Tag Archives: Grammy Award

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

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

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

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

In this month’s summary, you’ll find a robust offering of stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business. You’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works are quite busy – as I’ve been, too, gathering these stories so that I can share the fascinating details about what they do with you and whoever you choose to share this information with. There continues to be an impressive number of items about album cover art/artists in the daily news cycle, adding stories of great interest and fascination to the month’s recap of the articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll find on a wide range of related topics.

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) Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1942 and raised in Penicuik, Midlothian, a town SW of the city, Albert Watson’s technical training in the arts took place first at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (up the East Coast, in Dundee) where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design and then at the Royal College of Art in London, where his focus was on film and television. Born blind in one eye, he nevertheless enrolled in photography classes as well and, in 1970, moved to Los Angeles, where his wife had accepted a teaching job and he began his search for work as a photographer. Within a year’s time, he’d sold a couple of images to Max Factor and drew attention to his talents behind the lens.

Watson opened his own photo studio in L.A. in 1974 and travelled between the coasts frequently on fashion magazine assignments for clients including GQ, Mademoiselle and Harper’s Bazaar magazines, where his 1973 portrait of film director Alfred Hitchcock launched his career as one of the most sought-after celebrity portaitists. A portrait of an Indian Chief he’d taken was selected for use on the cover of Chicago folk band Mason Proffit’s 1974 double LP compilation titled Come And Gone and won him the Grammy Award for “Best Album Cover” the next year. In 1976, he landed a gig at Vogue magazine, which brought him to NYC to stay.

Since that time, Watson’s photos have been featured on several hundred covers for Vogue and its international editions. His celebrity photos have appeared in Arena, Esquire, Interview, Max, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Stern, Time, Vibe and others, while his list of clients in the advertising world includes companies such as Acura, Armani, Chanel, Clairol, Escada, Estee Lauder, Gap, Lancome, Levis, L’Oreal, Max Factor, Revlon, Sony Music, Toyota and many more. Some of the other album covers he’s shot include such memorable images for records including Jay-Z’s The Blueprints 2: The Gift and the Curse, Love Deluxe, Lovers Rock and Greatest Hits for Sade, Carly Simon – The Best of Carly Simon, Keep The Faith for Faith Evans,  Michael Jackson’s Invincible and LL Cool J’s All The World: Greatest Hits, among others. He found more work in the entertainment world producing photos for dozens of films/film promo posters, including The DaVinci Code, Flashdance, Kill Bill, Memoirs of a Geisha and others and further applied his film and TV production training by directing more than 650 TV commercials.  Additionally, Watson has served as the official Royal Photographer for Prince Andrew’s wedding to Sarah Ferguson and for His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco.

In addition to his busy commercial schedule, Albert has spent much of his “free” time working on projects based on his travels around the world. These images, along with his portraits of celebrities from all aspects of the entertainment, sports and political worlds, have been featured in a number of  museum and gallery shows, including exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the City Art Centre in Edinburgh, the Museum of Modern Art in Milan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography in New York City and others and are included in the permanent collections at the NPG and the Met. A new show featuring 29 photos that span his entire portfolio – landscapes, celebrity portraits, fashion photography, etc. – and titled Albert Watson: KAOS has just opened at Opiom Gallery, in Opio, France (just off the D7 East of Grasse), and will be on view through June 10, 2017. This grouping had its first showing last year at the St. Moritz Art Masters in Switzerland and, later this year, art book publisher Taschen will be releasing a special collector’s edition of a book by the same name.

Crave online contributor Miss Rosen gives up an overview of the show on their web site at http://www.craveonline.com/art/1248555-photographer-albert-watson-is-the-master-of-kaos-and-beauty#/slide/1    while more information on this show, along with directions to the venue, can be found on the gallery’s web site at http://opiomgallery.com/en/expositions/presentation/39/albert-watson-kaos

b) This year marks the 50th anniversary of a celebrated time and place in American music/art/pop culture history, that being of the “Summer of Love” in the San Francisco Bay area. This was the epicenter in the U.S. of rebellion against “The Man” and all of the conservatism he stood for, and so it only with a bit of irony that an industry was quickly built around the art, music and other lifestyle accouterments needed to fully participate in the festivities taking place in SF’s parks and the Haight-Ashbury district.

From now until August 20th at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate park, visitors can tour an exhibit called The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock and Roll that celebrates all of the groovy, trippy and far-out elements that defined the psychedelic scene in mid-1967. You’ll find hundreds of examples of the music (Grateful Dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, etc.), clothing and, of course, artwork – even a recreation of a fully-stocked poster store (Mouse, Kelley, Conklin, Moscoso, Crumb, etc., doing work for Fillmore, Family Dog, etc.) and, as you’ll note by reading Sara Wood’s recently-posted article on the topic, even those who thought they’d find the whole thing a bit too twee (bummer, bummer) were swept up a bit in the gaiety on display – http://www.ebar.com/arts/art_article.php?sec=general&article=412

More information on the shows location and hours can be found at https://deyoung.famsf.org/summer-love-art-fashion-and-rock-roll , while a rather nicely-done online presentation that includes  a special section about psychedelic posters can be toured via this link – http://digitalstories.famsf.org/summer-of-love#posters

BONUS #1 – while you’re in the general vicinity, those of you with a more-educational interest in mid-60s counterculture might also want to catch the BART to go and visit the Hippie Modernism show at the Berkeley Art Museum.  According to the show’s promo materials, the exhibition “demonstrates how the counterculture, once dismissed as a social and aesthetic anomaly, introduced ideas and techniques that have profoundly shaped contemporary life, including ecological awareness, social justice, and open communication.”

Wow, man. I think I’m just going to trip out on the pretty pictures…

https://ced.berkeley.edu/events-media/events/hippie-modernism-the-struggle-for-utopia-1

BONUS #2 – The ongoing struggle between the Boomer Generation’s desire to play up the importance of the Bay Area’s “Summary of Love” fifty years ago (!!) and its impact on popular culture versus the whining of “enough already” by reporters from younger generations is prominently on display in this new article by two KQED reporters about the current show on the subject at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. While Emma and Sarah might be distressed by what they feel “is the kind of programming every San Francisco institution is apparently required to produce by law (AKA a strong promotion from the city’s tourism bureau) during the summer of 2017,” they later find themselves admitting that one aspect of the show – the display of over 150 posters and handbills done by noted psychedelic-era artists such as Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson, Lee Conklin, Victor Moscoso and others, as well as a demonstration area showing how these screen-prints and lithographs are created – are something of interest and make the tour worth your while…

While nostalgia might be overplayed these days, the simple fact that people of all ages are enthralled even today by the artwork created by the aforementioned artists and their compatriots (along with the album covers they created for bands including the Grateful Dead, Santana, Journey and many others) should quash any inference that these works are less than worthy examples of fine art for the ages. Look and learn, kiddies.

https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2017/04/12/de-young-summer-of-love-50th-anniversary/

c) All the way over on the other side of the country, rock photography fans in and around the Philadelphia, PA area can bop on over to take a look at a new show built around the amazing portfolio of noted rock photographer Bob Gruen, the man responsible for an impressive number of images we all know and love. On display now through May 26th at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, “Rockers” puts on display many of the highlights of Gruen’s 40+ year career during which he has captured many of the top acts in the music world, gaining world-wide recognition for his works featuring artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Muddy Waters, Tina Turner, Elton John, Aerosmith, Madonna, Kiss & Alice Cooper.

As chief photographer for Rock Scene Magazine in the 1970s, Bob specialized in candid, behind the scenes photo features. He toured extensively with the emerging punk and new wave bands including the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Patti Smith Group and Blondie. This seminal body of work reflects a profound commitment and long-standing personal friendship with the artists, with perhaps his best-known buddy, the late John Lennon, serving as the model in one of Bob’s most-famous shots, that being the one Lennon wearing a “New York City” t-shirt, captured in 1974.

PhillyVoice.com writer Sinead Cummings provides us with a brief intro to the show at http://www.phillyvoice.com/bob-gruen-photo-exhibit-gives-intimate-look-at-rock-n-roll-icons/ while more information on the exhibition, including info about upcoming activities related to the show such as an artist’s interview and book signing on May 3rd, can be found on the gallery’s site at http://drexel.edu/pearlsteingallery/exhibitions-events/exhibition-archive/2017/April/Bob%20Gruen%20ROCKERS/

d) While much of the world outside of NYC knows the creative output of Alan Vega for the now-iconic eagle logo he created for the Ramones (yes, you’ve got that t-shirt) he was also, in fact, a trend-setting musician, one-half of the avant electro-punk duo and Max’s Kansas City/CBGBs regulars known as Suicide. Balancing a music career – one that began in the early 70s (in-your-face punk before there was a “punk”) before moving on to solo work and collaborations with other acts including Ric Ocasek, Al Jourgenson of Ministry and Alex Chilton (among others) – with visual output that included well-regarded gallery shows that featured his “insult paintings”, sculptures and other works, Vega died in 2016 at the age of 78.

Film-maker and Vega family friend Paul Tschinkel spent the last year since’s Vega’s death working on a documentary film featuring interviews with Alan and his family and performance footage from several different periods during Vega’s career and, for those of you who were in the NYC area on April 14th, I hope that you had the opportunity to watch a screening of Alan Vega: An Artist’s Story during a “Howl! Happening” at the Howl! Arts Gallery on East 1st St. Gallery 98’s Mark H. Miller was on hand to MC and several luminaries, including Vega’s wife and son and musician Martin Rev (his partner in Suicide), were there to share in the evening’s festivities with all in attendance. More info can be found at  http://gallery.98bowery.com/news/alan-vega-of-suicide-video-tribute-screens-friday/ and also on the gallery’s site – https://www.howlarts.org/event/paul-tschinkel-alan-vega-an-artists-story/

e) Photographer/curator/gallery owner Guido Harari’s Wall of Sound Spring Group show featuring photos by David Burnett, Merri Cyr, Henry Diltz, Jim Marshall, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock, Norman Seeff, Masayoshi Sukita and many others opened Sunday, the 16th of April at the gallery in Alba, Italy (SE of Turin, NW of Genoa). Titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Hearts and running through June 11th, the show will put on display dozens of well-known album art images, artist portraits and more, with some shown in public for the first time.

In celebration of both the launch of the new season of Mick Rock’s Ovation TV series (On The Record with Mick Rock) and the just-released documentary on Mr. Rock’s career as an in-demand rock photographer (titled SHOT! and produced by VICE Films and Straight Up Films), there will be an expanded selection of photos from this acclaimed shooter on display in this new show.

More info can be found on the gallery’s site – http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/rock–n–roll-hearts-e21

f) Just a quick reminder to all the Chicago-area rock art, fashion, memorabilia and music fans (as my childhood friend Bozo the Clown used to say – “Hey, that’s me!”) – the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism travelling show is now running at Chicago’s Navy Pier – http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/

A quick trip through the show’s online picture gallery shows many examples of the wide range of creative album covers that have graced the band’s recordings over the course of their 50+ career – http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/image-gallery/

g) 83-year-old Michael Mendel’s family fled Nazi Germany (through Holland, then to Cuba before coming to the U.S. and the New York area in 1938) when he was only 4 years old.

More recently, he used his talents as a painter (which he picked up on late in life) to create a series of black & white and hand-colored images that track some of the key moments of his life and flight to escape persecution to come to America (watch this short YouTube video, where you’ll find the artist taking you through some samples of that work – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr2E2zVL72g), where he went on to become an in-demand art director (first for Columbia Records, then on to Epic, Paramount and others) who worked on hundreds of record covers, including ones for Tommy James, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Curtis Mayfield, Van McKoy, Roy Orbison, Small Faces, The Stylistics and many others.

He retired from the music business in the late 1980s and switched his focus to producing watercolor paintings, so it is with great pleasure that I’m able to share an article by Bronx Times reporter Patrick Rocchio that introduces us to a show that was running at the Riverdale Senior Center  through the month of April in which a large selection of Mendel’s album artwork was on display – http://www.bxtimes.com/stories/2017/13/13-mendel-2017-03-31-bx.html   His son David is also promoting his “Just For The Record” show on his Instagram account (pretty cool Dad, no?) – http://www.imgsta.com/media/raisedonradio/BSP0cFDhMhw

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Of the musical acts that were recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Pearl Jam has always worked almost as hard on their visuals – their album covers, merchandise and concert posters – as they have on their music, and one of the reasons why they’re consistently coming up with “just the right” designs could be that they’ve worked with the same design firm – Seattle’s Ames Bros – for almost their entire career. The firms ties to the band go one degree further than most in that one of the two principals – designer Barry Ament – is a sibling of Pearl Jam’s bassist, Jeff Ament, and the two have shared inspirations and ideas (along with Barry’s partner Coby Schultz and the rest of band’s members, who all participate in design development) ever since they were kids.

In this recent video profile served up on Seattle’s 12News/ABC website (with reporting done by reporter Jake Wittenberg), viewers are given a brief tour of the agency’s studio and archives, where you’ll see a number of both well-known and unique designs created for the band over the past 20+ years. The duo are quite humbled by the fact that their #1 client has now been enshrined into the R&RHOF – “It’s been fun,” said Barry. “The guys have a lot to be proud of right now.”

http://www.12newsnow.com/entertainment/music/pearl-jam-artists-excited-about-hall-of-fame/429885541

b) As we’ve just passed the one year anniversary of the unfortunate death of Prince, it was nice to see the folks at CNN change their focus a bit away from the antics in Washington, DC and offer up a 2-minute package (from Stephanie Elam) featuring photographer Allen Beaulieu, the man that brought us the memorable photos found on the covers of several of the Purple One’s early hit records (Prince, Dirty Mind and Controversy). In this interview, Allen gives us a teensy bit of background on the hows and whys for each cover image but, to me at least, the most-moving part of the interview centered on the fact that he wished that he’d stayed closer to the late musician, not knowing that a big hug received during photography during the 1999 tour would be his last.

The relationships between the photographer and his subject can grow deep –

http://www.cnn.com/videos/entertainment/2017/04/21/prince-photographer-memories-elam-pkg.cnn

c) The recent Record Store Day festivities put a lot of talent on display including, I think you’ll agree, a lot of fine work on the packaging, with colored vinyl, limited-edition releases and a ton of related merch showcasing the output of designers, photographers, illustrators and the like in close collaboration with the musician and label clients. However, in this recent Creative Boom article by Katy Cowan, you’ll find an added degree of creativity in the RSD-related work of the “masters of paper craft” Nearly Normal as they joined forces with Amsterdam-based record retailer Concerto to produce some quite-special items for an exhibit that will be on display in the store through May 19th called Vinylize!

According to the store’s site, “at the invitation of the Amsterdam Shop Around, about 50 artists used their favorite record sleeve as a canvas. The artwork of various artists such as Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and Blondie (to name a few) got a “VINYLIZE makeover”, resulting in a completely new and unique Artwork.” In the case of the one-off cover created by Nearly Normal’s Jaime Kiss, the inspiration was Kraftwerk’s 1981 hit Computer World, and not only did the agency produce a cut paper-based cover homage, they also took it further by creating a series of fine art prints for collectors and producing an animated (8-bit style) music video for the song based on that artwork. Learn more about the project and see what true love hath inspired –

http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/vinylize-paper-crafters-nearly-normal-celebrate-record-store-days-10th-anniversary-with-kraftwerk-tribute/

d) For some clients, image is everything, and in the competitive world of mid-1990s Gangsta Rap records, the more you could extol just how bad-ass you were, the better your credibility was with your target audience. In a recent Instagram posting (that was reported in Peter A. Berry’s article on the XXL.com web site, photographer Chi Modu shares the tale of “the making of” the quite-nasty images for the packaging of Mobb Deep’s 1996 record Hell on Earth.

Using the gangster movie Scarface for its thematic clues, Modu tells us that, in an effort to re-create a scene where Tony Montana had dumped drugs and cash on a large marble table to display the spoils of his efforts, the production crew had scouted a location inside a monastery in NYC and rented the space while not exactly sharing the details of what they’d be doing with the property owner. As you might figure, much hilarity ensued – http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2017/04/chi-modu-story-shooting-mobb-deep-hell-on-earth-cover

The folks at XXL followed this article up with one later in the month about Modu’s 1993 portrait of a young Snoop Dogg standing near a road sign on California Highway 187 (better known to locals as the section of Venice Blvd. that runs from Venice to Culver City) that’s now being used as the cover for Snoop’s soon-to-be-released new record titled Neva Left.

http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2017/04/snoop-doggs-new-album-cover-neva-left-chi-modu-photo/

e) Fans of album art with a creative streak are always working on ways to impress us with their talents and appreciation of great covers of the rock ‘n’ roll era. Sometimes, they’ll take well-known covers and manipulate them using today’s graphic design tools – mostly on computer – which produces many of the animated gifs, parodies and old-cover-with-new-characters items that pop up here in the ACHOF news feed from time to time. Rarely, however, do amateur artists go “old school” and, when they do, it’s wonderful to see what they’ve been able to create using just the basics – paints, a pencil or, in this case, a camera, some construction paper and a glass prism.

At the following link, the editors of the PetaPixel site have posted an interview with Mason Maxwell, member of the Reddit ITAP (“I Took A Picture”) group and a guy with a Nikon 5100 who decided to take this on – i.e., re-creating the memorable cover graphic for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon – while listening to the record several times for motivation.

https://petapixel.com/2017/03/30/photographer-recreates-dark-side-moon-album-cover-camera/

Check out Mason’s Reddit page via this link https://www.reddit.com/r/itookapicture/comments/627mny/itap_recreation_of_the_dark_side_of_the_moon/

f) What does an artist do with his or her day? Dennis Morris, the man responsible for some of rock’s best-known album cover portraits, including you’ve-seen-them works for an impressively-broad range of acts including Bob Marley, Public Image Ltd and Marianne Faithful (among many others), works to answer that query as he takes us on a video tour of a “typical” day as an in-demand celebrity photographer.

Morris, whose desire to become a photographer began at an early age (he began shooting photographs at the age of 8 and started his professional career began at the age of 11 when he sold some shots he’d taken of a political demonstration to the Daily Mirror newspaper), makes sure that his camera is never far from hand and continues to photograph popular figures in all walks of life, with his shots featured in publications such as GQ, People, Rolling Stone, the Sunday Times, Time, V magazine and Vogue, among many others.

This video is part of a series on BBC4 called What Do Artists Do All Day? which, over the course of its run, has also done features on two more album art-related subjects – graphic artist/designer Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s and Live Aid fame) and photographer Albert Watson, whose album cover credits include shots for Carly Simon, John Denver, Sade and LL Cool J, among many others…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rjr1d/episodes/guide

g) I really need to check my Google Alerts more often – sorry about the delay in reporting this, but noted artist Alan Aldridge died several weeks ago in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 73. Anyone who has paid even the slightest bit of attention to Pop Culture visuals over the past 50 years has seen numerous examples of Aldridge’s work, having designed logos for the House of Blues and the Hard Rock Cafes, illustrated dozens of book covers (with a focus on science fiction titles) and, for music lovers, created an impressive portfolio of album covers, including memorable examples such as Goodbye for Cream, Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy for Elton John, A Quick One for The Who and Wonderwall Music for former Beatle George Harrison. Beatles fans will also remember Alan’s art direction and illustrations for one of the most-popular lyrics books ever published, that being The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics.

Born June, 1943 in London, UK, Aldridge’s first design job was as an illustrator for The Sunday Times Magazine. In early 1965, he was hired by Penguin Book’s editor Tony Godwin to become their art director and, for the next two years, he designed a number of well-received book covers, with a focus on science fiction titles. In 1968, he launched his own graphic design firm (called INK) and, going forward, his unique, psychedelic illustrative style was applied to a wide range of projects, with Aldridge credited for creating memorable designs/illustrations for clients including Falcon Motorcycles, Heineken, Lucky Brand, MAC cosmetics, Samson, Paul Smith, Virgin Atlantic and many others.

Sarah Dawood’s obituary for the late artist can be found on the Design Week site at https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/20-26-february-2017/remembering-alan-aldridge-revolutionary-graphic-designer-swinging-sixties/

h) Continuing on with the bad news, another famous contributor to the album cover art scene – photographer Don Hunstein – died recently at the age of 88 following a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Hunstein grew up in St. Louis, MO and attended Washington University, graduating in 1950 with a degree in English. After college he enlisted in the US Air Force and was stationed in Fairford, England and assigned a desk job. It was this assignment that allowed him to travel around Europe. He began photographing casually, taking pictures to send home to his family, and then with the help of a Leica M3 purchased in the PX and inspired by a book of renowned street photographer Henri Cartier Bresson’s work, his hobby began to take him on a lifelong path. Transferring to a base near London, he joined a local camera club and took evening classes at London’s Central School of Art and Design, becoming influenced by the artists and designers whom he met there. He returned to the States in 1954, ending up in New York City, where he eventually landed an apprenticeship in a commercial photography studio. There he honed his photography skills by mastering large format cameras and lighting.

He soon met and was mentored by Deborah Ishlon, who worked in the publicity department at Columbia Records. She offered him a job helping her run the photo library there and supplying prints to the press. As he began to take his own photos for the company, they recognized his talent, and he gradually worked his way into the position of Director of Photography for CBS/Columbia Records. As staff photographer during Columbia’s heyday as a major rock, jazz and classical music label, Don was there to witness – and photograph – a number of iconic moments in the early history of rock music.

Over the course of his career at CBS, he shot over 200 LP and CD covers and documented the recording of many of the great albums in music history, producing instantly-recognizable portraits of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis and many others. Notable examples of his album cover work  include Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan; Blood Sweat & Tears – More Than Ever; Al Kooper – You Never Know Who Your Friends Are…; Cryan’ Shames – Scratch The Sky; Johnny Cash – Love and Bridge Over Troubled Water for Simon & Garfunkel .

You can find more about the man and his life via the following obituary articles – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/don-hunstein-freewheelin-bob-dylan-photographer-dead-w473676  by Daniel Kreps for Rolling Stone Magazine and Richard Sandomir’s portrait in the New York Timeshttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/arts/music/don-hunstein-dead-photographer-of-music-stars.html

i) Now, on to articles about the living (!!) – My wife just started a new job here in Chicago and, while meeting some of the nice people around her office, one mentioned that her grandson was in a band and had done the album art for their records, so she forwarded me a link and, after reading it and taking a look at the work that’d been done, thought that you might enjoy it as well. Twin Peaks is a popular local “garage/pop/punk” band (with psychedelic tendencies) that’s been together since 2010 and has released three albums along the way, including 2016’s Down In Heaven, which features artwork done by the band’s guitarist and vocalist Clay Frankel.

At first glance, you might think that the covers were done by another well-known indie artist/musician, Daniel Johnston, best-known to design fans for the “Hi, How Are You (The Unfinished Album)” t-shirt sported by Kurt Cobain in an often-seen photo of the late rocker, and Frankel, in this 2016 interview by Lucy Bourton for the ItsNiceThat.com site, admits to Johnston’s influence in his colorful-yet-slightly-disturbing approach to his artwork (“I really sucked at everything I tried”, he’s quoted. “Picasso my ass. But it didn’t matter. It was fun”). Working on his art during the band’s down-time (which, by the looks of their upcoming tour schedule, on the road for shows in the U.S., Canada and Europe over the next several months with White Mystery), he’s also supplied his artwork for the music video for the group’s latest single, “Holding Roses”. You can read the entire interview via the link – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/clay-frankel-twin-peaks-070916 and learn more about the band and its ongoing activities at http://twinpeaksdudes.com/, where you’ll also be able to watch the music video just mentioned.

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) You might recall that, several weeks ago, I reported on a series of stamps released by the Isle of Man postal service that were based on the artwork of the great album art designer Roger Dean, with the collection also including some new works Dean created expressly for this commission. The artwork was on display to the public in several exhibitions in late 2016 and was returned to the Sayle Gallery in the town of Douglas on the Isle of Man, where a number of original works, along with production elements such as sketches and production proofs, were then offered to collectors in the area.

Since then, according to this article by LC on the IsleofMan.com site, four of the works, including Pathways at Night (from the YES Progeny album set) and two studies created for the cover of Moody Blues bassist John Lodge’s 1977 LP Natural Avenue were purchased by fans and collectors and have found happy homes on the Isle. Now THAT’s supporting local industry – http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/82330/roger-dean-paintings-acquired-by-isle-of-man-collectors

b) The special fund-raising photography auction held several days ago that featured a number of highly-collectible works donated by Mr. John from his personal collection of many the industry’s best-known photographers resulted in the raising of over $3.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. As I reported a short while back, the 120+ works included images produced by artists including Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe and others, with the big bucks being shelled out for several wonderful Ansel Adams prints, including $559K for Clearing Winter Storm, $439K for Aspens, Northern New Mexico (1958) and $112K for a color print titled Church, Sunset, Rear, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, c. 1948.

A 1978 Robert Mapplethorpe photo of Blondie’s Debbie Harry fetched over $32K, beating out a 1980 photo of the same subject by Andy Warhol, which was purchased for a mere $18,750. You can tour through all of the auction’s results – a mini-exhibition of some of the world’s best photography – via the link to the Christie’s site – http://www.christies.com/salelanding/index.aspx?intsaleid=26921

c) In early April, the team at Gotta Have Rock & Roll released the details of what was going to be on offer in their “Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction April 2017”, and a quick look through the huge (1400+ item) catalog revealed prints by Ringo Starr, a selection of Beatles-related production artwork (including a negative taken from the “Hey Jude” photo session), a Stevie Nicks painting from the late Nicks/Fleetwood Mac cover artist Herb Worthington’s personal art collection and a custom-painted canvas stage backdrop used by the Ramones over 2 years of touring (opening bid of $10K).

The actual auction took place on April 29th, so if you’d like to take a look at what was sold in the two main categories of interest here at the ACHOF, you can click on over to these two pre-sorted pages – https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html   and https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Photographs-110.html

where you’ll find that one of the Ringo prints sold for it’s opening bid ($1000), the Stevie Nicks painting went unsold (not a lot of buyers in this category, for some reason), while the Ramones canvas stage backdrop was won with a final price paid of $13,000. The Hey Jude photo also went unsold, but a negative of the band from the Sgt. Pepper’s photo shoot did find a new home, won with a $200 bid.

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Back in February, I’d reported on the amazing success of a book from the Genesis Publishing house (REVOLVER 50: THE GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION ) that celebrated artist Klaus Voorman’s trend-setting (and Grammy Award-winning) work on the cover for the Revolver LP by The Beatles, released 50 years ago (all of the 500 copies printed of the Deluxe and Collector’s editions sold out in 12 days!). Well, with Voorman still quite active and still quite creative, the team has put together a new product – a series of fine art prints/collages, based on an updated Revolver design and individually-embellished by Voorman, making each one unique – and are now taking orders for one of the 250 of these prints that will be made.

According to Voorman, this new print will serve to illustrate how he’s reflected on his original design over the years – “I had an idea of doing a collage again so people could get an original in their hands… It’s a different version of the cover… right in the middle of creating it.” On top of a new pen-and-ink-based print, Voorman will lay on other printed elements – pens, tubes of paint, etc. – that represent the artist’s craft of making a collage. “A pair of scissors lying there, a knife or a pencil or a brush, all of these things you actually use when you are at the table working on a piece.”

