harland Miller, Gavin Turk and many other photographers, illustrators, painters, graffiti artists and sculptors. With the support of these collectors, they’re hoping to take their grand total given to charity to over £250,000.

While those of us not in the London area can only watch with intense jealousy, it is always fun to see who each year’s sale brings to the table in reports after the event. On the music side, this year’s participants include Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, The Internet Come Over, Koffee Toast, Miles Davis, Vampire Weekend and the Foo Fighters, with more info on the event available on both their web site at https://secret-7.com/page/about and in this recent article on The Guardian (UK) web site – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/jun/15/the-best-new-design-from-african-arcade-games-to-art-you-can-smell Best of luck to the Secret 7” team – I’m sure we’ll see more from them in the future.

Miscellaneous Items

OBITS) The past month has been a particularly bad one for fans of great design and art, what with the passing of design icon Milton Glaser, who died late in the month at the ripe old age of 91, and earlier in the month with the death of painter Terry Quick, whose psychedelic masterpiece for the cover of the mis-spelled-but-still-timeless record for The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle – still stands out for its colorful grooviness. Quirk died at the age of 78, with more details available in this tribute on the Digital Journal web site – http://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/music/artist-poet-songwriter-and-educator-terry-quirk-dies-at-78/article/572557

Mr. Glaser’s career produced so many well-known images – from the I LOVE NY logo (seen on countless T-shirts, posters, etc.) and the masthead logo for New York Magazine to timeless images for clients including the School of Visual Arts, The Nation and Esquire magazines, the Fairway grocery store chain, the New York Film Society and scores of others. His psychedelic poster included in Columbia Records’ 1967 release Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits is a design museum staple (and, highly collectible) and his logo and album cover work for Tomato Records still brings great joy to album art lovers like myself (note that one of my most-prized album art prints in my personal collection is the “Guitar and Piano in Black” that was used on the cover of Muddy Waters & Otis Spann’s Collaboration LP – see image, below).

Mike G’s Milton Glaser print

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you might figure, there are a lot of articles about Mr. Glaser’s passing, including ones in the NY Times and his own New York Magazinehttps://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/obituaries/milton-glaser-dead.html

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/milton-glaser-new-york-and-iny-designer-dies-at-91.html

but I’m inviting you to also take a look through his portfolio of art – including many album covers – that’s found on this School of Visual Arts overview – https://archives.sva.edu/about-collection/milton-glaser-collection?autoscroll=0 and on the Discogs record database – https://www.discogs.com/artist/1131756-Milton-Glaser

Since he was active until the end, he had been the subject of an article about a year ago in the NY Times that showed him “still going strong at 90” – https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/04/nyregion/why-this-famous-graphic-designer-at-90-still-ny.html?

Both will be missed.

a) While you know that I tend not to try and highlight the many “what’s your favorite album cover” articles that appear mostly as click bait these days, I did find one recently on the AV Club site that seemed a bit more thoughtful as the publication asked a number of its editors and contributors to pick their favorite album cover and, remarkably, tell us why they were chosen – https://music.avclub.com/what-s-your-favorite-album-artwork-1844084329 While the “classics” were well-represented, there were several selections that were well-supported by the accompanying explanations, so “cheers” to this group.

b) The recent sad truths about aspects of our lives brought on by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the discussions of racial inequality and justice here in the U.S. have not gone un-noticed in the album art world, in both good and not-so-good ways. Let’s start with the “good” – all of this quarantine time spent on video calls has created a new opportunity for the folks who make/own the rights to memorable album cover art by being able to offer them as backgrounds for those video conference calls where you just want to be seen in front of something other than your book shelves or a refrigerator sporting your 5-year-old’s finger paintings. On the web site for Sony Music Entertainment (UK)’s “Iconic Music Backgrounds” service – https://www.iconicmusicbackgrounds.com/ – you’ll find more than a dozen images (with more to come) that include well-known images from label’s roster of top artists, including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Judas Priest, Wu-Tang Clan and NSYNC, among others, which can be downloaded and laid in to your own video conference calls.

Here’s how the service explains it – “What’s this all about? Spice up your online video conference calls with one of our musical artist backgrounds. Simply click “Download” on the background you’d like to use, and then add it into your library of Zoom Backgrounds for your next online video chat party. You might also click “Listen” for some background music as well! We will be adding more backgrounds periodically, and we can notify you when they’re available.” I think I’ll start with the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan cover and go from there….

c) Now, on to the “not-so-good” (and, in one case, downright despicable) – After the short-but-highly- productive music career of rapper/songwriter Pop Smoke was cut short early in 2020 at the hands of a gun-wielding masked home invader, his record label hired notable designer Virgil Abloh to come up with an enduring image for the cover of his now-posthumous debut album titled Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon and, after the resulting design was pre-released to his fan base, a huge amount of negative feedback was received. As you’ll read in this recent article on the Complex.com site – https://www.complex.com/style/2020/06/virgil-abloh-designed-cover-art-pop-smoke-debut-album-to-be-changed-following-backlash – the designer is now working to change the image into something (he hopes is) more acceptable as, as the album’s producer has put it, “Pop would listen to his fans”. While the designer has yet to pipe in on the predicament he finds himself in, fans and friends of the late rapper have made it quite clear that (as rapper 50 Cent just stated) “they ain’t going for this bullsh*t”. We know that the talented Mr. Abloh is quite capable of great design, so I’m hoping he delivers.

Now, on to that downright despicable item – Lately, we’ve all been subjected to videos and statements from those who seem to possess an unexplainable need to impress their superiority upon those of us (meaning, nearly ALL of us) who are less-than-deserving. And while fans of metal music and its accompanying album art are quite used to seeing images often meant to disturb and test our intestinal fortitude, we tend to understand that this art (and the people that make it) does help differentiate it from “the norm”, which is why fans like it so much. What I don’t appreciate is when artists of this or any genre feel the need to express their feelings of hate and disgust of their fellow human beings while maintaining – without any visible proof to support their contentions – their own senses of superiority, so I was both happy and sad to read this recent article on the Metal Sucks site (sporting the masthead “Not Insisting Violence”) about artist Samuel Mills (AKA “Defame”) and his recent postings featuring “subjective/satirical art” he created that likens the Black Lives Matter movement, socialists, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and billionaire philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros to the Nazis. As I don’t feel much like dwelling on the subject at this point in time, I’d simply ask that you click on over to this article and then formulate your own opinions about how we might respond to this disturbed young man’s world view – https://www.metalsucks.net/2020/06/29/artist-for-bands-like-whitechapel-and-carnifex-compares-black-lives-matter-to-nazism/

d) Wait, wait – one more “good” article with a tinge of sadness – just out in the NY Times is another Milton Glaser interview article which details the artist’s work on a design for the word “TOGETHER” that was meant to help us all visualize what’s most important as we go on with our lives during these troubled times – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/29/arts/design/milton-glaser-together-design-coronavirus.html?  The man behind the I LOVE NY logo decided, as one of the last things he did, to expand his love and appreciation to all people, regardless of where they’re living, so he certainly leaves us with both a legacy of great design and an inspiration to aspire for much, much more in life.

e) Posted earlier (6/5/20) online, but worth a re-visit (particularly after that last article) – In early June, I received an email from photographer/art director Glen Wexler in which he told me about some of his recent work, including an example of a new “live album cover” he created for his long-time music client, new age keyboardist/composer/Emmy Award-nominated songwriter and producer Chuck Wild, better known as recording artist Liquid Mind. Glen’s work is found on 13 of the 16 albums Liquid Mind has released and, according to Glen, when the popular streaming music service Spotify looked to introduce an enhancement to their content under the name “Spotify Canvas”, they invited a handful of artists from different genres to create some examples of these music files with integrated animation loops, with Liquid Mind being selected to represent the New Age music category. You can take a look at this mesmerizing image – an animation of the cover for Liquid Mind XIII: Mindfulness – via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/wexlerliquidmind13.mov

Glen also shared a bit about the inspiration behind, and process used, to create this work – “. The idea is about expanding the possibilities of album art design for digital platforms which, of course, is now the primary medium to see album art… The album cover was originally created as a static digital illustration. For the animated version, I deconstructed the original art to isolate the woman’s profile. The background and foreground elements were recreated. The layers were animated in After Effects and exported as a movie file with a 20 second audio clip, all designed to seamlessly loop.”

