Tag Archives: Gary Burden

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

 

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings to you all. Work continues on updating the biography section of the ACHOF web site and so, as I noted last month, this month’s news summary is an abridged one, with less commentary from me and a somewhat-reduced number of stories featured in each section. Even so, much work continues in this area, and there’s a lot to review – interviews, profiles, news about new books and prints, etc. – that I think you’ll appreciate and enjoy. As you’ve seen in my previous news summaries, if you simply read the summaries I’ve written and click the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world on items featuring many of your favorite – or soon to be favorite – album art creators.

I am pleased to announce that the first part of a two-part article I’ve written about album cover art, artists and album art production has been added to the Illustration History web site – https://www.illustrationhistory.org/essays/producing-album-cover-art-for-clients-in-the-music-business

A project of the esteemed Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA), the Illustration History site serves as an educational resource for fans, students and teachers of the fine arts of illustration and design, so it’s an honor to be able to share some of my research and writing on a subject – album cover art – that features so many great examples of work by the talented people who’ve contributed to the visual side of the music business since the 1940s. Part 2 is due soon but, in the meantime, hope you’ll take a look and share this with your friends. I’d like to thank curator Jesse Kowalski for this opportunity and hope that you’ll spend some time digging through the site’s impressive archives, too.

Also earlier this month, I posted a special alert letting you know that, for the second year in a row, album packaging creators from all over the world are being invited to submit examples of their best, most-recent works for consideration by the esteemed judging panel for the 2018 “Making Vinyl Packaging Awards”. According to the show’s advance press, they’re “now accepting submissions in 14 categories that highlight why packaged media is still important in the digital age. Entries may come from record labels, pressing plants, brokers, packagers, printers, mastering facilities, artists, and distributors from anywhere in the world. Submissions will be judged online by award-winning art directors in the U.S. and Europe. In late August, the winners will be selected from the finalists at the offices of AIGA, the prestigious design organization, and receive their prizes at a ceremony at the MAKING VINYL conference in Detroit on Oct. 1st.”

Last year’s judging panel included a number of album art industry notables, including Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz, Sylvia Reed, Gail Marowitz, Sean Mosher-Smith, Stefan Bucher, Craig Braun and Making Vinyl founder, PR guru/journalist/educator Larry Jaffee. The 2017 Awards, given then in 8 categories, showcased the talents of both well-established designers, such as Lawrence Azerrad, who lead the efforts to create the fantastic Voyager, 40th Anniversary Edition box set and Shepard Fairey, who was nominated for an award in the same category for Blondie’s Pollinator, alongside emerging talent such as the team of young designers/art directors at Third Man Records (Rex Runyeon and Ryon Nishimori), who took home an award in the “Best Record Art” category for their captivating photo-based cover for their label’s release titled The Monks, Hamburg Recordings 1967. You may recall that last year’s “Best Overall Package” category featured a tie between creators of the packaging for AKATRE’s BLCK RCK and Pet Symmetry’s Vision, and now that this year’s top prize has been re-named “The Alex Steinweiss Award” in honor of the noted record packaging innovator, the nominees in this category should be extra proud to be in the running.

For 2018, there are two new categories being added for CD packaging, an award for best use of sustainable materials, one that recognizes the special limited-edition products that are created for the annual Record Store Days and two awards being proffered (one vinyl, one digital) called “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done” which, according to the award show’s producers, “Recognizes innovation in structural design that takes into account the use of new machinery or materials or folds or printing processes that stretches the boundaries of album packaging that previously existed.“ I can’t wait to see whether packages are submitted that were made on 3D printers. One more addition to the 2018 awards process is the addition of a highly-esteemed writer, researcher and self-described expert on album cover packaging to the panel of judges reviewing submissions prior to the final voting, with that person being ME! I’m quite honored to have been asked and look forward to being able to review all of the work being submitted.

The deadline to enter your online submission(s) with digital photos is Wednesday, Aug. 15, 11:59 pm (EST). Eligible works include packages offered for sale between the dates Sept. 1, 2017 to Oct. 1, 2018. There’s a page on the Making Vinyl site that provides anyone interested with all of the info they’ll need (submission formats, costs, etc.) to send in their work – https://makingvinyl.com/awards-2018/

I’ll be updating this story as more info comes in and, of course, will be announcing the winners immediately after they’ve been given their honors. As always, it’s my plan to be able to interview one or more of the honorees about “the making of” their winning works, so stay tuned for 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) There’s a truly-impressive Michael Jackson-inspired art show now on view at the National Portrait Gallery in London from now through October 21, 2018 that features works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Kehinde Wilde and a whole host of word-class artists who’ve been inspired by the late King of Pop.“Michael Jackson: On the Wall” includes works by 48 artists and includes a number of works from private collections that have never been put on public display before.

After the show wraps up in London, it will travel to Paris, Bonn, and Espoo in Finland, with more details provided in Henri Nuendorf’s exhibition overview as seen on the ArtNet News site –https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/michael-jackson-npg-london-1310123?

One of the items included in this show is Mark Ryden’s memorable cover for MJ’s 1991 hit album Dangerous, with the story behind this gorgeous cover provided in one of Eben Benson’s recent Juxtapoz Sound and Vision  articles – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-michael-jackson-s-dangerous-cover-artwork-by-mark-ryden/

b) In mid-July, the San Francisco Art Exchange launched a show based on photographer Jim Marshall’s portfolio of images of country music legend Johnny Cash, with gallery visitors being treated to a number of rare and never-before-seen photos, including a series taken during the performer’s storied concert recorded 50 years ago at California’s Folsom State Prison.

According to the gallery’s press release, “These photographs include images of Cash onstage and touring the prison grounds, along with several from the legendary sound check at San Quentin when Cash so famously ‘flipped the bird’ for Marshall. These new photographs and a selection of the estate editions released in 2011 will be featured in our upcoming exhibition along with several extremely rare and highly sought-after signed photographs from Jim Marshall’s personal archive of prints.”

The gallery also announced that collectors who purchase one of the prints made available during the show will also receive a free copy of the soon-to-be-released book of Marshall’s photos titled Johnny Cash at Folsom & San Quentin Photographs by Jim Marshall , due to be published by Reel Art Press  later this summer.)  PLEASE NOTE: Collectors who purchase any Jim Marshall photograph during the exhibition will receive a complimentary copy of the new book coming out later this summer.

Fans can view a PDF version of the exhibition’s catalog of the artwork via this link – http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400162

c) Juxtapoz also provides us with the details of another gallery show that ended July 21st that would have been of great interest to anyone drawn to great examples of the intersection of music and art. While not specifically album cover-centric, the sheer number of musical and visual creatives who teamed up to create both this show and the coffee table book it’s derived from has forced my hand… https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/painting/nick-cave-tom-waits-swoon-and-many-more-collaborate-for-children-s-literacy/

The Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles hosted the show built around the music and art created for the book Waxploitation: Stories For Ways & Means, a nearly 10-years-in-the-making effort that resulted in a 350-page book featuring stories written by famous musicians (Frank Black, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and others), all illustrated with artwork by a number of artists that Juxtapoz readers will be familiar with (Joe Coleman, Anthony Lister, Swoon and many others). A portion of the proceeds from both the show and the book are being donated to several worthwhile charities, with more details available on the gallery’s web site at http://www.coreyhelfordgallery.com/shows/waxploitation-stories-for-ways/the-devouring/

d) I promised to bring you news of album cover artists working all over the world, and today’s no exception. Here’s an article about a Malaysian artist named Mustaffa Ahmad Hidzir, who works under the pseudonym “Tapa”, who has spent the last 40 years designing/producing over 300 album covers and who last year released an award-winning coffee table book that was published by the Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia Bhd. 12×12 Album Cover Design offers up almost 200 of his covers, along with the stories behind them, and beginning on August 4th, fans and lovers of album art will be able to take in a week-long exhibition of his works in a show at the Penang House of Music during the George Town Festival. If you happen to be at the venue a 3PM on August 5th, Tapa will be on-hand to lead a lecture about his career as an album cover designer.