To help you get a look at the artist and his take on this new work, the folks at Genesis have also posted a video – https://vimeo.com/213979087 – while if you want to see more of the works being offered and, if then so inspired, place an order for one for your very own, click on over to the publisher’s site –http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-the-collage-series-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm

b) Several years ago, when I was still running my art gallery, I had the pleasure of selling a line of limited-edition sculptures made by a company called KnuckleBonz. While there have always been rock music-related figurines available – vinyl dolls, bobble heads, etc. – the products that the team at KnuckleBonz were producing were definitely several notches above the norm (and priced accordingly). Over the years, they’ve created hand-painted models of illustrious rock and rollers such as Ozzy, Dio, Rush, Lemmy and several others. On the bookcase behind my desk stands one of my favorites – Keith Emerson, standing in front of a rack of synthesizer (mine’s wearing a miniature baseball cap I found!) and, in another room, Jimi Hendrix stands, captured in mid-solo.

I haven’t reported on these folks for a while, as my focus remains on album art-related items, but a recent press release from the company about several new items has broken the curse, and I’m happy to tell you that two upcoming releases might be of interest to album art fans looking for “something a little different”. The first item is a new statue of Alice Cooper (titled “Alice Cooper II (Snake)”) which shows the world’s best-known shock-rocker posed with his pet python in one hand, microphone in the other, and standing on top of a base that replicates the colors and textures of one of Cooper’s best-known records, 1973’s Billion Dollar Babies (with original artwork done by the talented team at Pacific Eye & Ear). The second item is a new work that continues on the company’s recognition of album art iconography, begun early on with their sculpture of Rush’s “Starman”, with the upcoming release of a statue based on Motorhead’s mascot Warpig, AKA Snaggletooth, The Bastard, The Iron Boar, etc.. When fantasy artist Joe Petagno’s first iteration of the character was used on the band’s  self-titled 1977 debut recording, little did we know that, now 40 years later, that character would rank up there in the pantheon of iconic rock logo/images, along with band IDs such as the Lips & Tongue for the Rolling Stones, the Flying Eagle logo for the Ramones and the Misfits’ Skull Fiend, but your attendance at any metal music concert would certainly support that assertion.

In any case, this meticulously-crafted bust, complete with image-appropriate scrap heap base with chains and skulls, would certainly make a great gift for the metalhead on your gift-shopping list. See these two items, along with the other just announced, officially-licensed sculptures of Syd Barrett, Lemmy Kilmeister and an alt Alice Cooper model (in strait-jacket) by visiting the KnuckleBonz site at https://knucklebonz.com/shop/

c) 40 years after “God Save The Queen” became one of the most-recognized punk-era images, artist Jamie Reid is back with two new prints – one, an update to his classic Swastika Eyes and the other making clear his take on the new “American Royal Family”. These new works will be released to hungry fans as part of the Cultural Traffic counter-culture print and publications fair that will take place in NYC beginning on May 7th and where, according to the folks at L-13 (a Clerkenwell, London-based ” creative platform, spiritual home and technical epicenter for a small group of artists that founder Steve Lowe has found himself working with – both in collaborative venture and by way of support for the individual artists” – i.e., the people who’ll be printing and publishing these new works), “40 years after Jamie Reid first put Swastikas on the eyes of the Queen and stuck a safety pin through her mouth, he now turns his iconoclastic attention to the United States of America using elements from the original Swastika Eyes collage…All profits from the sale of the print will be used to publish a bound version of Eight Fold Year: a book of the Druidic calendar by Jamie Reid.”

I want one, I want one (but I won’t tell you which one – YOU guess). You can take a look at the new prints and, if so motivated, place a pre-order via one or both of the following links:

http://l-13.org/product/jamie-reid-swastika-eyes-queen/

http://l-13.org/product/jamie-reid-swastika-eyes-trump/

d) More Mick Rock-related news – Back in 2013, photographer Mick Rock and his buddy Lou Reed were working on a book for Genesis Publishing that based on Rock’s deep archive of photos and film of the seminal NYC rocker/trendsetter. Unfortunately (in so many ways), Reed died while the book was first released and, out of respect for the family, further sales were put on hold. As this November is the 45th anniversary of the release of the ground-breaking (and, certainly, career-breaking) Transformer LP, the family and Mr. Rock have agreed to celebrate the legacy by re-starting sales of both the book and a special series of fine art prints.

While the ultra-deluxe version of the book completely sold out during the initial offering, there are still copies that will be made available this Fall from the quite-nice, Mick Rock-signed Transformer Limited Edition (2000 total copies) version, which comes complete with a specially-produced 7″ picture disc and an updated photo/essay booklet. Priced quite reasonably at £295.00, pre-orders are now being accepted at  http://www.genesis-publications.com/transformer-by-lou-reed-and-mick-rock/

Photo collectors now also have a chance to own one of the six framed photo prints in Rock’s “Transformer Series“. While they were working together on the book, Reed and Rock chose these previously-unreleased images to offer to collectors, with the selected photos of “personal and historical significance… the Transformer Series reveals Lou the performer, the New Yorker, the artist and the friend.”

The limited edition, 20″ x 30″ signed and estate-stamped giclee’ portraits are being sold for £1900.00, plus shipping. Orders are being accepted at http://www.genesis-publications.com/transformer-loureed-mickrock/default.htm

I’m particularly fond of two of the prints, one called “Transformer” that’s a contact sheet-style image of the July 14, 1972 Transformer photo shoot, while the one called “Make Up” is done in the same way (make up and lighting) that the album cover image was created – quite striking.

Bonus – here’s a link to a recent posting on the Entertainment Weekly site in which Rock gives us some background info on the shooting of the Transformer album cover. It’s also where you can watch the preview for the aforementioned Shot! documentary – http://ew.com/music/2017/04/07/mick-rock-lou-reed-transformer/

e) According to photographer Jimmy Steinfeldt’s site bio, Jimmy “is a self-taught photographer who has only to squint through the lens for inspiration.” Citing photographer Richard Avedon and cinematographer Karl Freund among his strongest influences, Jimmy’s talents have brought him from his first gigs as a shooter at local concerts – his 1986 shots of Madonna for Rolling Stone kicked his career into high gear- to a 30+ year career (which has included a 2007 honor as Photographer of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards), during which he’s produced portraits of everyone from Bob Dylan and Miles Davis to John Denver, Willie Nelson and Dee Dee Ramone. His album cover credits include work for Denver, Davis and Ramone and, after adding in shots for Paul Westerberg, Matt Sorum and Dishwalla, among others, you’ll not be a bit surprised to find that, from time to time, he’s been able to tap into his portfolio to produce very-desirable photo books for collectors as well.

Steinfeldt’s newest book – Rock ‘N’ Roll Lens Volume II – has just come to market and, according to the press, it includes “fifty of his best black and white photographs, as well as commentary attributed to the stories behind them from his celebrity friends. Contributors include Lou Gossett Jr., Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Clem Burke of Blondie, Slim Jim of the Stray Cats, Apollonia of Purple Rain, and more.”

Read more on the artist and his work in this Music Desk article on the Broadway World site – http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmusic/article/Acclaimed-Photographer-Jimmy-Steinfeldt-Releases-Second-Volume-of-Book-Rock-N-Roll-Lens-20170310 . You can order the book on the artist’s site at http://www.jimmysteinfeldt.com/book.html

5) Other articles of interest –

a) There’s been a fair amount written about this being the 50th anniversary of the release of what many consider to be the record with the “best” album cover ever made – that being The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s album. Whether or not you think it’s the ultimate album cover, no one can deny that it has been incredibly inspirational, particularly to those musical acts and album cover artists who’ve chosen to make parodies (or are they homages?) of the record’s cover over the years.

In an effort to show us the wide range of styles and subjects that have been used to create these other works (including several newer ones from the man who lead the effort to create the original – Sir Peter Blake – the staff at the Ultimate Classic Rock site have put together a slide show of over 40 (42, to be exact) of these covers, including ones fairly well-known, such as the cover for We’re Only In It For The Money by Frank Zappa & The Mothers (one of my favorite t-shirts), to Eric Idle and The Rutles Sgt. Rutter’s Darts Club Band (featuring the classic Rutles tune “Cheese and Onions”) to covers by The Muppets, The Simpsons and MAD Magazine. I’m really quite shocked that this isn’t a must-do project idea for any self-respecting art school curriculum.

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/beatles-sgt-pepper-cover-art-tributes/

b) When musician Damon Albairn and illustrator/animator Jamie Hewlett first teamed up years ago to create their very modern animated rock band (sorry Cartoon Beatles) Gorillaz, the music world didn’t know quite what to make of them. Where could “the guy from Blur” and the comic book illustrator who brought us Tank Girl take its audience? Fans of animation understood right away – when you live in AnimationLand, you can go anywhere, do anything or be anyone, and so over the years, they’ve taken us on a musical journey – via music videos, live shows, web sites and other multi-media extravaganzas with some impressive special guests – through a world inhabited by denizens both natural and supernatural.

Now, after 7 years without a new Gorillaz record (and corresponding trips through their imaginations), the band’s creators have returned with a new record that will be backed by a tour featuring new art and animations and, in an interesting tie-in to the release of that new album titled Humanz, a travelling haunted house much like the one created for the first music video from the record for a song called “Saturnz Barz”. In the various rooms of this house where the band’s members are living are all the appropriately-spooky items, including a copy of the mind-boggling triptych by the 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch titled The Garden of Earthly Delights, a work perfectly matched to the record’s supernatural references. Artsy writer Abigail Cain takes us on a tour of the rest of this homage to all things extraordinary, something fans of the band’s work have grown to expect and appreciate over the years. With this new effort, the creators behind this band reward us amply.

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-gorillaz-haunted-house-full-art

c) On April 2nd, the Canadian music industry handed out its annual Juno Award for “Recording Package of the Year” to the team of Jonathan Shedletzky (art director), Isis Essery (graphic designer) and illustrator Jeff Lemire for the wonderful packaging they put together for Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie’s 2016 solo record titled Secret Path. Downie also collaborated with cartoonist Lemire on a graphic novel to accompany this record and the entire team worked together to produce a broad series of items, including 10 posters built around the lyrics of each of the songs on the record.

AD Shedletzky has been a marketing and label manager for Arts & Crafts since 2013, while Essery’s portfolio includes award-winning work in design, film and photography. Cartoon fans know Lemire’s work from his contributions to Marvel titles such as Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight and Old Man Logan along with many other books, graphic novels and commercial jobs.

Congratulations to this winning team as well as to the others nominated in this category. Read more on them all via the link below – http://junoawards.ca/nomination/recording-package-of-the-year-jonathan-shedletzky-art-director-isis-essery-designer-jeff-lemaire-illustrator/

d) Speaking of the Juno Awards – As a way to bring more fan fun to the table during awards season, the folks running the Ottawa, Canada Wellington West Business Improvement Area’s promo activities recently teamed up with a designer named Jamie McLennan (co-owner of Character Creative) on a project that long-time fans of “Sleevefacing” will recognize and appreciate.

Since this year’s Juno Awards took place in the country’s capital city, music was in the air and inspired the creative Mr. McLennan to come up with a way to help the local businesses increase their visibility with the area’s residents by involving them in a creative enterprise like the one (labeled “Vinyl Faces”) they devised – using  themselves as either the main image, or part of the background, in an album cover. Even the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, agreed to participate and proudly stood behind a record  cover of the late great Leonard Cohen. Writing recently for Ottawa-area local paper the Kitchissippi Times, Bradley Turcotte gives us more of the details – https://kitchissippi.com/2017/03/30/vinyl-faces-ottawa-junos/ , while a gallery of submissions can be viewed via the link – http://wellingtonwestvinylfaces.ca/

e) Several weeks ago, I reported on a special-edition Rolls Royce motorcar that was designed by The Who’s Roger Daltry and was based somewhat on the Mike McInnerney cover art for the band’s seminal Tommy Well, it turns out that that was only PART of the story and, in fact, there is an entire series of bespoke automobiles that are being offered to well-heeled collectors by the renowned British manufacturer this year. Reading through Dave Abrahams’ article on the topic for South Africa’s Independent Media, I now see that there are custom designs for The House of Rolls that were done in concert with Ray Davies of the Kinks, producer Gilles Martin (in a tribute to his father, Sir George Martin), singer Dame Shirley Bassey (who, to commemorate the three James Bond movie theme songs she delivered – ‘Diamonds are Forever’, ‘Moonraker’ and ‘Goldfinger’- had the panel between the rear seats embroidered with a diamond, with the tread plates and Spirit of Ecstasy hood statuette finished in gold), Status Quo’s Francis Rossi and Rolling Stones guitarist (and much-collected fine artist) Ron Wood, whose artwork for his 2010 solo record I Gotta See has been woven into the embroidery placed on the panel between the rear seats. When only the most-custom will do – http://www.iol.co.za/motoring/latest-launches/rock-n-rolls-musicians-design-bespoke-wraiths-8416274

f) On occasion, it gets a bit messy in the world of rock music-related imagery. While many artists – in these days of “if I found it on the Internet, it must be free” copyright management – try to be vigilant about protecting their copyrights, there is this sometimes well-defined and sometimes less so doctrine called “Fair Use” that raises its ugly head, sending art creators and re-creators to court to figure out who-can-use-what-when and whether certain uses cross over the fair use line into infringement. In this recently-published article by Eileen Kinsella for the ArtNet News site, you can read about an example of just what lengths parties in copyright-related disagreements will go to both protect their rights as copyright holders and their rights as artists who believe that they’re free to use an image to create something derivative-but-unique. In this case, in what looks to be an interesting turn-around, the Andy Warhol Foundation is pre-emptively suing photographer Lynn Goldsmith for her assertion that, without her permission, a 1981 photo she took of the late rocker Prince served as the basis for a series of prints released by Warhol. The Foundation says that they’re suing in order “protect the works and legacy of Andy Warhol.”

Wowee. This is one to watch, for sure – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/warhol-foundation-strikes-first-photographer-complains-copyright-922025

UPDATE – In a follow-up to last month’s story regarding the battle between photographer Lynne Goldsmith and the Andy Warhol Foundation – although she’s yet to be served with the papers looking to stop her from pursuing any remedies for the use of her photo of Prince in an early-80s print made by artist Warhol, she’s not just going to let the other side win the battle taking place in the media. Read the latest salvos in Eileen Kinsella’s update on the Artnet.com site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/prince-photographer-fires-back-warhol-foundation-copyright-suit-923759?

g) When a band chooses to name an album Heartworms, inquiring minds want to ask where the inspiration came from. Interviews with the guy who essentially IS The Shins – singer/songwriter James Mercer – seem to indicate that he’s now feeling the weight and unease of ultimately being responsible for the band’s success so, perhaps, he’s feeling that anxiety crawl through him in a fashion similar to the way the foot-long worms invade your pets’ lungs, heart and blood vessels… In any case, when Mercer turned to artist Jacob Escobedo (of Cartoon Network design fame) to help him with an appropriate cover for the new record, Escobedo – a fan of Japanese artwork featuring the spooky creatures called Yokai (seen quite a bit as the nemeses in anime) – came up with the image for the package when “after hearing the album, I had this vision of worms overtaking a lush garden, pouring out of a dead heart.” Escobedo’s no stranger to those following creative types in the music/album art world, having produced memorable images for The Shins and other clients including My Morning Jacket, Danger Mouse, Christian Rich and Cartoon Network’s own Adult Swim Singles

Billboard.com writer Zack Ruskin talks to the pair about this effort in his recent posting – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7728836/the-shins-heartworms-cover-inspiration-japanese-yokai-art

h) According to the sentiment expressed in a recent article by John Meagher for Ireland’s The Independent, “the creative minds behind band photos and album artwork are the music industry’s unsung heroes” – a tenet yours truly has stated on several (thousand) occasions since I began writing on the topic oh-so-many years ago. Citing examples of many musical acts who’ve collaborated with visual image makers – Anton Corbijn with U2 and Depeche Mode, Peter Saville for acts on the Factory Records label and Jean-Paul Goude for Grace Jones are featured in this list – the author goes on to state that, while you can pay to work with the best, great album art can also be made on more-meager budgets, as evidenced in this year’s short list of records nominated for Ireland’s recently awarded Choice Music Prize awards – http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/magical-union-of-sound-and-vision-35539435.html

Staying on the same basic topic, an article posted by contributing writer Satish Reginald for New York University’s NYUNews.com site (https://www.nyunews.com/2017/04/06/the-paradigm-shifts-of-album-artwork/)also looks to explore the importance of packaging music in sleeves that help bring consumers to look at a new record but, as I’ve found in many similar articles over the years, the author gives readers more questions than answers and, if you take away what I did from the article, falls back on the often-stated notion (often stated by young people, that is) that the digital delivery of music to teeny-tiny screens has dramatically-reduced the value/importance of good album art.

While I completely understand that sales of physical recorded music products have tanked since the introduction of electronically-delivered music, recent upticks in the sales of vinyl, band merchandise, etc., continues to illustrate the basic “analog” nature of the human animal. Given time to explore, discover and then own physical music recordings, people of all ages are, in increasing numbers, realizing that it requires a certain level of dedication to that search for great music (and the art that accompanies it) if you really want to find something that resonates. This is, of course, a simple way for me to remind you that although this year’s Record Store Day (April 22) is now behind us, you can still visit your local record retailer to take a look at all of the special items created to celebrate the day. You can see the latest offerings on the special RSD promo site – http://www.recordstoreday.com/

Hope you’ll take the time to find something you’ll love today and going forward. It’s there – you just have to dig a little.

i) Spoofing album cover images has always been the source of fun for artists, other musicians and fans of both, but of course it took creative types with web sites and Tumblr accounts to take the practice to the edge (and, often, over). Recently, I saw an article by Louise McCreesh on the Digital Spy site that dives a bit into the phenomenon, with a focus on a Tumblr called Cover For Me that challenges participants to recreate album cover images using available materials in 10 minutes or less.

http://www.digitalspy.com/music/news/a823847/people-recreating-album-covers-10-minutes-or-less/

As you might figure, some of the records chosen are quite obscure and some of the results are less-than-impressive but, in some instances, people show us flashes of brilliance. After you read the article, I’d invite you to visit the blog site and scroll down the submissions because, right before your very eyes, you’ll see some examples that’ll surely make you smile –  https://coverforme.tumblr.com/

My favorites are the ones done for records by Prodigy (fun with aluminum foil), DMX (fun with body paint) and FKA Twigs (fun with…whatever). Yours?

j ) As it seems that this week’s summary shows off my Chicago Pride, I’d like to end it by pointing you to an article on the Downers Grove (IL)-based Suburban Life site featuring a guy from Wheaton (also down in that direction) who has invented another way to frame your favorite album covers (and comic books, too) so that they can be displayed on the walls of your abode. According to the article, Bill Zeuch is on target to sell a million dollars of these things this year (and, at less than $10 each, that’s a lot of units), so click on over to find out what all the excitement’s about (and to watch Bill demo his product with slightly less enthusiasm than the typical TV pitch-person) – http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/2017/03/15/wheaton-man-puts-comic-books-album-covers-in-new-light/amyd340/

Get more details on the company’s web site – http://www.comicmount.com/AlbumMount-AM001.htm

SPECIAL NOTE IN SUPPORT OF THE ARTS – I have always worked to make sure that my reporting was focused on the facts and not so much an expression of my own tastes, keeping my editorial comments mostly of the humorous variety. With today’s news regarding the new Administration’s proposed gutting of Arts and Humanities program funding from the federal budget, I find it necessary to appeal to everyone who understands the importance of these programs to both a well-rounded education for our kids and the livelihoods of those who use government grants to further their efforts to produce great art, music and writing for all of us and ask you to make sure to contact your local/state/federal representatives to implore them to maintain these investments in our country’s future.

Unless, of course, the plan is to hire all of these artists to paint the border wall and have musicians and poets perform on stages set up along the way but, somehow, I don’t think so…

To read more about what’s been proposed and how it will affect the targeted programs and the products they produce, click over to writer Caroline Elbaor’s recap on the Artnet site – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/trump-proposes-eliminating-national-endowment-arts-893744

The arts advocacy group Americans For The Arts recently posted an informative article on the topic that should be a must-read by anyone looking to better-understand the basics of what these organizations do (i.e., the NEA, the NEH, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Americorps, among others) so you can come to your own conclusions regarding whether/how much public money should be reserved for their ongoing operations.

http://www.americansforthearts.org/by-program/reports-and-data/legislation-policy/legislative-issue-center/national-endowment-for-the-arts-funding-for-arts-agencies

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

All text Copyright 2017 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 Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of January, 2017

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

This month’s summary, which comes just a couple of weeks before this year’s Grammy Award festivities (and, as you’ll read, just shortly after the announcement of the winners of the “Best Art Vinyl Awards” for this year) will continue to impress you with the displays of creativity put forth by people working for clients in the music business and that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works will continue to do what they do and share what they do with the rest of us. There continue to be regular contributions about album cover art/artists in daily the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.

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) Multi-Grammy-Award-winning photographer and Creative Director Hugh Brown, in addition to his impressive portfolio of album cover work created during stints at I.R.S. Records and Rhino Records before setting up his own shop – Hugh Brown Heavy Industries – has also been regularly-featured in museum and gallery shows throughout his career. As an artist “specializing in photography, print making, assemblage, and forgery”, his works include memorable portraits for a number of entertainment industry luminaries including Robert Downey Sr. & Jr., Chris Isaak, Mick Jones, Freddy Mutant, Jonathan Richman, Richard Thompson and Neil Young, among others.

Recently, the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, CA launched a 10-year retrospective show (“Looking Back: 10 Years of Photography from ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY”) featuring all of the photographers who have been on display during the various shows the gallery has staged since 2007 and, I’m excited to report, some of Hugh’s work is included, along with beautiful and impressive works from dozens of other noted shooters (it must be thrilling to have your works featured alongside icons of the photographic arts including Man Ray, Julian Wasser, Dennis Hopper and many others).

The show runs through the 11th of February, with more details available on the gallery’s site at – http://www.robertbermangallery.com/exhibitions/looking-back-10-years-of-photography-from-robert-berman-gallery

b) In advance of a new show launching at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that will highlight the career of the photographer Chris Cuffaro (Chris Cuffaro: GREATEST HITS – 30 Years of Music Photography), the show’s sponsors will be staging a special event on Thursday, February 2, 2017, from 8:30 PM – 11:00 PM PST at the Gibson Brands location at 8801 W. Sunset in West Hollywood, CA (which some of us will remember as the former location of the best-known Tower Records store).

This music photography exhibition, auction and live music experience is being staged to benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that gives help to musicians who need assistance in dealing with many of Life’s struggles.

The fundraising auction will put a collection of stunning images of from Cuffaro’s portfolio of some of the music industry’s best-known acts including Ice Cube, Jane’s Addiction, George Michael, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slash, Gwen Stefani and dozens of other music legends. Cuffaro’s output has included a number of album images for clients including Bad English, Suicidal Tendencies, Megadeth and Burt Bacharach, among others. Music that night will be provided by performers including Givers & Takers, Josh Todd, Lauren Ruth Ward, Particle Kid, The Palms and others soon-to-be announced.

Tickets for this show begin at $30 and are available via the link – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chris-cuffaro-greatest-hits-30-years-of-music-photography-exhibition-auction-tickets-31015079939?

c) Just a reminder to you all regarding the soon-to-close “David Bowie by Duffy” exhibition at the Proud Gallery in London that began this past January 6th and runs thru February 5th. Bowie, who would have turned 70 on January 8th had he not left this mortal coil a year ago, was an often-photographed subject, but only a few photographers have produced images of the ever-changing artist that would be considered “iconic” – one of them being the late Brian Duffy, perhaps best-known for his photos used on the covers of classic Bowie records including Aladdin Sane, Lodger, Scary Monsters and others. According to the Gallery’s PR, the show will be “a celebration of the dynamic relationship between two of the century’s greatest artistic innovators. This exhibition of original prints signed by the late Brian Duffy is a moving insight into the minds of two exceptional creatives in partnership between 1972 – 1980. Duffy’s iconic images emphasize the longevity of Bowie’s distinctive persona and offer a poignant retrospective to one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times…”

https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

Alison Maloney, writing for The Sun, gives us a bit more to read about regarding this show, including a nice selection of images that will be part of what’s on display – https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2525673/unseen-david-bowie-photos-by-iconic-album-cover-photographer-go-on-show-to-mark-the-first-anniversary-of-his-death/

This show coincided with another significant Bowie-related event – a concert that was staged at the O2 Brixton Academy venue on January 8th (as well as other venues around the world, ending February 2nd with a show in Tokyo, Japan0 called “Celebrating David Bowie” and which featured an intro by Bowie chum Gary Oldman and a large cast of Bowie band alumni including Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew and many others in performance.  Highlights from the shows can be seen at http://celebratingdavidbowie.com/

d) 1976 Stillwater High School graduate Daniel Corrigan began his career as a professional photographer when he started taking photos for the Minnesota Daily, delivering photo coverage for the arts and entertainment section, with the famed First Avenue club on his list… He now works in several roles at First Avenue, including as an assistant to the facilities manager and a staff photographer.  You’ll recall that, back in October, I reported on the release of a new book that tapped into his 35+ year archive of great photos taken with music industry notables including Prince, Husker Du, Michael Jackson, U2 and many others. He collaborated with Josh Leventhal at the Minnesota Historical Society Press to produce both the book and the exhibition – Heyday: 35 Years Of Music In Minneapolis – now on display at the Mill City Museum (located at 704 S. Second St. in Minneapolis – http://www.millcitymuseum.org/heyday-exhibit) which includes a curated selection of the over 500 images included in the book, taken over the Corrigan’s career and including album cover shots for acts including Babes In Toyland, The Replacements, The Cows (Cunning Stunts – always loved that title), They Jayhawks and others.

Patty Dexter gives us an overview of the show in her article for the Eden Prairie News http://www.swnewsmedia.com/eden_prairie_news/news/entertainment/exhibit-highlights-minneapolis-music-history-in-photos/article_61b9f44b-87b5-5736-9b56-89790fe78757.html 

Bonus materials – fans of Corrigan’s work will enjoy watching some/all of an 8-part video interview with Daniel that was put together by the Minnesota Historical Society and is available via their Facebook page – begin at the beginning – https://www.facebook.com/minnesotahistoricalsociety/videos/10154570590455600/

e) Prog Rock and Fantasy Art fans on the other side of the globe were in for a treat the weekend that began on Thursday, January 19 when Roger Dean, the artist responsible for many of the best-known logos and album covers for bands such as YES, ASIA, Uriah Heep and Virgin Records, manned a display at the Singapore Contemporary Art Show. On display were over 20 different prints, including fan favorites such as Tales From Topographic Oceans (YES), Magician’s Birthday (Uriah Heep) and the several variations available in his Arches and Dragon’s Garden Over 90 artists and galleries were included in this show and, as a special treat, Roger hosted two demonstrations during which he painted and discussed how he creates his fantasy landscapes. A rare chance to watch and learn from a master!

More on this show and Mr. Dean’s presence there is available via the link – http://www.asiacontemporaryart.com/artists/artist/Roger_Dean/en/

f) Famed rock photographer Ethan Russell brought his travelling multi-media presentation and exhibition – “The Best Seat In The House” – to fans in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on Thursday night, January 26th with a show at The Studio (AKA The Studio at Hamilton Place). A man with a truly impressive resume, having provided us with memorable photos of top music acts including The Beatles (Let It Be and many intimate photos of John and Yoko), the Rolling Stones, The Who (including the iconic “pissing on the wall cover found on Who’s Next), The Doors, Linda Ronstadt and so many more, shares the stories behind the photos, with some 375 of them included in the presentation. Visitors were able to view a number of shots on display before the show and then, after the show, purchase prints to add to their own collections.