Those of you who’ve been reading should know about my ongoing curiosity as to why musical acts haven’t been a lot more pro-active in this area. While I know that the cost of producing a video-based work is typically more than a static image, acts have long-invested in music videos (with budgets from little money to HUGE money) and, as the tools made it easier to do, animated presentations (ala this recent one from Gordon Lightfoot –  https://youtu.be/WdSH0ru4AHQ  – pretty cool for a man in his early 80s).

When the Internet became the predominant place to promote and sell music, I was amazed that more acts/labels didn’t devote significant time and resources to giving fans more cool content via their web sites. When I was helping with the launch of MuchMusicUSA/Fuse TV in the late 1990s/early 2000s, I tried hard to get acts and labels to work with me to bring fans more “bonus” items as a way to build stronger relationships with their fans, and some “got it” but, sadly, most didn’t – at least, not for many years, and then they were playing catch-up. What’s weird is that a band like The Beatles “got it” 50 years ago, deriving films, cartoons, lyric books and tons of merch from their album-related imagery. Glen proffered a bit on his own experiences along these lines – “I’ve pitched the idea on animated album covers for over ten years, but as you know, the labels and bands have mistakenly devalued album art as physical sales decline. Of course, this is shortsighted and neglects to recognize the marketing importance of the cover art as the primary visual representation of the music for the life of the recording.” So, taking all of this into account, I had to ask whether his client was pleased with the possibilities presented by the finished product, he replied that “the label manager sent me an email a few days ago expressing his excitement about the social media uses” so, perhaps, this is a good step in the right direction.

Learn more about this most-recent Liquid Mind release on the artist’s web site – https://liquidmindmusic.com/mindfulness/index.html

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

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2020 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

 

 

Album Cover Hall of Fame Special Edition News Release – June 5, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACHOF QUICKIE NEWS UPDATE FOR June 5, 2020

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings to you all – while we continue our slow (hopefully, not too fast) emergence from the COVID-related quarantine we’ve been living under since early March, I am hoping that you are all doing as best you can under the circumstances. While I’m not due to put together a big news summary for a few weeks, I’d read about a couple of things that I felt needed to be shared ASAP – one about an in-progress auction of prints from a noted album cover photographer designed to raise money for COVID-19-related service organizations and the second about some fascinating album cover imagery created for an emerging streaming media platform. Also, I’m sad to say, I’ve included a brief note about the death of a noted album cover designer who was responsible for one of classic rock’s most-memorable psychedelic album covers…

1)  Glen Wexler creates an animated album cover for use on Spotify’s new “Spotify Canvas” audio/visual format – In early June, I received an email from photographer/art director Glen Wexler in which he told me about some of his recent work, including an example of a new “live album cover” he created for his long-time music client, new age keyboardist/composer/Emmy Award-nominated songwriter and producer Chuck Wild, better known as recording artist Liquid Mind. Glen’s work is found on 13 of the 16 albums Liquid Mind has released and, according to Glen, when the popular streaming music service Spotify looked to introduce an enhancement to their content under the name “Spotify Canvas”, they invited a handful of artists from different genres to create some examples of these music files with integrated animation loops, with Liquid Mind being selected to represent the New Age music category. You can take a look at this mesmerizing image – an animation of the cover for Liquid Mind XIII: Mindfulness – either below or on a browser via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/wexlerliquidmind13.mov

Glen also shared a bit about the inspiration behind, and process used, to create this work – “. The idea is about expanding the possibilities of album art design for digital platforms which, of course, is now the primary medium to see album art… The album cover was originally created as a static digital illustration. For the animated version, I deconstructed the original art to isolate the woman’s profile. The background and foreground elements were recreated. The layers were animated in After Effects and exported as a movie file with a 20 second audio clip, all designed to seamlessly loop.”

Those of you who’ve been reading should know about my ongoing curiosity as to why musical acts haven’t been a lot more pro-active in this area. While I know that the cost of producing a video-based work is typically more than a static image, acts have long-invested in music videos (with budgets from little money to HUGE money) and, as the tools made it easier to do, animated presentations (ala this recent one from Gordon Lightfoot –  https://youtu.be/WdSH0ru4AHQ  – pretty cool for a man in his early 80s).

When the Internet became the predominant place to promote and sell music, I was amazed that more acts/labels didn’t devote significant time and resources to giving fans more cool content via their web sites. When I was helping with the launch of MuchMusicUSA/Fuse TV in the late 1990s/early 2000s, I tried hard to get acts and labels to work with me to bring fans more “bonus” items as a way to build stronger relationships with their fans, and some “got it” but, sadly, most didn’t – at least, not for many years, and then they were playing catch-up. What’s weird is that a band like The Beatles “got it” 50 years ago, deriving films, cartoons, lyric books and tons of merch from their album-related imagery. Glen proffered a bit on his own experiences along these lines – “I’ve pitched the idea on animated album covers for over ten years, but as you know, the labels and bands have mistakenly devalued album art as physical sales decline. Of course, this is shortsighted and neglects to recognize the marketing importance of the cover art as the primary visual representation of the music for the life of the recording.” So, taking all of this into account, I had to ask whether his client was pleased with the possibilities presented by the finished product, he replied that “the label manager sent me an email a few days ago expressing his excitement about the social media uses” so, perhaps, this is a good step in the right direction.

Learn more about this most-recent Liquid Mind release on the artist’s web site – https://liquidmindmusic.com/mindfulness/index.html

To see more of Mr. Wexler’s impressive portfolio of music industry-related work, I’d suggest popping on over to his web site at https://www.glenwexlerstudio.com/portfolios-/music-+-entertainment/1/caption

2) Here’s a new story about how a talented and generous visual artist is aiding his fellow humans suffering through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic via an auction – taking place now through June 12th on the Christies.com web site – https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/radart4aid/lots/1768?saleid=28910&salenumber=19606 where all of the proceeds raised by the sale of a collection of limited-edition fine art prints are being used to benefit a slate of COVID-19 relief organizations.

The auction features 26 or photographer Mark Seliger’s portraits of celebrities from the worlds of music, film, TV, stage and politics, including (in alphabetical order): Jennifer Aniston, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, Laura Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Billie Eilish, Jerry Garcia, Tom Hanks, John Lee Hooker, Nicole Kidman, Lenny Kravitz, Kendrick Lamar, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Courtney Love, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Willie Nelson, Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Keith Richards, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon, with 100% of the proceeds of sale from each portrait being donated to the subject’s charity of choice.