For more info on the artist and his career, click on over to this recent article in the local Sun Daily newspaper – http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2018/07/06/drawing-attention

And to see more about the festival and Tapa’s show there, please visit – https://georgetownfestival.com/programmes/12-x-12-album-cover-design

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) To read my recent mini-interview with Ashley Simerman of KnuckleBonz about their new series of 3D album covers, please scroll down to Section 4 of this news summary

b) Here’s a link to a video posted by YouTube star/fashion and lifestyle blogger Karen Yeung (IAMKARENO) of an interview and photo session during which famed photographer Marcus Klinko works with the not-very-camera-shy blogger poses to try and re-create the look of his famous Beyonce Dangerously In Love album cover – https://petapixel.com/2018/07/13/hanging-out-with-the-photographer-of-beyonces-diamonds-album-cover/

Klinko tries to make it all sound so scientific for the Petapixel reader (“I use top end modifiers from Broncolor and Elinchrom, with custom adapters I built… all the lights in the video are by Flashpoint/Godox….I use a combination of 600Pro, and H1200 for all of my studio and location setups, and occasional use the Evolv200 as well”), but Karen’s just having fun pretending to be Mrs. Jay-Z for a while….

c) Almost slipping past my Google Alert web was this recent interview by Eric Skelton on the Pigeons & Planes site with photographer Nick Walker about his recent work with Playboi Carti for the cover of the rapper’s Die Lit album. The cover image works to bring a very punk-inspired aesthetic to the singer’s “against the grain” approach to his music-making – https://pigeonsandplanes.com/in-depth/2018/05/die-lit-playboi-carti-cover-photo-nick-walker-interview

Walker’s worked with many of the top names in the R&B and Rap world – from Beyonce to Nikki Minaj and FKA Twigs, along with a number of other artists on the Interscope label, so the pairing of the two talents seemed both inevitable and a really good idea, I think you’ll agree…

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) This just in – the nice folks over at the Psychedelic Art Exchange just sent me a note about their current poster auction (on now through August 9th) that peaked my interest and, therefore, I’m duty-bound to share the news with you as well. As you know, many of the people who’ve made some of your favorite album cover images – Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin and many others – began their careers creating posters for some of the now-famous concert promoters and venues on the West and East Coasts – The Fillmores, The Avalon Ballroom, Winterland, etc. – and as the years go by, the original posters these artists created are becoming increasingly-rare and valuable, so when a collection of posters are presented that include some of the rarest and finest-quality examples available, doesn’t it make sense to go and take a look?

The highlight of the offering is, what I’m told, the finest example of what’s known to collectors as “FD-26-OP-1”, better-known to us mortals as the “Skeleton & Roses” or “Skull & Roses” poster Mouse & Kelley did for the Grateful Dead’s September, 1966 appearances at the Avalon Ballroom. The same basic design was also featured on the band’s 1971 2-record live album titled Grateful Dead (which became their first gold-selling record). This poster will sell for a load of money (it’s current bid, as we go to press, is $19,000). The auction company people go on to tell me that there are many other posters available that would, on any other occasion, themselves be headliners, and a quick look at the offering certainly backs up their claim, so why not take a few minutes sometime soon and visit the online catalog at https://auctions.concertpostergallery.com/Catalog.aspx  Happy bidding – buy yourself something nice!

b) Earlier in July (on July 6th, to be precise), I did a special posting about Gotta Have Rock & Roll’s latest Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction that was scheduled to take place beginning July 11th and ending July 20th, so now that the bidding’s over, I wanted to get back to you with some of the results on the key items I’d highlighted in that preliminary posting.

From the Larry Vigon collection – most everything sold for prices that were the opening bids for the items up for auction (good deals, overall, with several exceptions), such as the paintings he did for the front and back covers of Eric Clapton’s 1985 record Behind The Sun (listed with opening bids of $3,000 and $2,000, respectively and sold at those prices) and the comps, including George Hurrell’s hand-tinted photographs, of the cover art he created for Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 hit record Mirage (opening bid, $3,000; sold for the tidy sum of $9,422!). In addition, bidding on his hand-drawn lettering  created for the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours ($2,000 to start) sold for $2,000, whereas several other production elements (photos, drawings, etc.) for other Fleetwood Mac records – as well as some of the band members’ solo album efforts – sold for prices ranging from $1,289 for photos of Lindsay Buckingham from Law and Order to $2,000 for Helmut Newton shots from Christine McVie’s Songbird.

Also available were the original cover painting Vigon created for Chicago’s 1984 record titled Chicago 17, a rather unique take on the well-known John Berg/Nick Fasciano band logo-based covers, this time with the logo seemingly popping through a brown-paper wrapper (art director credits to the talented Simon Levy), with starting bids accepted over $3,000 (sold for $3,000). Pat Benetar fans were be able to bid on a nice archive of 20 photos (B&W and color) and layouts for records including her 1987 hit Seven The Hard Way ($1,000 opening bid; sold for $1,000), while fans of the Counting Crows placed bids to own the artwork Vigon created for the debut record August And Everything After ($1,000 opening bid; sold for $1,000).

Other album art-related items available in this auction included drawings by artist/illustrator Greg Hildebrandt done for Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules and composer/TSO founder Paul O’Neill’s rock opera Beethoven’s Last Night (surprisingly, all unsold), while further items of interest, including original drawings by Michael Jackson (sold for $2,200 – $3,500), a John Lennon/Yoko Ono-signed photo from their 1969 “Bed-In” protest in Montreal  album ($15,000 asked opening bid – unsold) and CD/LPs signed by Nirvana (unsold) and Led Zeppelin (also unsold).

There were over 900 items in the auction, so if you’d like to go and see what was available and sold, you can now head on over to the company’s auction site – http://gottahaverockandroll.com/#

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Some of you who might remember my old gallery days will recall that I sold items from a line of intricately-crafted sculptures of iconic rockers/rock imagery made by a company called KnuckleBonz and, I’m glad to report, they’ve recently announced that they’re going to be manufacturing a line of limited-edition album cover art recreations they’re calling “3D Vinyl”. The first two items they’ve announced are stunning renditions of two great albums – Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, both of which are perfectly suited for a 3-dimensional sculpture.

https://knucklebonz.com/product/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here-3d-vinyl/

They’ve produced a nice intro video on this new Pink Floyd-based item that you can view at https://vimeo.com/276302319

https://knucklebonz.com/product/guns-n-roses-appetite-for-destruction-3d-vinyl/ will take you to the page on their site with all of the details on the AFD 3D Vinyl product, with the promo video available at https://vimeo.com/276296813

I’ve reached out to the talented team of designers and marketers who’ve created these new products and hope to bring you an update on their efforts soon.

UPDATE/INTERVIEW – Earlier in July, I shared the initial information about the intriguing new series of 3D album cover art pieces that the talented folks over at KnuckleBonz have begun producing and now, as a follow-up, I’m happy to be able to   parcel out a bit more on the subject based on a brief interview I did recently with one of the founders of the company, Ashley Simerman, whose excitement for these new products is pretty evident from the answers she’s provided…

Mike Goldstein, ACHOF – Hello again, Ashley. Nice to be in touch with you again. I was thrilled to read the preliminary info on your 3D album cover sculptures and, as you might imagine, I was eager to learn more about them and your work on making them so I can share this info with my readers. Let’s start with a bit more about your decision-making process. I know that all of your products are licensed collectibles, but I’d be curious as to how you chose the first two covers to produce. Were these your first choices, or did they come as the result of existing or new relationships with the musical act/management/record label/licensing companies?

Ashely Simerman, KnuckleBonz – Hi, Mike. Thanks for checking in and for featuring us! Our first two projects we announced for our new KnuckleBonz 3D Vinyl® are:

1) Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction – This is an obvious choice for KnuckleBonz to lead with this album as we announce this new category that pays homage to the great album art over the last several decades. Appetite for Destruction is undoubtedly one of the greatest debut albums in rock music history. Not only was the album successfully from the standpoint of album sales, but Guns N’ Roses went from nothing to touring with the Rolling Stones as a result of the success of this album. Artistically, it is a great fit , as well. The skulls and subtle detailing make this 3D Vinyl® stand out.

2) Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd undoubtedly mastered combining amazing visuals for all their album covers. Launching with this particular album is a more personal choice for us here at KnuckleBonz. This is an album that we love to just put on here at the studio and listen to in its entirety. This is a favorite, for sure, just because the music is so amazing. But add the robot handshake on the cover and that was a project we all were very excited to recreate in 3D. Wish You Were Here is a perfect fit for 3D Vinyl®, after all, we intend for these collectibles to pay tribute to the most iconic and artistic album covers over the last several decades.

Mike G – How did you guys approach the creative aspects of the projects – meaning, how did you determine what would be 3D, what would be on the back cover, etc.? Did you work with anyone from the original design team in order to make these choices, or were they your decisions to make?

Ashley S – Everything we do creatively for these 3D Vinyl® designs are done internally here at KnuckleBonz. We are long-time fans, just like our customers. We are simply interpreting what would be cool for each project. Ultimately, what we come up with is a design we would like to have on our own wall on display shelf. Once we get that point, we share with the artist or band and we do have to get approval. Then we hope fans around the globe agree that it is a proper tribute to the original album. We only make a finite number of each; typically we limit the production to less than 2000 of each 3D Vinyl® project, making these highly collectible and exclusive.