The show’s local producers – CORE Entertainment – provide us with an introduction to the man and his work and, via a link on their site, an interview with Russell produced by a local TV station – http://www.coreentertainment.ca/events/detail/ethan-russell

g) Throughout the history of commercial photography, photographers have used contact sheets (you know, those pages of thumbnail-sized prints made from the negatives created during a photo shoot) to be able to review a session’s work (alone, or with their clients) prior to making decisions about which images are going to be used or printed. In addition to their specific business purposes, these sheets are also a way for viewers to get an insight into how photographers strategize, experiment and ultimately select the “perfect” image for a job.

In a new exhibit that ran through January 28th at the Fahey/Klein Gallery on N. LaBrea Ave.  in Los Angeles simply titled CONTACT, organizers selected a series of important photos from the archives of an impressive list of image-makers and have put those prints alongside their contact sheets so viewers were able to get a better understanding of what went in to “the making of” each photo. Album art fans found a lot to look at in this group show, with the works of photographers including Joel Brodsky, Daniel Kramer, Herb Ritts and Norman Seeff putting on display images of illustrious musicians including Joan Baez, The Doors and Carly Simon, among others.

In addition, visitors found contact sheets that included shots taken during Lawrence Schiller’s time on the set with actress Marilyn Monroe and Julian Wasser’s memorable shot of the then-unclothed photographer Eve Babitz (who also has a nice portfolio of album cover shots) playing a game of chess with famed conceptual artist/chess aficionado Marcel Duchamp. According to an article posted recently on the Loeil De La Photographie site – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/en/2017/01/04/article/159931923/contact-iconic-images-contact-sheets/

Also on display were works by noted photographers including Harry Benson, William Claxton, Arthur Elgort, Robert Jackson, Roxanne Lowit, Christopher Makos,  Steve Schapiro (shots of artist Andy Warhol and his entourage from Warhol’s Factory), Stephen Somerstein, Phil Stern and Bob Willoughby. More photos of the show can be found on the gallery’s site at  – http://www.faheykleingallery.com/photographers/various/installation/contact/contact_in_01.htm

h) There’s a new exhibition of rare psychedelic posters, album art, etc. – a “collection that highlights the ideas and culture of the 60’s and 70’s, which can still be related to today” – that is being hosted by the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery on the campus of the Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC. The show, which is titled “Psychedelic Posters: From The David Poppe Collection” is built around selections made from the personal archives of producer David Poppe, who also hosts a video show called “The Poppe Show”, which takes viewers behind the scenes of film and stage productions.

Local news station WWAY has posted a brief intro to the show on their site – http://www.wwaytv3.com/2017/01/04/rare-psychedelic-posters-on-display-in-new-cfcc-exhibit/ and local fans can learn more about this display, which will be up until February 11th, via the gallery’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/CFCCs-Wilma-W-Daniels-Gallery-304162049742025/

Directions to the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery on the CFCC campus – http://cfcc.edu/danielsgallery/about/

Exhibition update – As it is my goal to be able to provide my readers with the most-complete info available on the items I highlight in this news summary, I felt like I’d let you down a little when I published some basic info on the art show now on display at the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery (on the campus of Cape Fear Community College) in Wilmington, NC that features selections from the private collection of David Poppe (it was all I could find at the time). Since then, I was able to get hold of Mr. Poppe and he sent me a link to a new article in the local pub called Encore Magazine that gives us much more about both Mr. Poppe and his collection. It turns out the David was employed years ago at a place in Tampa, FL called The Losers, a donut shop-turned-rock club that hosted many of the better-known travelling and local acts in the late 1960s-early 1970s (and who featured Lynyrd Skynyrd as their house band). Poppe befriended many of the acts that came to play and, over the years, built up a collection of over 400 rare posters (of which over 130 are on display in this show) crafted by the creme-de-la-creme of psychedelic artists of the era – Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, Joe Petagno and Wes Wilson, among others.

http://www.encorepub.com/vivid-nostalgia-the-poppe-collection-opens-with-rare-poster-art-from-60s-and-70s/

As I reported previously, Psychedelic Posters: From The David Poppe Collection will be up until February 11th, with more info available via the gallery’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/CFCCs-Wilma-W-Daniels-Gallery-304162049742025/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) When photographer Mike Searle was a young man back in the late 1970s, he had taken some photos of one of his favorite bands – The Jam – when they performed in concert and stuck them in a drawer, where they remained for many years while he finished his schooling and went on to start his career. Recently, he posted some of them on his blog and while he’s now a publisher of surfing-related books and magazines such as Carve and The Surf Cafe Cookbook, he’s very happy that the nice folks at Universal Music stumbled across his old photos as they then reached out to him to license them for a new Jam album package.

Writing for the Cornwall (UK) Live site, Lee Trewhela recently posted an article that documents this wonderful case of “never too late to be a rock photographer” wish fulfillment –

http://www.cornwalllive.com/cornwall-photographer-sees-dream-come-true-as-his-pictures-of-the-jam-are-used-on-new-album-cover/story-30050520-detail/story.html

b) I’d like to note the passing of a photographer of impeccable – yes, even Royal – credentials. Anthony Armstrong-Jones AKA Lord Snowdon, former husband of the U.K.’s Princess Margaret and a photographer with a portfolio that includes scores of portraits of A-list celebrities from all over the world, including entertainment celebrities such as Cher, Madonna, Prince, Queen (of course) as well as several album cover images for French pop star Serge Gainsbourg and British singer Shirley Bassey, died earlier this month at the age of 86.

Nathalie Atkinson’s article for The Globe and Mail site chronicles the details of a life well-lived – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/lord-snowdon-the-photographer-as-famous-as-hissubjects/article33623114/ and, to read something on a more-personal relationship between Snowdon and one of his appreciative subjects – Queen guitarist Brian May – Dave Lifton’s article on the Ultimate Classic Rock site – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/brian-may-queen-greatest-hits-lord-snowdon/ finds May retelling the story of the making of the album cover for the band’s best-selling records – their 1981 Greatest Hits release – which, in the end and because of Snowdon’s deft touch, produced a photo of the band “with all of us looking quite decent”.

c) Alternative Press video interview with Mike Cortada – APTV’s Orlando-based correspondent Tori Kravitz recently posted a video interview with designer Mike Cortada, principal of MCHC Design (http://www.mikechardcore.com/) and a much-requested artist with a number of clients in the hardcore metal music scene. Recent clients include musical acts such as A Day To Remember, Pierce The Veil, Misfits, Wonder Years and Fall Out Boy, as well as many companies looking for leading edge illustration talent for their logos and advertising imagery. When you look at the designer’s portfolio, you’ll find a wide variety of styles and techniques used, so it’s nice to be able to hear more about Mike’s inspirations and how he goes about collaborating with this clients – http://www.altpress.com/aptv/video/mike_cortada_talks_designing_the_scenes_biggest_album_covers

One suggestion from an old-time video producer to the APTV team – please do something to better-mic your reporters and your interviewees. A couple of lavaliere mics will go far in reducing the echo… 😉

d) Continuing on with coverage of the first anniversary of art/music/fashion trend-setter David Bowie’s death last year at the age of 69, ArtDaily writer Shaun Tandon recently posted an interview with award-winning sax player Donny McCaslin regarding his collaboration with Bowie on what would turn out to be his final album, Blackstar. While their friendship and musical partnership lasted less than a year, the impact has been profound on the experimental musician, who went on to include an unused song from the Blackstar sessions on his own recent release titled Beyond Now. http://artdaily.com/news/92822/Year-on–Bowie-remembered-as-engaging-until-end .

One final note on the topic – I think that you’ll enjoy Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s recent article for Creative Review regarding Grammy-nominated designer Jonathan Barnbrook’s “easter eggs” for the Blackstar album – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/secrets-of-david-bowie-blackstar/  Daniel shares that he’d bought the record when it was released a year ago and put it away, seal un-broken, music un-listened to, until opening it for this article, and what he discovered (beyond the music) serves as a nice analog to most art-lovers’ thoughts about Bowie’s more-than-skin-deep contributions to the art world throughout his career.

e) Owatonna, Minnesota is quite proud of the recent achievements of one of its graduates – artist/art director Eric Carlson – as is evidenced in this article by Ryan Anderson on the local Owatonna People’s Press site – http://www.southernminn.com/owatonna_peoples_press/arts_and_entertainment/article_5d0aff7d-c52c-5412-97dd-e27ca3afb718.html – regarding Carlson’s Grammy nomination for “Best Album Package” for the work he produced for Bon Iver’s latest record, titled 22, A Million.

Carlson continued his education in Minnesota, attending art school in Minneapolis and integrating himself in the local art/music scene (he’s also a working musician) before leaving five years ago to seek new opportunities in The Big Apple, where he lives and works currently. A mutual friend introduced Carlson to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and the two had discussed working together some day, but it wasn’t until the 22, A Million project presented itself that they were able to collaborate on what would become a Grammy-nominated cover project.

You can read more about Eric and the story of his life – from a family that promoted creativity through his schooling and earlier accomplishments to his more-recent successes (including comments from his mother Catherine!) via the link.

f) The things that news reporters have to put up with sometimes…having done hundreds of interviews myself, I know that sometimes a subject doesn’t have a lot to say or, for whatever reason, isn’t pleased with being asked about this or that. While I know that, throughout the course of an artist’s career, he or she may be asked the same questions over and over again – particularly, when they’ve created an image that’s become quite famous – I’d hope that, after a while, a subject would realize that newer generations might want to gain a better understanding about his/her work and, once they’ve granted permission for an interview, would be able to deliver replies that serve to enlighten and/or entertain.

Noted photographer David Bailey, now in his late 70s, has lived a life that includes details that could only come via an association with the biggest names in the entertainment business – he’s dated top fashion models; Mick Jagger served as his best man at his wedding to French movie star Catherine Deneuve, etc. – but as you’ll see when you read through Elizabeth Howcroft’s recent interview article posted on the Varsity (U.K.) web site, the shooter best-known to album art fans for the pictures he took that were used on the covers of records including Goats Head Soup and Get Yer Ya-Yas Out for the Stones, The Way We Were for Barbra Streisand and others for Cat Stevens, Procol Harum, Marianne Faithful and others seems rather two-faced in his answers regarding the value of his work by first saying “I don’t like photography. I’m not interested…anyone can be a fucking photographer!” and then following up with a statement where he agrees with Leonardo Da Vinci’s statement noting the artistry in painting and extends it to photography (…is photography art? Of course it’s fucking art”).

Whatever you take away from this interview (personally, I was happy to see that the reporter came through the effort relatively unscathed), you will certainly find it an intriguing look into the psyche of someone who has experienced and then processed a life quite apart from what most mere mortals are exposed to. https://www.varsity.co.uk/culture/11647

g) A 2X Grammy nominee for “Best Album Package”, photographer Elliot Gilbert shares his insights about his efforts that have resulted in scores of images that have graced a number of your favorite records in this recently-posted interview conducted by Loring Kemp for her Cover Our Tracks site – http://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2017/01/09/Elliot-Gilbert-on-his-work-with-The-Cars-Tom-Waits-Van-Halen-and-The-Motels

During this in-depth discussion, Gilbert talks about his first forays into the world of commercial photography (he was such a fan of those shooting for the ad industry that he spent untold sums of money on magazines each month just to be inspired by their work) and, with great detail, his efforts in creating the memorable cover and package images for records including The Cars’ 1978 debut record (w/famed CBS Art Director Ron Coro), Van Halen and Van Halen II, The Motels, Look Out For #1 for the Brothers Johnson  and Tom Waits’ 1978 release Blue Valentine, which also featured then-girlfriend Rickie Lee Jones on the back cover.

As always, Loring does a great job in pulling out the most-interesting details from her subjects, so enjoy the interview – you’re sure to learn something new.

h) There will be a new show staged soon – tentatively titled “Trevor Key’s Top 40” and organized as part of the Hull City of Culture celebrations – that will be based on selections made from the archives of the late designer Trevor Key by designer Scott King and stylist Lesley Dilcock (along with photographer Toby McFarlan Pond, who had served as Key’s assistant). I first read details about this show on work of the talented Mr. Key (who died in 1994 from a brain tumor) in an article written by Patrick Burgoyne for the Creative Review site that also features quotes from designers and former Key collaborators and fellow artists including Peter Saville, Brian Cook and Wolfgang Tillmans.

https://www.creativereview.co.uk/trevor-key-archive/

You’ll also be able to watch a short video of their exploration through the late Key’s archives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37pgycx6hiw   during which King and Pond discuss Key’s influence on their respective careers and the unearthing of some of the production elements used to create one of Key’s best-known works – the cover for Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells LP. Further digging finds other one-of-a-kind items used to create a number of other iconic images from his catalog of cover work for clients including the Sex Pistols (for which his design goal for a record released after the band’s break-up was to discourage sales – very punk, no?) and New Order. One written design brief they uncovered talks about Key (working with designer Jamie Reid) hoping to come up with a design template incorporating a swastika that would be used on as many music products as possible in order to illustrate “the oppressive nature of the music industry” (again, as punk as can be).

Show info – https://www.hull2017.co.uk/whatson/events/trevor-keys-top-40/  We’ll share more info on the dates/locations of this show once it becomes available…

i) In a recent article on the Artsy.com web site by Nora Landes titled “These Photographers Captured Blondie, Joan Jett, and the Women of Punk”, the author assembles samples of the works of several photographers who “saw it all” as they worked to show that “punk rock had a look. In the punk scene of the 1970s and ’80s, both onstage and off, style was just as important as which bands you went to see. Attitude was the greatest accessory. Amid the sea of leather jackets and tight pants, the punk aesthetic was captured by daring photographers along for the ride.”

Featured in this collection are details and sample images from photographers including Brad Elterman (Joan Jett & The Blackhawks), Ray Stevenson (Souxsie & The Banshees), Chris Stein (Debbie Harry & Blondie) and Jim Jocoy (Exene Cervenka from X), who each documented the similarities and unique aspects of the styles and attitudes on display in the punk scenes in the U.S. and the U.K..The original “nasty women”, perhaps?

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-these-photographers-captured-blondie-joan-jett-women-punk

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Just received an email from the team at Backstage Auctions regarding their efforts to kick off the new year with a sale of merchandise left unsold from recent auctions and, looking over the listings, I’ve found a number of album art-related items that the collectors in the audience might want to take a look at, including a) several production proof prints of artist Mark Ryden’s fantastic album art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 hit record Dangerous; b) a set of production proof prints for the LP, CD and cassette versions of Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, featuring the multi-bedded cover art created by Storm Thorgerson and Colin Elgie; c) a collection of various LP cover proofs for Bruce Springsteen records including Born In The USA and Tunnel of Love and other original art pieces featuring works for musical acts including Aerosmith, Metallica, Van Halen and others. You can find out more about these and the many other items available via the link at http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/original-artwork/st/0/32/

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) The folks at the U.K.’s Flood Gallery have just announced that they’re taking pre-orders on a new book that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles album with what has become one of the most-praised (and copied/recreated/spoofed) cover images of all time – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The 176 page hardback book, titled Sgt. Pepper At Fifty, was authored by Bill DeMain, Gillian Garr and a man responsible for another one of rock music’s best-known covers – Mike McInnerney, creator of the gatefold cover for The Who’s Tommy – presents Peter Blake and Jann Haworth’s mind-bending collage by looking at several aspects of the image’s creation and ongoing legacy in the worlds of music and Pop Culture.

Scheduled for release on the 15th of May this year, fans can reserve their own copies on the Flood Gallery site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/products/the-beatles-sgt-pepper-at-fifty?variant=37416861959 and for another example of the impact that image continues to have on the world of design, I’d invite you to read about Sir Peter Blake’s latest iteration in the article found below in Section 5.

b) Writing for the Hyperallergic site, reporter Megan N. Liberty takes us on a deep dive of a book built around the travelling Total Records album art show (currently on display through April 23rd in Berlin, Germany at the C/O Gallery there) – http://hyperallergic.com/347107/a-spin-through-the-history-of-photographic-album-covers/

The book, edited by Antoine de Beaupré and published recently by Aperture, is one I’ve been eager to see as I’m told that it promotes what we’ve been saying here at the ACHOF all along – i.e., that the works created to illustrate and promote record packages should be treated with the same respect and deference as all works of fine art due to the way that they combine (at least, the good ones do) the best aspects of the fields of design, photography, historical writing and impact marketing. And while she states that “the record is an obsolete medium” (when, in fact, the sales of vinyl continue to grow impressively each year), she goes on to say that, in today’s image-happy environment, where everyone is carrying and using a camera, a well-crafted image can still take your breath away…

The Total Records album art exhibition – featuring 500+ of the most-impactful record covers produced over the past 50+ years – continues on in Berlin, with more info available to fans via the gallery’s site (in English) at http://www.co-berlin.org/en/total-records

c) When, at the age of 35, you’ve already amassed a portfolio of work that is so impressive that it can serve as the basis of an art book, you know that you’re working at a level a notch or two higher than your peers. Now that publisher Floating World Comics has published a new book based on the career (thus far) of Lexington, KY-based artist/designer Robert Beatty, whose imaginative digital artwork for clients in the music business and publishing world including Tame Impala, Neon Indian, Real Estate, the New York Times and The Wire has both amazed fans and left many of them asking “just how did he do that” (to which he has, in some cases, provide them with tutorials on how to manipulate images in Photoshop in order to achieve something similar in their own work)?

Titled Floodgate Companion, the 112-page book shows us many more examples of his creative output and gives us some of the stories behind these efforts. In a recently-published overview of this new publication, The Washington Post’s Aaron Leitko, you’ll see several examples of Beatty’s mind-boggling work, including the cover for Oczy Mlody, the most-recent release by psychedelic rockers The Flaming Lips, whose frontman Wayne Coyne had discovered Robert’s work on Instagram and just had to have it for his own (little did he know that Beatty had already done scores of record covers!).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/all-of-the-best-new-psychedelic-album-covers-are-made-by-the-same-guy/2017/01/19/fa489522-d76d-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?

To take a look behind the scenes at Beatty at work in his favorite place (at home in Kentucky), you can watch this “Pitchfork Unsung” video from Octorber, 2015 – http://pitchfork.com/tv/50-pitchfork-unsung/1562-pitchfork-presents-unsung-robert-beatty/

d) The prolific album cover art book author/editor Julius Wiedermann of the Taschen publishing house has recently announced the details of a new book coming out next month titled Art Record Covers that, according to the press announcement, “showcases an alphabetized collection of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today. Highlighting the relationship between image-making and music production, the anthology presents 500 covers and records by visual artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha and many more.”

The new book was assembled by “contemporary art and visual culture historian, writer and artist” Francesco Spampinato who, in addition to be an art professor at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, has authored two other recent books on design, including 2015’s Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists, published in 2015 by Onomatopee (Eindhoven, NL).

While I’m working to get a more-detailed look at the book and its contents put together for you soon (Julius has been kind enough to work with me on a special feature for the ACHOF that you’ll see soon), I’d invite you to read reporter Rebecca Fullylove’s recently-posted article on the It’s Nice That site for a bit of a preview on what should be a thoroughly-comprehensive (at 448 pages!) look at, as the publisher puts it,  explores how modernism, pop art, conceptual art, postmodernism and contemporary art have all informed the art of album visuals over the years.”  http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/taschen-art-record-covers-040117?

Pre-orders are now being solicited on the Taschen site – https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/music/all/03430/facts.art_record_covers.htm

e) 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, 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 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 concentration of talent in Harlem, NY illustrated in his famous 1958 portrait titled Jazz to the struggle for civil rights down South as well as the plight of wounded war vets and many other aspects of the politics and cultural changes that were taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.

Austin, TX-based Modern Rocks gallery has just released a new collection of Art Kane photos for sale to collectors, with some of your favorite album cover images (such as those for The Who’s The Kids Are Alright and Jim Morrison’s An American Prayer) included in the mix. Although Kane died in 1995, his son Jonathan has made sure that his legacy lives on via the careful curation of his father’s archive and the release of limited edition, fully-authenticated prints of these beautiful photographs.

http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/art-kane-photographer

5) Other articles of interest –

a) “Those were the days, my friend” – ah, yes, remember when those with all of the money and power and connections all worked together to create something new and exciting for the buying public? Back in April of 1969, when the Rolling Stones were beginning to organize the team that would work on the record that would ultimately become their April, 1971 release Sticky Fingers – the one that would incorporate the first use of the “Lips & Tongue” logo that would become their core graphical element for years to come – Mick Jagger sent artist Andy Warhol a note that established the terms of the relationship that would produce what would become one of the best-known album cover images of all time.

As you’ll read when you click on over to writer Nathan Giannini’s recent article for the Yahoo! Music site, Jagger gave Warhol (who’d later do a pair of very Warhol-like cover images for the band’s Love You Live LP and a later solo record for the singer as well), Jagger basically told Warhol that he could do whatever he pleased and charge whatever he wanted just as long as he remembered that anything “more complex than just pages or fold-out” would most-probably be delayed in production. As we all know by now, Warhol responded by producing a design incorporating multiple layers, a die cut cover and a zipper that could damage nearby packages, sending sleeve design/manufacturing company head Craig Braun and his team (hey, Ernie!) into a scramble to build a package that would work better (these travails have been retold in several sometimes-conflicting interviews with the parties involved, including one I did several years ago – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/07/uncovered-interview-part-2-rolling-stones-lips-logo-by-ernie-cefalu.html

Let’s not even get started on who in fact was the actual model used in the final photo…

https://www.yahoo.com/music/mick-jagger-letter-to-andy-warhol-sticky-fingers-album-153922769.html

Bonus content – Exhibition producer Raj Prem has put together a new display of rarely-seen photos of the Rolling Stones taken by photographer Peter Webb during his 1971 shoot for the band’s Sticky Fingers release. “Lost” (i.e., buried during a move) for 40 years and then re-discovered, this presentation – Sticky Fingers: The Lost Sessions – Photographs by Peter Webb can be viewed on (and prints purchased from) the San Francisco Art Exchange’s web site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400120

b) Not long ago, I reported on a series of stamps issued by the Isle of Man Post Office built around the album cover images of artist Roger Dean (which will soon also be the subject of an interview I’ll publish with one of the stamp series’ creators), showing off another example of an enlightened government agency paying tribute to the talents of one of its better-known citizens. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the death of David Bowie, I’d like to share some information (in the form of two articles) about an upcoming collection of stamps that will be released in mid-March by the U.K.’s Royal Mail that commemorate both the musician and his deep catalog of artistically-created album cover images.

With record covers such as those created for Aladdin Sane, Hunk Dory, Heroes and, most-recently, Blackstar serving to mark milestones along the timeline of the always-changing artist’s career trajectory, the postal service will be producing a set of 10 stamps that include those covers (and others) as well as several photos taken during the Ziggy Stardust and Serious Moonlight tours. Reporting for Linn’s Stamp News, writer Denise McCarty gives us an intro to the series from a philatelist’s viewpoint (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence!) – http://www.linns.com/news/world-stamps-postal-history/2017/january/david-bowie-royal-mail-commemorative-stamp-set.html#

while over on the Artnet.com site (https://news.artnet.com/art-world/david-bowie-stamps-royal-mail-831404?), Brian Boucher notes that while several other bands have been honored with U.K. postage stamps (the latest being Pink Floyd), this is the first time that a solo act has been so honored.

Alongside the standard-issue collector’s packages, this issue will feature several limited edition David Bowie souvenirs, including a special “David Bowie Album Art Fan Sheet” – a 24-image sheet that, in addition to the six covers included in the new stamp series, adds 18 others, from his earliest records to his last (in an edition of 10,000 sheets) and a framed, limited-edition (950 numbered copies) giclee print of the Heroes album cover with a post-marked stamp set into the mat. Pre-orders are being taken now on the Royal Mail site. More details can be found at http://www.royalmail.com/davidbowiestamps?iid=PEVU_MGProjectDJ_DD_05

c) An upscale London hotel – the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, a place that has played host to hundreds of celebrities, recently hired collage artist Sir Peter Blake to create a Sgt. Pepper’s-inspired collage to cover its façade while going through a major renovation. Using the hotel chain’s fan-shaped logo as a design cue, Sir Peter created a new collage – titled “Our Fans” and captioned with a sign reading “Still Open To All Our Fans” – using the images of 99 of the chain’s better-known past guests, including actors Morgan Freeman, Sigourney Weaver, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren, musicians including Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (only seems fitting) and many other notables from the fields of fashion, food, design and more. Standing next to Mr. Freeman (and two down from Dame Edna) is Sir Peter himself – very Hitchcockian, I must say.

According to reporting done for the ArtDaily.com site – http://artdaily.com/news/93235/Sir-Peter-Blake-creates-bespoke-collage-for-Mandarin-Oriental-Hyde-Park – the artist noted that, while similar in style to his best-known album cover, “this artwork was very different to my usual way of working”, he said. “A collage is very time consuming and laborious, but this was more a matter of arranging the figures and making them work together – making sure no one had a cut-off shoulder or missing legs – that’s the skill of it. It was an amazing project to work on. Hopefully, people passing by will try to spot celebrities they recognize,” he added.

Still active at 83, Sir Peter is currently developing several new projects, including his contributions to a series of murals that will be installed outside the Turnham Green tube station in West London that celebrate the performers who appeared in the 1950s at the nearby (and now-demolished) Chiswick Empire Theatre.

d) Most record art fans know that many of their favorite cover photos were taken in real-life locations, and some of them (think the crosswalk in front of Abbey Road/EMI Studios in London) have become tourist magnets. In Bill Wiatrak’s article for Houstonia Magazine, you’ll find a list of album cover spots slightly less-travelled, such as the rocks that make up Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, where the Hipgnosis team let loose a troop of naked toddlers for the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy. Any true cover fan with a lot of time/inspiration/money will want to use this list as a reference for a whirlwind tour of well-known cover spots – https://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2016/12/20/10-places-to-recreate-your-favorite-rock-n-roll-album-covers

Of course, if you do go ahead and take this tour, please let me know as I’d love to interview you for our site….

e) Photographer Nick Knight is well-known to album cover fans for a career of well-known cover shots for top musical acts including Bjork, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Lady Gaga and many others. He’s also a go-to shooter for celebrity portraits, with one of his better-known subjects being England’s Royal Family. In this recent posting in The Guardian (U.K.), you’ll now have a chance to see some previously unreleased shots taken from a portrait session with Queen Elizabeth II and her son (the other Prince, but not nearly as talented) which were originally commissioned by Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Q’s 90th year – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/18/queens-90th-birthday-marked-by-fashion-and-rock-photographer

At least this Queen and Prince are still alive and in original form…

f) Throughout history, album covers and album cover artists have often times expressed the political views of either/both the artists and their music industry clientele. Artists such as Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols) and Kosh (John Lennon/Yoko Ono’s “War Is Over”) have created iconic anti-establishment images and, in light of today’s somewhat-controversial inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, artist Shepard Fairey, who produced the renowned “Hope” poster for Barak Obama’s campaign as well as album covers for Led Zeppelin, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty and others, has created (along with several others) a series of protest posters that look to convey messages of strength, dignity and equal rights for all.