Here’s some more info taken from the auction’s press release – “Christie’s, Mark Seliger Studio, and RAD (Red Carpet Advocacy) are thrilled to announce a new joint fundraising and advocacy campaign, RADArt4Aid, a dedicated global auction to benefit multiple COVID-19 relief organizations. Award-winning American photographer Mark Seliger, known for iconic portraits of politicians, musicians, actors and celebrities featured on the covers of Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, is kindly contributing limited-edition prints from his own archives to raise as much money as possible for charity during these unprecedented times. RAD is producing the campaign and driving advocacy for the benefiting charities, which include The American Red Cross, America’s Food Fund, the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, New York Cares, The Prince’s Trust, World Central Kitchen, UN Women, One Family LA, Direct Relief, Meals on Wheels, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Get Us PPE, Good+ Foundation, Hidden Heroes, The Let Love Rule Foundation, Middle Way House, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, Support + Feed, and Pieta.”

Album cover fans will note Mr. Seliger’s numerous album cover credits, which include – Lenny Kravitz – Greatest Hits; Paul McCartney – Back In The U.S.; Sheryl Crow – The Very Best of Sheryl Crow; Tony Bennett – Playin’ With My Friends and The Ultimate Tony Bennett; Bob Dylan – Blues; Bon Jovi – These Days; Ice-T – The Ice Opinion; Britney Spears – Oops!…I Did It Again and Elvis Costello – Il Sogno among others.

After a 15 year stint as a shooter for Rolling Stone Magazine (where he’d contribute over 125 cover photos and countless other editorial images, in 2002 Mark left Rolling Stone to take on assignments for magazines within the Conde’ Nast publishing group, shooting photos for GQ, Italian Vogue and Vanity Fair while also taking on commercial assignments for Miramax, MTV Networks, Sony and Universal Pictures. His specialty is creating stunning, large-scale prints using a high-end photographic printing process called “platinum palladium printing”, similar to the technique used by artistically-inclined photographers such as Edward S. Curtis, Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz.

Throughout his career, Seliger has received many awards for his photographs, including the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards from the Society of Publication Designers in 2001 and 2004. Books featuring his work include:  Listen (published by Rizzoli International in 2010); Mark Seliger: In My Stairwell (Rizzoli, 2005); Lenny Kravitz (Arena Editions, 2001); Physionomie (Editions du Collectionneur, 2000) and When They Came to Take My Father – Voices of the Holocaust (Skyhorse, 1996). In addition to the many other books on various subjects that he’s licensed his photos to, Seliger has also exhibited his work in museums and galleries all over the world.

For more information on this artist, please visit – http://www.markseligerphotography.com

3) It’s with great sadness that I must note the death on June 2nd of artist (and musician and teacher) Terry Quick, whose work on the cover art for The Zombies’ 1968 sophomore release Odessey & Oracle bent many a mind back in the day (was the spelling mistake intentional, or was it part of a conspiracy to mess with our heads?).

Quick was also responsible for the cover for the still-hard-at-work band’s 2015 record titled Still Got That Hunger, certainly putting him in the running (now, posthumously) for the award for “most years in between album art gigs”. Terry died in his home in Salisbury, England at the age of 78. A note on the group’s Facebook page included the following – “Terry’s visionary cover art is eternally connected to our 1968 album Odessey and Oracle. Almost 50 years later, he graced us again with the covers for our album Still Got That Hunger and book The Odessey,” concluding with “Most importantly, Terry’s irrepressible and mischievous spirit left a smile on the face of every person he met, and that spirit will live on forever in his artwork. Our hearts go out to his wife Erica and their family. Rest in peace dear friend.”

Read more online on the Digital Journal.com site – http://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/music/artist-poet-songwriter-and-educator-terry-quirk-dies-at-78/article/572557

That’s all for now – see you later with a new summary article.

Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary for May, 2020

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Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – May, 2020

Posted May 1, 2020 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from my home office, a place where I’ve spent a good chunk of the last month sitting at my desk, reading emails and news stories and watching videos (both live and recorded) on a million different subjects. I’m trying so hard not to watch too much TV (I did, however, find a 9-show series produced in 2015 by Irish TV called Treyvaud’s Travels that left me longing to spend the rest of my life in SW Ireland – highly recommended) and I’ve read several books while stretched out in my comfy chair but, quite honestly, the one thing that’s perhaps made me the happiest – and something I did a lot less of when I was free to do whatever I wanted without catching the plague – has been staying in contact with some of the people I know around the world, getting their unique perspectives of how they’re living their lives and maintaining a positive lookout on life in spite of the hardships we’re all having.

Keeping this in mind, I still work hard to reserve time to continue typing like a madman to prep interviews, articles and news summaries for all my chums out there, most of who are, like me, stuck indoors. Accepting that my readers’ priorities are not so focused on what’s happening in the world of album cover art and packaging, I’m continuing to proffer a truncated-yet-informative summary document both to keep fans of album art informed and to prove that creative people are continuing to create and entertain while we ride this storm out together.

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Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – Mid-February, 2020

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Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – Mid-February, 2020

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings to you all from mid-Winter Chicagoland. Hope you’re enjoying the season, wherever you’re located (if you love the cold and snow, you should really be HERE!). I hope that the several recent mini-updates have kept you all somewhat in the loop regarding important album artist/art-related news while I’ve been working on bringing you two new long-form articles (one, a Featured Artist’s Portfolio article featuring art director/illustrator Larry Vigon and the other with one of this year’s Grammy Award winners, Masaki Koike), but now as it is approaching mid-month, I thought it wise to provide you with a bit more to read as there’s been a nice supply of articles and news stories popping up all over the Web. So, let’s go….

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Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update and Summary – Independence Day Weekend, July, 2019

Album Cover Hall of Fame News Update – Independence Day Weekend, July, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Hope that all of you here in the U.S. are enjoying your 4th of July holiday break – BBQ-ing, fireworks, trips to the beach, sun burns, little kids spilling sand on your blanket while their parents are checking their Facebook feeds, etc. – oh such fun! We had great weather (i.e., no rain) here in Chicagoland and were lucky enough to enjoy two nice fireworks displays, so with my ears still ringing and bursts of color burned into my corneas, here is a quickie, much-streamlined run-down of all of the album cover artist/art-related news I think might be worth your time investigating:

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

 

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

 

 

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

 

 

 

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Cover Hall of Fame Breaking News Update

January 8, 2019

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2018 Best Art Vinyl Awards

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Mike G

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

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For November/December, 2018

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

With the holiday season fully upon us, I know that you don’t have much time for reading (other than ads and reviews for the electronic gadgets you must buy this season), so I’ll get straight to the point – I was happy to announce the names of the talented individuals and design teams that were selected for inclusion in this year’s Class of Inductees to the Album Cover Hall of Fame a short while back, and with the Best Art Vinyl and Grammy Award noms and voting straight ahead of us, there’s been a fair amount of album cover artist/art-related news this past month. With my book project back on track, I really have only had the chance to gather a small selection of album cover artist/art-related news tidbits for you (and I’m even late doing that) so, without any further delay, here are those highlights, for your reading pleasure (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):

Inductees announced for the Class of 2018 of the Album Cover Hall of Fame – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2018-inductee-intro-page/

Best Art Vinyl voting has begun – https://www.artvinyl.com/award-year/2018/

Grammy Award nominations are to be announced on December 7th (originally was to have been 12/5, but delayed in deference to the funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush), so I’ll post those in the album cover-related categories in a special announcement later this week.