Mike G – So, of course I must ask you –  Any hint of what’s coming next or later?

Ashley S – We have quite a few coming later this year – including the two KISS albums we’ve announced*- so stay tuned to knucklebonz.com or follow us on FaceBook for new product news. Everything we do is officially licensed so we can’t reveal any projects just yet, but I think rock music fans will be excited about the line-up. We certainly are thrilled to be working on these amazing projects.

* their debut album titled KISS, along with Destroyer.

Learn more and place your pre-orders on the KnuckleBonz site at https://knucklebonz.com/product-category/3d-vinyl/

b) There’s been a lot of recent press about Madonna’s efforts to raise money for, and awareness of, her charity called Raising Malawi that works to improve the lives of children in that country (since 2012, she’s built 12 schools that have served nearly 10,000 students in the area). In this article on the Bored Panda site, you’ll learn about French fashion photographer Vincent Flouret’s imaginative efforts to add to the fund-raising efforts by selling prints of photos he’s taken of his beloved dog Max. What makes these images unique (and of interest to us album cover fans) is that he’s made up and costumed Max so that he appears as Madonna did on the covers of several of her best-known albums – Ray of Light, Music, Like A Virgin, True Blue and more – along with scenes lifted from some of the Material Girl’s most-famous music video. “Maxdonna” is a very attractive Golden Retriever, so these recreations, while a bit campy, are still quite nice-looking.

https://www.boredpanda.com/iconic-madonna-scenes-recreation-maxdonna-vincent-flouret/?

You can also find Vincent’s Maxdonna photos on display from now until the 16th of August in Arles, France at  L’AGENCE ARLESIENNE, 26, place Paul Doumer, 13200 Arles.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkC6JY4FNXs/?taken-by=max_et_vincent

In French, but you’ll figure it out….

c) Fans of the band Rush will find a lot to like here…While perhaps best-known for his drumming skills, Rush’s Neal Peart was also the band’s lyricist and, therefore, quite handy with words, as was evidenced in his co-authoring (with sci-fi writer Kevin J. Anderson) of the novel Clockwork Angels. Skip ahead six years since the book’s 2012 (no, not 2112) debut and what do you find but a new version of the book, done this time as a graphic novel (published by Insight Comics) and featuring a cover by life-long Rush cover artist Hugh Syme. Writer and long-time Rush fan Skip Owens gives us a preview in this article on the GeekDad site  – https://geekdad.com/2018/06/clockwork-lives-is-now-a-graphic-novel/

5) Other articles of interest –

a) A couple of months ago, I introduced you to Juxtapoz Magazine’s weekly series called Sound and Vision that, with each article, shares the details behind the making of some of your favorite album covers. Since that time, Managing Editor Eben Bensen has stayed true to his promise to give us a new story every week, with the most-recent articles summarized below:

– My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 Loveless cover, featuring a stylized photo of a guitar done by photographer Angus Cameron –

https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-my-bloody-valentine-s-loveless-cover-photography-by-angus-cameron/

– Stanley Donwood’s cover for Radiohead’s The Bendshttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-stanley-donwood-on-the-making-of-radiohead-s-the-bends-cover-art/

– Robert Mapplethorpe’s striking photo of Patti Smith for the cover of her 1975 debut album Horseshttps://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-patti-smith-s-horses-cover-photo-robert-mapplethorpe/  (Am I the only one who always thinks of Gilda Radner when I see this image?)

I’ve since contacted Eben B. and asked him more about the origins of this series in Juxtapoz – whose founder Robert Williams himself has several album cover credits on his impressive resume, including the original (banned) robotic rapist-based cover for Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction – and I’ll soon be posting the text from a mini-interview I did with him about his interest in the subject. I was very pleased to see someone representing “Millennials” with such knowledge and wisdom and so I look forward to sharing this with you soon.

b) I’m hoping that many of you have had, at one time or another, the opportunity to attend one of the world’s premiere art-related events, that being the celebrated “Pageant of the Masters” in Laguna Beach, CA, where the folks that put this extravaganza on every summer amaze audiences with their recreations of famous works of art built around live models placed in meticulously-recreated sets. I was lucky enough to live in Laguna for a number of years many years ago and, although the throngs of tourists made driving difficult for locals, we always made sure to see at least one performance of the POM each year.

This year, I’m proud to say, one of the masterpieces that will be given the POM treatment will be the famous 1964 theatrical poster for the film Endless Summer, created by one of the design world’s most-respected artists, that being John Van Hamersveld, who also holds a special place in the hearts of album cover art fans for the covers he created for The Beatles, KISS, Rolling Stones, Blondie and many others. I can’t think of a better way to honor JVH’s contributions to the art/design world than by having one of his best-known works presented in a bill (with this year’s theme being “Under The Sun”) that also includes paintings by Masters such as Claude Monet, John Singer Sargeant, Paul Gauguin and other modern masters – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155665181841444&set=a.10151014367531444.424291.612486443&type=3&theater

They finish off each year’s performance with a recreation of DaVinci’s Last Supper, which I think would only be cooler-looking if they included JVH himself in the scene (or, at least, someone wearing his trademarked round glasses). In any case, congratulations to one of our own Modern Masters!

c) Southern California is one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations, with one nice stretch of road – Laurel Canyon Drive, in Laurel Canyon – on most maps due to the number of celebrities from the music, film and TV industries who’ve made their homes there over the years. For the last six years, residents of the area have celebrated just how lucky they are to live (or have lived) there via an annual festival called the Love Street Fest, and this year’s festivities drew a good crowd due to the fact that they were honoring two men – Henry Diltz and Gary Burden – who’ve contributed greatly to the music business by producing photos and designs for a number of famous album covers. You can take a look at some of the photos taken a couple of week’s back during this year’s celebrations on the group’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/lovestreetfest – where you’ll find pix of the throngs of attendees, including surviving members of The Doors Robby Krieger and John Densmore, whose fellow band-member Jim Morrison wrote a song about the Drive called “Love Street”.

d) Last month, I wrote a bit about a surprise visit Paul McCartney made to his old home town of Liverpool and the sense of joy and happiness that followed him wherever he went and, in another article I saw recently, Maca worked his magic again as he hit the zebra crossing in front of Abbey Road studios again, 49 years later – https://www.nme.com/news/music/paul-mccartney-crosses-abbey-road-49-years-iconic-album-cover-shoot-ahead-intimate-gig-2358292  I believe that he kept his shoes on this time…and he’s still not dead.

e) In all the years I’ve been a music fan – a fan of most all genres of music, but with a particular love of hard rock, Prog rock, jazz-rock fusion, punk rock and pretty much anything put out by a Beatle (including Billy Preston and Jeff Lynne) – I’ve only on occasion found myself out of my element, with that taking place when I talk to fans of two genres – jazz and metal – where I often find fans with an intense passion for music/musicians in those genres and an intense dislike for those on the outside. Once again, I felt a bit of this attitude in Jon Wiederhorn’s recent Loudwire Magazine article about album covers that “look metal, but they’re not” – http://loudwire.com/14-album-covers-look-metal-but-arent/

In the mix, you’ll find examples of those who truly don’t belong – Lady Gaga, Grateful Dead, ELP and DMX – while others were from bands that seemed to be on the cusp (Demon, Uriah Heep, Necro, Nazareth and others) but who at least, according to the author, didn’t achieve the level of metal-ness required to be included as a “true” metal act (at least, on the featured record). Whether you agree or disagree with whether they belonged on such a list or not, you have to give each of them a bit of credit for wanting to express themselves so heavily.

f) Hoping to “shed a little light” (you’ll see how clever I am when you see the cover image) on the story behind the Nick Cave album cover for his 2013 release Push The Sky Away which featuring his wife, model and fashion designer Susie Bick, in the buff in a photograph taken at the couple’s home by Dominique Issermann- https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-perfect-story-behind-nick-caves-naked-album-cover-starring-wife-susie-bick/

The French fashion photographer was on hand to capture this image as part of an assignment for a French fashion magazine, which only goes to show you…how to save money on an album cover shoot?

g) Finally, if you find yourself with a few minutes to kill this weekend and want to challenge your knowledge of album-related artwork – particularly, band logos – I’d invite you to take this quiz you’ll find on the Topix.com site – Not meaning to brag (too much), but I got 40 out of 40, although I did have to guess on one of them, but got it right, lucky me! – https://offbeat.topix.com/quiz/17911/  In this brand-driven society, it’s nice to see that I’ve been thoroughly penetrated by the power of these iconic images.