The “We The People” series – done in Fairey’s trademark style – was commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation and funded by a wildly-successful Kickstarter campaign. The posters feature images of some of the minorities – Muslims, Hipsanics, Native Americans, etc. – who were on the receiving end of some of Mr. Trumps campaign rhetoric and include tag lines such as “We The People – Are Greater Than Fear” and “We The People – Defend Dignity”. The images were inserted as full-page advertisements in local Washington, D.C. publications so that people either attending or protesting near the inauguration ceremonies were able to display them at will (protesters carrying traditional picket signs were banned from the area).

You can also download the posters from the organization’s web site (http://theamplifierfoundation.org/wtp_wmw_highresart/) and use them however you see fit. Amah-Rose Abrams just posted an article on the Artnet.com site with more details on the project – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/shepard-fairey-releases-we-the-people-series-824468?

This effort answers one of the questions I always pose to artists during my interviews with them – “Does art reflect or influence what’s current in Popular Culture?” In this case, a little of both…

g) While the customization tools made available to potential customers on the sites of many companies that offer made-to-order products were created to promote and simplify the process of buying these products, there are many examples of creative types using these tools to both practice and promote their skills to a broad audience. One recent example can be found on the Instagram site of a Bristol, UK-based designer/shoe fan Sam Brandt, where you’ll find images of the designs he created on the Nike site that show his deep appreciation of the color schemes and tag lines found on a number of well-known rap/hip-hop records.

When you visit the site at https://www.instagram.com/hoekon/  you’ll find shoes that will certainly kick off conversations with fans of acts like MF Doom, J Dilla, Dr. Dre (gotta love the “Deeez Nuuts” text on the cuffs), Ghostface Killah and many others. Not sure if I’m ready to replace by Black Sabbath-themed Chuck Taylors but, if I was, I’d like to think I’d find some inspiration in Sam’s work.

h) Forward-thinking multi-media publishers are continuing to show us their ongoing attempts to give consumers products that put their best creative ideas front and center. Such is the case with the U.K.-based publisher Four Corners Books, who teamed with art director John Morgan (of John Morgan Studio) and tattoo artist/illustrator Liam Sparkes to come up with the impressive packaging for a record of music to accompany their latest release – a new version of the classic Jules Verne tale 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. The music is by Jonny Trunk of Trunk Records, with the project allowing the composer to create soundscapes for ” the only book I could think of that would allow me to make some underwatery music” and create an album cover with just the right matching sailory imagery.

Creative Boom’s Laura Collinson communicated with members of the team that put together this inspired package, available via the link at – http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/20000-leagues-under-the-sea-beautifully-illustrated-record-sleeve-inspired-by-the-creatures-of-the-deep/

i) With sponsorship and merchandising having such important roles in the money-making aspects of a musical act’s career these days, if you’re a lesser-known act, you focus on t-shirts and custom-branded jump drives with MP3 files on them, whereas if you’re Roger Daltry, lead singer for The Who, you team up with British motorcar maker Rolls-Royce to come up with band music and image-inspired design motifs for hand built automobiles(!!)

According to this recent article posted on the News18.com site (CNN‘s partner in India), “the collaboration is the first of nine ‘duets’ that Rolls-Royce is planning with legendary British music stars (created under the name “Inspired By Music”, a project that launched in 2015( that it hopes will be music to collectors’ ears.” Of course, Daltry is undertaking the two design projects (the second, working in conjunction with artist Mike McInnerney, best-known for his mystical cover art for The Who’s rock opera Tommy) on behalf of his much-loved charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust, who’ll be the recipient of a percentage of the sales from these two very unique and collectable cars.

Very eager to see a customized Rolls-Royce Wraith (which are priced beginning at a tad over $350,000) with a bulls-eye on it. Hope it doesn’t end up being a target ;-(

http://www.news18.com/news/auto/rolls-royce-wraith-to-rock-and-roll-with-roger-daltrey-1324939.html

The complete press release from Rolls-Royce on this project is available via the large and exquisitely detailed link at https://www.press.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/rolls-royce-motor-cars-pressclub/article/detail/T0266692EN/rolls-royce-and-roger-daltrey-celebrate-the-who’s-legacy-in-support-of-the-teenage-cancer-trust?language=en

Special announcement –

On January 5th, at the Hari Hotel in London, the “Best Art Vinyl 2016” Award Winners were announced. The results were based on the work of a nomination panel of 10 art and design experts, as well as the thousands of votes cast by music fans worldwide, and the winners were selected from the 50 record covers nominated late last year.

Top prize goes to Matthew Cooper for his work on Everything You’ve Come To Expect for the Last Shadow Puppets. Second prize was awarded to Jonathan Barnbrook for his package for the final David Bowie album Blackstar, while Jonathan Zawada received the third-most votes for his work on the Mark Pritchard album Under the Sun. The full list of the 50 nominated designs, along with details on the previous winners, is available for your review on the Best Art Vinyl site at http://www.artvinyl.com .

A window display of the nominated and winning art will be up at the Hari Hotel until the end of March, 2017.

Writer Miriam Harris has posted an article with details on the event on the Digital Arts Online site – http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/illustration/best-album-art-2016-see-winners-of-best-art-vinyl-awards/

Congratulations to the winners – your work continues to inspire and impress us all!

Just a reminder – the Grammy Awards for “Best Recording Package” will be handed out at a special pre-telecast ceremony – called the “Premiere Ceremony” – at 3:30PM EST on the 12th of February, with the winner for this (and the other packaging Grammy Awards) reported here ASAP they’re announced. To remind you of the nominated art directors in the category this year, here are the details –

  • Ciarra Pardo & Rihanna for Anti (Deluxe Edition), performed by Rihanna
  • Jonathan Barnbrook for Blackstar, performed by David Bowie
  • Andrew Savage for Human Performance, performed by Parquet Courts
  • Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds for Sunset Motel, performed by Reckless Kelly
  • Eric Timothy Carlson for 22, A Million, performed by Bon Iver

Album Cover Hall of Fame All Points Bulletin –

Greetings to you all. Earlier this month, I received a request from photographer Brian Griffin for help in locating a copy of a record that he shot the cover for and, as I know that many of you have impressive collections going back many years, I thought that I’d ask you all for your help in this effort.

The record was a 1978 release by Peter Hamill titled “If I Could“. The particular image Brian’s looking for was used on a Canadian release on the Charisma Label (1211-200) – design was by the late, great Barney Bubbles and the photo, of course, was by Mr. Griffin.

He’s looking to either get a 300DPI scan of the cover or, if need be, find a copy of the record so that he can get the cover scanned himself.

If you can help in any way, please contact me either via Facebook or via email at curator@albumcoverhalloffame.com

Here’s a link to the item on the Discogs.com site – https://www.discogs.com/Peter-Hammill-If-I-Could/release/3837669

Thanks to you all for your help – let the hunt commence!

R.I.P. John Wetton – “One thing is sure…that time will tell” that you gave us all a lot of pleasure.

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

All text Copyright 2017 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 Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of December 2016

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

So, we’re done with 2016 – let us all heave a sigh of relief. What a year.

While I typically have a lot to say in these intros, I find myself somewhat shell-shocked and, therefore, at a loss for words, so I suppose that, rather than ramble on meaninglessly, I should simply relate what’s new and exciting in the world of album cover artistry. Whenever I’m in a funk, I trek on over to my favorite art museum and find something to inspire. Several days ago, my wife and I set out on a trip to the fabled Chicago Art Institute and, on the way, stopped at the impressive Chicago Cultural Center (a must-see for classic Chicago architecture fans) and, much to my surprise, found an excellent show of the works of Harlem-based abstract expressionist painter Norman Lewis on display (PROCESSION: The Art of Norman Lewis is on display until January 8th – https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/norman_lewis.html). Music – particularly, jazz – influenced a number of Lewis’ works (his brother Sol was a musician), and although he never did an album cover (at least, not to my knowing), it was uplifting to see such creativity and imagination on display that drew inspiration from the local music scene. And while Lewis didn’t garner the art world fame that many of his other WPA-era contemporaries did (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, etc.), I am glad to have been able to discover his talents at this point in my life – it made me smile again.

This month’s summary, which comes on the heels of the release of my annual recap of the “Best of” and “Worst of” album cover design in the year 2016 (some of which also sparked some hope that great talents continue to ply their trades on behalf of musician/label clients), will impress you with the fact that  creative people continue to do what comes naturally and that other people with related businesses and interests (galleries, publishers, curators, etc.) continue to do what they do to share what they do with the rest of us. The people that make our favorite album imagery are still working hard to regularly contribute to the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.

Please share this info with everyone you know who might be a fan of great album cover art and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

a) David Bowie by Duffy exhibition at the Proud Gallery in London starting January 6th (running thru February 5th) – David Bowie, who would have turned 70 this year had he not left this mortal coil a year ago, was an often-photographed subject, but only a few photographers have produced images of the ever-changing artist that would be considered “iconic” – one of them being the late Brian Duffy, perhaps best-known for his photos used on the covers of classic Bowie records including Aladdin Sane, Lodger, Scary Monsters and others. In a recent article on the Music Week site by writer Ben Homewood, you’ll learn of an upcoming exhibition being staged at the Proud Gallery in London titled Bowie By Duffy which will, according to the Gallery’s PR, be “a celebration of the dynamic relationship between two of the century’s greatest artistic innovators. This exhibition of original prints signed by the late Brian Duffy is a moving insight into the minds of two exceptional creatives in partnership between 1972 – 1980. Duffy’s iconic images emphasize the longevity of Bowie’s distinctive persona and offer a poignant retrospective to one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times…”

Homewood tells us that this show will coincide with another significant Bowie-related event – a concert that will be staged at the O2 Brixton Academy venue that’s called “Celebrating David Bowie” and will feature a large cast of Bowie band alumni including Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew and many others.

http://www.musicweek.com/talent/read/a-new-david-bowie-photography-exhibition-set-to-open-in-london-in-2017/066603

https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

b) As the city of Sunderland works to impress in order to earn the title of the “UK City of Culture” in 2021, what better way to get the attention of the city’s elders and other taste-makers than by staging a 40th anniversary celebration of all things Punk? Titled Punk 1976-78, this exhibition at the Sunderland Museum, Library & Winter Garden kicked off with a music filled opening party on December 2nd, after which visitors were able to tour the show which includes a number of important punk-era items from the archives of the British Library such as “Original posters, gig tickets and flyers from the clubs that would become synonymous with the scene are displayed alongside original record sleeves, many of which have never been on public display before. Highlights also include John Peel’s personal copy of the Undertones’ single, Teenage Kicks and original t-shirts from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s SEX boutique on the Kings Road…”

The show was curated by a number of notables from both the British Library and Liverpool John Moores University, so you can be sure that you’ll find a wide range of things to see covering the music, fashion, politics and pop culture aspects of this norm-altering era. Read more in the local papers at: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/our-region/sunderland/anarchy-in-sunderland-punk-exhibition-opens-at-city-museum-1-8272527 and click on over to the museum’s web site to learn more about attending – http://www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/punk-1976-78

c) December 9th marked the launch of the most-recent staging – now, at the C/O Gallery in Berlin, Germany – of an album art exhibition that features 500+ of the most-impactful record covers produced over the past 50+ years. You’ll recall that, back in September, I’d reported on this comprehensive exhibition – titled Total Records: Photography and the Art of the Album Cover – that was most-recently on display in Budapest, Hungary and was built around the images included in an album art book (published by the French photo collective known as Aperture) that features the works of many esteemed record cover artists, including David Bailey, Anton Corbijn, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Jean-Paul Goude, Brian Griffin, Danny Lyon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Martin Parr, Irving Penn, Cindy Sherman, Pennie Smith, Andy Warhol, Albert Watson and many, many others.

According to the gallery’s press, “… Total Records presents both classic and lesser-known album covers, and traces the musical and photographic history of the twentieth century through the sometimes surprising album cover collaborations that have emerged between artists” (i.e. musicians and the people they’ve collaborated with on their album art projects). To introduce us to this new staging of this travelling exhibit, the team at Deutsche Welle (AKA “DW”, Germany’s international news network) has recently posted an article on the DW.com site that you can reach via the link at http://dw.com/en/how-art-made-album-covers-iconic/a-36703281

If you can’t attend the show in Germany during its run (now through April 23rd, 2017), it will be available to album art fans in the Rotterdam, Netherlands area when it moves to the Kunsthal Rotterdam for several months later next Spring.

More info on the Berlin show can also be found on the gallery’s site (in English) at http://www.co-berlin.org/en/total-records

d) Running now through the end of January at the 70 South Gallery in Morristown, NJ is a show featuring the photo work of one Roberto Rabanne, a man who over the years has had the pleasure of capturing stars from the music, entertainment and fashion worlds such as Lady Gaga, Prince, Springsteen and Hendrix for use in record and publishing projects and, as you’ll see when you visit the Gallery and its web site, many less-traditional venues. Part of a larger show called “Revolutionary Reflections”, Rabanne’s collection is being show under the title Photoplasticity: Fashioning The Image When Music Meets Fashion and includes images of all of the aforementioned celebrities and many others (Jerry Garcia, Madonna, Bob Marley and many more), along with those of top fashion models that were taken for top magazines such as Marie Claire, Rolling Stone, Spin, Vogue and Woman, among others.

Meet the photographer and get more info on this exciting new gallery show via the link – http://www.70southgallery.com/revolutionary-reflections/

e) December 11th was the final day that visitors were able to tour the “Coming On Home Exhibition 2016” show of recent works by noted album artist Roger Dean that was on display at the beautiful Trading Boundaries gallery complex located in Sussex, U.K.. What made this show so unique is that, in addition to examples of some of his best-known work for YES, Asia, Uriah Heep and others, you were able to see the paintings Dean created that were used on the cover of the recent release by former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett titled Premonitions – wonderful examples of classic Roger Dean fantastic imagery. For more information on this show and some of the upcoming musical events taking place at Trading Boundaries, follow the link – http://www.tradingboundaries.com/pages/roger-dean-gallery

f) Creative Review reporter Rick Poynor takes us on an illustrated tour through the You Say You Want A Revolution? Records And Rebels 1966-70 exhibition at the V&A Museum now through February 26th of 2017 – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/decade-disruption-vas-say-want-revolution-records-rebels-1966-70/

The curators have identified seven different revolutions that were taking place during the five years covered in the exhibition – revolutions in Youth Identity, in “the Head” (i.e., drug culture), in “the Street” (political/social protest), in Consumerism, in Living (as part of a community, or in participating in one of the many music festivals held during that period), in Communicating (spreading “the word” pre-personal computer/social media) and the on-going efforts in the areas of environmentalism, neo-liberalism, etc. – and so they used these as the basis of their groupings. Far out, man!

https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/you-say-you-want-a-revolution-records-and-rebels-1966-70

g) Alongside the recent release of their new blues-based record Blue & Lonesome, the Rolling Stones have brought a large selection of items featured in their tremendously-successful Exhibitionism show in London to a new venue in New York city and opened this display recently to fans at the Industria event space in the West Village, available for viewing from now until March 12th. Billed as the largest show of Stones memorabilia (costumes, instruments, artwork, etc. – along with a detailed re-creation of an apartment several of the band members lived together in early on in their careers) ever assembled, USA Today’s Patrick Ryan recently toured the space and shares his take on the impressive, career-spanning show in this article (complete with large photo gallery) posted on the paper’s site – http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2016/11/11/rolling-stones-exhibitionism/93586032/

Ryan was particularly impressed with some of the album art on display, which included original production elements and finished prints of the images found on records such as Sticky Fingers, Some Girls, Love You Live, Undercover, the GRRR greatest-hits recording and others, along with various iterations of the iconic Lips & Tongue logo. You can learn more about what’s on display on the show’s site – http://www.stonesexhibitionism.com/exhibition/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) British photographer Pennie Smith’s photo of Clash bassist Paul Simonon has become one of rock music’s best-known images, with the shot combined with designer Ray Lowry’s typography (that aimed to re-create the energy found on Elvis Presley’s debut recording) to produce an album cover that is always in everyone’s “Top 10” of all time listings. And although Smith was an experienced photographer working for a top music publication (NME), she wasn’t totally prepared for Simonon’s guitar-smashing expression of his unhappiness at the moment and, therefore, found herself snapping a photo that turned out to be a bit out-of-focus and, in her mind at the time, not quite fit for public consumption.

In this recent interview on the topic posted on the TeamRock.com site, you can read more about Smith’s recollections of the event, including an act of self-preservation that ended up creating a cover photo for the ages – http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-12-04/the-story-behind-the-clashs-london-calling-album-artwork

b) I’m told that there was a nice interview with noted photographer Jill Furmanovsky – who also runs the RockArchive Gallery and agency – in a recent posting on the Financial Times site, but as I’m not a subscriber, I can’t tell you much about it! If you are lucky enough to be a FT subscriber, here’s the link – https://www.ft.com/content/69583b9c-b109-11e6-a37c-f4a01f1b0fa1 – please let us know what you found, OK?

c) – It is my sad duty to inform you that another well-known album cover contributor – photographer Richard E. Aaron – has died at the age of 67. He is perhaps best-known to album cover fans for the photo he took that was used on the cover of one of the best-selling live albums of all time – Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive – his prodigious output has been seen in thousands of magazines, books and web sites over the years.

I had the pleasure of meeting with him several times and sold a number of his fine art prints when I had my gallery – he was always eager to find something special in his huge archive that’d make my customers happy.

There’s a detailed obituary that will give you more of the details of his storied career on the Billboard web site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/obituary/7624386/richard-e-aaron-photographer-frampton-comes-alive-dead

and if you’d like to read the interview I did with him a number of years ago about “the making of” the Frampton Comes Alive photo, I’d invite you to visit my archive at http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/04/cover_story_fra.html

Those who’d like to take a stroll through Richard’s online archives can do so via this link – http://www.rockpix.com/  There, you’ll find hundreds of memorable photos, including one of my favorites of Bruce Springsteen (http://www.rockpix.com/infamous-fifty-plus-classic-rock-photos/bruce-springsteen.html) and an awesome shot of the recently-departed piano great Dave Brubeck (http://www.rockpix.com/infamous-fifty-plus-classic-rock-photos/dave-brubeck.html).

He will be missed.

d) Back in 2003, aspiring photographer Nabil Elderkin was looking to find out more about a rapper whose mixtape he’d heard and was thoroughly impressed by. He Googled “Kanye West” only to find that the domain was available for sale. He snapped it up, hoping to be able to track Mr. West down at some point, and when West’s label came knocking to negotiate for the rights to the domain, what transpired next was the foot-in-the-door moment for a photographer whose career has gone on to include album cover, publicity and other photo work for West and many others, including Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Bon Iver and many more top acts. After expanding his horizons into directing music videos and TV commercials, Elderkin is now looking to break into the feature film business, with details on these efforts, as well as stories of his early and ongoing successes, now found in a recent profile written by Rob LeDonne for The Guardian (U.K.) web site – https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/nov/09/nabil-elderkin-collaborator-kanye-west-weeknd-bon-iver

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) I was originally going to pass on reporting about something, even though I was aware of a special sale of important rock-era artworks had been announced to collectors (yes, I’m one of “those people” too) because the gallery that had sent the email – the San Francisco Art Exchange – had stated that we weren’t supposed to share the info on the sale except directly with friends/acquaintances with the means to be able to purchase one of the works (i.e., no press, no social media, etc.). As a reporter, it is hard having news quarantined, but I always respect these requests as I was once both a marketer and a gallery owner and fully understand the need sometimes to manage the flow of information so that only “legit” buyers are in contact regarding the sale of valuable works of art.

Imagine my surprise then the next day when I saw this article on the ArtDaily.com web site – http://artdaily.com/news/92632/Original-paintings-from-Pink-Floyd-s-The-Wall-on-view-at-San-Francisco-Art-Exchange in which some of the details about this sale were in fact made public. And while I won’t tell you exactly what’s going on in deference to the original request, I will simply say that, if you’re a fan of Pink Floyd and want to add something unique to your music-related art collection, you should read this article and then get hold of one of the nice people at SFAE to learn more.

b) While I didn’t find a lot to report about re: album art-related items to be featured in Bonham’s December 15th Entertainment Memorabilia auction in London, one item that did catch my eye was a set of 10 ceramic tiles that spell out the words “Abbey Road” – a set quite similar to the ones used to illustrate the back cover of The Beatles 1969 recording of the same name. While it can’t be verified that these were in fact the tiles that Iain MacMillan photographed for use on the cover, they were taken from a now-demolished wall nearby, so you can always present them to your friends with a shrug and a “well, they COULD be…” statement, right? Pre-auction estimates for this item were in the $10 – 13K range, with more info available at http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/23527/lot/83/

 Auction update – A set of 10 ceramic tiles that spell out the words “Abbey Road” – a set quite similar to the ones used to illustrate the back cover of The Beatles 1969 recording of the same name – that was featured in this week’s Entertainment Memorabilia auction at Bonham’s London facility did not find a buyer. ? Pre-auction estimates for this item were in the $10 – 13K range, and while this unique item did not find a new home, the auction did succeed in selling some other great items, including

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/23527/lot/83/

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) It’s been recently reported that music journalist/fine art photographer and rock photo collector Raj Prem is in discussions to have a new, career-spanning book published next year. Over the years, Prem has worked with a number of leading galleries, including San Francisco Art Exchange, the Atlas and Snap galleries in London and several others, to curate rock photo shows that feature the works of many of the industry’s best-known shooters and, along the way, he’s put together a personal collection that would make any die-hard music/art fan quite envious. With a fan’s obsession for gathering mementos from important milestones along rock music’s 60+ year timeline, when you see a Prem-curated display, you’ll find many of the most-iconic images alongside examples of timeless memorabilia, so it will be interesting to see what will be included in this upcoming tome. You can read more about Prem and his career in this recently-published posting on the SAT Press Releases site – http://satprnews.com/2016/12/12/raj-prem-reveals-plans-to-publish-new-book-on-his-career-in-music-photography/ and stay tuned here for more information about the book’s availability as it becomes public.

b) Well-known to anyone who follows the Bay Area music scene, photographer Bob Minkin has been a staple on the scene for many years, contributing his photos of all of the key players in the area to magazines, newspapers, web sites and, of course, record company clients. As you might figure, Bob has amassed a large archive of photos of acts over the past 40 years, including shots of the Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, Moonalice, Dark Star Orchestra and many, many others, some of which were included in Bob’s 2014 book titled Live Dead: The Grateful Dead Photographed By Bob Minkin. That book proved to be so popular that it inspired Bob to revisit his archive once again, this time to focus on images of the performances that have taken place at venues in Marin County, Minkin’s home turf. The results of this deep archive dive will soon be shared in a new book that Bob is hoping to produce and ship in 2017.

According to Mr. Minkin (per his new Kickstarter project page), “THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED — a one-of-a-kind 200+ page coffee table book of photography — will feature hundreds of never-before-seen images from my archives, including live performance shots, intimate backstage, off-stage and at home photographs of our favorite players, including Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and close to 100 musicians/bands will be featured!” Supporters can opt for the book in one of two formats (“Standard” or a limited-edition “Collector’s” edition) and choose to upgrade their purchase to include one of the hundreds of photos that will be included in the book (quite the deal!). Find out more via the link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/915441459/the-music-never-stopped-epic-live-music-photos-by

Update – Just an update to the article above regarding photographer Bob Minkin’s Kickstarter project in support of a new photo book (to be titled “The Music Never Stopped” and featuring hundreds of great shots of the creme-de-la-creme of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene) – Mr. Minkin has sent out a new email in which he tells us that he’s adjusted the amount he’s hoping to raise upward to the $25-30K range, and is offering to sweeten the pot by giving supporters an opportunity to get something special. Here’s how Bob put it in today’s email – ” I need to keep this campaign growing as the book will cost $25,000-$30,000 to produce… Therefore, if I reach $25,000 in funding, everyone who has contributed $50 and above will be entered into a drawing to win a 11 x 14 signed photograph of a Grateful Dead photo I’ve taken.”

Today’s the last day to pledge your support for this project (which has raised a bit over $25K, so I think that supporters will be in for that drawing), so I hope that you’ll take a look and support one of the music business’ nicest (and most talented) guys by clicking on over https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/915441459/the-music-never-stopped-epic-live-music-photos-by

c) You might recall my reporting about photographer Elliott Landy’s own book project last year built around his collection of photos of The Band (The Band Photographs, 1968-1969), a publication that included an impressive selection of shots Landy took of his chums at work, at leisure and in the middle of some beautiful country scenery. As Landy selected the 300 photos that would be included from the over 12,000 he had in his archive of that band at the time, he produced proof pages of pairs of these shots – truly-important by-products of the time-consuming process of assembling such a book. People who saw these proofs commented that Elliott should preserve them as historical documents, but as he’s such a giving person, he’s decided (after keeping one set for himself) to share these nearly one-of-a-kind images (produced with the same care and inks as his fine art photo prints) with fans, putting them up for sale, while they last.

Priced at $575 (a real bargain for a Landy print!), there are about 450 of these double-image prints available directly from Mr. Landy on his site – http://elliottlandy.com/nearly-one-of-a-kind-proof-prints-from-the-band-photographs-book/

I can’t think of a better gift for fans of The Band, can you?

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Album cover artists, like most other talented people, are often solicited to “do something special” for the Holidays, and such is the case with graphic artist Don Pendleton, well-known for his Grammy-winning work on Pearl Jam’s 2013 record Lightning Bolt, who donated his time and creative energies to create a poster for a recent concert benefitting the local (Bloomington, IL) Toys for Tots efforts. When a major sponsor from the previous year’s event pulled out, local promoters, musicians and others banded together to make sure that the show took place and worked to replace the $15,000 deficit, guaranteeing that the neediest kids still will be getting something memorable this Holiday season.

Read more about it on the Pantagraph news site (you’ll need to click thru some impediments to get there – sorry) – http://www.pantagraph.com/blogs/craft-from-pearl-jam-to-toys-for-tots/article_73487330-0ec9-5265-b8ef-7071fb144434.html

b) Designer/record label co-owner Peter Saville’s contributions to the world of album art imagery are many, with his Factory Records label releasing albums by bands such as Pulp, OMD, Roxy Music and New Order/Joy Division (among many others) encased in packages that set a new standard in post-modern design (how many of us still proudly wear our Unknown Pleasures t-shirts as a sign of new wave appreciation?). The label’s Manchester club, called the Hacienda and built inside a vacated yacht showroom, was a venue that allowed Saville to apply his design expertise in a grander scale (working alongside designer Ben Kelly), with the club’s floor done up in the warning stripe motif used often on the label’s recordings as well.

Since then, Saville has worked on a number of projects around the Manchester area, including designing ones for the Welcome area and entrance doors of the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry, a design that is now being used as the basis of a new series of glassware now being sold by the Museum. You’ll find three examples of Saville’s new glassware for sale in the museum’s gift shop, including this nice jar – https://www.sciencemuseumshop.co.uk/museum_gifts/peter-saville/msi_peter_saville_gas_jar.htm

Wallpaper Magazine’s site has posted an article on the topic, including insights from Peter, by Kasia Maciejowski that you can read via this link – http://www.wallpaper.com/design/peter-saville

The museum has also put together a nice overview of the role Factory Records played in the development of both Manchester’s music scene and its emergence as a hotbed of style and design – http://msimanchester.org.uk/en/collection/stories/factory-records

c) Finally, as we are at the tail end of the Holiday season and the giving and receiving gifts of a questionable nature is part of the yearly ordeal, I just had to share this article posted recently on the Society of Rock web site in which you’ll be shown a collection of Christmas sweaters that have been decorated with album cover/logo-based artwork.