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

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

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

I don’t know how the rest of the world is handling the changing of the seasons – or the lack thereof – but I’m really hoping that we see a regular Spring weather pattern here in the Chicago area soon (I really want to plant my herbs). Spending more time indoors has had one benefit, though – I’ve been able to research and gather a very nice selection of articles to fill each of the five regular sections included in my monthly news summary. Indeed, the information about the exhibitions, artist profiles, new books and prints, auctions and sales and other items of interest serves as an ongoing testament to the fact that music industry-related visual artistry continues to make fans and draw audiences world-wide.

On a personal note – while, at the moment, it seems as though the Kickstarter project I launched in support of my new book project will fall (far) short of its goal, I’m trying not to get too down about it and, in fact, am now quite energized to find a publisher or two who might be able to help me bring this book to album art/artist fans both here in the U.S. and to readers/fans overseas as well. There are still a few days before the KS project draws to a close, so if you are interested in reserving a copy of the limited-edition version of the book for your very own, I’d invite you to visit the project page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/232122114/unsung-heroes-stories-from-your-favorite-album-cov before May 8th.

As I mentioned previously, the last 30 days has given us a lot to look at in the area of album art and artistry and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world, including:  album art and rock photo shows in the U.S., the U.K. and Italy featuring works by and/or about David Bowie, photographers Charles Moriarity and Art Kane and John Lennon/Yoko Ono, among many others; profiles on album art-makers including creative director Craig Braun, photographers Frank Ockenfels and Gunnar Stahl and the designer/illustrator known as Sixmau; another intriguing podcast from GOLDMINE Magazine about an impressive line of portable record players; info on the upcoming NY-area art show booth hosted by printmaker Gary Lichtenstein featuring new works by former Def Jam Records creative guru Cey Adams; new books coming out by two noted photographers – long-time Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger and Astrid Kirchherr, who chronicled the early growth of a band called The Beatles – as well as a book of Amy Winehouse photos by the aforementioned Mr. Moriarity, plus my mini-review of John Foster’s recent book on album art/artists (titled ALBUM ART: NEW MUSIC GRAPHICS and, as always, a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics such as the premiere of a new documentary film about famed Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita (perhaps best known for his enormously-influential folio of portraits of David Bowie), a new 35th anniversary DVD about the making of the album cover for Michael Jackson’s huge hit Thriller, a “best album cover art” listing that is actually fairly thought-provoking, a restaurant in Wisconsin that offers rock music-themed craft cocktails (with an LP-style menu to match), details on vinyl LP-inspired bathroom fixtures (!!) and much, much more.

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

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

a) To follow-up on last month’s details about the David Bowie Is show currently running at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, there’s a new article by Claire Voon on the HyperAllergic site that shows you just how far NYC-area promo teams are willing to go to deliver “All Bowie, All The Time” to his legions of fans – https://hyperallergic.com/438500/david-bowie-metrocards-spotify-mta/

You’ll read more about how NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) newly-released line of pre-paid fare cards (AKA “MetroCards”) that feature one of five (5) well-known DB images, with each one representing one of his best-known personas (Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust, etc.). Customers at the Broadway/Lafayette and Bleeker Street stations can step up to the special kiosks and try their luck on collecting one, two or all five of the specially-designed cards ($6.50 minimum for 2-rides) and also look around the station for several other Bowie-themed art displays, including silhouettes on the famed white tile walls, lyrics printed on stair risers and a very cool photo image that has been sliced into strips and laid in sequence along a number of cross-beams, allowing viewers standing at just the right angle to see the entire image at once.

250,000 total cards were printed, but with 5 million+ subway riders using the service every day, they’ll probably be snapped up rather quickly. I’ve already found sets of all five cards being offered on eBay for approx. $150.00!

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

b) Irish photographer Charles Moriarity was first introduced to singer Amy Winehouse in London in 2003 while she was looking for – and not finding – “just the right shot” for the cover for her debut album Frank. They stopped for a bottle of white wine and spent some time wandering the streets of the city, getting to know each other a bit better. The two hit it off nicely and, ultimately, found a pub on Princeton Street and a chum with a couple of cute dogs, both which served as the backdrops to what would end up being that cover shot (they also rendezvoused again in New York City while she continued recording in order to get some additional shots for the rest of the album package. Over the course of the next several years, while Winehouse worked hard on recording and touring, Charles would stay in close touch until he made the decision to move from London back to his native Ireland several years later, after which they lost touch.

While we all know that the story doesn’t end well for Ms. Winehouse (Charles admits that he was shocked when he saw her obvious decline in the press coverage she received throughout the remainder of her short-but-glorious career), Moriarity had rebuffed some of the more-exploitative offers he received to use these early photos commercially in the immediate aftermath of her death in 2011 but more recently, after the National Portrait Gallery asked that one of his photos be added to their permanent collection and a meeting with Asif Kapdia, the director of the acclaimed 2015 documentary about Winehouse (Amy), he decided that the world would benefit from the opportunity to see a collection of these images, with the results being a photo exhibition in Dublin featuring a collection of 25 early shots by Charles Moriarity – http://chq.ie/amy-winehouse-photo-exhibition-comes-to-chq/

along with a book (Before Frank) that shows, in 50+ photographs, the transformation from a young girl (recording Frank at the age of 19) to a world-renowned recording artist. The hardbound book’s 144 pages contain an introduction by Dazed Arts and Culture editor Ashleigh Kane, a foreword by Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia (director of Amy) along with an interview with Charles Moriarty by acclaimed author Martin Belk.

Irish Mirror contributor Demelza De-Burka has penned an article/profile that intros this show, the corresponding book  and shares some of the details about the relationship between the two young artists  – https://www.irishmirror.ie/showbiz/irish-showbiz/irish-photographer-who-close-friends-12386226

­­c) When Arthur Kanofsky was young, he was fascinated with fairy tales, fantasy illustrations and, as a Boy Scout in his Bronx troupe, reptiles (earning himself a Reptile Study merit badge!). Hoping to become a world-famous artist when he grew up, he took the first step in preparation for this career when he enrolled in NY’s Cooper Union College but, a year into his studies, he was drafted into the Army, bringing his talents to a special unit – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops AKA “The Ghost Army”. These artistically-trained troops were sent in to areas where they created the illusion of the presence of actual Army units, fooling the enemy into thinking that they were out-manned/gunned via inflatable tanks, artillery, sound effects and dummy battalions. After his deployment, he returned to the U.S. and worked briefly in the theater before returning to his studies in art, design and photography at Cooper Union and graduating with honors in 1950.

With his experience and impressive talents clear to prospective employers, Arthur (now Kane) accepted a position as the art director for Seventeen Magazine becoming, at age 26, one of the youngest holding this position at a major publication. With his highly-unique talents and experiences combining to give Kane exceptional conceptual/compositional skill set, over the years Kane became a must-have photographer for all of the best-known photo journals and magazines of his time, with his works appearing in the U.S. in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Look, McCall’s and others and overseas in the Italian versions of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Amica, Stern, German Vogue and Zeit. His subjects included celebrities in the fields of music (Bob Dylan, Cream, Aretha Franklin, Jefferson Airplane, Jim Morrison, Sonny & Cher, The Who and Frank Zappa), art (Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and Cy Twombly) and photo illustrations for a wide range of subjects, from the struggle for civil rights down South to the plight of wounded war vets and many articles on the politics and cultural changes taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.