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

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

Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

It’s early December 2015 and, here in the Pacific NW, we’ve already been treated to the first blasts of Winter air – great skiing on Mt. Hood and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather – with the last bits of Fall’s colors reminding us why we moved here. The craziness we all seem to suffer from at the end of the year has done nothing to stunt the flow of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed including many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and the first “best and worst” lists adding to the endless source of joy and inspiration found in our news feeds, I’ll spend a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates but, after that,  it’ll be up to you  to visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including art directors Gary Burden, John Van Hamersveld, Kosh, Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) and Tupac’s designer Riskie; photographers Dan Corrigan, Dave Drebin and Brian Cooke, as well as artist/illustrator Tommie Phillips (AKA “Tommie Molecule”).

In the fine art book category, there was news of new and upcoming book releases from photographer Jay Blakesberg (about the Grateful Dead’s farewell shows), designer/illustrator James Marsh (on his work for Talk Talk), author David Hamsley (with a comprehensive book on Disco-era covers), a GWAR photo retrospective and Taschen’s extensive homage to “the father of album covers”, Alex Steinweiss.

World-wide, there were a large number of exhibitions and shows in museums and galleries built around rock-related imagery that premiered during November, with collections on display that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll read more about current and just-completed exhibits such as Beatle-daughter Mary McCartney’s show of both her/her mother’s family portraits, painter/professor Don Munson’s latest works, a show centered on the art made during So. California’s punk era, cartoonist Jamie Hewlett’s (of Gorillaz fame) latest works, musician/artist Andy Votel’s cassette mix-tape cover designs, White Zombie’s Sean Yseult’s highly-personal artwork and photo shows featuring the works of Dan Fong, Tony Mott, Ken Davidoff and Masayoshi Sukita.

Other interesting articles appeared on subjects including the many new examples of album art-inspired merchandise (something to keep in mind at Holiday time!), a profile of rock star clothier Manuel Cuevas, new record packages where music is delivered via chip-embedded picture cards, a look at the art of design house/record label Mondo, several items listing the “best” and “worst” covers in genres including heavy metal and hip-hop and a look at how photographer Jon Smith creates cover images based on high-speed shots of bullets penetrating various solid objects.

As it typically the case, I don’t have the time/space to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s below – I’m sure you’ll find something that stimulates your interest!

One final noteWe’ve just completed this year’s annual nominating/final voting polls for the ACHOF and, as part of that effort, I’ve added  several new biographies to the Artist Bios section on the ACHOF site during the month. You’ll now find the list of this year’s inductees on the ACHOF via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2015-inductee-intro-page/ – where I’m sure you’ll find some of your favorite album art producers added to our growing list of honorees.

With all of the year-end distractions now upon us , I’m doing my part to help you in your efforts to catch up on recent news you may have missed but,  as I repeat (incessantly, I know) every month, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics – it’s my Holiday gift to you!  You can be sure that I’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates). Enjoy your Holidays!

November 30th –  1) So, you’ve collected years of rock and roll memorabilia, photos and memories of rock music events and are looking for a way to share it all with the world at large? Of course, you could always do something silly – like launch a blog or web site – but, beginning on December 1st, the curators at The Smithsonian want you to share with other fans via a new site they’ve launched because, according to their press release, “we want rock’n’roll as seen through your eyes: at clubs, concerts, festivals, and beyond.” With one of the ultimate goals of this project being the publication of a book of crowd-sourced images (in the Fall of 2017), the new site (rockandroll.si.edu) will work to be ground central for amateur archivists from around the world. I hope to find out more about the details of this project and will share them with you soon but, in the meantime, you can learn more about how you can help our National Museum become one of the world’s most-complete storehouses of rock music imagery via the link – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-smithsonian-wants-you-to-hit-them-with-your-best-shot-300182334.html

2) Holiday time is the time where rock imagery fans scour the world trying to find never-before-sent gifts to their fellow collectors and, each year, I’m always impressed with some of the unique items I find and am able to share with you. While I’m working on a more-comprehensive article for later in the month, I did want to show you one example I found recently – a collection of cozy blankets and tapestries adorned with well-know album cover and rock portrait designs. Writing for Fast Company‘s design site, Joe Berkowitz introduces us to products sold by a company called society6 that include several well-known album covers nicely-rendered in fabric – you’ll find art for musical acts including Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, Primal Scream, Seal and many others. Lots to choose from, so if you’re stymied for an idea for something new and exciting, take a look – http://www.fastcocreate.com/3053856/wrap-yourself-up-in-music-with-blankets-patterned-after-your-favorite-album-covers#2

November 27th –  1) The talents of the accomplished graphic artist/album cover designer James Marsh are now available in gift-giving form via the new, just-released paperback version of the sold-out 2012 book called “The Spirit of Talk Talk. He kicked the book’s promo off a couple of days ago at a star-studded, musically-intriguing party (featuring The Spirit of Talk Talk Band) at the Clapham Grand in London and, based on the coverage of the event, a great time was had by all who attended. James’ newly-revised book adds pages of new content (artwork, interviews and more) and is a must-have for fans of the artist’s amazingly life-like (and yet surrealistic) illustrations. You can find out more about the book via the Spirit of Talk Talk site – http://spiritoftalktalk.com/ and see pics and video of the recent promo party at https://www.facebook.com/SpiritOfTalkTalk/?fref=photo

Congratulations, James – nice work!

2) In a newly-launched exhibition at NYC’s Gagosian Gallery (available for viewing from now until December 19th), you’ll find an impressive display of photographs that highlight the fact that talent can certainly be inherited. Viewers of “Linda McCartney|Mary McCartney – Mother Daughter” will find a selection of intimate family portraits – some never shown in public – as well as photos well-known to fans of Sir Paul and his family, such as Linda’s shot of her husband and then-baby Mary featured on the cover of the 1970 solo record McCartney. In Sue Williamson‘s interview article on the W Magazine website, you’ll learn more about how this exhibition came together and a bit about how young Ms. McCartney thought it would show how influential her mother’s talents as a photographer turned out to be – http://www.wmagazine.com/culture/art-and-design/2015/11/mary-mccartney-gagosian/photos/

3) While some music fans might be intimidated by the prospect of exploring the cultural themes of rap and hip-hop music, album art fans will be greatly-rewarded by a thorough exploration of the development of the genre’s visuals over the years, with many records serving as stunning examples of both visual artistry and social commentary. In an article written and compiled by Dominique Zonyee for The Boombox site titled “25 Striking Hip-Hop Album Covers That Will Make You Appreciate a Rapper’s Creative Side“, you’ll find a photo gallery showing off examples of memorable cover art for 20+ years of musical acts including Wu-Tang Clan, Geto Boys, Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, DMX, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake and many others. Some are cliche’, some are disturbing and some show an impressive degree of knowledge of the technical and historical influences that simply make for great art – enjoy – http://theboombox.com/25-hip-hop-album-covers-rappers-creative-side/

November 26th –  1) As I’m a fan of artists who’ve excelled in the two disciplines of cartoon animation and album cover art, on the rare occasion that one person achieves fame in BOTH arenas, I’m even more impressed. Such is the case with Jamie Hewlett, the guy responsible for Gorillaz – the “make believe” band that featured music videos (and album covers) built around band members that sprung from the crafty fingers of Mr. Hewlett and who achieved a great deal of success several years ago and whose last record (2010’s Plastic Beach) included the talents of Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg and singer Bobby Womack. While Gorillaz will be staging a comeback soon, Hewlett’s talent as a fine artist was the subject of an exhibition (titled “The Suggestionists”) that was on display through December 2nd at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Read more about the artist’s latest efforts in Holly Williams‘ recent interview article on The Independent (UK) site – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/jamie-hewlett-on-the-return-of-the-gorillaz-and-fine-art-saatchi-gallery-exhibition-a6733491.html

2) Fans of famed photographer Masayoshi Sukita – perhaps best-known for the photo he snapped of glam-rocker David Bowie in 1977 that was used on the cover of his Heroes LP (and re-purposed in 2013 on the cover of the singer’s popular record titled The Next Day) – can hoof it on over to the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC (until Nov. 30th, moving to the gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami the following week) to view a retrospective they’ve assembled titled “Sukita: David Bowie”. In this article on Time Magazine‘s site by Kenneth Bachor, you’ll read more about the artist and his 40+year relationship with the rocker who’s called Sukita “a brilliant artist” – see if you don’t agree… http://time.com/4117090/sukita-david-bowie-photos/