Whether this is good or not is in the eye of the giver/recipient, but you’ll most-certainly be the center of attention at any post-Holiday party if you walk in wearing one of these colorful creations – http://societyofrock.com/7-ugly-rock-christmas-sweaters-guaranteed-to-make-you-an-office-party-hit-this-season/

Links are provided in the article to the vendors offering these items, so if you’re wondering what to do with one of those Visa or AMEX gift cards you received from someone, now’s your chance to add one of these to your rock & roll clothing collection.

d) Video game fans have always enjoyed these things called “Easter eggs”, which are special, hidden items – images, sounds, videos, animations, extra powers, etc. – that developers have chosen to include in their products that avid game players are always on the hunt for (there are special newsletters and blogs devoted to the topic, too). Those of us who have been paying close attention to music-related artwork over the years know that, from time to time, album cover artists have hidden objects on their miniature canvases that, over time, have become just as memorable as the images themselves. Famed illustrator Al Hirschfeld included several instances of his daughter Nina’s name in his cover art for Aerosmith’s Draw The Line album (in fact, there are always Ninas hidden somewhere in a Hirschfeld illustration), but as you’ll discover in this recent article on the Radio X web site, there have been a number of well-known records released that include hidden imagery and messaging, including albums from Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Beastie Boys and others.

http://www.radiox.co.uk/features/revealed-secret-hidden-messages-album-cover/

One of this year’s Grammy-nominated records – David Bowie’s final record Black Star, featuring artwork done by Jonathan Barnbrook, includes several hidden treasures, so the trend continues to this day.

e) Another Grammy-nominated recording package – that being for Trey Anastasio’s Paper Wheels Deluxe Limited Edition release, featuring art by Varnish Studio’s Matt Taylor – also showcases artwork that includes secretly-coded text strings that were built with a cipher created in the 1850s for use by British intelligence services at the time (and through the end of World War II). As you might figure, today’s young technologists quickly figured things out, with the results shared with inquiring minds in this article by Andy Kahn that I found which was published last year on the Jambase site – http://www.jambase.com/article/cracking-the-code-trey-anastasio-band-paper-wheels-artwork

It is work like this that makes me feel secure that, regardless of how some might be working to limit free speech, there will always be technologists and artists working together to deliver important messages…

f) com writer Fidel Martinez presents us with a summary of seven hip-hop/rap album covers that, compared with the rest of the imagery used to promote recorded music in these genres, are “tougher than the rest”. While some acts have decided to use their covers to establish their “street cred”, others have worked to put the conditions of their neighbors and neighborhoods on display for the rest of us to take in and appreciate how these conditions have shaped their music.

The article includes examples of powerfully-rendered images that have been used in the packaging of recordings by Tupac, N.W.A., DMX, Geto Boys and others. Some are hard to look at, but all are impactful in their own ways.

http://uproxx.com/realtalk/hip-hop-album-covers-tougher-than-the-rest/4/

g) Life as a music industry photographer is a life of luxury and never-ending partying with the coolest people on the planet, right? As much as we’d like to think so, a recent article by Mark Butler on the com site that features anecdotes from two U.K.-based photographers – Euan Robertson and Anthony Longstaff – gives readers a lesson in the realities of earning a living in this fashion. Yes, you do get to be in the presence of music industry royalty (at least for a few songs), but you also have to deal with over-zealous security personnel, rowdy fans and clients often more-interested in “fast and cheap” than “reliable and high-quality”. You’d also be correct in assuming that their subjects aren’t always accommodating with their time and attention…another music-industry fantasy, nicely deflated, can be found via the link at https://inews.co.uk/essentials/culture/music/life-as-a-music-photographer/

h) Artist Derek Riggs – best-known in the album art world for creating Iron Maiden’s “Eddie” mascot (first seen on their self-titled 1980 recording) – shares the story about “the making of” one of the better-known Eddie-based album covers, that being his artwork for 1982’s The Number of the Beast in which our hero is pictured accompanying The Devil as he makes a fiery swing through the neighborhood…the prolific staffers at com share this story in an article found recently on their site – http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-09-16/the-story-behind-iron-maiden-s-the-number-of-the-beast-album-artwork

i) Album art has long been used by musical acts to promote their feelings regarding the issues of the day (think System of a Down’s Toxicity or Ice Cube’s Death Certificate), but for a Boomer like me, my heart just leapt when I saw one Chicago-based design group’s proposal to use a quartet of strategically-placed golden flying pigs (ala Pink Floyd’s Animals) to block street views of the huge logo found on the river-side of the Trump Tower Chicago building located in the Windy City. Symbolism runs two ways in this story, as Trump Tower was built on a parcel created after tearing down the original building that used to house one of Chicago’s premier newspapers, the Sun Times. Make of it what you will – more info and photos can be found in Matthew Messner’s recent article on The Architect’s Newspaper site – https://archpaper.com/2016/12/trump-chicago-gold-pigs/

If you’d like to watch a short time-lapse video of the demolition of the Sun Times headquarters and the phoenix-like rising of the new Trump building that was created by a local photographer, hop on over to YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnEGFHRW3js

j) ACHOF News Flash – The nominees for awards in the Packaging Category in the upcoming 59th Annual Grammy Awards have been announced, with the lists for each category including both some familiar names and others getting recognition by the Recording Academy for the first time.

In the “Best Recording Package” category, art directors for records put out by acts including Bon Iver, David Bowie, Parquet Courts, Reckless Kelly, and Rihanna will duke it out for top honors, while in the “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition” category include works done for a broad range of talent – from the late singer Edith Piaf to Paul McCartney, Trey Anastasio to the 1975 and J. Views, who crowd-sourced most everything for his nominated project.

You can get the details on the Grammy Awards site via the link at http://www.grammy.com/nominees?genre=22

with the winners being announced the weekend leading up to the Sunday, February 12, 2017 live telecast.

Of course, you’ll learn more about the nominees and eventual winners here, so stay tuned for further updates.

Congratulations go out to all of the talented people who’ve been nominated – great work, folks!

k) The 2016 ARIA Awards (Australia’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards) in the “Artisan Categories” – including “Best Cover Art” – were announced in late November, and while it seems to have taken a while for the info to arrive here in the U.S. (must have been sent by steamship), I would be remiss if I didn’t publicize the names of the nominees and the winner in the category – Best Cover Art: Karen Lynch for Bernard Fanning – Civil Dusk (Dew Process/Universal); Kristen Doyle for Delta Goodrem – Wings of the Wild (Sony Music Australia); Jonathan Zawada for Flume – Skin (Future Classic); Jack Vanzet for RÜFÜS – Bloom (Sweat It Out / Sony Music Australia) and Lost Art for The Avalanches – Wildflower (Modular / EMI)

And the winner was…Jonathan Zawada for his design for Flume’s record Skin.

http://www.ariaawards.com.au/nominees/2016/Artisan-Awards/Best-Cover-Art

and you can find out more about the winning art director/artist on his web site at http://www.zawada.com.au/

l) At the end of every year, the writers working for art/music/design publications of every size put themselves in a position that I will most-certainly never put himself in – i.e., having to name the “best” and “worst” album cover designs of the previous 12 months and then, somehow, justifying those choices to my readers. This year, it’s become quite clear that expressing opinions on what’s “best” or “worst” in any pursuit can prove to be a dangerous enterprise, with some of those decisions accepted with great gusto while others mercilessly berating the choices that they might disagree with. Now that it is that time of year again, I have completed this basic research and am simply ready to offer you his summary of what these (some of them) esteemed music and art critics have presented as their “best of” and “worst of” selections regarding the album covers and packaging that helps deliver – both online and in physical form – music from your favorite artists.

As I have noted in my previous summaries, “each year, music and art critics work to provide readers and viewers with their ‘Top 10/20/50′ lists in a variety of categories (by musical genre, by who most-effected pop culture, by who “raised the bar”, by who revealed the most of their inner souls or their outer skin, etc.). Many of these same publications and sites also attempt to arrive at – by their design standards and/or knowledge of the relationships between musicians, their record labels/distributors and the people they hire to create a new graphical representation of their latest music releases – which records came with the best (or worst) associated album covers.” The past several years, I found smaller and smaller numbers (but no-less-passionate) of publications and sites who were eager to proffer their opinions on the “state of the art” in album cover design, so while there was less data to take into account (particularly in the “Worst” category), it is no less interesting to read what critics have to say on the subject.

Today’s summary – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/album-cover-hall-of-fame-year-end-summary-of-best-and-worst-album-cover-art-lists-2016/

is presented simply, with links to the sites that have presented their own takes on “what’s good/bad” in album cover design these days. As for myself, I was impressed with several examples of close collaborations between the designers and musical acts that invested in projects that pushed the boundaries of how “album art” is defined. Taking into account the prevalence of both digital deliver platforms and hybrid physical/digital products at retail (i.e., those that have add-ons that are experienced via a computer/smartphone), I can say with a high degree of certainty that next year’s lists will continue to put highly-imaginative works on display for us all to take in, appreciate and discuss at great length. As always, please be sure to share your takes on which of these lists perhaps best-or-least-represented your feelings on the topic by leaving a comment for us – thanks, and here’s wishing all of you the “Best Of” Peace, Level-headedness and Prosperity during the New Year 2017!

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

All text Copyright 2016/2017 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 Summary For June, 2016

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

It’s the day after Independence Day, 2016 and I’m hoping that most of you were out with friends and family picnicking, boating, sitting in your back yards or on your porches and soaking in the sun and fresh air, wherever you might have been. Of course, this is simply my excuse for being a bit late with last month’s album cover news summary but, hey, we all need a break from time to time, staying off of our web sites, phones, tablets and other devices and simply enjoying each other’s company and conversation, don’t you agree?

To celebrate the day, album cover artist-style, I’d like to point you to a new limited-edition poster release from the famed graphic artist John Van Hamersveld that perfectly illustrates the glory of our Statue of Liberty – http://www.post-future.com/store/pgs/aclu.html    Makes you proud to live in a free country, no? Hope we can all work together to keep it that way for everyone…

In this month’s summary – the second following my new “less talk, more info” format (which I hope that you’re enjoying) – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to impress fans, critics and others in the press, so there continues to be an ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics:

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Album Cover News Recap for May, 2016

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

It’s the first day of June, 2016 and perhaps you’re just noticing and saying to yourself  “you know, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a monthly summary on the Album Cover Hall of Fame site”. Well, in truth, it has been a while – yours truly was away from the office for a period of a couple of weeks in late April/early May and, unbelievably for an American, I chose NOT to work through my trip and, instead, chose to relax (“how dare you!”). At the same time, I decided to modify both the form and frequency of my album cover news summaries, the result of which you’ve seen the past few weeks and hope that you’ve enjoyed. Rather than daily missives, you’re getting a summary once a week (on Fridays, with the occasional timely updates inserted as needed), with each week’s news broken into several categories (the human mind loves to categorize, so I’m just giving you a head start in that effort). With this month’s summary, I am going to introduce a format chance that more closely follows the weekly updates, with news stories divided up into those same categories, making it easier for you to focus on the topics that might be more interesting to you than others. I am hoping that these changes increase your enjoyment of the monthly summaries – of course, if you have any concerns or suggestions, I do hope that you’ll contact me (curator@albumcoverhalloffame.com) and let me know how I might better deliver the ongoing supply of album art/artist-related content I’m dedicated to providing you on an ongoing basis.

So much has happened since we last chatted – even with the media circus that dominates our daily news feeds (#1 – “It hurts when I watch this.” #2 – “So don’t watch this!”), the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to draw interest from fans and the press, so there’s been an ongoing stream of articles, interviews and the like on a wide range of related topics:

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Album Cover News Recap For February, 2016

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap for the month of February, 2016

It’s early March 2016, and what a month we’ve just had, what with the Superbowl, the Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards, the Portland International Film Festival (gotta plug the local events, right?) and the ongoing media circus surrounding (and feeding) the upcoming  2016 election season. While there has been plenty to distract us from fully-engaging in the things we’re most passionate about, the album art world has continued to deliver a lot for us to see and learn about, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, lectures, award shows and other such activities we reported on during the last 29 days. Even with a short month, our news feed has been chock-full of stories on the many interviews, features, artist profiles, new gallery/museum shows and other similar items of interest, I’ll now spend just a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be your responsibility to visit our site to complete your ingestion of these items of interest by reading and (re)viewing these items at your leisure… Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for January, 2016

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap for the month of January, 2016

It’s early February 2016 and, while we here in the Pacific NW continue to endure a mostly-dreary Winter season (sun lamps are hot sellers here), we must consider ourselves lucky considering the bashing that many other areas of the country have been getting. And, while the circus sideshow we call “politics” continues to grab much of our attention these days, your Curator (hey, that’s me!) has been fortunate enough to tour art exhibitions in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and here in Portland, where the 2016 Print Fair was held this past weekend at the Portland Art Museum – lots of great art was seen and appreciated – yes, there is an art world beyond Album Cover-land!

My travels did, of course, slightly reduce the number of days I was able to share the latest album art-related news with you (and, even with a Leap Day added, this will occur again naturally in February), but the steady stream of album art-related news remained unabated, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, books and other such activities we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories on the interviews, features, profiles, gallery/museum shows and annual  “best and worst” lists adding to the impressive number  of exciting and inspiring articles you found in our news feed, I’ll now spend just a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates. 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… Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for December, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’S Album Cover News Recap for December, 2015

It’s early January 2016 here in the Pacific NW and, I don’t know about you all, but I could surely use some sunshine, having been treated to the first extended stretches of Winter weather, making for great skiing in the nearby mountains while creating a ghost-like pallor on our skin. On the plus side, we (i.e., the city of Portland, OR) were recently rated #1 best food city in a major East Coast publication, so life here’s not all that bad.

Our collective recuperations from the past Holiday season and the Winter blahs have done little to stem the tide of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, books and other such activities we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories on the interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and annual  “best and worst” lists adding to the endless sources of excitement and inspiration found in our news feed, 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 designers Vaughan Oliver, Sir Peter Blake, Brian Cannon and others and photographers Gary Heery and Anton Corbijn who, most interestingly, is taking a leave from the music industry to focus on topics of his own interest. Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for October, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – November 2, 2015

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s early November, 2015 and we’re heading into the late Fall season here in the Pacific NW – great hiking and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather, with wonderful colors found all around, including in the many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 or so days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and three new films adding to the pure joy 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 complete your review of this list by reading/viewing these items at your own pace…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with the talented men and women who’ve enriched our lives by creating memorable  album cover art, including artist of the macabre Jeff Gaither, art directors Mike Salisbury, Kosh and David Larkham, illustrators Shepard Fairey and Tony Quick (for the NEW Zombies LP) and singer/songwriter/painter John Mellencamp.

In the fine art book category, there was news of new and upcoming book releases from photographer/collector Raj Prem, the aforementioned Shepard Fairey, photographer Jay Blakesberg (a book titled Hippie Chicks) and videographer/vinly lover Eilon Paz, who brings his Dust And Grooves series from video to print.

There were a large number of exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery that premiered during October, with shows in museums and galleries around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll read more about current and just-completed exhibits such as the show at Hilton|Asmus in Chicago featuring photos by Henry Diltz, Carinthia West and Pattie Boyd, Neal Preston’s recent display at the LDI convention, the “Hippie Modernism” show at the Walker Art Center, a show of Michael Cooper photos in London, Graham Nash’s new display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Winston Smith’s collage show in San Francisco, musician/artist Wayne Coyne’s display in Baltimore and a show featuring “make believe” album art in New Haven, CT.

Other interesting articles appeared on subjects including the now-open voting for Art Vinyl’s yearly “Best Art Vinyl” awards, album art created by working musicians, a clothing license deal that will produce gear featuring 80’s style/art icon Patrick Nagel’s artwork,  a scientific study into whether album cover art influences the reviews by music critics and three films – Roddy Bogawa’s look into the life and career of the late Storm Thorgerson called Taken By Storm (covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and many others), one about photographer Robert Frank (Exile On Main Street for the Rolling Stones) and Colin Hanks & Co’s loving tribute to the life and death of that former temple of all things vinyl – Tower Records – titled All Things Must Pass. 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!

We’re going into the annual voting season 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. With our next class set to be inducted before the Holidays this year, I’m working to include as many as possible for consideration in this effort. With all of the year-end distractions soon upon us , I’m going to do what I can 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, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

October 31st – not posted, but added today as a bonus – Bay-area photographer Jim Jocoy has dug deep into his archives and found a collection of late 1970s shots of a “who’s who” in the then-thriving punk music scene (previously publishing some of them in a book titled We’re Desperate: The Punk Rock Photography of Jim Jocoy) and now, in this recent article by Miss Rosen on the Crave Online site, sharing even more of them, including images of Patti Smith, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, Exene Cervenka of X and many other stars of the era. His observation that “Punk is an ephemeral thing. The Rolling Stones are still rolling along, and the Ramones are all gone”, while stating the obvious, certainly underlines the fact that so much of this creative energy has “left the club”… http://www.craveonline.com/art/909159-girls-film-70s-punk-legends-photographs-jim-jocoy#/slide/1

October 30th – 1) Perfectly-timed for a Halloween-weekend item was this just-released feature/interview with artist Jeff Gaither. Fans of album art will recognize his work for metal/hard rock bands including Testament, Pantera, The Misfits, Guns-n-Roses, The Undead and many others (over 200 credits!) but, as you’ll see when you read Kevin Gibson’s article on the LEO Weekly (Louisville, KY) site, the inspirations for the sometimes over-the-top ghoulishness of his imagery come from a fascination of all things serial killer (he even owns a piece of notorious murderer Ed Gein’s tombstone). When you’re done with the article, I’d also suggest a visit to Jeff’s site, where you can learn more about his past, including his five-year stint working for Mr. Rat Fink himself, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth – http://www.leoweekly.com/2015/10/serial-killer-culture-jeff-gaithers-dark-obsession-inspires-his-art-and-fandom/
Site link – www.jeffgaither.com

2) The folks at the Hilton|Asmus Gallery in Chicago have decided to extend the time that their popular photo show based around the photography of Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd and Carinthia West will be up…Visions Of A Magic Time:Iconic Photographs Of The Music & Culture Of The 60s And 70s will be available for viewing now through December 20th. They also sent over a link to a recent episode of the popular “A Drink With…” web series (sponsored by Virgin Hotels and hosted by Hilary Sawchuck) in which Ms. Sawchuck hoists a margarita or two with the three aforementioned photographers while they talk about the behind-the-scenes details of many of their best-known images and Ms. Boyd (the former muse of rockers George Harrison and Eric Clapton) talks a bit about the ups and downs of being in love…

http://virginhotels.com/2015/10/09/a-drink-with-pattie-boyd-carinthia-west-henry-diltz/

Exhibition info – http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/exhibition-schedule.html

October 29th – 1) Album art fans in the New Haven, CT area were treated to an exhibit featuring 67 works of art depicting album covers for “make believe bands” called “Sound + Vision: A Visual Playlist” that ran at the Gallery at the Institute Library, 847 Chapel St., until Oct. 31. This portion of the city-wide “Open Studios” effort showed how local artists would approach projects designed to best-introduce fans to an act’s new music (“you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”), with some of the participants reaching back into the area’s musical history (e.g., a visit by The Doors in 1967 during which Jim Morrison was arrested for various acts of debauchery) to provide the bases for the visual imagery. From 7 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 31, there was a closing party with album sales, auction results, and a live broadcast on local radio station WPKN, so if you would like to learn more, read Brian Slattery‘s article on the topic on the New Haven Independent site –http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/sound_vision/

2) Music journalist, photographer, collector and curator Raj Prem has just announced that he’s working on a book chronicling both his own career as a rock photojournalist and working alongside other leading rock shooters – including Michael Cooper, Iain Macmillan, Robert Freeman, Jerry Schatzberg and many others – to curate gallery/museum shows of their works. He’s staged over 100 shows during the last 20 years, so the book will most-certainly include an interesting mix of behind-the-scenes story-telling, interviews and anecdotes. I hope to get hold of the nice man ASAP to see if I can find out more about when he anticipates he’ll release his newest tome but, in the meantime, you can learn more about the man and his plans on his website via the link – http://rajpremnews.com/2015/10/raj-prem-to-publish-new-book-about-his-career-in-music-photography/

October 28th – 1) Ever wonder what your favorite album covers would have looked like translated (literally) into proper French? Me neither – but now that I see them, I’m glad that London-based creative Thomas Olivier has taken the time to provide them to us! I’m particularly amused by several of them, including the newly-revised covers for The Who (“Les Qui”), Talking Heads (“Tetes Parlantes”) and James Brown’s “Sois Sur Ton Bon Pied“. See the rest in this recent article by Ana Leorne on the FourOhFive (is that L’Interstate 405?) site –http://www.thefourohfive.com/culture/article/here-are-some-of-the-world-s-most-famous-record-covers-in-french-144 

2) Influential graphic designer/photographer Mike Salisbury has had his hand in so many well-known images – including album covers for Ike & Tina Turner, George Harrison, James Taylor and Michael Jackson, among others, along with notable design elements for over 300 films (the Jurassic Park logo, for example) – that he most-certainly can claim to have had a notable effect on what Pop Culture “looks like”, but in this recent interview/profile of the artist by Mary Reinholz for The Argonaut site, readers will learn about aspects of his career that will both impress you and leave you wondering (Pop Culture being birthed by the CIA? He says he’s got the proof). I’m eagerly anticipating the release of his series on the topic titled “Mr. Pop Culture” but, in the meantime you can learn more via the link – http://argonautnews.com/mad-dog-sees/
I’d also invite you to view a short video that shows a number of the portraits he’s taken of celebrities from all aspects of Pop Culture via this link –https://youtu.be/l8bg6e3becc

October 27th – 1) In the third installment in his series for Rolling Stone Magazine, Bob Egan talks to photographer Jerry Schatzberg about “the making of” the cover image for Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde (you know, the “fuzzy cover”!). One interesting thing you’ll learn when you read Bob’s article is that while many tried to attribute the slightly-out-of-focus nature of the image to an attempt to appeal to recreational drug users, the real reason Jerry gives is that it was February, they were outside and it was COLD! Schatzberg is also responsible for a number of other well-known album cover images, including photos for Aretha Franklin, Sonny & Cher, The Rascals and my personal favorite, the wonderful Beatle-esque spoof created for Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ We’re Only In It For The Moneyhttp://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-dylan-photographer-explain-blurry-blonde-on-blonde-cover-20151027

2) Fans of the fantastic art of Roger Dean have another week to view the exhibition currently on display at the Trading Boundaries Gallery in Sheffield Green, East Sussex, UK titled Roger Dean:Somewhere Near Here. You’ll find original paintings, watercolors, sketches and other samples of the artist’s work on display, including art he’s done for YES, Steve Hackett’s Premonitions and more, including items related to the art he produced for the epic 14 CD box set recently released by YES called Progeny (with each disc sporting a unique Dean image). You can also sign up to attend a November 1st workshop with Dean where he’ll discuss his efforts for clients in the music, film and video game worlds – a chance to learn from “the master” of Prog Rock design – more info on the show (which ends its run November 3rd) on the gallery’s site at http://www.tradingboundaries.com/roger-dean/

3) Regular readers will recall an article a while back about the major travelling show being produced by the Rolling Stones that will feature over 50 years of band-related art and artifacts, set to launch next Spring at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Titled The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism, the show ” will use nine rooms amounting to over 1,750 square meters of the gallery, with each room its own distinctly designed environment. Guitarist Ronnie Wood said: ‘Let’s gather things together and let people have an experience in a well designed space’” Tickets are now on sale for the show’s first run from April thru September 2016, with the folks from the DIY Magazine site providing us with a bit more info in this recent post on their site – http://diymag.com/2015/10/21/a-look-inside-the-rolling-stones-exhibitionism

October 26th –  1) According to the research scientists at Lixar, album cover imagery has very little influence on whether a record will receive a good or bad review from critics. The company was commissioned by the Halifax Music Explosion to study this question and, as part of the process, used complicated software to study 1000 record cover images, calculate what makes them similar or unique to others, and then determine if patterns arose that would then be reflected in whether a record was well-regarded (or not). As you’ll read in Remo Zaccagna’s article on The Chronicle Herald (Canada) web site, the results showed that cover art had a <3% chance of effecting the outcome of a review. I’m going to follow up with the players in this study to see if they have any notion as to whether album art influenced consumer buying decisions – I think that most of us would say “yes” (at least on purchases made in the pre-digital-download time frame). More to come – in the meantime, click on over to learn more –http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1318508-music-not-art-influences-critics-lixar-study-concludes

2) While businesses of all types today use data visualization tools to help translate sophisticated data sets into something that mere mortals can understand, did you know that one of the best-known album covers of all time – Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, with design/art by Peter Saville) was based on a stacked plot diagram made during scientific study of pulsars nearly 50 years ago? You did? What a show-off 🙂 In a recent article by Jen Christiansen for Scientific American, you’ll more (and I mean, a LOT more) about these studies and the science that lead up to the image that was originally included in a PhD research paper published in 1970 by radio astronomer Harold Craft. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/sa-visual/pop-culture-pulsar-the-science-behind-joy-division-s-unknown-pleasures-album-cover/

3) Digging through the shelves of my local public library this past weekend lead me to find two books on album art that I wasn’t familiar with previously – Coast To Coast Album Covers: Classic Record Art from New York To LA by authors Graham Marsh and Glyn Callingham was published in 2011 by Collins & Brown (UK) and shows the earlier works of many rock/Pop album cover designers for a number of jazz/popular music labels in the 1950s-60s, while DIY Album Art: Paper Bags And Office Supplies (by J. Namdev Hardisty) focuses on the often hand-made covers created by indie/punk labels beginning in the 1990s. Even the book’s cover looks hand-made, featuring litho art on thick cardboard. You’ll find more details on this page on the ACHOF site –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-resources-page-intro-and-links-to-album-cover-books-and-sites/

October 23rd –  1) Visitors to the Live Design International Trade Show in Las Vegas that weekend had the chance to tour an exhibition of the work of photographer Neal Preston, the man responsible for a host of well-known album cover images, including those for acts including Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Heart, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper and many others. Sponsored by stage lighting company Lightpower, “In the Eye of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hurricane” will showcase Preston’s covers, concert photos and portraits, with the photographer on hand all weekend to talk about his work, making this an even more-exciting opportunity. Read more about this show in this intro article on the Live Design Online site –
http://livedesignonline.com/ldi/ldi-and-act-lighting-present-eye-rock-n-roll-hurricane

2) The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN has a new exhibit that presents – through examples of art (including images created by several of the better-known poster/album artists of the era), design, architecture and other popular culture artifacts – how the counter-culture of the late 1960s – early 1970s impressed itself on all aspects of life at the time. Beginning October 24th and running there through Feb. 28th of next year, “Hippie Modernism; The Struggle For Utopia” puts on display ” a broad range of art forms and artifacts of the era” and “features experimental furniture, alternative living structures, immersive and participatory media environments, alternative publishing and ephemera, and experimental film. Bringing into dramatic relief the limits of Western society’s progress, the exhibition explores one of the most vibrant and inventive periods of the not-too-distant past, one that still resonates within culture today.” The show is curated by Andrew Blauvelt, with more info available on the museum’s site at http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2015/hippie-modernism-struggle-utopia.