Having developed his skills as a playwright, songwriter and videographer, Kane was able to offer his advertising and commercial clients a broad range of services including, as we now know, photos for album covers by many of the music industry’s best-known acts. Examples of his album cover credits include – Johnny Winter – White, Hot & Blue; Jim Morrison – An American Prayer; The Who – The Kids Are Alright, The BBC Sessions and Greatest Hits; Judas Priest – Point of Entry; Gloria Gaynor – I Am Gloria Gaynor and I Am What I Am and Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The Royal Albert Hall Concert. Beginning in 1989, Kane led a series of week-long summer photography workshops featuring a number of his notable peers at his studios in Cape May, New Jersey, which he continued hosting until his death in 1995.

His works were honored many times during his career, with major awards including the “Photographer of the Year” Award in 1964 from the American Society of Magazine Photographers, the “Page One Award” in 1966 from the Newspaper Guild of America, the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Medal for Distinguished Achievement awarded by Cooper-Union in 1967 as well as medals and awards from the Art Directors Clubs in Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. His works were also included in a number of museum and gallery shows around the world, with the last one on display back in 2015 at the Palazzo Santa Margherita in Modena, Italy – a retrospective show titled Art Kane, Visionary. This year, beginning May 3rd, a somewhat-abridged version of that show, curated by the Wall of Sound Gallery’s Guido Harari, brings examples of Kane’s great works back to Italy (in Turin, at the Spazio Don Chisciotte tthrough July 14th as part of the FO.TO.” Festival (see more at https://www.fotografi-a-torino.it/art-kane-visionary – it’s in Italian, of course).

According to Mr. Harari, he’ll have 40 iconic images, “including all of Kane’s rock portraits – those of The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison, Cream, Johnny Winter, Aretha Franklin, Sonny & Chér and the historic ‘Harlem 1958’, considered quite likely the most significant image in jazz history. All the photographs on show and more are featured in the catalogue published by Wall Of Sound Gallery.”

d) Down in Austin, TX, the team at the Modern Rocks Gallery kicked off a new show called “The Art of the Contact Sheet” with an opening reception on Friday, April 27th that featured examples of this unique photo art print format from rock photographers such as legendary Columbia Records photographer, Don Hunstein and the photographer responsible for the iconic Aladdin Sane album cover for David Bowie, Brian Duffy. Other leading music photographers included in the show are Barrie Wentzell, Alec Byrne, Tracy Anne Hart, Alan Messer, Allan Ballard, Matt Anker, David Corio and more.

Featuring large-format (several sizes, from A2 to A0) contact sheets from photo shoots of musical acts such as AC/DC, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Nirvana, Ramones, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Frank Zappa and several others, the prints show several of the artists at different times during their careers and often include alternative shots where their true personalities shine through. I’m particularly fond of Don Hunstein’s shots of a young Bob Dylan, shot in 1963, mugging for the camera, with his best work and world-wide recognition just ahead of him. I’m sure you’ll all find something that resonates with you so, if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the gallery sometime between now and the show’s close on August 31st  and say “hello” to Steven (the owner) or, if you can’t attend in person, be sure to look at what’s available on the gallery’s site at https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/contact-sheet-prints

e) Here’s a reminder for folks of the designer persuasion – in last month’s summary, I’d reported on an exhibition/competition currently being managed by noted album cover designers/authors Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz and Sylvia Reed that’s looking for submissions. According to the info I rec’d from Mr. Drate, the curators are asking designers everywhere to send in their best examples of well-designed record packaging for consideration, with entries due no later than June 1, 2018 to be eligible for consideration for this show.

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

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

Of course, I’m hoping to be able to share more info on the winners of this competition and the gallery show as it becomes available.

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

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

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/exhibitions/double-fantasy/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Craig Braun, a man with some pretty-impressive album cover credits including packages for Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper and, working with Andy Warhol and a talented design team, brought us both the famous “banana cover” for the Velvet Underground & Nico’s debut record and Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones in 1971, is featured in a multi-page spread in the March issue (Issue #12) of Long Live Vinyl (U.K) magazine. In this interview with writer Teri Saccone, Craig takes us through some of the details of his storied career, including his start in the record business in Chicago (go Cubs!) in the early 1960s to the formation of one of the best-known vinyl record packaging companies (Album Graphics, Inc., or AGI) and on to his partnership with designer Tom Wilkes in 1973 to form the design firm Wilkes & Braun, Inc. where, in addition to being awarded a number of illustrious album cover art commissions, the pair were awarded a Grammy Award in 1974 for “Best Recording Package” for their designs for the London Symphony Orchestra’s 1973 recording of the orchestral stage version of The Who’s Tommy.

After earning a reputation as a somewhat “over-the-top” creative director (i.e., one not afraid to spend his client’s money on one-of-a-kind packaging ideas), Braun’s success found him enjoying both the good and the bad of a “rock-star lifestyle” before moving on to “corporate jobs” at several large record labels in the 1980s. After the recorded music business began to take a hatchet to packaging budgets, Craig chose – at the age of 55 – to pursue another passion of his – acting. He spent years studying his craft with legendary acting coach, Milton Katselas, in his master class and, in 2010, Craig was named a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio. He has since appeared in many films (inc. Great Expectations in 1998, Flawless in 1999 and Swordfish in 2001) and TV shows including Law & Order, Cold Case, E.R. and Gone. Returning to his design roots for a special occasion in 2017, Craig was enlisted to emcee the rejuvenated Alex Awards ceremony at the “Making Vinyl” trade show.

While you can’t yet read the article online, I did find that the publication has also had several album art-related articles in the past, including 2 posts in their Essential Covers section (http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/classic-album/essential-covers/) where you’ll see career-spanning summaries on Roger Dean and Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal and in their “The Story Behind The Sleeves” archives, you’ll find postings on covers for Alice Cooper, Bjork, Miles Davis and the Mothers of Invention – http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/story-behind-sleeve/

For more information on this artist, please visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0105733/

b) Keeping his passion for photography mostly to himself while growing up in a suburb of Niagrara Falls, NY, young Frank Ockenfels’ talents weren’t truly discovered until his senior year in high school, when he was asked to shoot the scores of photos needed for his high school yearbook. In 1978, he moved down to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts there, whereupon he met a fellow student named Jodi Peckman. Jodi got a job working at Rolling Stone Magazine and asked her friend to help her with projects here and there, once being sent to photograph Buster Poindexter at a New Year’s Eve performance. After graduation, he worked as an assistant to photographer Joshua Greene (famed celebrity photographer Milton Greene’s son) and at other related jobs until his “big break” came in 1988, when Rolling Stone selected a photo he’d taken of singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman to run full-page in the magazine. Her new album was a hit and, as a result, others wanted to hire the guy who’d taken the best-known picture of the new star, which began a string of commissions to capture the images of many of the world’s best-known celebrities that continues to this day. Ockenfels is perhaps best-known to rock music fans for his portfolio of images taken of the late David Bowie from 1989 to 2006, including album cover/package shots for records including Earthling, Reality and Hours…