3) Colorado Public Radio’s reporting team of Michael D. Yoanna and Nathan Heffel has posted an audio interview with photographer Dan Fong, a shooter with a resume and portfolio that includes portraits of nearly every major musical act that toured through the Denver area in the 1960s-70s (The Who, Van Morrison, Tommy Bolin and others), a series of album cover images for The Doobie Brothers and, based on his further talents as a chef, cooking for a dinner party for The Rolling Stones. A new exhibition of Fong’s photos from the era are also now on display (titled Legends of Rock) from now through January 2nd at the Robert Anderson Gallery in Denver. Sharing the interview with Fong is security guru to the stars, Jerry McKim, who shares tales of his duty keeping fans from killing themselves and the bands that played the local venues – good times, for sure.

https://www.cpr.org/news/story/denvers-rock-heyday-through-eyes-photographer-and-security-man

November 24th –  1) One of the most-creative labels behind the resurgence in the sales of vinyl records is Austin, TX-based Mondo, founded by a saloon owner named Tim League who grew his business to include concerts, merchandise (both their own and from major licensors) and, ultimately, a record label that produces and distributes smartly-packaged music. Their specialty is custom-produced movie soundtrack albums, and the 50+ records they’ve released includes compilations from films such as Star Wars, Shaun of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy and many others. Their products have featured art work done by several highly-collected fine artists (including Olly Moss and Tyler Stout, among othes) and, in this recent article by Zack Ruskin on the Consequence of Sound site, you’ll learn more about the company’s past and plans for the future, straight from the principals – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/11/merch-madness-inside-the-world-of-mondo/

2) While 1969’s International Palm Beach Music & Arts Festival held at the area Speedway didn’t move the Pop Culture needle the same way that Woodstock did that year, the fact that key period bands such as The Byrds, Grand Funk Railroad, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones (as well as many others) played before the 50,000 or so ticket-holders over the three days of the festival gave local photographers such as Ken Davidoff a chance to capture memorable images of these bands for posterity. All these years later, Davidoff is now earning a living licensing shots from his portfolio – including images from the previously-mentioned shows – via his OldRockPhoto.com site and displayed a selection of them in a show that ran thru Nov. 30th at the Palm Beach County History Museum, 300 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL. You can learn more about the photographer and his career (including time spent with John Lennon) in Leslie Gray Streeter‘s recent article for the Palm Beach Post – http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/entertainment/arock-n-roll-backstage-pass-classic-rock-photos-by/npN3B/

3) One of the best-known Elvis records – titled 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong – featured Elvis in a custom-designed gold lame suit created by famed clothing designer Manuel Cuevas, who also supplied iconic clothing for Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the stars featured in over 100 films and TV shows. Still tailoring-away in his eighties, in this interview article by Freunde von Freunden for The Creators Project, you’ll learn all about the designer’s time spent as a youngster studying from the great Nudie and then stepping out on his own to help design important aspects of many a star’s public and on-screen personnas – http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/meet-the-man-who-made-elvis-signature-gold-suit

Any guy who has helped cement our fondest remembrances of Raquel Welch and Marilyn Monroe is a friend of mine…

November 23rd –  1) Very nice article on one of the world’s best-known and prolific album cover artists – Kosh, the man responsible for cover images you love including Hotel California for the Eagles, Abbey Road for The Beatles, Who’s Next for The Who and many, many others. I wrote a while back about the fact that Kosh is now selling a line of prints that include some very well-done “mash-ups” of some of his famous works – how about “Abbey Hotel”, where the Fab Four are now crossing the street in front of the iconic So. CA. hotel (!!). In writer Laura Huntt Foti’s feature on the Best Classic Bands site, the designer gives us some delightful tidbits on the stories behind several of his images, available via the link at http://bestclassicbands.com/kosh-creates-unforgettable-lp-covers-11-17-15/

2) Designer/photographer Brian Cooke has contributed a number of memorable images for fans of rock and roll since starting in the business in the 1960s. Since then, working as both an in-house producer for Island Records and as a freelancer doing work for other labels including Chrysalis and Virgin Records (where he produced over 150 sleeve images), Cooke has worked to introduce us to many now-classic acts in the worlds of rock, punk, New Wave and beyond, including Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music, Steve Winwood/Traffic, Robert Palmer, the Sex Pistols, Mott The Hoople and many more. Writer Sharon Dale, reporting for The Yorkshire Post, talks to Cooke about his career and his two recent efforts – a blog and a retail web store – to share highlights of his experiences (his “adventures”) with fans world-wide – http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/yorkshire-living/arts/art/sleeve-notes-my-adventures-in-rock-n-roll-1-7561323

3) The packaging and distribution of retail music products continues to evolve with the times and technology, as you’ll see in this recent article by Brooke Roberts-Islam in the Huffington Post about musician Beatie Wolfe and how she’s chosen to sell her music product to fans – via a specially-produced deck of cards that include NFC technology that allows properly-app’d smart-phones to instantly play her songs, accompanied with lyrics, artwork and other proprietary content. It’s a pretty cool combination of digital and physical, I think you’ll agree – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/brooke-robertsislam/beatie-wolfe_b_8503290.html

Has anyone actually seen or played with anything like this? Please share, if you have…

November 20th –  1) If you find yourself anywhere near Napa, CA, you owe it to yourself to drive on over to the gallery at sparkling wine maker Mumm Napa to see a showing of photos, taken by Jim Marshall and curated by both Carlos Santana and the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery. According to the press release for “Jim Marshall Seen Through The Eyes Of Carlos Santana”, the show serves to both allow the winery to introduce their new, limited-release sparkler called “Santana Savor” and for the award-winning guitarist “to show Jim Marshall’s genius as a photographer, a chronicler of history and portraitist of no equal.” The two first met in 1965 when a mutual friend of theirs introduced them and asked Jim to shoot some publicity photos of what was then known as the Santana Blues Band, and their friendship endures to this day (even after Jim’s death in 2010). The show runs through May of next year, and details can be found via the link – https://www.mummnapa.com/visitmummnapa/events/jim-marshall-seen-through-the-eyes-of-carlos-santana

2) Designer Gary Burden‘s work in the album art field is legendary, so it’s nice to be able to learn a bit more about “the making of” his “10 Most-Memorable Album Covers” in this recent article/photo gallery put together by Melody Lau on the CBC Music blog – http://music.cbc.ca/#!/blogs/2015/11/From-Neil-Young-to-Joni-Mitchell-artist-Gary-Burden-on-10-of-his-most-famous-album-covers   If you’re in Toronto anytime between now and next February, you can also tour a new gallery show of Burden’s (and his wife, Jenice Heo’s) creative output called The Neil Young Series on display at the STRUCK Contemporary gallery on Adelaide Street East. The display includes a number of new mixed-media works the duo recently produced that attempt to express their feelings about the musician and his music. You’ll recall that Burden created the album cover for Young’s 1970 album titled After The Gold Rush, as well as those for On The Beach and several CSN&Y albums, including Deja Vu and 4-Way Street. 

3) Andy Votel is truly a multi-talented guy – artist, musician, producer, record label owner – and so it seems natural that he’d apply his gifts to music-and-art-related projects for himself and his stablemates. A true indie at heart, he’s also decided to “buck the system” and, rather than create new music/art for more-traditional retail distribution, Andy has decided to offer fans a series of cassette mixtapes that sport the artist’s colorful cover imagery. Working with the Manchester (U.K.)-based gallery Electrik, you’ll be able (through December 3rd) to see an exhibition of his latest works that include “tape covers – ranging from Bollywood horror themes to Tokyo pop via music made entirely on home made instruments.” Writing for TheQuietus site, John Doran has posted an interview with Votel during which he discusses his anti-establishment approach to delivering music and art via a medium most consider being from a bygone era – http://thequietus.com/articles/19215-andy-votel-turn-on-tape-in-tab-out-exhibition-preview

November 19th –  1) Here’s a great interview article with a great interview article subject – graphic artist John Van Hamersveld, a guy that has so many impressive credits that it’s difficult to begin to summarize them. The Endless Summer poster? That’s him. The Fatburger logo? John again. The covers for Magical Mystery Tour, Exile On Main Street and Hotter Than Hell for KISS, along with posters, prints and, most-recently, a huge, classic Japanese art-inspired mural in Hermosa Beach, CA – all show this artist’s impact on Pop Culture over the past 50 years – so it’s with great pleasure that I point you towards writer Thomas Harlander‘s article as it appeared recently on the Los Angeles Magazine site – http://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/the-artist-behind-the-endless-summer-poster-on-his-work-then-and-now/   Surfers world-wide owe JVH an eternal debt of gratitude!

