Tag Archives: Grammy Awards

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

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

As a follow up all of the award-based excitement that took place in January, February proved to be no slouch as a source of album cover/cover artist-based news , with more awards-focused activities in the form of the announcement of the nominations in the packaging categories for the annual Independent Music Awards (IMA) and the calls for submissions to two more album cover art competitions. In addition to the competition and exhibition that is taking place this month in Oak Park, IL (which I’m honored to be part of), a similarly-built project is taking place in Brooklyn, NY in the upcoming months, as it the judging and announcement of the winners of this year’s international A Design Awards. All in all, a lot of talent will be on display and album art fans will find a lot to like in any/all of these shows.

An update about the launch of my book project – If all goes according to plans, I should be announcing the launch of my Kickstarter project before the end of March (OMG!). It will run for 33 days (I tried to get it to run for 33-1/3 days, but couldn’t quite make that happen) and, if successful, it should provide me with everything needed to get the new book designed, printed and shipped (along with any special rewards you’ve opted for) before the end of the Summer. The site’s ready, as are the pages on the ACHOF site where you’ll be able to see the rewards that’ll be offered at the various levels of support, so I just have to finish the obligatory intro video and we’ll be ready for prime time. Of course, I’ll make a formal announcement as soon as I can, so wish me luck and we’ll get this going just as soon as possible.

February’s news cycle rewarded us with a nice selection of interesting things to read and see in all the categories I summarize, providing you with new articles on the folks who are actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest exhibitions, new books, prints and products and several interesting interviews and artist profiles, along with other related reporting from sources providing these details around the world.

With so much to read and see, such as information on album art shows in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand; profiles on album art-makers including photographers Roe Etheridge and Ellen Von Unwerth and Pop Art master Andy Warhol; a pair of nice podcasts including one from GOLDMINE Magazine  with rock art auction king Jacques Van Gool from Backstage Auctions and another with several of the judges from last year’s ALEX Awards (and the folks behind Record Store Day); an intro to a huge new book coming out soon by designer John Foster (titled ALBUM ART: NEW MUSIC GRAPHICS) that delivers an impressive collection of images, info and articles on the topic and, as always, a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics such as the launch of a new album art database, what it’s like to work with your uncle – who also happens to be a noted comic book artist – on an album art project, a discussion about psychedelic album art and much, much more.

Of particular note was an article I found particularly uplifting involving a special fund-raising effort to help defray the immense medical costs incurred by noted Canadian album cover designer Michael Wrycraft as he battled an infectious disease that cost him his legs (but not his positive outlook on life).

As always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who a re 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) The judging is done – let the show begin! After receiving dozens of submissions for their Artifact 33.3 original album art competition, the Oak Park Art League’s panel of judges (including yours truly) has selected what it feels are the best entries from artists proficient in many areas of design, painting and illustration and will announce the winners – which will all be put up on display in the OPAL gallery in Oak Park, IL on Friday, March 9th during the opening reception of this show – titled Artifact 33.3: National Exhibition of Record Cover Art.

Artists were asked to submit original artwork for a fictional album by a fictional musical act and, after initial judging by the esteemed panel, a selection of these works are being professionally printed and displayed in 12”x12” frames for the exhibition at OPAL’s historic Carriage House Gallery beginning March 9th. An additional selection of works will be included in an online exhibit on OPAL’s website.

If you happen to be or live in the Oak Park, IL area, I’d like to invite you back to the gallery on Thursday, March 22nd from 7-8:30pm as I’ll be giving a presentation about some of the best-known album cover images and the people and stories behind them. I’ll be joined in this effort by some special guests who’ll be able to add their unique knowledge and opinions to the discussion…

I’m going to have a number of well-know album cover art prints – cover images for records by Supertramp, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and many others – up on display during the show’s run and will be bringing others just for this lecture, so please take a look at the special FB event page that’s been created and let us know if you can join us for the festivities that night.

https://www.facebook.com/events/327269481093572/

Hope to see you there – please share this with your friends in the area as well…
If you’d like to learn more about the competition and/or attending the show or panel talks, click on over to – https://www.oakparkartleague.org/artifact-33-3

b) Scheduled to close in just a few days (March 3rd) is the comprehensive album cover art show that’s been on display at San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery since early January called Art & Vinyl: Artists & the Record Album from Picasso to the Present. As I’ve written previously about this show, curated by Antoine deBeaupre of Total Records fame, the 258 record covers in the Art & Vinyl collection look at covers that represent modern/contemporary art in all its forms. Antoine chose the records in this collection for a few reasons: they had to be created by the artist specifically for that album (no re-purposing of images that is); the artists are all well known figures; and all of the albums are first editions. Antoine searched exhaustively for certain albums that were quite rare (the Warhol banana cover for The Velvet Underground, for example).

If you haven’t had the chance to see the show in person, you can choose to either hop on over to the gallery between now and Wednesday or take a look at Taylor Dafoe’s nicely-written overview of the exhibition on the Artnet.com site –  https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/art-vinyl-album-covers-1224242 In either case, enjoy the visit.

c) A vinyl collector’s passion for the recorded music products released by musical acts from his own country of New Zealand served as the basis of an exhibition of 90 album cover art prints currently on display at that collector’s music shop in Sydenham. The store – Penny Lane – is owned by ex-Londoner Dave Howard who, according to writer Warren Feeney’s article on the show on the Stuff.co.nz site, has built “an enviable collection from the mid-1950s to the present day” and organized the show, titled NZ Cover Versions, to display a collection of covers that “traces the evolution of local music through a history of design, illustration and fine arts”.