The School of Visual Arts is particularly proud of the achievements of many of its alumni, illustrated here by this recent article and intro video found on the school’s site and corresponding to the inclusion of a number of Ockenfels shots in the David Bowie Is exhibition currently on display in Brooklyn, NY. Just goes to prove that both a good education and strong social networks  can work together to bring talented people great opportunities (I sound like a school recruiter, don’t I?) – http://www.sva.edu/features/sva-features-alumnus-and-photographer-frank-ockenfels-3-strikes-with-light-video

c) While fans and journalists alike are working hard to figure out which drug reference – “Kidz on Drugs,” “King Overdose” or “Kill Our Demonz” – is the true meaning behind rapper J. Cole’s new album titled KOD, album art fans have a new artist to focus their attention on – 22-year-old Detroit artist Kamau Haroon, a.k.a. Sixmau. He’d just completed work for rapper Childish Manor when he was commissioned to come up with a memorable cover image for this recently-released new record and, as J’na Jefferson describes it in this recent posting on the VIBE web site – https://www.vibe.com/2018/04/sixmau-j-cole-album-artwork/, delivering a painting that depicts “a glassy-eyed Cole is featured wearing a crown. Children smoking, drinking lean, snorting coke and dropping acid are seen beneath his elegant robe, and two eerie skulls are pictured above them.”

The artist was happy to explain a bit about himself, his career and some of the inspirations and direction he received in this collaboration between two musically and visually-inclined talents, and you can see more of his work on his own site at https://www.sixmau.com/ (note – the home page features an image which reminded me of one you’d see after your computer had been hijacked, but fear not…).

d) With newer hip-hop acts showing more and more creativity when it comes to their related visuals, I was intrigued by this recent profile of 25-year-old hip-hop/fashion photographer Gunnar Stahl on the Coveteur.com site – http://coveteur.com/2018/03/15/gunner-stahl-hip-hop-photographer-profile/ as his portfolio now has been enhanced by the addition of  two newer album covers for Playboi Carti and Rae Sremmrud (both on Interscope). Writer Jodi Taylor spent some time recently in Atlanta with the young photographer, who’d she’d met late in 2017 when he’d just returned from a working trip to Tokyo and was getting ready to jet down to Miami for his next assignment and, after a whirlwind three months of work, had just returned from Los Angeles and had a lot of info to share about his rocket-propelled career these days.

According to the article, drastic circumstances had the self-taught photographer discovering and then settling on the use of film cameras, with Stahl describing it this way – “’I was doing digital, but then my camera broke,’ he explains. ‘I just had no other choice but to use film.’ Film is now what he is known for, with a quick scroll through his IG presenting you with film portraits of pretty much every rapper. You’ll see the likes of A$AP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott, Skepta, and even Jaden Smith all within one quick glance.”

Researching for this posting led me to find another interview and video profile of this in-demand shooter, which you can read and watch via the link at – http://www.thefader.com/2016/09/20/gunner-stahl-documentary-video-interview  More about his latest projects can be found on his blog at http://www.blog.gunnerstahl.us/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Last I heard from the folks at the famed Gary Lichtenstein Editions print house/gallery in New Jersey, they were hosting a gallery show late last year built around the ground-breaking hip-hop photography of Janette Beckman (“Legends of Hip-Hop”). Now, in a promo email I just received, I’ve learned that they’re going to be manning a booth at the upcoming Art New York fair (May 3 – 6 at the Pier 94 exhibition hall in NYC) and will have some new works by artist Cey Adams, who us album art fans know and love for his previous work as the creative director for Def Jam Records during their mid-late 1980s heydays, bringing us memorable covers for musical acts including Mary J Bilge, Notorious B.I.G, Faith Evans, Ice Cube, R Kelly and, most-notably, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.

Since that time, Adams has gone on to work independently on a string of projects for clients on both coasts of the U.S. Included in this work were campaigns for Coca-Cola, HBO, Ervin “Magic” Johnson and Nike, NY-area radio stations Hot 97 and WBLS and, working with curators and designers at the Experience Music Project/Museum in Seattle, Adams brought meaningful designs to the hip-hop-centric  displays there. Additionally, he’s produced logos for Dave Chapelle’s popular The Chapelle Show, more album covers, stage designs, tour merchandise and more for a wide range of clients including Adidas, Burton Snowboards, Comedy Central, Eminem, Foo Fighters, Don Henley, Moet & Chandon,  Stevie Nicks and Roca Wear. Later this year, you’ll find Mr. Adams’ talents on display again in a special box set to be released by Smithsonian Records – the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap – which will feature both his packaging design and a special poster he created just for this set.

In 2008, Harper Collins Design published a book co-authored by Adams and Bill Adler, Def Jam’s former Director of Publicity, titled DEFINITION: The Art & Design of Hip-Hop that presented a comprehensive look at “hip-hop as a visual phenomenon. In 2011, Adams and Adler paired again, this time for Rizzoli, to produce Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label, a retrospective of Def Jam’s design output over the label’s first 25 years.

The photos of Cey’s new works look quite nice, but I’d invite anyone in the NYC area to head on over to the show and see them in person – https://www.artnyfair.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=10&tabindex=9&dealerID=36906

Last minute update – I’ve just learned that Cey Adams will be in the Gary Lichtenstein Editions booth at the upcoming Art New York Fair this Saturday, May 5th, 3pm-4pm to talk about his new work and sign copies of his new catalog of work. Gary Lichtenstein Editions – Booth ANY-107 at Art New York, Pier 94 Exhibition space, NYC.

b) An auction to raise funds for the Benefit Shop Foundation in Mt. Kisco, NY took place this past April 18th that featured large-format (6ft. square!) album cover artwork from noted artist Joe Taylor – http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/6071-choice-artworks-abound-at-benefit-shop-april-18 and, as a follow-up, I’m pleased to report that the item raised $2,000 – nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!

The Texas-born Taylor is perhaps best-known for the mega-scale promo billboards he created to promote new releases inside Tower Records stores in the 1970s and 1980s. What made this particular auction item even more rare and unique was that Taylor took the large masonite boards he used on each project and painted them over after they were used with new artwork, so this huge re-creation of Buckwheat Zydeco’s Hey Joe LP is a rare remnant of his work, indeed (Taylor has also written a book, Art & Music, that shares the stories behind his billboard artwork).

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

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

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) During his 15-year career as a photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine, Mark Seliger contributed countless images to the publication, including over 125 cover shots. He’d then expand his portfolio to include work as a popular director of music videos, directing shorts for Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz, Willie Nelson and others. In the area of album cover art, he’d contribute memorable cover images for records by Tony Bennett, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Ice-T, Lenny Kravitz, Paul McCartney, Britney Spears and many others.

In 2002, Mark left Rolling Stone to take on assignments for magazines within the Conde’ Nast publishing group, shooting photos for GQ, Italian Vogue and Vanity Fair while also taking on commercial assignments for Miramax, MTV Networks, Sony and Universal Pictures. His specialty is creating stunning, large-scale prints using a high-end photographic printing process called “platinum palladium printing”, similar to the technique used by artistically-inclined photographers such as Edward S. Curtis, Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz. To note his artistic output, throughout his career Seliger has been bestowed with many awards for his photographs, including the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards from the Society of Publication Designers in 2001 and 2004.