2) While the cover collage for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s and the photo of the same band’s members crossing the street featured on the cover of Abbey Road must surely be the most-copied frameworks for spoof covers, the folks behind seminal British rock band Queen – in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the release of Queen II and “Bohemian Rhapsody” – have worked to raise money for the BBC’s “Children In Need” charity by sponsoring a contest where fans were able to stop by a spot in London where a recreation of Wayne’s World‘s 1978 AMC Pacer was set up so that participants could record a re-make of the band’s classic tune. In addition, a number of U.K. rock stars participated in another fund-raiser, posing to re-create Mick Rock’s famous “floating head” photo that ultimately served as both the cover for the record and the basis for the memorable music video for the song. Writer Duncan Lindsay, on the Metro U.K. web site – has just posted a quiz that asks you to identify the substitutes in a series of these photo re-creations – I hope that you did better than I did on this (I really need to bone up on my UK pop stars!) – http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/11/quiz-can-you-name-these-stars-who-have-recreated-the-queen-bohemian-rhapsody-pose-5495218/

3) The Boston Globe‘s Mark Feeney recently posted his review on the newly-launched show at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford (running now through January 24) featuring over 100 works by both Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe that explore their takes on sexual identity and gender. Titled “Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls,” the show consists of “mostly photographs, but also silkscreens, books, album covers, and several videos..(that) range in date from 1973 to 1988, a year after Warhol’s death — and a year before Mapplethorpe’s.” You’ll recall one such example in Mapplethorpe’s 1975 photo of Patti Smith, used on the cover of her record titled Horses, showing Ms. Smith posed in a man’s suit, but many other lesser-known but equally-impactful images are on hand to exemplify the many ways these two artists sought to address the topic. More info via the link – https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2015/11/12/warhol-and-mapplethorpe-hartford/cPeQAHuF65XLucOIv35R6M/story.html

November 18th –  1) Some of you may recall the “Featured Fan Portfolio” feature that I did late last year with photographer/writer David Hamsley regarding gatefold record covers. At the time, David was getting materials together for a book about disco records (with a special focus on the visuals that helped create the era’s unforgettable look and feel), and I’m happy to announce that he’s published his book – titled To Disco, With Love: The Records That Defined An Era (it began shipping on Nov. 24th) – and that it was selected by Amazon.com to be included in their “Editor’s Picks for Unique and Unusual Gift Books” section this Holiday Season. http://www.amazon.com/To-Disco-Love-Records-Defined/dp/1250068452

Congratulations, David! Here’s to a successful, Quiana and thumping bass-filled Holiday sales season! If you’d like to revisit my interview with the author, just follow the link –  https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/featured-fan-portfolio-david-hamsleys-favorite-gatefold-covers/

2) One of the best-known music industry shooters from “Down Under” is Tony Mott who, for over 30 years, has provided us fans with many memorable images of bands for both record packages (Concrete Blonde, Icehouse, Sarah McLachlan and others) and news features in major entertainment pubs. With over 30,000 photos published over the years, I can only imagine the difficulty curators faced when trying to pick just a few to feature in a new exhibition titled What A Life! (running now through next February 6th) in the Mitchell & Dixson Galleries at the State Library/New South Wales in Sydney. Writing for the ABC Arts site, Edwina Storie interviews Mr. Mott, who tracks his career from his first big break (a photo of The Divinyls’ lead singer Chrissy Amphlett) through to sessions with Johnny Rotten, the Rolling Stones and Midnight Oil. Read the interview at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-11/tony-mott-reflects-on-the-golden-age-of-music-photography/6931716 and learn more about the exhibition at  http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/exhibitions/2015/what_a_life/

3) Album Artist on The Late Show! How cool is that? Shepard Fairey, the graphic artist best-known for his Andre The Giant “OBEY” graffiti and his Obama “HOPE” poster, also sports a long list of album art credits, including covers for Led Zeppelin, Stone Temple Pilots, Bad Brains and many others. Earlier this week, Fairey appeared with host Stephen Colbert to promote his new book and talk about his past and future plans and his willingness to die (or, at least, go to jail) for his art. Here’s a link to the clip of his appearance on the CBS/Late Show web site – http://www.cbs.com/shows/the-late-show-with-stephen-colbert/video/330F4113-B7DD-ADFC-BDAD-13BA13743D68/shepard-fairey-talks-hope-obey-art/

November 17th –  1) After his singing partner Jan Berry was badly injured in a car crash back in 1966, Dean Torrence continued to work on a new record and, at the same time, reached back to his earlier training as a graphic artist to start his own design studio – Kittyhawk Graphics – to make sure that the album art featured on his own records was to his satisfaction. He soon offered his services to other music industry friends and clients (including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Chicago) and, in 1973, he won a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover for his work on Pollution (the record/band, not the environment). While he’s not doing album covers any more, Torrence still performs on occasion and, as you’ll read in this recent interview with Frank Mastropolo on the Rock Cellar Magazine site, you’ll learn more about his career, the trail that lead from do-wop music to “the California Sound” and his relationship with friend/competitor Brian Wilson – http://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/2015/11/06/dean-torrence-interview-jan-and-dean-beach-boys-brian-wilson-jan-berry/

2) Happy to share Bruce Jenkins’ recent article on the Vinyl Connection site about the re-release of one of rock music’s most-intriguing (and perfectly round) album packages – that of the Small Faces’ 1968 release Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. So much art in a fascinating package, with artwork by keyboardist Ian Mclagan’s art school chums Pete Brown and Nick Tweddell. Now, if they could only figure out how to stop the package from rolling off the shelf.. http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/11/17/multi-colour-of-the-rainbold/

3) Now on display (thru 12/31) at the Sacred Gallery in New York City is an exhibition by another musician-turned-fine-artist Sean Yseult, best-known for her time spent as the bassist for the popular metal band White Zombie. Trained as a graphic artist at the Parsons School of Design in NYC (where she met and then befriended Rob Zombie), since the band’s first break-up in 1998 Sean has worked hard to develop her career as a fine artist, crafting critically-acclaimed mixed media works which have been on display in galleries in the U.S. and Europe. This new show – titled Sean Yseult: Retrospective – includes a variety of works from various times during her career as an artist, including items from a 2004 show centered on her love of her adopted home of New Orleans and three newer collections – SEX & DEATH & ROCKNROLL (2012), MISSISSIPPI MERMAIDS (2013) and her most-recent show SOIRÉE D’EVOLUTION: TABLEAUX VIVANTS ET NATURE MORTES. You can learn more about the artist and her new show on the gallery’s site, via the link – http://www.sacredgallerynyc.com/now-exhibit-sean-yseult-retrospective

November 16th –  1) While not exactly album cover art-related, I did feel as though I could share this brief intro to the graphic artist who created an image that, like so many great examples of well-considered graphics, will certainly stand the test of time. A 32-year-old French artist living in London named Jean Jullien is responsible for the peace-symbol-turned-Eiffel Tower image that has circulated world-wide since it appeared shortly after Friday’s mind-numbing terror attack in Paris, and you can learn a little more about him and the graphic he created – based on an anti-nuclear war emblem that originated in the 1950s – in this AFP article found on the ArtDaily site – http://artdaily.com/news/82919/-Peace-for-Paris–symbol-by-32-year-old-French-graphic-artist-Jean-Jullien-goes-viral

2) Photographer Dan Corrigan‘s 30+-year portfolio of music clients in the Minneapolis, MN area includes a number of well-known album covers, including the shot featured on the package for The Replacements’ 1984 release Let It Be (along with others for a wide range of acts including The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, The Proclaimers…even comedian Lewis Black!). In the latest installment of the Pitchfork TV series titled Pitchfork Unsung which, as you might figure, focuses on folks working in the music business who don’t receive all of the recognition they might deserve (what a concept!), you’ll meet Dan and watch as he takes you through the highlights of his career, including his efforts to keep alive one venerable local nightclub – First Avenue – so that future generations can enjoy the vibe there as much as he has over the years…http://pitchfork.com/news/61941-photographer-dan-corrigan-the-replacements-let-it-be-featured-in-pitchforktvs-pitchfork-unsung/

3) Part of the team that produced the Grammy-nominated cover for jazz-rock hit-makers Chicago (for Chicago VI), Donald E. Munson was the subject of an exhibit that ran through November 28th at the Storr’s Library in Longmeadow, MA as part of their 2nd annual Local Artist Spotlight. “Evolution: Don Munson – Fifty Years of Painting” is sponsored by the town’s Cultural Council, with the exhibit including 50 examples of Munson’s work from 1965 to the present. Munson has worked in a number of roles in the arts during his illustrious career, including time as an award-winning Art Director at Random House and a professor at Westfield State University and continues to paint while operating his Red Stair Studio from his home in Longmeadow. You can see more of Munson’s colorful work and learn more about him in this illustrated interview by Christine White on the MassLive.com site –  http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2015/11/longmeadow_artist_donald_munson_marks_five_decades_of_life_on_canvas.html