3) Is using samples/stock items to create music and/or album art a new form of creativity or simply a way for the less-talented to quickly craft a new work? This seems to be the focus of a new article by Caitlin Lopilato on the Complex.com site titled “Is Using Stock Imagery As Album Art Cheating?” and, based on the comments she’s collected from a number of established designers – including Jonathan Mannion, HK and Kalen Hollomon – the discussion about what makes art of any type “original” remains one that will be batted back and forth for a long time. Sparked by the recent admission that the covers for two of rapper Future’s latest releases were made from stock photography, the author reaches her own conclusion that “the Internet is cutting them out of the equation, and their creative voices are being muffled by the temptation of copying and pasting.” What’s your take on the subject? Read more at http://www.complex.com/style/2015/10/hip-hop-album-art-stock-images

Bonus content: Famed cover artist David Larkham shared this link to an interview he participated in with one of his clients (retailer J.J. Hapgood) that, to me, nicely illustrates the “international-ness” of design – a U.K. artist creating compelling imagery for a client he’d originally met in California 30+ years ago who now runs a store/eatery in Peru (O.K., Peru, Vermont!). Larkham, who has done covers for top musical acts including Elton John, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, shares the details of how he developed the modern ID/graphics for an historical business in this article on their site – http://jjhapgood.com/general/legend-artist-behind-j-j-hapgood-logo-ties-sir-paul-mccartney-j-j-hapgood-run-deep/

October 22nd – 1) A group of photographs taken by photographer Michael Cooper of the Rolling Stones visiting sites including Stonehenge, Los Angeles and Joshua Tree are the basis of an exhibition titled “Courting The Stones: Photographs by Michael Cooper” which opened at London’s Proud Galleries Friday, October 16th and will be running there through November 22nd. Cooper – well known for his album cover photo work on both Their Satanic Majesties Request for the Stones and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for The Beatles – was part of the band’s “inner circle”, allowing him to catch band-members in a variety of intimate moments spent with friends (such as the late Gram Parsons), lovers and the people they’d meet in their travels around the world. Read more about the show in this nicely-illustrated article by Tim Chester on the Mashable site – http://mashable.com/2015/10/14/rolling-stones-exhibition-london/

2) The editorial staff at the World Religion News site has come up with a somewhat-unusual (and specific) “best of” album cover art list that looks back over the years for the Top 5 “Most Badass Christian Rock” covers. In the list, you’ll find bands that, in spite of their religion-focused lyrics (and band member lifestyles), these rockers, such as Trouble, Petra and Stryper, understood that hard rock fans had expectations of the inclusion of certain standard elements in their album art – powerful robots/slayers of evil, turbochargers and skulls (representing the evil about to be slayed) – and went to great lengths to provide them (in the most-respectable way possible, of course). Not much else info-wise was provided, but let the images speak for themselves – http://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/christianity/christian-band-album-covers

3) The music industry awards for talent based in Canada’s provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador – known as the MusicNL Awards – were handed out this past week, with designer Jud Haynes given kudos for “Graphic Artist Of The Year” based on his cover for Chris Hadfield’s Space Sessions: Songs From A Tin Can (on Warner Music). The awards were distributed at a banquet in the ballroom at the Delta Hotel this past weekend, with the top award winner being Fortunate Ones who picked up awards for Group of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Folk/Roots Recording of the Year and the top prize, the FACTOR Album of the Year. Designer Haynes has a long list of clients in the music business and, as a former musician, also books bands for local venues. More on the award show on the CBC web site – http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/fortunate-ones-the-once-kat-mclevey-big-winners-at-musicnl-awards-1.3277065
while you can learn more about the award-winning designer on his own site at http://www.judhaynes.com/

October 21st –  1) The video for Part 2 of Bob Egan’s presentation about “the making of” the album art for three quintessential records from Bob Dylan’s catalog – this one focused on Highway 61 Revisited – has been posted as part of an article on the Rolling Stone magazine site. Daniel Kramer’s well-known photo showing Dylan sitting on the steps of the apartment building that his manager (Albert Grossman) lived in – wearing a Triumph motorcycle t-shirt, with Ray Bans in hand – is one well-known by fans, so it is interesting to learn more about the location and the process by which Kramer coaxed this image from Dylan who, at least to me, didn’t seem all too happy about having his photo taken that day…http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/go-behind-the-scenes-of-bob-dylans-highway-61-revisited-album-cover-20151013

2) On the first day of November, the team at Art Vinyl in the U.K. launches its annual survey of the best in album cover art 2015. This year’s judging will be a bit different than what’s been done in the past in that they’re inviting the winners of the previous years’ voting (with voting having started back in 2005) to help select the 50 nominees whose works will also be put on display in five public venues (in Scotland, Italy, Norway, Hungary and England) for fans to review. Last year, over 16,000 participants cast their vote for their favorite covers, selecting the cover for #1-selling U.K. rock duo Royal Blood‘s eponymous record (featuring a Victorian etching-inspired work called “Falls” by artist Dan Hillier) as the best of 2014. To learn more about the upcoming survey and previous winners, please visit the Art Vinyl web site at http://www.artvinyl.com/best-art-vinyl/ Very eager to see who is nominated for this year’s survey – lots of good work done the past 12 months…

3) Original founder/lead singer for Oasis Liam Gallagher has a store in Manchester called Pretty Green that features his clothing line by the same name, and now he’s bringing fans/shoppers an opportunity to see an album cover photo show featuring works – including his many album cover shots for Oasis – by designer/photographer Brian Cannon. Brian’s also done covers for Ash, Suede, Super Furry Animals, The Verve and other well-known music industry clients, so it only makes sense that Gallagher would work with Cannon to shoot photos of his new clothing line as well. In this article by Emily Heward on the Manchester Evening News site, you’ll learn more about Cannon, his long-standing relationship with Oasis (a band not known for long-lasting relationships) and the stories behind some of the band’s best-known record covers – http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-oasis-britpop-album-covers-10260594

October 20th –  1) The producers for the documentary on the rise-and-fall of the Tower Records chain (titled All Things Must Pass) has just announced that the film will go into wider release over the next few weeks (even hitting here in Portland on December 4th!), so if you’d like to find out when and where it will be playing in your area, click on over to their site at http://www.towerrecordsmovie.com/theatrical-info/
The film premiered last week and has rec’d some very nice reviews. I’ll be wearing my bright yellow “Kickstarter Supporter” t-shirt when I see it – can’t wait. To see the trailer, visit http://www.towerrecordsmovie.com/trailer/
Anyone who has spent time digging through bins there should get a kick out of reliving those moments in this film.

2) The more-painterly endeavors of Seymour, Indiana’s best-known export – musician John Mellencamp – are now on display in a new art show hosted by the the ACA Galleries in NYC that opened Oct. 22nd. Running there through December 19th, “The Isolation of Mister” will show that, while the young artist’s career as a painter was side-tracked by his career as a R&RHOF-inducted rock star, his ability to express himself on canvas was never diminished. I also think you’ll enjoy reading Isaac Kaplan’s recent interview with Mellencamp on the Artsy.com site, where he talks about his craft, how a visit by Bob Dylan to his art studio kept his painting career front-and-center in his life and why he doesn’t make these colorful/insightful images to make YOU happy – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-rock-and-roll-legend-john-mellencamp-talks-painting
To learn more about his new gallery show, click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.acagalleries.com/artists/m/John-Mellencamp/

3) Artist Shepard Fairey has enjoyed success as an album cover artist (doing works for Tom Petty, The Black-Eyed Peas, Billy Idol and Led Zeppelin, among others), a poster artist (dozens of designs, including the acclaimed “Obama/Hope” design) and purveyor of graffiti and murals both legal and less-so, so capturing the essence of his work in a single book must have been quite the daunting task. However, as you’ll see when you thumb through his latest monotype – titled Covert To Overt – his motivations and influences over the years haven’t changed all that much, with a focus on “the subversive” and bringing meaningful ideas (AKA “propaganda”) to life through design. In this interview with Hugh Hart on the Fast Company/Create site, the pair talk about his career, his Obey Giant Industries business and how his “propaganda” is really there to start conversations on topics important to us all. http://www.fastcocreate.com/3051383/post-hope-poster-shepard-fairey-on-art-advertising-and-propaganda

October 19th – 1) While Nick Schager’s review on the Variety.com site of Laura Israel’s just-released documentary about famed art director and photographer Robert Frank (titled Don’t Blink) might not motivate you to rush out to see the film, it seems clear that the subject material – Frank’s impressive career and even more-interesting life – deserved the attention. Most of us will regard just two examples of his creative output – his book titled The Americans that documented his journey across mid-century America with photos that showed both the beauty and sadness of the country at the time, plus his cover for The Rolling Stones’ 1972 masterpiece Exile On Main Street – as a lifetime’s accomplishment, but he’s continued bringing us – on film, in pictures, etc. – fascinating and wonderful items that show the world – warts and all – as he sees it (and wants us to see it) – http://variety.com/2015/film/festivals/dont-blink-robert-frank-review-1201612629/

2) If you were reading magazines, buying posters to decorate your dorm room or listening to Duran Duran in the late 1970s-early 1980s, you undoubtedly were familiar with the works of artist Patrick Nagel. His Art Deco-influenced paintings of seductive women (those eyes!) were a staple illustration found in Playboy and Rolling Stone and in ads for Intel, IBM and Budweiser and, although he’s been dead for over 30 years, his artwork is still popular with poster collectors and merchandising companies world-wide, as is exemplified in this article by Hayley Helms for the Transworld Business site in which we learn more about the recent deal to produce limited-edition products signed by skateboard/clothing manufacturer HUF and Nagel’s estate. According to the nicely-illustrated article, “HUF proudly partners with Patrick Nagel and his estate to release a collection of items highlighting the artist’s work and legacy. Consisting of reversible satin bomber jackets, fleece hoodies, skateboard decks, 6-panel hats, a blanket, pin set and tees, the HUF x Nagel Collaboration retails from $12-$190. More via the link at http://business.transworld.net/news/huf-and-patrick-nagel-join-forces-for-limited-edition-collaboration/

3) Yes, you heard it right – The Zombies have a new album out, and it features artwork by Terry Quirk, the artist responsible for the very-psychedelic designs featured on the band’s seminal 1968 release Odessey & Oracle. The new record, titled Still Got That Hunger, brings together original members Rod Argent and Colin Bunstone and the song-writing duo will re-team with original Zombies Chris White (who introduced Quirk to the band) and Hugh Grundy to perform Odessey & Oracle in its entirety on tour soon. We’re assuming that the band kept the title for the new record simple so as to avoid any further spelling mistakes going forward…Read more about the band and their ongoing efforts in Jordan Runtagh’s interview article on the VH-1 site via the link – http://www.vh1.com/news/212077/the-zombies-still-got-that-hunger-interview/

October 16th – 1) The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH recently launched an exhibit sure to delight fans of Graham Nash and the whole West Coast music-making scene. Titled “Graham Nash: Touching The Flame”, is a multi-media extravaganza with a twist – it’s focus is on all of the things (people, scenes, world politics, etc.) that helped shape Graham’s life and creative output, both as a musician and as an accomplished photographer (and inventor of advanced digital photo printing processes). In addition to photos, memorabilia and the like (per the show’s press kit – it will “showcase his interests in photography, collecting and other artistic endeavors. Among the items that will be featured in the exhibit are some rare pieces of Buddy Holly memorabilia and photos that Graham has collected” – there are several interactive elements to the show, including a station where you can sing harmonies with Mr. Nash (if only!). Read more about the exhibit and watch a video introduction hosted by Nash via the link – http://rockhall.com/exhibits/graham-nash-touching-the-flame-exhibit-rock-hall/

2) The folks at L-13 Gallery in the U.K., as part of a display at the Multiplied Contemporary Art Editions show hosted by Christie’s in South Kensington this weekend, are releasing a new set of prints that fans of iconic punk imagery are going to want to look at. Famed designer Jamie Reid has produced what he calls a “Republic Box Set” consisting of “documentary materials relating to the God Save the Queen artworks, all sourced from original materials held in the Jamie Reid Archive.” The set will be released in a signed and numbered edition of 113 (with 13 APs) boxes, each containing 11 prints (approx. 16.5″ x 11.8″) on 310 gsm photo gloss paper, with each one numbered and stamped on the back and housed in a silver clam-shell box with debossed covers. The publishers are so thoughtful that they’re also throwing in a set of black latex gloves for handling! The set is published by John Marchant Gallery in association with the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop. There was a limited-time special offer for the duration of the art fair: £195 (approx. $300, plus shipping), with the price going up on Monday the 19th to £250 (about $385, plus shipping). Details are available on the L-13 site – http://www.l-13.org/acatalog/L-13_Latest_Works.html

3) Grammy-winning album cover designer Fritz Klaetke (principal at Boston’s Visual Dialogue design firm) has used whatever spare time he could take from an already-busy schedule to work with his team to create a new store (currently a “pop-up”) that has called on all of their talents – “we created the concept, developed the branding, designed the merchandise, sourced local makers, curated the vintage items, developed the website, constructed the store, etc., etc…all on top of our “day jobs” running Visual Dialogue” – to offer customers a wide range of products made by local designers and artisans. Called “1630” (the year the city was founded), the products are “a treasure trove of antiques and collectibles. We’ve scoured the best vintage fairs and markets to bring you curated, one-of-a-kind home goods, jewelry, and artwork. Each of these unique objects tells a story–so you can bring a piece of history home”…Still working for clients in the music business, the team also just created the Lead Belly box set for their client Smithsonian Folkways. Best of luck, Fritz! To learn more about this latest effort, please visit http://1630boston.com/#proprietors

October 15th – 1) I’m not sure whether it is because I spent a number of years creating programming for young people or, more likely, I’m still a juvenile at heart, but I sure love them Minions…Because of happiness these pill-shaped characters bring to me every time I see them, I was even more happy to see them in this new application – featured characters in a series of heavy metal album cover recreations! If you click on over to Greg Kennelty’s article on the Metal Injection site, you’ll learn more about a DeviantArt page hosted by the “Croatian Crusader” where you’ll find his collection of covers for his imaginary “Iron Minion” band based on the well-known designs of seminal metal band Iron Maiden.
Number Of The Beast made me laugh out loud – what’s your favorite? http://www.metalinjection.net/around-the-interwebs/only-a-matter-of-time-iron-maiden-minions-mashed-up-album-covers
I can only assume that, somewhere on the interwebs, there’s a site where you’ll find famous punk covers featuring the Seven Dwarfs.

2) Speaking of Belles – there was a special presentation the week of October 20th at Help of Ojai’s Kent Hall (in Ojai, CA.) done as part of the monthly meeting of the Ojai Photo Club featuring musician and photographer Chris Jensen who, according to this article by Myrna on the Ventura County Star site, has produced portraits of everyone from “Belles and Brawn to Rockers and Troubadors”. Originally a drummer in local bands, Jensen went back to school in the mid-70s to earn his degree in graphic design and then, in the late-70s, opened a design/photography studio in Salt Lake City, soon taking on projects for a wide range of local clients. News of his talents spread, landing him gigs with subjects including Ozzy Osbourne and Rod Stewart and, ultimately, moving to the LA area (actually, Ventura) to be closer to his client base. Jensen will be providing a retrospective of his career, so click on over to http://www.vcstar.com/ugc/yournews/from-belles-and-brawn-to-rockers-and-troubadors-chris-jensen-talks-about-portriture-at-ojai-photo-club_188823 to get the details.

3) Film-maker/obsessive record collector Eilon Paz has worked for the past several years on digging into the details of what makes people put together large collections of records/CDs and, as the result of that effort, he’s just released a new book titled Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, compiled by Paz and edited by Sheila Burgel, who’s own huge collection was also featured in the book. Writers Oscar Garza and Cameron Kell, writing for The Frame site, interviewed the two about their new tome and learned quite a lot about what motivates folks to invest the time, money and sagging floors in order to have their music close at hand. You’ll also be able to hear the interview via the audio file posted on the site – http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2015/10/06/44702/dust-grooves-one-on-one-with-the-world-s-most-obse/ 
One look at Questlove sitting amongst his collection explains quite a bit, don’t you think (“happy as a ____ in ____” – you fill in the blanks).

October 14th – 1) Need to clarify and update my posting yesterday on the death of John Berg – John died this past Sunday due to complications from pneumonia. Since then, I’ve received a number of notes from people that either/both worked with him and/or were mentored by him that expressed their sorrow about his passing and emphasized the long-term impact he had on their lives and careers.

With his permission and to exemplify the sense of loss being felt in the industry, I want to share a brief statement that accomplished designer Ron Coro sent me, along with a photo from back “in the glory days” – “The memories of working with John from 1966 on, are priceless for all of us album package designers that worked on the 10th floor at CBS Records in NYC at “Black Rock” building, as we called it, in the mid sixties…..I was hired by John right before I even graduated from The School of Visual Arts and was recommended to John Berg by Milton Glaser, my graphic design instructor…What a time it was, and it will never be repeated.”

Photo by David Gahr, used with permission from Ron Coro.

Photo by David Gahr, used with permission from Ron Coro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This photo (above) was taken in 1971 by David Gahr on the 10th floor of the CBS Building in John Bergs office. This is a year before I was promoted to Art Director, CBS Records, West Coast. Left to right: Ron Coro, John Berg and Richard Mantel…..”
Thanks for sharing this, Ron…

2) Here are reminders for two events that took place this week featuring two accomplished music industry image-makers:

a) On Thursday, Oct. 15th at Revolution Hall in Portland, OR, designer Paula Scher presented a talk sponsored by AIGA Portland titled “Identity Design Today… and Why the Blogosphere Should Shut Up!” (I’ll try not to take offense). According to the AIGA’s site, Ms. Scher “will share her views on the current state of design and social media. Sure to be engaging and thought-provoking, Scher’s talk is a rare opportunity to see one of America’s leading designers in a bold, no holds barred talk.” A principal at leading NYC design firm Pentagram, Scher’s been responsible for hundreds of record cover since she began her career at Atlantic Records in the 1970s, so if you’re wanting to hear more from one of the greats, here’s your chance – http://aigaportland.org/aiga_event/paula-scher/

b) Also that Thursday, photographer Jay Blakesberg was on hand at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles to launch a showing of his work, lead a lecture and present his latest book project titled Hippie Chick: A Tale Of Love, Devotion & Surrender. The lecture, titled “Chasing The Light: The Rock & Roll Photography of Jay Blakesberg” will include stories about his 35+ year career covering the Grateful Dead and a host of other rock music luminaries. He was on hand to sign copies of his new book as well, so if you’d like to learn from one of the music industry’s most-accomplished shooters, visit the following link – http://mrmusichead.com/event-book-signing-lecture-with-jay-blakesberg/

October 13th – 1) It is with great sadness that I must note the passing of one of the world’s most-prolific album cover art directors, former Columbia Records cover guru John Berg. He was 83 and had been suffering with Parkinson’s disease, according to his wife and creative partner, Durell Godfrey. Berg’s portfolio includes credits for over 5,000 (!!) covers, including memorable images for Barbra Streisand (Barbra Streisand Album), Bob Dylan (Blonde On Blonde and Greatest Hits), Jeff Beck (Blow By Blow), Bruce Springsteen (Greetings From Asbury Park and Born To Run) and 14 covers for Chicago (including the most-delicious one – Chicago X – done in chocolate!).
What was truly impressive about Berg’s work was his ability to find and collaborate with the most-talented photographers, designers and illustrators available, bringing the talents of people including Richard Avedon, Paul Davis, Milton Glaser, Jerry Schatzberg and many others to projects for hundreds of clients over the years.
Read more about John and his contribution to great rock imagery in Jon Blistein‘s article on the Rolling Stone magazine site – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/john-berg-album-art-director-for-springsteen-dylan-dead-at-83-20151013
My condolences to his family and friends – his efforts will not be forgotten.

2) There was an exhibition that ran through October 20th at the Kendal Museum (part of Kendal College) in Kendal, Cumbria, England that will be of interest to fans of both album cover art and comic books. Curated by artist Sean Phillips in anticipation of the upcoming Lakes Comic Book Festival, there are 60 covers on display featuring the work of well-known album cover artists including Richard Corben (Bat Out Of Hell for Meat Loaf), Guy Peellaert (Diamond Dogs for David Bowie), Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz), Robert Crumb (Cheap Thrills for Big Brother & The Holding Company) and many others (60 artists in total). According to Festival Director Julie Tait, “Our exhibitions program is intended to appeal to a broad range of tastes and interests and to demonstrate that there is more to comic artists and art than meets the eye,” Find out more about the exhibition on the museum’s site at http://www.kendalmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions-and-events/phonographic-exhibition-part-of-the-comic-art-festival

3) Not sure exactly why I wouldn’t want to make Grace Jones mad at me (other than the feeling that I think she could snuff me out rather quickly), but fear of her wrath seemingly did not deter self-proclaimed musical genius Kanye West from “honoring” Ms. Jones’ earlier contributions to album cover imagery by recreating them – without her approval – in his own promotional imagery (featuring his then-girlfriend Amber) when he launched his web site several years ago. This did not escape Grace’s keen eye and, in Paper Magazine‘s Nowstalgia issue, she minces no words – “‘Kanye has been ripping off stuff from me and Jean-Paul Goude for a long time, so it was no surprise to me”.
You might recall that photographer Goude did work with the new Mrs. West a couple of years ago, recreating another famous image of his – of a model balancing a champagne glass on her rather-curvaceous posterior – substituting in Kim’s ledge-like butt, with the resulting photo breaking the Internet for a couple of days…More on this in Eric Tempesta’s article on The Daily Mail (UK) web site at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3260820/Supermodel-Grace-Jones-slams-Kanye-West-ripping-images-website-weighs-Kim-Kardashian-s-internet-breaking-Paper-magazine-cover.html

October 12th – 1) Over on the East Coast Radio site (East Coast of South Africa, that is), writer Bongani Mtolo presents what is called “The Hardest Album Cover Quiz You’ll Ever Take”. You’re presented with 10 partial album cover images and have to guess (multiple choice) which records they’re from. I got 9 out of 10 (missed #2 and lucked out on #3) and, quite honestly, I think that I’ve seen/taken “harder” quizzes on the subject in the past, but I’d like to hear how you all do – http://www.ecr.co.za/shows/bongani-mtolo-1/hardest-album-cover-quiz-youll-ever-take/

2) Famed Pop Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat had his own record label 30+ years ago (Tartown Records) and released a single on vinyl by Rammellzee and K-Rob called “Beat Bop” that featured a cover design by Basquiat. Quite rare (you can, on occasion, find original copies for $1K or more), the design is now featured on a fully-licensed, limited-edition (1000) record box that, I’m assuming, will be a “must-own” collectible for DJs world-wide.
The record’s artwork is featured on all of the boxes surfaces, both inside and outside, and the box holds 50 discs, with the price for this “box set” (as they call it) being a quite-reasonable $75, while supplies last. You can read about it in David Ireland’s article on Magnetic Magazine –
http://www.magneticmag.com/2015/10/the-jean-michel-basquiat-record-box-pure-dope-for-vinyl-djs-and-collectors/ 
and buy one for yourself (or as a gift) directly from the Get On Down store (with shipping starting later this month) – http://getondown.com/album.php?id=18014

October 9th – Two award show nomination summaries and a look at album art created by musicians:

1) The nominees for “Best Recording Package” for this year’s Latin Grammy Awards have been posted, and they are:

Blam! Blam! – on Coqueiro Verde Records
Julia Rocha, art director (Jonas Sá)

Este Instante – on Aluna Music
Natalia Ayala, Carlos Dussan Gómez & Juliana Jaramillo, art directors (Marta Gómez)

Noel Rosa, Preto E Branco – on Tenda Da Raposa
Anna Amendola, art director (Valéria Lobão)

Tajo Abierto – on Frantastic Records
Pablo González & Francisca Valenzuela, art directors (Francisca Valenzuela)

Veinte Años El Grito Después – on Universal Music Group/EMI
Laura Varsky, art director (Catupecu Machu)

The winners will be announced on November 19th – congratulations to all of the nominees!
http://www.latingrammy.com/en/nominees?genre=55

2) The Australian record industry announced the winner in the “Best Cover Art” category for the annual ARIA Awards. The technical award categories are awarded prior to the televised show on November 26th that will feature the principal award categories.

This year’s winner is Courtney Barnett for Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (Milk! Records / Remote Control)

Ms. Barnett’s album, which went #10 on the Billboard Album Charts and #13 on the UK Album Charts, also received nominations in the following categories: Album Of The Year, Best Female Artist, Best Independent Release, Best Rock Album, Breakthrough Artist and the publicly voted categories for Best Australian Live Act and Best Video for the song, ‘Pedestrian At Best’ which was directed by Charlie Ford.