With such an illustrious background, it’s with great joy that I’d like to report that there is a new book coming out May 1st by Abrams Books that’s simply titled Mark Seliger Photographs. The 256-page publication features 173 illustrations, with portraits of celebrities including David Byrne, Kurt Cobain, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jay-Z , Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen and Emma Stone, along with some great, never-before-seen examples of works taken during his travels throughout the world. There’s an interview of Seliger done by writer/director Judd Apatow during which Marc shares the stories behind some of his best-known shots, so it seems sure that there’s as much interesting to read as there is to see.

http://www.abramsbooks.com/product/mark-seliger-photographs_9781419726613/

b) While you’ve already read my intro article about photography Charles Moriarity’s new photo exhibition in Dublin, Ireland built around a selection of the photos found in his new book about the late Amy Winehouse (Before Frank), I took a look at his site and, in addition to more info on the book, there’s a nice 4-minute+ video intro on the site that gives you a somewhat-more-intimate look into the interactions between these two rising young artists – https://beforefrank.com/ The book’s set to be released this May.

c) Last month, I purchased my own copy of John Foster’s latest book on album cover design and designers – Album Art: New Music Graphics – the details of which I’d shared with you in last month’s news summary. As I said, what makes this book all the more interesting is that it’s been compiled and authored by an award-winning, working designer, with Foster serving as the principal of the MD-based design firm Bad People Good Things and in possession of a portfolio of notable album art credits. He’s also written a number of other design-oriented books included titles such as New Masters of Poster Design (Volumes 1 and 2), Paper and Ink Workshop and 1,000 Indie Posters, among others, and is an in-demand speaker at design industry conferences, so you know he knows his material through and through.

Now that I’ve had a chance to go through the book myself, I did want to let you know that, in addition to all of the nice images used to illustrate the book and interviews with several well-regarded designers I’ve covered over time here at the ACHOF (including Art Chantry, Stefan Sagmeister and Spencer Drate/Judith Salavetz, among others), there are portfolios of work and details of a world-spanning list of designers I’ve never seen before that serve to make this book very different from the many books we’ve seen on the subject in the past. For example, from Denmark, you’ll see cover images created by Jacob Jensen and Hvass & Hannibal for acts (new acts, to me) such as Prins Thomas and Efterklang; from Germany, designers Feld and SchultzSchultz and their work for Ben Lukas Boysen and Daniel Stefanik and, from Australia, Daniel Oorloff, whose crafted photo-collage-based covers for Lucid and Sam Setton, among others.

The 320 page book was being released in the UK on March 8th by the noted Thames and Hudson Ltd publishing house (I got mine via Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Album-Art-New-Music-Graphics/dp/0500294151/ref=sr_1_1? ) , and if you’d like to see more of Foster’s work, I’d invite you to visit his company’s site at http://www.badpeoplegoodthings.com/?page_id=2

d) When the young designer/artist/photographer Astrid Kirchherr was attending college in Hamburg, Germany (the Meisterschule) in the late 1950s, she befriended two other students – Klaus Voorman and Jurgen Vollmer – who shared her interests in Pop culture and music. Voorman became her love interest and, in 1960, the two stumbled in to a club on the Reeperbahn called the Kaiserkeller where they listened to a band from England called The Beatles (who, at the time, consisted of five members, including drummer Pete Best and guitarist Stu Sutcliffe), bringing their friend Vollmer back with them to the club immediately thereafter. Kirchherr became entranced with the young lads from Britain, and one of the bandmembers – Sutcliffe, himself a former art school student – found himself smitten with the beautiful blonde, with the pair starting to date soon after. She’d soon apply her skills as a designer and fashionista to her friends hair and wardrobe, with Astrid being credited for the band’s early “mop-top” haircuts and tailored suits.

With access to the band both onstage and behind the scenes now easily granted, Kirchherr asked the band if they’d mind her bringing a camera along, with the goal being to get them to pose artistically for her as she had sensed something special about the band and its members. Now, over 50 years after these photos were taken, Astrid has teamed with publisher Damani to release a new book of these important photos of the beginnings of a band that would become the most-influential in rock music history. Titled ASTRID KIRCHHERR WITH THE BEATLES (co-authored by Maurizio Guidoni), the book’s imagery focuses on a period of time – from 1960 through 1968 – during which she chronicled the band from its hard-working club band beginnings, during their brief times away from their rapidly-rising careers, on the set of the making of the movie A Hard Day’s Night and up to the time she produced a headshot of George Harrison for his 1968 solo record Wonderwall Music. While her photos have been included in several limited-edition and commercial books of Beatles photos, this is the first time that many of the photos in this 96-page photo-book have been made available to the general public.

You can find this book on the publisher’s web site at https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/634

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Still feel that, for its sonic purity and well-designed packaging, vinyl LPs are still the best expressions of the various ways you can purchase your music? If so, there’s a company in Italy that would like you to consider extending that love for all things vinyl to how you outfit your bathroom. WTF, you say? Well, if you click on over to the MyModernMet site, writer Emma Taggart is happy to show you the various designs now available from the Olympia Ceramica company in their “Vinyl Collection” of LP-and-turntable-inspired bathroom vanities and fixtures. “Resembling a retro sound system, vinyl artwork is featured in the center of the basin; the sink’s faucet mimics a stylus; and taps, styled as “volume” knobs, can be used to adjust the water flow and temperature.

The stylish sink also includes a shelf for storage, a towel bar, a leather toiletry bag, and even an LED mirror featuring lights that resemble an audio equalizer. The best part? Each piece also comes equipped with built-in bluetooth speakers so you can listen to your favorite tunes while you brush your teeth.”

Can’t wait to find out when these are available for delivery and what the prices will be but, I’m assuming, you’ll soon be seeing these in the public and private bathrooms of many (well-heeled) music businesses  – https://mymodernmet.com/bathroom-sinks-vinyl-collection-olympia-ceramica/

https://www.olympiaceramica.it/en/

b) Another design-inspired article that should be of interest to LP fans – Goldmine’s recent podcast includes a discussion with Marshall Blonstein, a former record industry exec who is now co-owner of a company that makes a line of really impressive portable “record players” (much improved over the Kenner “Close&Play” models I remember growing up) – http://www.goldminemag.com/features/ufo-portable-turntable-subject-goldmine-magazine-podcast-episode-24

I’m particularly intrigued with the “UFO” model – a boombox for us Geezers!

http://www.myrocknrolla.com/products/rock-n-rolla-ufo/

c) Last month, I’d reported on a couple of group photo exhibitions – one in Italy and another in Los Angeles – in which the works of famed photographer Masayoshi Sukita were featured prominently. Sukita is probably best-known for his portfolio of photos that captured 40 years of David Bowie’s life and career, with several of his shots used on the covers of some of Bowie’s best-known recordings (from Heroes to The Next Day). In addition to Bowie, Sukita has collaborated with other trend-setting musical acts such as Marc Bolan (T. Rex), Iggy Pop, David Sylvian and influential Japanese electronic music band YMO to create memorable portraits to help chronicle and promote their respective careers.