November 13th – 1) High-speed photography has produced some fascinating images over the years, so it only makes sense that it would find its way into album cover imagery and, in this recent article/interview with former chemist-turned-photographer Jon Smith (written by Mark Ambrogi for the Current In Fishers site), you’ll learn more about his transition from corporate scientist to producer of pictures of frozen destruction for media clients, including popular party band Umphrey’s McGee, who featured one of Jon’s photos on the cover of their recent record titled The London Session: A Day At Abbey Road Studios – http://currentinfishers.com/aiming-for-art-fishers-photographer-jon-smith-turns-exploding-light-bulbs-into-creative-displays/

You can find more examples of Smith’s work – including the UM record cover, on his site – http://wideeyedilluminations.com/portfolio/umphreys-mcgee-album/

2) Early prog rock fans will remember the mid-60s ensemble The Syn, which featured a pre-YES Chris Squire and Peter Banks and drummer-turned-rock-photographer Martyn Adelman (among others). Although the band broke up in the late 60s, some of the key players reunited in 2004 and have continued to record and perform. A fan of their early music – Denver, CO-area graphic artist Tommie Phillips (AKA Tommie Molecule), was looking to interview the band for a fan-zine he produced at the time called The Lost Chord and, during their correspondence, band-members were so impressed with the drawings Tommie shared with them that they asked him to design and illustrate the cover for their upcoming release titled The Syn: Live Rosfest, which he happily and ably did. In this article by writer Oakland L. Childers for Westword magazine, you’ll meet Phillips and learn more about his past (including stints as a photo-retoucher and pre-press artist for a local newspaper), his entry into the album art world and his desire to help keep great album cover imagery alive (here, here!) – http://www.westword.com/music/tommie-phillips-creates-album-art-from-the-heart-for-the-syn-7308758

3) Oh, and it makes me wonder…why do so many musical acts accept less-than-good artwork for the covers of their albums? You wouldn’t think that this would be the case – particularly in the graphics-heavy world of Metal Music – but as you’ll see in Joe DeVita‘s recent article on the Loudwire site titled “50 Awful Metal Album Covers”, it seems to have been a pretty-regular occurrence throughout modern metal music history. It’s a painful-but-fascinating read/viewing (where “the hits keep on coming”). Enjoy (?) – http://loudwire.com/awful-metal-album-covers/Metalucifer’s Heavy Metal Chainsaw and Heavy Metal Drill made me snort my soda through my nose (not a very metal thing to do – I know)…

November 12th – 1) Elliott Landy‘s photos have graced the covers of records by The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and others, but the scope of his career has also included (among other things) stints as a photo-journalist covering the anti-war movement in the 1960s and an event photographer at the Woodstock Arts & Music Festival. On Wednesday, November 18th at the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center in mid-town Manhattan (NYC), Mr. Landy was on hand to present a career retrospective titled “An Evening with 60’s Rock Legend Photographer, Elliott Landy” that will include a number of images of some of the era’s top music talent at home and in performance. Although the event time has passed, you can still see and learn more when you click on over to the event’s promo page at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-60s-rock-legend-photographer-elliott-landy-59-tickets-18937067278

In case you were wondering, Elliott was a 1959 CUNY graduate…

2) Moving from New York in the 60s to New York in the 1970s, fans of the work of photographer Allan Tannenbaum can click on over to the Mr. Musichead site to see a special “artist of the month” feature on his work that includes a nice photo album and an interview (by Ellice Ruiz) with the esteemed shooter himself. With a career as a photographer that began in the 1960s and included subjects such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Debbie Harry & Blondie, jazz great Charles Mingus, the Bee Gees and many others, he’s established himself as one of the top portrait photographers in the city, but it was his post 9-11 photo show (which he took to galleries in France and Italy) that cemented his place in the pantheon of NYC-based photojournalists, IMHO… Portfolio at http://mrmusichead.com/portfolio-items/allan-tannenbaum/, with the interview at http://mrmusichead.com/featured-artist-allan-tannenbaum/

November 11th –  1) Ghostly International began 16 years ago as an indie record label, and while the successful expansion of Sam Valenti IV’s brand into other leading-edge lifestyle products might have caused some companies to lose focus on the ideals that brought them to market, Ghostly continues to put creativity front and center in the packaging of their music products. In Ben Sisario’s recent article for the New York Times, you’ll have a chance to learn more about Valenti and his company and see some of the unique ways that they’re offering customers limited-edition music and related products, including art prints of Michael Cina’s album art paintings and a 60-pound marble record box – “a D.J.’s standard-issue record crate re-imagined as an ancient ruin”. Cool. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/30/business/media/ghostly-transcends-its-record-label-roots-to-sell-an-ethos.html

2) It’s “Record Sleeves of the Month” time again – Rachael Steven, writing for the U.K.’s Creative Review, shows us examples of the latest in album cover packaging, with art featured this month for records by Santigold (artist as shrink-wrapped merchandise, with photo by Haruhiku Kawaguchi), Co La (type samples as album art), Joanna Newsom (landscape in a fish tank) and many others. Olga Bell’s latest is particularly-impressive: a limited-run package with a holographic package and marbleized vinyl disc by Alex Trochut – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/record-sleeves-of-the-month/

3) There’s a new writer who has just posted an interesting album cover article on The 405 site titled “Album Cover Dissection” (don’t worry – no album covers were harmed in the making of this article). Sam Quinton gives us a summary of recent record cover images that he (she?) has found intriguing, including those for musical acts such as Battles, Adele, Empress Of and others. Of course, the so-spooky-you’ve-gotta-look cover for a new release by FKA twigs – whose 2014 release titled LP1 was last year’s most-talked-about album cover – looks as though it will be a feature on this year’s list as well… http://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/monthly-column-about-artwork-144

November 10th –  1) Nineteen years ago, artist Ronald “Riskie” Brent was trying to build a reputation in his Compton, CA neighborhood for the artwork he sold on t-shirts at a local flea market/swap meet, while at the same time selling drugs on his block just to get by. Rap record producer Suge Knight (who lived nearby) had brought Tupac Shakur and a crew to the area to make a music video and, waiting patiently, Riskie stepped forward to show his work to his neighbor, who was so impressed that, ultimately, he was offered a job at Death Row Records and ended up creating the album art for Tupac’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, the record that was finished and released 2 months after the rapper was murdered. In this story by Michael Namikas on the HipHopDX siteRiskie shares more of the details of his career as one of rap’s best-known graphic artists –  http://hiphopdx.com/interviews/id.2807/title.makaveli-riskie-a-conversation-with-death-row-graphic-artist-ronald-riskie-brent 

2) I wrote not long ago about a new gallery/photo publisher (House of Roulx) I’d found whose chosen mix of subjects and artists (including images from both photographer George DuBose’s archive and that of the late magician Harry Houdini) certainly qualifies them as an important player in the rock fine art photo-selling world, but in this recent interview with the company’s founders – brothers Trevor and Jared Gendron – done by Shawn Setaro for Forbes Magazine, you’ll learn more about their backgrounds (one is a former record label/distributor art director while the other is a successful memorabilia collector and reseller) and how they came to represent the archive of a late photographer who shot the final live performance of singer Janis Joplin – http://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnsetaro/2015/11/03/house-of-roulx-from-hip-hop-to-houdini/

November 9th –  1) The exploits of – and mythology behind – “the world’s only openly-extraterrestrial” art/thrash-metal music collective known as GWAR – are the subjects of both a new book on the topic and an illustrated feature in the December 2015 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine. The book – titled Let There Be GWAR and put together by the duo of Bob Gorman and Roger Gastman, featuring a forward by Kurt Loder and published by Gingko Press – was reviewed by Pitchfork.com‘s Shawna Kenney in September as “a high-end tribute for a band known for spewing fake bodily fluids from effigies like OJ Simpson, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Justin Bieber, just to name a few. The text mixes oral history and narrative from the band’s early art collective days through Grammy nominations, tabloid TV appearances, an ACLU-backed lawsuit, the deaths of members Cory Smoot and Dave Brockie, the Gwar-B-Ques and beyond…” Juxtapoz’s in-depth feature will focus on the band’s visual history, so if you’re a fan (or an adoring slave) of all things “bloody and grotesque”, click on over to the preview at http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/issue-preview-december-2015-with-gwar