Other nominees in the Cover Art category included Daniel Johns, Aref and Peter Salmon-Lomas for Daniel Johns – Talk (Eleven / EMI); Timothy Lovett for Flight Facilities – Down To Earth (Future Classic); Bjenny Montero for Pond – Man It Feels Like Space Again (EMI) and Nathan Johnson for Gang of Youths – The Positions (Verge / Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Get all of the details at http://www.ariaawards.com.au/News/2015/2015-ARIA-Awards-Connected-By-Telstra-Nominated-ar

3) Writing for the Gigwise site, Alexandra Pollard has put together a nice article that serves to show just how unfair life can be sometimes, with all of the talent genes installed into a small group of lucky recipients. It’s a review of album covers that were created by musicians, with the list of 10 featured in the article including cover images created by acts including Muse, The Stone Roses, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens (AKA Yusuf), John Lennon and several others. With a large percentage of musicians having gone to “art school” (although, some admit to going “just for the chicks”), it seems clear that they often times enjoy showing off their creative “chops” in other aspects of the recorded music business (and making Art Directors quite happy sometimes, I’m told)…http://www.gigwise.com/photos/103068/album-artwork-drawn-and-designed-by-bands-and-musicians-muse-joni

BONUS BIRTHDAY CONTENT – Very happy to be able to point you to a nice article on the Biography.com site written by a former FUSE TV colleague of mine – Laurie Ulster – that talks about the many creative inspirations and outlets for the late, great John Lennon, who would have been 75 years old yesterday had not some idiot with a gun (are you detecting a pattern, perhaps?) taken his life 35 years ago… Laurie also notes that there is a gallery show featuring Lennon’s artwork running currently (through the end of the month) at the AFA Gallery down on Greene Street in NYC where you can see several dozen examples of his talent with pen and ink (and watercolor) on paper. Nice article, Laurie! – http://www.biography.com/news/john-lennon-biography-facts-75th-birthday

October 8th – 1) New and classic works by master of the collage/album cover art great Winston Smith are featured alongside several other local artists in a new show that opened October 8th at the Robert Berman Gallery in San Francisco. “Paper Cuts” will treat collectors/visitors with a selection of works that, according to the gallery’s press release, will show “how paper can take on a strength and beauty in its abstract and narrative forms. In this exhibition, we observe how such a simple medium can be transformed into diverse ranges of forms.” Smith – well known for his work for Green Day, The Dead Kennedys and others – will be showing several of his hand-cut and often humorous masterpieces and, by the looks of the other works to be shown by the other participants, the entire show looks as though it will appeal to all of our creative instincts – more via the link at http://e6gallerysf.com/future

2) I continue to be impressed with the works of album cover artists all over the world, with the Internet bringing us the ability to see the results of cover art projects by designers (and for musical acts) that most of us weren’t aware of. One such example is the works that graphic designer Supichan Rojvanich has done for a number of top recording acts in Thailand. As you’ll read in the article by writer Pimchanok Phungbun Na Ayudhya (wow!) on the Bangkok Post web site, Thai acts have not – until recently – spent a great deal of energy/resources to create memorable album cover visuals, but with Rojvanich and others leading the way, clients from all aspects of the local music business – from rock and dance bands to a Buddhist prayer group – are now getting their first taste of successful “branding” (I can only imagine how decadent the record release parties must be) –
http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/music/716032/it-more-than-an-album-cover

3) With a party at the MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles recently, rap artist Rihanna showed fans and the media some of the interesting artwork by artist Roy Nachum that will be used to package her upcoming album, titled Anti. Based on the designs that were shown, which feature (according to Frazier Tharpe, reporting for the Complex/Style site) “a young girl with a crown superimposed over her face and poetry composed in braille (by poet Chloe Mitchell) covering the canvas…it was explained that it’s inspired by Rih’s first day of daycare.” Nachum seems to have a lot of fans in the music world – there’s a painting of his titled “The Clown” hanging in Jay-Z’s NYC office – and Tharpe helps us get to know the Jerusalem-born artist a bit better in the rest of his article, reachable via this link – http://www.complex.com/style/2015/10/roy-nachum-rihanna-album-cover-artist

October 8th, part 2 – 1) “Pop Spots” author/locator of all things album cover Bob Egan recently hosted a video for Rolling Stone Magazine that featured photographer Daniel Kramer giving us a look into “the making of” the iconic shot featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home LP. The story helps to provide a lead-in to the release of the upcoming compilation, The Cutting Edge 1965–1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, which contains session recordings from the album. There will be two more similar videos that give album art/”making of” back-stories for two other Dylan recordings from the same time period – Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde – so stay tuned for more opportunities to get a peek behind the scenes during the production of some of Dylan’s most-compelling records – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-how-bob-dylans-iconic-bringing-it-all-back-home-cover-was-made-20150929

2) The work of long-time (former) Factory Records album art guru Peter Saville can be found on the most-recent release by seminal synth-rock band New Order. The band’s ninth studio record – titled Music Complete – is reviewed by Anwen Crawford in the “Pop Music” section of the 10/5 issue of New Yorker magazine. According to Crawford, “Saville’s designs for the band, using grids, color blocks, and stock photos, resemble advertising for a company that does not exist. Just as the members of New Order have tended to be subsumed by the group as a whole, the visual style creates a dislocation between the band and its audience.”
Someday, I’ll try and figure out just what “critic-speak” means in layman’s terms, but it is comforting to know that there is still an appreciation for the value of long-standing relationships between designers and their music-industry clients – http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/05/late-style

3) What starts out as a riff by a writer about a musical act’s rather-mundane approach to album cover art (embellishing a stock photo with some bling) turns in to a rather-detailed lament about how album art used to be an essential element in building bridges between musical acts and their fans and, at least for me, it’s refreshing to hear this from writers covering today’s “money/brand is everything” music business. While I don’t know anything about the author (“Yoh”, AKA Yotoshop AKA @Yoh31), I would invite all you (us) old-timers to read his/her article on the Complex Music/DJ Booth site and then share your own thoughts on the subject – http://www.djbooth.net/index/news/entry/2015-09-30-album-art-meme
Also – can someone help with a more-detailed definition of the word “meme” than I seem to be able to find?

October 7th – 1) Happy to announce the launch of a new retail site by award-winning (inc. 3 Grammy Awards) album cover designer Kosh, the guy responsible for at least ONE BILLION of your favorite album cover images (OK, I may have exaggerated a bit, but it’s a LOT of them). What’s even more impressive about the designer’s latest efforts is that they include a number of impressive re-interpretations and “mash-ups” of some of his better-known covers. I’m particularly taken by one titled Abbey Hotel, a work that combines aspects of both The Eagles’ Hotel California with The Beatles’ Abbey Road (in real life, traffic would have to stop until the Fab Four reached the other side of the cross-walk).
The new line of limited-edition prints were premiered at a recent display at the Delicious Vinyl Records store in Los Angeles, with Kosh’s designs for clients including Linda Ronstadt, ELO, John Lennon, Humble Pie, The Who and others nicely represented. If you are a fan of great album packaging, be sure to click on over to the new site and take a tour – http://www.koshdesign.com/ 
Via this link, you’ll also find several video interviews with the man behind the magic – http://www.koshdesign.com/about

2) Recently, in a special article on “The Cut” section of the New York Magazine site, photographer/lover-of-life Eve Babitz (the talent behind well-regarded photographs for Buffalo Springfield, Black Oak Arkansas and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel) gets a chance to share some of her early escapades as “A 70s It Girl”, friend and lover to some of the Los Angeles entertainment scenes most-important people (including Jim Morrison of The Doors). Some of you will recall Julian Wasser’s startling (at the time – 1963) photo of a naked Ms. Babitz sitting across from Marcel Duchamp while playing a game of chess in a gallery of the Pasadena Art Museum, but it was her talents as writer and photographer that helped her produce articles about her life and “the scene” that have continued to impress readers with their ability to bring us closer to a sphere of personalities that were beyond our purview… http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/09/sex-life-of-a-70s-it-girl.html

October 5th – 1) Happy to report on this nice review in the New York Times of the NYC premiere of Roddy Bogawa’s film about famed album cover design guru Storm Thorgerson. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/movies/review-taken-by-storm-about-the-mind-behind-a-design.html
You might recall my interview a few years back with Roddy (in 2 parts) while he was in the midst of making this film, during which he spoke about Storm & his partners at the design firm Hipgnosis, as well as his take on a wide range of music/art topics, so it was great to read about both the warm reception his film is getting and why Taken By Storm serves to remind both music/art fans and creators of album cover imagery that creativity is the expression of great ideas and not simply the application of algorithms and filters. I’d invite you to all to read the initial interview with this talented film-maker via the link – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2011/06/interview-with-roddy-bogawa-on-the-documentary-film-taken-by-storm.html

2) Baltimore, MD is the home of an intriguing museum – the American Visionary Art Museum, or AVAM – dedicated to the presentation of art created by self-taught individuals ” whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself”. They’ve been at this for 20 years now and, as part of their anniversary celebration (titled “The Big Hope Show”), they’re presenting the works of psychedelic rock bandleader Wayne Coyne (of The Flaming Lips), whose newest installation, titled “Kings Mouth”, is Coyne’s ultimate expression of a near-death experience he suffered while working as a cashier at a fast food restaurant years ago. Coyne also created the cover art for the band’s 2014 Beatles tribute record With A Little Help From My Fwends, and you can read more about this show (which is running until next September) and some of the other participating artists on the museum’s promo page at –
http://www.avam.org/exhibitions/big-hope-show.shtml

3) Designer Leif Podhasky has been quite busy lately, creating intriguing cover art designs for clients including Tame Impala, The Vines, Kells, Of Monsters & Men and others, but outside the music business, he’s hooked up with top Scotch Whisky distillery Ballantine’s to create a series of limited-edition bottles that “will be a must have for whisky and art connoisseurs alike,” according to Peter Moore, global brand director of Ballantine’s. The three special products will begin shipping world-wide later this month, but art fans can sign up now for a chance to win a set of limited-edition prints of the trio of designs featured on the packaging via a contest run by the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/competition/4534/Win-a-set-of-three-framed-artworks-from-Ballantine-s-Artist-Series Writing for The Spirits Business web site, Amy Hopkins gives us more of the details behind the artist and his inspirations for these colorful designs – http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2015/09/ballantines-unveils-artist-series-whisky-bottles/

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.

Album Cover News Recap – July, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s 104 degrees outside as I write this – what the heck?! I suppose that I should feel fortunate that my writing keeps me inside (as I watch the construction crews working on a new apartment building next door – hope that they stay hydrated!). While I’m not sure whether the world will be here for next month’s summary (or if we’ll all be participating in a true-to-life Mad Max movie), I will stay steadfast in my efforts to bring you the most up-to-date album cover art and artist-related news. To that end, I’m pleased to report that there were a number of interesting stories we shared with our daily readers during the month of July, with an impressive  tally of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feed. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, with the rest following in greater detail.

Interviewers were busy posting new articles with album cover producers in every creative category, including titans of album package design such as Ernie Cefalu (Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath), Bob Gruen (on his work with John Lennon), Hugh Syme (about 40 years of covers for Rush), Stanley Mouse (Grateful Dead, Journey, etc.), Denise Burt (many classical/jazz covers), pop art icon Peter Max (various covers) along with a double interview with Greg Burke and Jeff Kleinsmith about the role technology plays in album art design these days.

In the ever-expanding fine art book category, artists and their publishers were promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos from artists including photographer Mick Rock (with a new book on the early years of David Bowie), artist/designer Hugh Syme (with a huge new book on Rush), a career retrospective of the wonderful illustrations by Al Hirschfeld, Stanley Mouse’s new tome on his memorable designs for the Grateful Dead) and the upcoming series of comics from Marvel featuring their characters inserted in classic hip-hop covers (!!).

July continued to be a busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with museum curators and gallery owners in several locations around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related works. Large-scale shows were launched in Oslo, Norway (“Vinyl Revival”), Arles, France (“Total Records”) and “The Art of Vinyl” in Louisiana. A group of 42 artists contributed to a group show in the NYC area, while solo shows featured the work of Wes Freed, Godlis, Tim Cantor and Gary Taxali.

I was also happy to announce the publication (in the “Resources” section on the ACHOF web site) of an article I wrote tracing the history of album/vinyl record art-related exhibitions, noting the details of significant show staged around the world over the past 40+ years as well as milestones in the world of record packaging. I think you’ll find this information helpful and a compelling support to the argument that album art is truly fine art, worthy of inclusion in museums, galleries and the collections of fans of art and music.

Other stories included profile features on album art-inspired sneakers (AKA “gym shoes”, “kicks”, etc.),  several “when is early too early” attempts at “Best Album Art of 2015” lists (some good research, though), the list of winners of this year’s IMA Awards for best record packaging, displays of animated and “re-imagined” album cover work in a variety of genres and a group in New Zealand that worked with the local homeless population to add degrees of humanity, humor and compassion to re-makes of classic record designs.

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the several new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m prepping to provide as much new info as I can to the expert panel that make up the voters of the ACHOF, with our next class set to be inducted in late November, 2015. And while I know that Summer’s here and there are many distractions that might keep you from checking in with us every day, I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends and a few days in August when I’ll be on the road) 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).

July 31st – Three stories about exhibitions in all shapes and sizes:

1) Running now through August 14th at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts In Lloyd, VA is an exhibition built around the works of long-time Drive-by-Truckers album cover artist Wes Freed. Freed took the knowledge he absorbed working to earn his degree in printmaking and painting from Virginia Commonwealth University and applied it liberally to his work for a number of local bands (including his own), comic books and fans of his unique art stylings. He met the DBTs when his band toured with them and, after they saw the work he did in 1998 for Cracker (Gentlemen’s Blues), they asked him to apply his talents to their next record (Southern Rock Opera) and have worked together since. More on this show via the gallery’s site at

http://jacksonvillecenter.org/gallery/drive-by-truckers-album-and-poster-artist-wes-freed-exhibition-at-the-jax/

2) When writer John Cameron (in an article for The Portsmouth News, UK) was invited to tour the private collection of artist Paul Brady at his house in Southampton, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. He knew that Brady was a close friend of the late artist John Davies and his past relationship with members of The Who (he’d done artwork for the band’s 1974 book titled A Decade of The Who) but, when he arrived, he found a motherlode of memorabilia – amazing examples of art and objects used in the making of two Who-centric movies – Tommy and Quadrophenia! A scooter rider himself, Cameron was most-impressed with the tricked-out Lambretta replicas and some of the other items Brady inherited from his friend. Read about the entire exciting trip via the link – http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/opinion/an-inspiring-exhibition-visit-1-6869167 

3) There have been a number of albums that have featured places of great natural beauty as backdrops for their cover images, but few have achieved as much fame as the Joshua Tree National Monument, the site of Anton Corbijn’s memorable cover shot for U2’s Joshua Tree record. However, as you’ll learn more of when you read Daniel Strasberger’s recent article on the High Desert Star:News site, this park has also hosted a number of famed music performances, such as Rita Coolidge, Chris Hillman and many others and, as such, landed the park in the Top 10 of a recent list of Best Musical Attractions in the World, crafted by USA Today and the 10Best team. You can read more of Daniel’s article via the link – http://www.hidesertstar.com/news/article_542bb628-326a-11e5-9422-63c8cac9f82e.html   and see the entire list of the music meccas at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-musical-attraction/

July 30th –  Two more examples of album cover-influenced creativity and a “can you guess the album cover” quiz that I failed miserably…

1) Combining two popular symbols of pop culture creativity – album cover art and sneaker design – a designer based in Copenhagen has produced a series of “mash-ups” that, if they were ever brought to market, might go far in bridging the gap between the generations. While I recall that the now-Nike-owned Converse released a series of album art-decorated Chuck Taylor last year, designer Patso Dimitrov has taken a subtler approach to his designs, capturing the essences of classic covers from Pink Floyd, Joy Division, Daft Punk and several others and integrating that imagery into the unique styles of these Nike kicks. The nice folks on the Designboom site have provided us with a nice overview of these items – not quite sure how to frame them, but…http://www.designboom.com/art/nike-basketball-album-covers-patso-dimitrov-07-21-2015/

2) A group of 42 NYC-area artists recently got together and formed a collective called The CCD Art & Supply Co. and, as part of their efforts to introduce their talents and offer affordable, collectible art, staged a one-day event where they showed off re-interpretations of classic album covers. At the July 25th kick-off event in Bushwick, the 12 x 12 canvases were the centerpieces of a party that included “DJs, vendors and drink specials”, according to the article Bill Roundy posted on The Brooklyn Paper site. While the exhibition was up only for that evening, prints of the artwork are available on the group’s site, with both links provided below – http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/38/30/24-record-collection-art-2015-07-24-bk.html and http://the-ccd-art-supply-co.myshopify.com/
I personally was impressed by several of the works, including Ant Picone’s re-do of Bowie’s Scary Monsters and Christina Maldonado’s take on Back To Black by Amy Winehouse…

3) It’s a fact – I don’t know ANYTHING about country music album covers, but maybe you do. I actually missed all ten in this recent quiz on the Taste Of Country web site, hope that you do a bit better. Included are covers by today’s top country acts, so while I might appreciate the art, I guess that I need to bone up a bit on the music (what, no Johnny Cash covers included?) – http://tasteofcountry.com/guess-the-country-album-cover/

July 29th –  1) You may recall an article I posted a while back about the work of talented animated-GIF artist Juan Betancourt...well, he’s ba-a-ck…the folks at the Diffuser.fm site seem to like his work as well, as you’ll see in this latest posting titled the “11 Greatest Animated Punk Rock Album Covers” and featuring JB’s efforts that bring to life covers from NOFX, Rancid, Green Day and several others. I’m always curious as to what goes through an artist’s mind when he/she looks to bring one or more aspects of an album’s cover image to life, and Juan seems to be able to pick “just the right thing” most all of the time – http://diffuser.fm/greatest-animated-punk-rock-album-covers/

2) Enjoying a spike in news coverage after his successful participation in the Revolutions 2 album cover show at the museum at Forest Lawn in Los Angeles, artist Ernie Cefalu is now the subject of an in-depth interview article just posted by Ivor Levene on the LA Beat site. In the first part of “Behind The Art Behind The Music”, the two discuss the role of the Creative Director in a design project, his relationship with artist Drew Struzan and just what the two were thinking when they came up with the cover designs for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath…Looking forward to the next segment – enjoy the first – http://thelosangelesbeat.com/2015/07/behind-the-art-behind-the-music-conversations-with-ernie-cefalu-part-i/

3) The work of photographer Godlis is the subject of a new exhibition titled “Picture This: Photos By Godlis” that’s part of the new Sound + Vision music film/live performance festivities staged by the Film Society at Lincoln Center in NYC, running today through August 7th. As an integral part of the downtown punk club scene in the 1970s-1980s, Godlis was there to document the bands, the clubs and the fans that fed the scene with their energy and intensity, so if you’d like to get a look at what things were like during that period, you owe yourself a visit. More details at the very bottom (long, scrolling page) of this posting about the festival by Michael Odmark –  http://www.filmlinc.org/daily/sound-vision-music-documentary-julien-temple-rocky-horror-picture-show/

July 28th –  Very happy to share a couple of items suggested by ACHOF regulars Mark Kellogg and Lee Barry (plus one I forgot to share from a couple of days back)….

1) Mark sent a link to an extremely well-done posting on the NPR site in the “Look At This” section. A true multi-media piece by Tom Huizenga profiling album cover designer Denise Burt, whose specialty is covers for classical music artists, in which she provides the details about her inspirations and sources for the cover images for the records she’s worked on. What’s interesting is that she had little knowledge of classical music, so she just immersed herself in it and let the sounds take her and her art places she’s never been…What do YOU think music looks like? Please take the time to click through this – you won’t be disappointed (and “thanks, Mr. Kellogg”) – http://apps.npr.org/lookatthis/posts/album-art/

2) When acts re-release their music, they not only bring us back sonically, but visually as well and, in doing so, often re-kindle discussions about things that probably puzzled us in the past and, as you’ll see when you follow the link to the Democratic Underground site that Lee Barry provided, continue to make some of us ponder. In this case, when the re-mastered version of Led Zeppelin’s Presence came out – still sporting the Hipgnosis-created cover of the family sitting around a table with “that black thing” in the middle – it once again asked us to ponder “just what is that thing”? As for me, I always thought that you’d find a small tribe of ancient humanoids at the bottom throwing bones in the sky but, hey, that just shows my sci-fi past. What’s your take? http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105×5445793

3) How do you spell the word “Odyssey”? Don’t ask Terry Quirk, the guy responsible for the psychedelic painting used on the cover of The Zombies’ 1967 release Odessey & Oracle and who now, all these years later, is working on a new cover for the band’s upcoming record titled Still Got That Hunger. Mr. Argent and company are out on the road prepping fans for the new release (as you’ll see in this recent posting by Joe Lynch on the Billboard.com site), so it’ll be with great anticipation that we await to see if anything is mis-spelled on the new record –  http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6640854/zombies-odessey-oracle-terry-quirk-still-got-that-hunger

July 27th –  1) Here we go again…it’s half-way through the year and someone is already going out on a “best of” limb….Writing for Paste MagazineKendra Kamp and Emily Ray have put together their list of “The 30 Best Album Covers of 2015 (So Far)“, so while I’m surprised that they were able to put together such a list this early in the game, it does give me a good feeling that, at least according to this widely-read Pop Culture site, there are so many examples of good cover design that they felt the need to detail them now. You will find several designs associated with the site’s “Best Albums So Far” list, along with those that, while their music didn’t make the list, their attention to producing memorable imagery for the fans did not go un-noticed. Excellent examples abound of fine design, illustration and photography – anyone care to share their favorites? http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/07/the-30-best-album-covers-of-2015-so-far.html

2) Thought that I’d share this recent posting by Brian Boone on the “Funny or Die” site titled “What 12 Classic Albums Should Be Called Based On Their Iconic Covers”. It’s kinda cute and includes covers for Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Springsteen and others. I do agree with their assessment regarding the name for Supertramp’s Grammy-winning entry (art by Mick Haggerty) – what do you think? http://www.funnyordie.com/slideshows/6fff0b0296/what-12-classic-albums-should-be-called-based-on-their-iconic-covers

July 24th –  1) Talk about a tight integration of music and art! While the Imagine Dragons are out on the road, their Smoke & Mirrors album cover artist – San Diego-based painter Tim Cantor – is on tour with them, setting up an exhibition of his works at each stop. If you’ve seen the album, you know that Cantor also produced a unique image for each song on the album, so fans attending the show can walk up to the display and, via the headphones they’ll find there, can listen to the track that matches the painting there. The band liked his work so much that they also used his images as the bases for both the music video for Shots and their stage designs. Not bad for a rookie (to the album art arena)…Read more about this fruitful relationship in Kara Coleman‘s article on The Daily Herald (Columbia, TN) web site – http://columbiadailyherald.com/lifestyles/celebrations/art-music-collide-traveling-gallery

2) Gary Taxali‘s retro-inspired artwork has been the favorite of fans from many different areas of interest – magazine illustrations (as seen in Rolling Stone and Time magazines), concert posters and other commercial work – and his work for the cover of singer Aimee Mann’s @#%&*! Smilers record was nominated for a Grammy Award back in 2009 – so it is exciting to see the artist’s catalog of work featured in a new exhibition running now through September 20th at the Idea Exchange’s Design at Riverside space in Cambridge, Ontarion, Canada. According to Brent Davis‘ article on the Guelph Mercury site, this is the Canadian artist’s first major retrospective show and will include “rare toy prototypes, custom posters and a salon-style, floor-to-ceiling wall of about 300 notebook-sized original drawings, and the short documentary film titled “Gary Taxali: The Art of Whimsy” will also be shown. Pop art fans should be sure to stop by – http://www.guelphmercury.com/whatson-story/5739503-the-delightfully-different-world-of-gary-taxali/

3) Yes, was just inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for the passion he put into his pitching career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but another talent found in 6’10” “Big Unit” Randy Johnson – that being his ability to capture great concert photos behind the lenses of his trusty cameras – is also being recognized with praise from many of his subjects, including members of Rush, U2, Pearl Jam and Metallica (among many others). His stature as an athlete opened doors for him at major venues, but it is the quality of his work that keeps impressing big-league musical acts, who have been requesting him to shoot their shows whenever possible. Since then, his photos have appeared in major music publications such as Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine so, even after the applause honoring his records for strike-outs, Cy Young awards and perfect games die down, Johnson should continue to receive cheers for his artistic talents as well. More on this in Daniel Brown’s article on the San Jose Mercury News site – http://www.mercurynews.com/athletics/ci_28507883/randy-johnson-shoots-second-career

July 23rd –  1) Album art holds a place in the hearts of folks with all kinds of backgrounds. You might remember that we posted something a while back about Mensa members selecting the best album covers of all time – well, now the Geeks (as represented by K. Thor Jensen on the Geek.com site) have piped in with “the 11 geekiest album covers of all time”. Of course, to qualify for the list, a cover must include some aspects of computer technology, video games, robots, Middle Earth and, in most cases, extra-large weaponry, so you’ll find examples from most every genre, from classic rock, electronic music, metal, fusion and hip-hop (what, no country geeks?). To see the list and get the reasons why each cover was included, click on over to this article at http://www.geek.com/news/the-11-geekiest-album-covers-1628091/
Of course, a real geek would use some voice-actuated method of doing this…

2) Those of you who read my article last week about album art shows might recall one mentioned that was staged in Scandinavia called Vinyl Revival. Well, the show has moved on to a new location and, in this article on the National Museum (or, in Norwegian, the Nasjonalmuseet, in Oslo, Norway) site, you can find out more about taking a guided tour – in English, every Sunday in July and August at 1pm local time – of the exhibit, which is running now through the 13th of September. You can preview the exhibit via the link – http://www.nasjonalmuseet.no/en/exhibitions_and_events/exhibitions/museum_of_decorative_arts_and_design/Album+Covers.+Vinyl+revival.b7C_wlfU29.ips
Not a bad-looking tour guide, I think you’ll agree…

July 22nd –  More examples showing the influence of album art on pop culture, and a new book about the work of a great illustrator:

1) A new exhibition running through August 21 in the gallery at Bowen House (one of the buildings that house New Zealand’s Parliament in Wellington) is built around images of students with disabilities re-creating well-known album covers. Working with an agency called “The Cube”, organizers of the show – titled “Re-Imagine” – hoped to be able to show off the creative talents found in people who you might not, initially, think would be capable of such impressive work. Included in the show are re-makes of covers by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Lorde, Queen and many others, with more details and a statement by Minister for Disability Issues, the Hon. Nicky Wagner about why she brought the show to Parliament are found in this article on the Stuff/Dominion-Post site at
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/capital-day/70255811/famous-album-covers-given-a-kiwi-twist-by-young-disabled-new-zealanders

2) It’s a popular project this year, it seems – A crew from Australia’s Channel 9 news team are in London to cover the second Ashes Test (something cricket-related, it seems, for those of us unfamiliar with the sport!) and, during a break in the action, brought a video crew out to the famous crossing in front of EMI/Abbey Road Studios to film their own re-creation of the Abbey Road album cover for The Beatles. Mark Nicholas took the position of John Lennon, followed by Ian Healy as Ringo Starr, Brett Lee as Paul McCartney (properly walking out-of-step with the others) and Mark Taylor at the back in guitarist George Harrison’s spot. Watch the complete video on the 9News site at http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/07/19/23/13/channel-nine-commentary-team-recreate-the-beatles-abbey-road-cover

3) Publisher Knopf has just released a new book on the life and work of famed illustrator Al Hirschfeld, known world-wide for his pen-and-ink illustrations of celebrities from the world of entertainment, sport and politics and to Aerosmith fans world-wide for his cover for their 1977 album titled Draw The LineThe Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age was written by Hirschfeld and edited by David Leopold, his long-time archivist, and delves deep into the artist’s love of the theater, his friendships with both the celebrities he drew and the head honchos of the media enterprises he drew for, and comes very nicely illustrated, so if you’d like to read a bit more about this new “self-portrait” (it even includes one he drew of himself at the age of 99), click on over to Jeff Simon‘s posting on the Buffalo News site –
http://www.buffalonews.com/life-arts/book-reviews/the-20th-centurys-greatest-american-illustrator-20150719

July 21st –  Two important updates and something kinda goofy:

1) Rec’d an update from film-maker Roddy Bogawa about his film about the life and work of the late Storm Thorgerson and wanted to share the details with you ASAP – “Hi Mike – I launched a new film website:  www.takenbystormfilm.com. The film’s final picture edit was locked for a MoMA screening in 2013 and, since then, it has gone through some color grading as well as a sound re-mix. It will have it’s east coast theatrical release at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC Oct. 2-8 and it also was purchased for their permanent collection. Other screenings are starting to be scheduled – London, Los Angeles, etc., but mainly gearing up for DVD and VOD release in October of this year.

On the film website, you can pre-order the DVD and the DVD digipak as well as a special-edition dvd + print package The print is a copy of an original image that Storm made for the cover of the book on my work coming out soon (BTW, Storm also designed the book and it maybe the last design he did before he passed away). A portion of the proceeds from this pre-sale (the dvds, etc. will be available in october) will go towards a scholarship for design set up in Storm’s name at the Royal College of Art, where he was a student..

The DVD will feature extras including film outtakes of David Gilmour and Storm talking about the infamous blinking LED packaging for the release of Pink Floyd’s PULSE, Robert Plant discussing the eight variations of the cover for Led Zeppelin’s IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR, two of Storm’s 16mm student films, a video taxi ride with Storm through London, a 1994 phone message from Storm to Paul Rappaport about his demands for the quality of printing for Pink Floyd’s THE DIVISION BELL cover, and various “failed” optical ideas from the film that were unused.
Hope this helps. Let me know if there’s anything else you might need. appreciate all the support and promo. Cheers, Roddy

2) Ernie Cefalu of Pacific Eye & Ear fame also forwarded a list of special-and-limited-edition items that he’s now making available to fans of such musical acts as Iron Butterfly, Alice Cooper, the Rolling Stones, etc., as well as the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. You’ll also find exhibition posters, tapestries and “static clings” featuring the work of Ernie and his PE&E cohorts (Drew Struzan, Joe Garnett and others). Based on what I saw and the prices he’s charging for these items – with most everything below $100 – they should get snapped up in a hurry, so if you’d like to get a current list of what’s available, please contact Ernie via the email/links listed on his site – http://originalalbumcoverart.com/contact.php
Please save a Lips & Tongue print for me, OK?