Now, there’s a new film that premiered at the recent Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy that chronicles the work of this important lensman, with a focus on his unique and intimate portraiture of Mr. Bowie taken during the dozens of photo sessions they worked on together. Sukita – The Shoot Must Go On follows the upward-arcing career path of the now 82-year-old photographer, taking viewers behind the scenes – often with Sukita providing the commentary – during his studio and on-location work with his favorite clients. Included in the film is a special look at “the making of” the album cover for YMO’s second album (Solid State Survivor) and words of praise from many of Sukita-san’s fellow creatives, including famed Japanese composer Sakamoto Ryuichi, musician Hotei Tomoyasu (best-known here for his song “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” featured in the film Kill Bill), guitarist MIYAVI and film director Jim Jarmusch, who teamed with Sukita to create the arresting visuals for his 1989 film Mystery Train.

The documentary is directed and produced by Aihara Hiromi and will be in general release beginning May 19th, so check your local theaters/film festivals/streaming services for showtimes/availability. Reporter Patrick Brzeski gives us a preview on the Hollywood Reporter site at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/far-east-film-fest-premiere-documentary-david-bowies-photographer-1098267

And if you’d like to watch the trailer for the film (in Japanese, mostly) – http://sukita-movie.com/

d) Whenever I see an article in which the author(s) list their favorite album cover designs/images, I typically feel deflated, as I’m forced to wonder why these articles were written. Is there an album art or music-related exhibition taking place nearby, or is there a local artist currently working in the music space that they felt needed profiling, or did they need to fill some space on a page? These articles tend to simply give us a collection of album cover images and little or no useful information about them.

Once in a while, though, even though I don’t quite understand what inspired the article, I am impressed with the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of an article that has pressed its authors to select their favorite designs and then also delivers us the “whos” and the “whys” relating to each featured item. Such is an article recently posted by the Michigan Daily News Music Writers Roundtable on important album cover works – https://www.michigandaily.com/section/arts/album-cover-art-round-table

Compiled by Shima Sadaghiyani, Daily Music Editor for the Ann Arbor, MI-based college daily newspaper, the panel selects several of “the classics” (Revolver by The Beatles, Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book and Doolittle by the Pixies) along with a number of newer “hidden gems”, such as the covers for the Memory Tapes’ 2009 record Seek Magic, M.I.A.’s colorful 2007 release Kala and Lorde’s 2017 megahit Melodrama. While of course I’m impressed with the fact that college writers can find great pleasure and inspiration from “the oldies” as well as the covers for today’s generation’s packaged music. When looking at the cover for the Stevie Wonder record, writer Laura Szubay notes that “only two years previously, on Signed, Sealed And Delivered, Wonder was popping cheerfully out of a cardboard box labeled ‘Handle With Care.’ Now he was sitting on the ground, his face turned thoughtfully to the earth, solemn and contemplative,” while writer Sam Lu shares his take on the connection between the intimate oil painting featured on the cover of Lorde’s Melodrama with the music found inside – “Lorde condenses the essence of teenage relationships in all of their turbulent glory, from the before to the during to the after,  and does it all without abandon. She leaves us with a final parting gift: an image of her at her most striking, when she’s unflinchingly staring right at the viewer.”

There’s hope yet for these young people…

e) I’m having a hard time thinking of a recorded music product with as much (well-deserved) notoriety as Wu-Tang Clan’s 2015 one-off double album – the “ultimate box set” – titled Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. When news of its upcoming availability via auction – coming after a six-year production schedule – was announced several years ago, it caused a sensation in the press as many in the media were perplexed as to who would ever buy such a thing, which also came with an entire agreement that limited the owner to how it could be shared with others (no commercial exploitation, period). Unless you’ve lived off the planet since the sale, you know that it was purchased at auction for $2 million by now-convicted pharma wunderkind Martin Shkreli only to be forfeited in a 2018 sale of assets to cover a $7.3 million dollar judgment against him after his conviction for securities fraud.

Now, further trouble seems to be following this record in the case of photographer Warren Patterson, whose work graces the cover of the infamous album and who is now suing the rappers for $1 million, claiming that he was never paid for the 80 hours of work he put in to the project. Hypebeast’s Isaac Rouse shares the sordid details in his article – https://hypebeast.com/2018/4/wu-tan-clan-sued-once-upon-a-time-in-shaolin-cover

As it turns out, the Department of Justice is still trying to locate the record, which has not yet been turned over even though its owner is in jail and is appealing his conviction.

f) It’s been 35 years since Michael Jackson’s best-selling-album-of-all-time (66 million copies sold so far!) Thriller was released, with that album featuring portrait photographer Dick Zimmerman’s iconic shot of the not-yet-surgically-destroyed young singer stretched out wearing a white suit (with the gatefold inside cover showing Jackson acting all buddy-buddy with a tiger cub). The new 35th anniversary DVD package now available on Zimmerman’s FanArtClubGallery.com site ($24.95) on the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller features an updated interview with Zimmerman and includes loads of behind-the-scenes footage taken during the photo session for the record cover.

More details about the project and the new DVD can be found via this press release posted at https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/18/03/p11422213/michael-jackson-thriller-photographer-interviewed-for-just-released-vi along with this feature you’ll find on a popular MJ fan site, the UK’s Michael Jackson World Net (also celebrating their 20th anniversary) – http://www.mjworld.net/news/2018/03/30/dick-zimmerman-talks-about-michael/

You can order one for your very own at http://fanclubartgallery.com/product/thriller-35th-anniversary-interview-with-dick-zimmerman-dvd/  , and you’ll also see that Zimmerman runs a gallery that sells limited-edition art prints based on some of the celeb photos he’s taken over the years, etc. – http://fanclubartgallery.com/store/

g) Missed this when it first ran several months ago, but now that I’ve found it, I wanted to share this info as it helps us laypeople understand the thought processes of those talented people who are tasked to make the packaging for our favorite retail music products – https://99designs.com/blog/design-other/how-to-design-album-cover/

While I’m quite certain that most designers working in the field don’t follow these guidelines all that closely, it is interesting to see that, in a day where it seems that most people are focused on success via rote memorization and/or applications development, even an outlined process like the one presented here reserves time and energy for existential searches, inspiration and the importance of finding the right people to collaborate with.

h) When those of us who’ve worked in the recorded music business hear the word “mixer”, it immediately brings to mind either the piece of studio equipment used to select and blend inputs from various sources or the people that operate these machines. In today’s foodie scenes, folks us laypeople used to call “bartenders” are now known as “mixologists” and, in many cases, seem to have advanced degrees in chemistry as best evidenced by the strange and wonderful concoctions they create. Recently, a Madison, WI-based restaurant called Merchant has developed and launched a craft cocktail program with inspirations drawn from the titles of classic rock tunes and uses album cover-style imagery to help market them. Want a “Black Magic Woman”? Order one and you’ll get a cocktail made from a blend of tequila, mezcal, fruit juices and other ingredients, while ordering a “Killer Queen” brings you a gin drink with sherry, poppy liquor (?), various juices and bitters. The menu looks like an LP cover, with co-production and “song-writing” (i.e., cocktail-invention) credits listed as they would be on a recorded music product. Contributor Lindsay Christians for The Cap Times shares the important details – http://host.madison.com/ct/entertainment/dining/with-s-rock-inspired-cocktail-list-merchant-is-stayin-alive/article_489df93e-4375-5779-b1e0-3ae6a36af903.html

That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you. If you’ve found that these stories have added some joy and appreciation for the arts to your lives, I’d like to ask you to let your friends and loved ones know more about the album art and artistry-related information you’ve found here on the ACHOF site.

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