2) Following up on their earlier efforts in which they used Google Maps/Street View to find and display the actual locations of several well-known rap/hip-hop record covers, the team at Mass Appeal (per this recent article by Tasia Princejust released Part 2 of their series, showing fans of acts both “classic” and new – including Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kool Moe Dee, Fabolous, T.I. and others – exactly where the cover images were taken. You’ll travel to Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit and several locations in the NYC area (sounds like the basis of a “bucket list” tour for fans of the subject, no?). http://massappeal.com/iconic-hip-hop-albums-in-google-maps-street-view-part-2/?view-all=1

3) As I’ve been doing research for my new book and collecting the comments of a number of creative/production people working in the music business, I have to admit that I have heard a fair amount of exasperation from folks who don’t feel that consumers of media these days can differentiate between the works produced by trained professionals and those done by amateurs with their phone cameras. A recent example of this frustration can be found in this interview with the very talented (and in-demand) photographer David Drebin posted by Shinan Govani on The Toronto Star site where he admits that, these days, he’s embarrassed to let folks know that he’s a photographer because “everybody is a photographer these days”. A graduate of the Parsons/New School in NYC and with his works selling for sizable sums in major gallery shows, I know that there is an appreciation of his work but, in this selfie-driven society, it’s hard not to agree that its harder to get people to stop and appreciate artistry of any type these days – http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2015/11/01/photographer-david-drebin-clicks-dont-like-on-the-selfie-epidemic.html

November 6th –  1) It’s time to let your opinions be known about who’ll be the cream of the latest crop of album covers…Our chums at Art Vinyl have posted the nominees for this year’s “Best Art Vinyl” voting, and in this nice introductory article by Rachael Steven on the Creative Review site, you’ll learn more about a number of the fascinating works that were created for this past year’s hottest music – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/art-vinyls-record-sleeves-of-the-year/  Once you’ve had a chance to look through the 50 nominated covers, click on over to the Voting Page on the Art Vinyl site to select the three you’d like to support for the title of “Best Art Vinyl 2015” – http://www.artvinyl.com/vote/  Winners will be announced in early January and will be featured in a multi-city art show. Best of luck to all the nominees – nice work!

2) Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting/interviewing several album cover artists whose principal clients are bands from “the Dark Side” of the music business – that is, metal music makers in all sub-categories (heavy, Nordic, death, thrash, speed, etc.). As you may know, some of these bands prefer to include cover art that many of you might consider to be anywhere from “gory” to “disgusting” but, as it has been shown throughout the centuries, many “fine artists” have decided to focus on the topics that have resulted in works that are just as disturbing (to illustrate my contention, I invite you to check out some of the works done by masters such as Goya, William Blake, Francis Bacon and, everyone’s favorite, Hieronymus Bosch).Writing for Diffuser.fmJames Stafford has dug deep into the album art archives to share with us his “31 Most Disturbing (Non-Heavy Metal) Album Covers Ever”, opening up the investigation about the reasons why any musical act chooses to catch your eye with imagery that is meant to disturb – http://diffuser.fm/most-disturbing-album-covers/

3) Lastly – it seems that every year we get to see examples of album art that aren’t wholly original. Some are parodies, some homages and, in the case detailed in David Renshaw’s recent article on the NME.com site, some seem to be the results of either laziness or obliviousness…In the article, you’ll read about the upset that Coldplay has caused the members of a band called Bring Me The Horizon simply because the album artwork they’re going to feature on their newest release looks an awful lot like the artwork that BMTH featured on their 2013 release titled Sempiternal. I’m guessing that there will be some modification to Coldplay’s promo materials before the new record (titled A Head Full of Dreams) is released this month – http://www.nme.com/news/bring-me-the-horizon/89392

November 5th –  1) Many of us have fond memories of the simply-but-colorfully-drawn, trippy 2-D original animation featured in the original 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine. With today’s often over-the-top, computer-generated 3-D visuals that dominate film screens, you had to think that, at some point, some fan with the talent and the wherewithal ultimately had to show us what the film might have looked like if the today’s advanced animation tools were available back then. Enter famed comic book illustrator Alex Ross, well-known in that arena for his super-realistic renderings of characters including Batman, Superman, The Avengers and many others. Back in July, with the approval of the Beatles’ organization, he released several illustrations featuring re-done scenes from Yellow Submarine and, just recently (as you’ll see in this interview with Robin Burks on the Tech Times site), he’s expanded his Fab Four-related catalog to include some amazingly-realistic, limited-edition portraits of each of the band’s members. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/100645/20151029/interview-artist-alex-ross-discusses-drawing-the-beatles.htm 

WWABHD? (“what would Al Brodax have done”?)

2) Fans in the Huntington Beach, CA area had until the 22nd of November to visit the Rainwater Gallery on Main Street to walk through an exhibit of punk music-inspired artwork from the likes of Winston Smith, John Bilhooley and several others titled “AnARTchy” (“I am an AnARTchist”). The punk scene was very active in So. California, with bands including T.S.O.L., Black Flag and many others inciting intense moshing in clubs all along the coastline, so the hosting of such a display of art, posters, photos and other memorabilia in a Surf City gallery only makes sense. Read more about the show in Brittany Woolsey’s feature on it in the Los Angeles Times – http://www.latimes.com/socal/hb-independent/entertainment/tn-hbi-et-1029-anartchy-20151029-story.html and check out the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/RainwaterGallery/ for details of the several related events they held during the show’s run.

3) “The Grateful Dead are dead, and they’re grateful” John Belushi once said…but are they REALLY dead? I think not, and even though the title of photographer Jay Blakesberg’s upcoming book on the band’s farewell tour – Fare The Well: Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of The Grateful Dead (published by Rock Out Books), hitting the bookshelves on December 1st – might indicate the band’s demise, their art and merchandising (and roylaties) will thrive forever or, as Gary Lambert writes in an essay from the book, “… after fifty years, it can’t be denied that the Dead’s art became a tradition unto itself…” Read more about it on the Grateful Web site – http://www.gratefulweb.com/articles/fare-thee-well-celebrating-50th-anniversary-grateful-dead

November 4th –   2X Annie Leibovitz and 1X Alex Steinweiss – not a bad day!

1.1) On November 3rd, the now-being-remodeled San Francisco Museum of Modern Art bestowed its inaugural “Contemporary Vision Award” upon photographer extraordinaire Annie Leibovitz for, as they state, ” the extraordinary achievements of global leaders—creators, innovators and change-makers—whose work foregrounds contemporary art as a vital and meaningful part of public life.” One look at her memorable album cover photos for Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Peter Tosh, Tony Bennett and others brings great truth to that description, no? While originally from Connecticut, Ms. Leibovitz received her schooling at the the San Francisco Art Institute and went to work in 1970 as a photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine. https://www.sfmoma.org/press/release/inaugural-sfmoma-contemporary-vision-award-to-hono/

Here’s a link to a photo from that night’s event, tweeted by a staffer at the Style section of the San Francisco Chronicle –
https://twitter.com/SFC_Style/status/661765970604658688

1.2) Leibovitz also announced that she’ll be bringing a gallery show based on her successful photo project titled Women to 10 countries, beginning in London in January, 2016 and subsequently moving around the world with shows in Tokyo, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, New York, and Zurich. This project began years ago with the prompting of her then-partner Susan Sontag, became a popular photo book in 1999 and, since, has expanded to include portraits of many notable women, with recent examples including Amy Schumer, Venus & Serena Williams and Caitlyn Jenner (you’ll recall Annie’s first photos of Ms. Jenner for Vanity Fair magazine earlier this past summer). Writing for the ArtNet Daily site, Amah-Rose Abrams gives us more of the details –
https://news.artnet.com/people/annie-leibovitz-reveals-new-women-subjects-349697

2) Anya Tchoupakov from The Creators Project recently posted an overview of a new book by the Taschen publishing house – collected and edited by art directors Kevin Reagan (formerly with Geffen Records) and Steven Heller (formerly with The New York Times) – that provides album art fans with a comprehensive look at the life and work of the man considered to be “the father of the album cover”, Alex Steinweiss. Appropriately titled Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, the 550+ page book includes hundreds of images made by the man that, 75 years ago, convinced a skeptical employer – Columbia Records – to consider the idea that an attractively-packaged record would appeal to consumers and, therefore, increase the likelihood that they’d buy it (what a concept!). Steinweiss would then go on to establish the “standards” regarding imagery, type-styles, etc., that would soon be copied and employed by record labels globally. Anyone interested in the history of this art form should both read this article and then add this book to their collection – http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/the-father-of-album-covers

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

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