3) Bad Freddie Mercury impersonator Kanye West has famously focused a lot of attention and resources on the visual aspects of his career – particularly, his album cover graphics – but now he’s displayed his ongoing quest for uniqueness by investing $50,000 in a new font for his exclusive use. The font, titled “Yeezy Display”, is a bold, ALL-CAPS type-style created by designer Tyler Finck and will be used on West’s upcoming record called Swish. Read more and see samples of the font in Matt Korman’s coverage of the topic on The 405 web site – http://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/kanye-west-had-a-50-000-font-designed-just-for-him-143

July 20th –  1) Wanted to let you all know about a research project that I have been working on that has now been turned into an article that I’ve posted in the “Resources” section of the ACHOF site. You all know that I’ve worked hard to promote the works of album cover artists as “fine art” and, over the years, a number of other museums and galleries have staged exhibitions that expanded on that premise. I was interested in finding out when and where these shows have taken place, as well as who it was that provided the incentive to stages these displays and, after a couple months of digging, I think that I’ve put together a fairly-comprehensive timetable of the most-significant (IMHO) examples staged over the past 60+ years. In order to provide readers with some info about some of the major steps taking place in the packaging of retail music products, I have also included several milestone events, such as the introduction of picture discs, cassettes, CDs, etc..In any case, I hope you enjoy this summary and will share it with anyone you know who geeks out about this subject as much as several of us do – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-resources-record-art-as-fine-art-major-museum-gallery-shows/

2) The work of 5X Grammy nominated photographer Norman Seeff is the subject of a new display hanging on the walls of retailer Ron Robinson’s newest store in Santa Monica, CA. Staged by the knowledgeable folks at the Fahey/Klein Gallery, the long-time L.A. area resident (and former creative head at United Artists Records) has many album cover shots to his credit, with a host of them – including iconic images of Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and others – included in the show, along with well-known portraits of several other celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, politics and pop culture. Fans of rock photography in the LA area should be sure to stop by and see the show, which closes at the end of August, with more details available via this handy article on the LATF USA site – http://www.latfusa.com/view_article.php?id=7624

3) James Stafford recently posted another in-depth look behind the scenes of the making of a well-known album cover, with this one providing the gory(ish) details of Neon Park’s great cover for Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ 1970 release Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Always one to stoke a controversy, Zappa found a like-minded partner in Park, who was more than happy to come up with something disturbing and, of course, quite memorable for fans of the recently-disbanded group. I was somewhat familiar with the story, but was intrigued to see the “alt-version” used by the label’s German distributor, who believed that a picture of a bleeding baby in a mousetrap was less-bothersome than the Zappa-approved version…Plenty of details and photos included in Stafford’s article on the Diffuser.fm site – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-weasels-ripped-my-flesh/

July 17th –  1) Running now through October 25th in the East Gallery of the Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amhurst, MA is a show focused on the work of a true Renaissance man, designer/artist Fred Marcellino, who applied his skills to great success in the fields of editorial illustration, book covers (making a big splash in the children’s book arena, including his Caldecott Award winning art for Puss In Boots) and, of interest to ACHOF fans, album covers. You’ll recall his covers for Tommy (the film), Jukin’ for The Manhattan Transfer, Live At Carnegie Hall for Renaissance and others for Mandrill, Jay & The Americans, Lou Reed and The Osmonds, so any fan of illustration – particularly, those done in watercolors – should take the time to see the show, titled (here comes that word again) “Renaissance Man: The Art of Fred Marcellino”, with exhibit information available via the link – http://www.carlemuseum.org/content/art-fred-marcellino-press-release

2) In town for The Open and wondering what else to do when not out on the links? Only 50 miles South down the coast, launching July 18th at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland is a new exhibition titled “Bailey’s Stardust”, a major retrospective of the 50+ year career of photographer David Bailey. Known internationally for his portraits of celebrities in the world of fashion, sports and entertainment, this winner of the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal has taken viewers all over the world through his work, fans of album art will best-know him for his covers for albums including Goat’s Head Soup and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out for the Rolling Stones, Sweets From A Stranger for Squeeze and The Way We Were for Ms. Barbra Streisand. Part of the annual Edinburgh Art Festival, the show will be on display until October 18th, with more info on this impressive display available via the link at https://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/baileys-stardust/

3) As I’ve written previously, album cover projects are often times true collaborations between the musical acts that need them and the team of creatives charged with the task, and this is often due to the fact that many musicians are also quite talented in the visual arts. While some have openly admitted that they went to art school to enjoy the benefits of the bohemian lifestyle (i.e., sex and drugs), others took their time in school very seriously, as is evidenced by the details in this recent article by Dan Hyman on The Village Voice web site titled “TEN MUSICIANS WHO PAINT AS HARD AS THEY ROCK”. As you’ll read and see, several well-known musicians have had gallery and museum shows dedicated to their paintings/illustrations/photographs, with lyricist Bernie Taupin currently staging a show in Bridgehampton on Long Island, NY featuring his latest creations. From headliners in jazz and many genres of rock & roll, the article will show you a different side of some of your favorite musical acts – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/ten-musicians-who-paint-as-hard-as-they-rock-7352009

July 16th –  1) The winners of this year’s Independent Music Awards (AKA “The IMAs”) in the album art/packaging categories were announced today and the two winners represent two very different genres in the indie music arena. They are:
a) In the “Album Art/Photography” category, the winner was artist Eleanor Crane for the wonderful and mysterious painting she created for the cover of Patrick Joseph’s Moon King record, and
b) In the “Album Packaging” category, the award went to artist Qing-Yang Xiao for his design work for Song Zu Ying’s The Epic of Love. The designer was nominated twice this year for his work and won this award previously two years ago.
To read about the winners in all 80 categories in this year’s awards (the 14th annual), click on over via the link – http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima/2015/the-14th-annual-independent-music-awards-winners-announced/

2) Writing in “The Smoking Section” on the Uproxx web site, reporter Tom Mantzouranis shares some of the advance details about a series of new Marvel comics that will be called Hip-Hop Variants and will feature covers that pay homage to many classic Hip-Hop records. As you’ll see by the numerous images included in the article, Marvel artists have taken records such as 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and re-worked them to feature characters including the X-Men and Iron Man. We’re told that over 50 covers will be redone in this fashion, with the first books coming out in October. To see more examples, follow the link – http://uproxx.com/smokingsection/2015/07/marvel-hip-hop-variants-album-covers/7/
Throughout the years, a number of comic artists have taken on album cover assignments, but this is the first time I’ve seen such a nice cross-over. Looking forward to seeing the others as they’re released.

3) Now that it seems as if Rolling Stone magazine has completely lost its mind (Kim K. on the cover – really?), it only makes sense that they recently ran an article on “The 10 Most Famous Rock & Roll Tongues”. Two of these top vote-getting licking implements were found on the covers of well-known records, so I felt it necessary to share this important information with you ASAP.
#7 on the list was the tongue featured on mythical creature (what exactly WAS she?) shown on the cover of Poison’s 5X platinum selling record Open Up And Say…Ahh!, while #3 was the iconic Lips & Tongue image that has been a standard feature on all things Rolling Stone-related since it’s first appearance on their Sticky Fingers LP.
Of course, the best tongue award went to Gene Simmons.
See the rest of the top ten tongue list here in Gavin Edward’s article – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/10-most-famous-rock-roll-tongues-20150710/danny-brown-20150710

July 15th –  1) Some of you might recall a previous posting about the “Revolutions 2: The Art of Music” album cover art show now on display at the museum at Forest Lawn in the LA area and, as a follow up, I’d like to report on a special event that took place recently that featured another collection – this one being of a nice group of PEOPLE that created a number of your favorite covers, all of them appearing on a panel discussion titled “Record Breakers: Artists Who Revolutionized Visual Music Culture,” As you’ll see in this article by Michael Dooley on the PRINT magazine site, panel moderator Shana Nys Dambrot lead a discussion with folks including Ernie Cefalu, Hugh Brown, David Edward Byrd and others, with each of them sharing their stories and opinions of the past and future states of the album cover art genre. A nicely-illustrated article, well worth a read – http://www.printmag.com/graphic-design/art-of-music-culture-design/
PS – On a related note – Ernie Cefalu (of the famed Pacific Eye & Ear design studio) has announced the availability of some new limited editions of his work and I’ll be posting on this soon (waiting for some add’l info for y’all…).

2) As part of this year’s Les Recontres d’Arles international photo exhibition in Arles, France, there is a good-sized album art exhibition running now through September 20th at the Atelier Des Forges titled “TOTAL RECORDS:THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF ALBUM COVER PHOTOGRAPHY” which works to show the broad range of photographic imagery that’s been used to create some truly-memorable record packages over the years. Works by Guy Bourdain, Linda McCartney and many others are included, as is a display of fan-created “Sleevefaces” that combine album images with real people and places. Now in its 55th year, you can read more about this show and another exhibit featuring music art, photography and video work collected by the aptly-named LP Company via this link – http://www.rencontres-arles.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=ARLAR1_213_VForm&FRM=Frame%3AARLAR1_223

July 14th – 1) With all the excitement being generated at Comic-Con about the upcoming Star Wars film (due out late this year), I was happy to spot this article by Anthony Domanico on the CNET web site about the work being done by the (geek) team at U.K. home entertainment retailer Superfi in offering us their interpretations of a selection of well-known album covers done “Star Wars-style”. You’ll find records by musical acts old and new – from ABBA and the Rolling Stones to One Direction and Lady Gaga – redone using the characters, places and terminology made famous in the long-running sci-fi/fantasy series. Are these clever, blasphemous or somewhere in between, only you can say, but I can say that I got a kick out of the word play in almost every case (“Taylor Sith” – gotta love it!) –http://www.cnet.com/news/popular-music-album-covers-get-a-star-wars-makeover

2) The Summer 2015 issue of Resource Magazine (a must-read for the working photographer) has hit the stands (well, at least the ones in photo supply stores!) and includes several articles tailor-made for fans of all aspects of rock & roll photography. Contributors to “The Rock Issue” include regular album art contributors Danny Clinch and Charles Peterson, The Kills guitarist Jamie Hince shares a volume of behind-the-scenes shots from his life on tour and Koury Angelo provides some useful pointers about how to get the best-possible shots at a rock concert. There’s also an article on the impact of the music video featuring interviews with several directors who’ve kept the genre fed successfully for years…
http://resourcemagonline.com/2015/07/resource-rock-and-roll/55636/

3) In his regular gig as a busy music industry photographer, Nigel Skeet has certainly had to massage fragile egos in order to coax just the right look or pose from his subjects, but what if the people he’s featuring were those with virtually nothing – not even a home? In this article by Bibbi Abruzzini in the Arts & Culture section of the Huffington Post, you’ll learn and see more about this project/labor of love that has a master shooter bring out the most-rocking aspects of several dozen people he met via a local homeless shelter. Photographing them in their street duds (with hair and makeup applied by professionals), Skeet brought out the best in each participant’s personality, building a unique story for each one via interviews and his photography. The results are quite moving and fascinating, showing once again that all of us should have the opportunity to live with at least a bit of dignity – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bibbi-abruzzini/heres-how-photographer-ni_b_7739738.html

July 13th –  Since ‘rebellious” and “revolutionary” are two terms getting a lot of use in today’s national news headlines, I thought that I’d take advantage by giving you all some album art-related stories built on those themes….

1) Back in the early 1990s, a company called NuSouth decided to re-work the Confederate into something of a symbol of pride for black Southerners, changing the colors of the stars and bars to red, black and green, the same colors used in Marcus Garvey’s “pan-African” flag. The design was originally done for use as an album cover for a Charleston-based hip-hop act called “Da Phlayva“, who printed the artwork (done by a local artist named Colin Quashie) onto t-shirts sold at their concerts. Local black teens then chose to wear the shirts – as symbols of protest – to their schools which, as you might figure, bothered the local authorities (and their classmates who wore their “traditional” rebel flag clothing to school without incident). Melvin Backman gives us the rest of the details about this company and what happened to it then and since in this recent post on the Quartz web site – http://qz.com/446005/these-guys-protested-the-confederate-flag-20-years-ago-and-all-they-got-was-this-defunct-t-shirt-company/

2) This Summer marks the 45th anniversary of the Recontres d’Arles international photo festival in Arles, France and, as part of this esteemed gathering, visitors can tour through an exhibition titled “Total Records: The Great Adventure of Album Cover Photography” which, according to the show’s promotional literature, provides “a history of photography through the prism of the vinyl record. Both media, which left their mark on the 20th century, were combined in all their forms, from artwork to illustration, figuration to experimentation. The show is based on this diversity of intentions and propositions.” Many examples of images made by fine art photographers including William Eggleston, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander, Weegee and many others are included, as are covers that featured classic images borrowed from shots used in the news, film and other media. You’ll also find examples of “banned” images and a mock-up of a cover for the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street created, but never used, around shots by Man Ray. The Guardian‘s Sean O’Hagan provides us with an overview of this show, which runs through September 20 – http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jul/10/the-photographers-revolutionised-pop-album-artwork

July 10th –  1) The Norwegian band a-ha hit it a number of years ago with a single off of their Hunting High And Low record – “Take On Me” – that impressed audiences both with the vocal range of the lead singer and the extremely-cool music video (directed by Steve Barron) that exposed mass audiences to a modern application of rotoscoped pencil animation combined with live film, so you’d think that with all of that experience with bringing art and music together, they’d avoid situations like the one that’s detailed in this recent posting on Norway’s “The Local” site – http://www.thelocal.no/20150708/a-ha-comeback
As you can see by the accompanying imagery, the U.S.-based art team responsible for the cover art for the band’s comeback single – “Under The Makeup” – had neglected to see that the very same piece of stock art had been recently used on the cover for a single released by Italian R&B singer Victor Chissano (oops).
To my eyes, its another successful “borrowing” of a Roger Dean “Floating Island” motif, but hey, that’s just me…

2) Collectors of album art are always looking for something unique to add to their collections, so if you find yourselves feeling the urge to include something a bit different in your own mix, you might want to bop on over to review what was offered for Gotta Have Rock & Roll’s July 15th “Rock & Pop Culture Auction” where you will find prints listed for several alternative and out-take images from some of your favorite records. Included in the offerings are three Annie Leibovitz photo prints of Bruce Springsteen, a Henry Diltz shot taken during the Morrison Hotel photo shoot for The Doors and a set of two alternate Robert Whitaker cover shots taken during the “butcher cover” session for The Beatles’ Yesterday & Today album. You can take a look at these and other photos included in the auction via the link –
http://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Photographs-110.html

July 9th –  1) The folks at the Taschen publishing house are preparing a new rock music-related book that should be of interest to fans of the talented photographer Mick Rock and trend-setting musician David Bowie. The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973, gives us access to Rock’s archives of the shots he took of Bowie beginning in mid-1972 while in the midst of his Ziggy Stardust tour, during which Rock has unprecedented access to the musician and his band both onstage and behind-the-scenes. As is the case in the many recent books from this publisher (we’ve chronicled the ones about the Rolling Stones and John Lennon/Yoko Ono), there will be three different editions of this book. Of the 1972 books that will be printed overall, #s 1-100 will be in an “Art Edition” packed with a signed Mick Rock Bowie print, while #s 101-200 will offer a different print, with the rest being in the “Collector’s Edition”. The basic book will be signed by both Rock and Bowie and will retail for $700, while the Art Editions will set you back $1800. Pre-orders now being accepted, and if you want to read more about Mr. Rock and his Thin White Friend, click on over to Andrew Purcell‘s nice interview article on the subject posted on the SMH site (Australia) –
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/the-man-who-shot-david-bowie-mick-rock-in-focus-20150615-ghmpd8.html

2) ACHOF friend Lee Barry beat me to the punch in his posting of this recent album cover-related article featuring the words and opinions of sole-surviving Hipgnosis original partner Aubrey Powell, but I want to make sure that everyone has had a chance to review and digest what the graphic designer-turned film-maker says about the future of “iconic” album art, using the enormously-popular cover of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as the benchmark. While I might not agree with his conclusions (I have seen many creatives who’ve expanded their capabilities and client bases adopt his point of view), you can’t deny that his input and experiences have done much to propel the field and provide inspiration to the next generations of producers to create memorable imagery for their music industry clientele, regardless of the delivery platform used to share them with fans. Medium‘s Anna Horan shares her conversations with him in this recent posting –
https://medium.com/cuepoint/why-we-ll-never-have-an-iconic-record-cover-like-dark-side-of-the-moon-again-957480dcb692

July 8th –  1) And the Dead train keeps on a-rollin’….The works of the talented artist Stanley Mouse are the subject of a new art book hitting the shelves titled California Dreams: The Art of Stanley Mouse, with a career retrospective of both his solo projects and his work with the late Alton Kelley being staged at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery (running thru August 8th). Best-known for the hugely-popular Skeleton & Roses logo and posters, Mouse also created album covers for the band and other Bay Area-based groups including Steve Miller and Journey, so it is only fitting that his career is (finally) being chronicled in this way. The book’s text was written by long-time historian and writer of all things Dead-related, Blair Jackson. Read Sam Whiting‘s feature article and interview with Mouse on the sfgate.com site – http://www.sfgate.com/art/article/Book-retrospective-give-Grateful-Dead-artist-6364197.php

2) Another psychedelic art stalwart – Peter Max – is the subject of a new posting by Joan Baum on the site for the go-to paper in The Hamptons, Dan’s Papers. Mr. Max, a regular on Long Island’s East End, created a special 4th of July cover for the paper and spoke with the reporter about a new show of works he’s done recently to commemorate what would have been the 100th birthday of a New York icon…no, not the Statue of Liberty (although Max has done many of those over the years) but, rather, Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. The first in this series was unveiled in March at Max’s studio (with Nancy Sinatra in attendance) and the show, titled “Sinatra, An American Icon”, is now on display at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, where it will be up through September 4, before moving to the Grammy Museum of Los Angeles. MAx has done album covers for musical acts including Badfinger, The Band, YES and Clint Black, so these new musician-themed works continue on in that tradition – http://www.danspapers.com/2015/07/talking-with-dans-papers-cover-artist-peter-max/

July 7th – 1) You may recall that I posted about Hugh Syme‘s book about the album art he’s created over the years for Canadian super-rockers RUSH, but in this interview with Gary Graff on the Billboard.com site, you’ll get to read more about the talented art director and his 40+ year relationship with the band, as well as several stories about some of the album covers he’s created along the way. As a bonus, you’ll get to read a forward contributed to the book by drummer extraordinaire Neil Peart about how the two met (Syme was playing in another band and had done some impressive visuals for his group that Peart had seen and been impressed with) and what it means to be partners in creativity over the years. A good read will be had by all – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6613236/rush-hugh-syme-art-of-rush-book-album-covers-neil-peart-foreword-exclusive?page=0%2C0

2) After the Rolling Stones played a recent show in the Raleigh, NC area, they were treated to some very familiar-looking cakes as part of the dessert table laid out post-concert. Students at the local Art Institute’s culinary school were hired to produce nearly a thousand small cakes and pies and chose to do them in the shape of the iconic Stones “Lips & Tongue” and, as you’ll see by the photos accompanying the article by Aden Hizkias on the local Herald Sun site, I think they did quite a nice job. In addition to the cakes and pies, the student bakers delivered trays of cookies done in the shapes of record albums and musical notes…http://www.heraldsun.com/news/showcase/x399474256/AI-chefs-lay-some-sugar-on-The-Rolling-Stones

3) One more Stones-related item – not to be outdone by the Thin White Duke’s travelling art show (David Bowie Is), Mick, Keith & Co. will be co-curating a show based on a collection of over 500 items, hoping to launch the first show in the series – to be titled Exhibitionism – at London’s Saatchi Gallery in April 2016. More details to follow but, according to the press release, the multi-media events will include “will include backstage paraphernalia, unheard audio tracks, unseen video footage, iconic costumes, personal diaries, album cover artwork, original posters and one-of-a-kind cinematic representations”. Looking forward to learning more soon but, in the meantime, here’s a link to the release – http://www.ifreepress.com/entertainment/1307-rolling-stones-to-stage-major-career-exhibit-at-london-gallery

July 6th – 1) Those of your finding yourselves in the Durham, NC area on Tuesday, July 7th might want to make a beeline over to the city’s Main Library at 7pm local time to listen to a discussion about the creative/production processes behind making a memorable album cover. The panel will consist of two people with lots of experience on the subject – Merge Records’ co-founder (and guitarist for NC-based indie pioneers Superchunk) Mac McCaughan and the label’s creative director, Maggie Frost – more info on this presentation is available in writer Allison Hussey’s recent posting on the local Indy Week site –
http://www.indyweek.com/music/archives/2015/07/01/durham-main-library-merge-records-to-present-a-program-on-album-art

2) Down Louisiana way, album art fans can get their fix by touring the new exhibition now on display at the Manship Theater gallery at the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge titled “The Art of Vinyl”. Running through August 2nd, the show was put together with the help of several local collectors and the gallery’s director, Liz Goad, who also enlisted the talents of several local artists, who created new works of art – inspired by the record art on display – that are also included in the show. You’ll find examples of record covers from every genre of music, going back to the 1950s and including classics in every category. According to reporter Robin Miller‘s account of the show on the local The Advocate news site, the director has been working hard on organizing this show for quite some time…“We’ve been talking about the idea of a vinyl album show for awhile. We loved the idea of an exhibition celebrating this art in pop culture.” http://theadvocate.com/features/12418180-123/the-art-of-vinyl

3) Now that the Grateful Dead are dead (or, at least not performing as the Grateful Dead any longer), it is time for fans to look for other ways to ingest more Dead-related programming and the folks at Chicago’s near-West-side NYCH Art Gallery are more than happy to respond to that need, having launched a new show of photographer Roberto Rabanne’s trippy 3D images featuring the band. The show includes many rare photos taken since 1967 and, to take the presentation to even greater extremes, each photo is presented in a frame that has also been embellished with well-known Dead iconography (skeletons, roses, etc.). More info on this show is available via this article on the Art Daily web site –
http://artdaily.com/news/79792/Roberto-Rabanne-s–Synesthesia–A-Further-Photographic-Trip-with-the-Grateful-Dead–on-view-in-Chicago

July 3rd – 1) From the “when you want things done right, do them yourself” file – Public Image Ltd singer John “Rotten” Lydon wanted something wacky on the cover of his band’s upcoming album titled What The World Needs Now, and so he chose to provide his own illustration of a wacky-looking Hopi Indian Kachina doll – which to Lydon represents Man’s efforts to breed hate – rather than uniqueness – from our cultural and religious differences. The Hopi religion – being passive and inclusive – provides us with symbols of a culture that is based on problem-solving rather than, as Lydon puts it, “problem-giving”, and so it seems fitting that it provides the iconography for the bands new record, due out September 4th. In this recent Kory Grow posting on the Rolling Stone Magazine site, you’ll learn more about this new work, John’s often-thought-provoking takes on the people that shaped his past (Malcolm McLaren, Vivien Westwood, etc.) and news about a U.S. tour this Fall – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/john-lydon-unveils-antireligious-art-for-new-public-image-ltd-album-20150622

2) Jim Stafford is back with a new entry in his Cover Stories series on the Diffuser.fm site, with this week’s article providiing us with the back-story to one of hip-hop’s seminal records – License To Ill by the Beastie Boys, with artwork created by the talented team of Steve Byram (design) and World B. Omes (illustration). The cover depicts a Rick Rubin fantasy – his new band having their own jet, just like to one he saw in a book about Led Zeppelin! Of course, not all flights taken by rock icons end up well (just ask Buddy Holly, Lynyrd Skynyrd or SRV, as examples) – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-beastie-boys-licensed-to-ill/

3) Writing for the National Post, writer Rebecca Tucker interviewed photographer Bob Gruen about his relationship with late Beatle John Lennon (in anticipation of a new show of his work, running currently at the Liss Gallery in Toronto, Canada) and the stories behind two of his best-known shots of Lennon. Rather than present a more-traditional interview article, she teamed up with artist Brice Hall to give us one done in the style of a graphic novel. Very cool. If more of history were depicted in this fashion, we’d all know a lot more about the important things… http://news.nationalpost.com/arts/when-life-hands-you-lennon-how-bob-gruen-captured-one-of-the-most-iconic-rock-n-roll-photos-of-all-time

July 2nd – 1) Writing for the Fusion web site, writer Kelsey McKinney has put together a nice article – including interviews with album cover artists including Greg Burke and Jeff Kleinsmith – about technology’s long-term effects on the design and relevance of album cover images. The article discussed how changes in music delivery formats – from LP to CD to digital downloads and streaming services – has forced changes in the size, style and overall visual impact of album covers, and as we learn from the discussions with the previously-mentioned art directors, we get to know more about how these images are handled as part of both the branding of musical acts and the various ways that visuals are included in the strategies to deliver fan-friendly products.
Examples of how this has applied to packaging strategies for both classic (Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, Carly Simon and others) and more up-to-date acts (Drake, Nicki Minaj, CeLo Green and more) are included, and the question “do we remember album covers because the music was memorable, or vice versa” leaves us to think about which side of the argument we each fall on – http://fusion.net/story/155616/album-covers-technology/

2) Over on the Diffuser.fm site, Jim Stafford presents a new installment of his Cover Stories serial, this one featuring the Elvis-influenced cover of London Calling by The Clash, with cover photo by Pennie Smith and text by Ray Lowry. The image proved to be so iconic that it was included in the Royal Mail’s recent series of album cover-based postage stamps. Get the whole background behind the making of this memorable cover via the link – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-london-calling/ P.S, – so important was the Elvis influence that Mick Jones attempted the patented Elvis sneer on the cover of Big Audio Dynamite’s P-Funk record – nice try, Mick!

3) Keeping Elvis front and center, here’s the announcement of the latest entry in the US Postal Service’s Rock Icons series of “Forever” postage stamps, this one featuring – c’mon, just guess – Elvis Presley! Based on photographer William Speer’s 1995 photo of The King, this is the second time that a Presley image has been the basis for a postage stamp here in the U.S., the first time being back in 1993 (when postage stamps were 29 cents). In conjunction with the release of this new stamp, RCA/Legacy Recordings will be releasing a new CD titled Elvis Forever. Both the stamp and the CD will be at your post office on August 12. Bob Mehr‘s story on the Commercial Appeal site gives you the details – http://www.commercialappeal.com/go-memphis/elvis/elvis-stamp-image-previewed

July 1st – I just read (on photographer Mike Salisbury’s Facebook feed) that the esteemed Japanese illustrator Shusei Nagaoka died in late June of a heart attack at the age of 78. My condolences to the family and friends of the artist whose colorful, fantastic works for musical acts including E.L.O. (Out of the Blue), Pure Prairie League (Can’t Hold Back), Jefferson Starship (Spitfire) and Earth, Wind & Fire (Gratitude, The Best.. of and several others) helped define record cover imagery in the late 1970s. Fans of the artist can read more about him via this recent article on the Japan Times web site –  http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/27/national/nagaoka-illustrator-for-earth-wind-fire-other-bands-dies-at-78

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