In a show that includes interesting examples of Kiwi album art, from Johnny Devlin’s first solo album, Johnny, released in 1959 to Motte’s  2017 album Strange Dreams, there’s certainly a lot of great imagery and now, via the miracle of the Interwebs, there’s a chance for those of us living thousands of miles away to see and learn more about them – https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/music/101721423/nz-cover-albums-a-celebration-of-where-art-meets-kiwi-music

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Loring from the very informative Cover Our Tracks web site sent me a link to a new post on the site that fans of album cover photography should really enjoy. Lara Kristin Herndon just contributed an interview she’s done with photographer Roe Ethridge, a commercial shooter who doesn’t have a large portfolio of album cover shots but, as you’ll see, has been responsible for several stand-outs, including one of the best-known shots from the early ‘aughts – that being the if-you-hit-me-I’ll-bleed cover photo found on Andrew W.K.’s 2001 release I Get Wet.

https://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2018/02/22/Body-in-Peril-The-Photographs-of-Roe-Ethridge

In addition to the I Get Wet cover, Ethridge has been responsible for an impressive portfolio of photos that have been included in shows and museum collections around the world, including institutions such as NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, LA’s MOCA, the ICA in Boston and London’s Tate Modern, as well as in publications ranging from VICE Magazine to the New York Times. Lara’s article takes advantage of her decades-long relationship with Ethridge and provides a degree of depth and intimacy we don’t see very often in articles like this.

b) CNN’s Style reporters have published a profile of prize-winning photographer/video director Ellen von Unwerth, perhaps best-known for her late 1980’s advertising and editorial works featuring the model Claudia Schiffer who then went on to create album covers and music videos for musical acts including Bananarama (Pop Life), Belinda Carlisle (A Woman & A Man), Janet Jackson (The Velvet Rope), Dido (Life For Rent), Britney Spears (Blackout), Christina Aguilera (Back To Basics) and Rihanna (Rated R), among others. A former fashion model herself, her talents behind the lens has kept her in-demand for commercial work for many years now, keeping clients including publications such as I-D, Interview, Vanity Fair and Vogue and companies including Clinique and Revlon enthralled with the works she’s produced.

Her works have been included in books and exhibitions all over the world, so I’d invite you all to spend a few minutes and enjoy watching this nice intro to a very talented shooter’s fashion work…

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/ellen-von-unwerth-fashion-photography/index.html

c) Inspired by a recent episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race show in which “the queens will be serving up looks inspired by the prince of pop art” Andy Warhol, Billboard’s Stephen Dow published an article online featuring a Billboard Pride compilation of ten instances during which Warhol “left his stamp on music” – https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/pride/8214697/andy-warhol-music-influence-rupauls-drag-race

The first several examples included in the article are ones that fans of album cover art should be quite familiar with – those being highlights of the album covers he created for musical acts such as the Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers, as well as a Jagger solo record), Aretha Franklin and John Lennon – reminding us that Warhol’s initial success as a graphic designer came from his time spent creating dozens of jazz (and then rock) album covers. You’ll also learn a bit more about his time managing the Velvet Underground, his work as a music video director (“Hello Again” for The Cars) and the somewhat-ironic fact that, although Warhol hated the fact that David Bowie used Andy’s name as a song title, Bowie would go on to provide movie-goers with a great take on Warhol in his role as the artist in 1996’s Basquiat.

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Goldmine Magazine’s podcast featuring Backstage Auction’s chief Jacques Van Gool about his latest memorabilia auction (titled Headliners & Legends, which was live February 16-25). In addition to talking about the autographed, artist-used guitars, RIAA-certified record awards and original Peter Max paintings that were available, Goldmine’s Pat Prince probes Jacques for more info on what might be included in some upcoming auctions (reminding us all about the fact that those running auction businesses must sometime be flexible with their schedules in order to take advantage of unique opportunities) featuring gig posters, the personal collections of music industry big-wigs, a heavy-metal (“Rock Gods & Metal Monsters”) themed auction and much more. As a collector myself (who has dropped more than a few dollars at Backstage-hosted auctions over the years), it’s always interesting to hear some tantalizing tidbits from the guy that manages to keep us all eager for the next opportunity to cover our walls with more great art and memorabilia – http://www.goldminemag.com/podcast/backstage-auctions-jacques-van-gool-guest-goldmine-magazine-podcast-episode-17

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Due out in early March of this year is author John Foster’s book on album cover design/designers – ALBUM ART: NEW MUSIC GRAPHICS. What makes this book all the more interesting is that it’s been compiled and authored by an award-winning, working designer, with Foster serving as the principal of the MD-based design firm Bad People Good Things and in possession of a portfolio of notable album art credits including: Giant Sand – Provisions and Blurry Blue Mountain; Mission of Burma – Unsound; Bailter Space – Strobosphere and Trinine; Surf City – We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This and Jekyll Island; Mark Mulcahy – Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You; The Chills – The BBC Sessions and Silver Bullets; Wreckless Eric – Le Beat Groupe Electrique and America, among others. His commercial work has been lauded with kudos and awards from the Art Director’s Club and is featured in museums and galleries around the world. He’s also written a number of other design-oriented books included titles such as New Masters of Poster Design (Volumes 1 and 2), Paper and Ink Workshop and 1,000 Indie Posters, among others, and is an in-demand speaker at design industry conferences, so you know he knows his material through and through.

According to the book’s advance PR, this book “is the definitive guide to album cover design in the 21st Century”. In addition to the scores of examples of “innovative artworks by one-of-a-kind designers”, you’ll find interviews with designers Stefan Sagmeister, Art Chantry, Paula Scher and the dynamic duo of Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz (among others) and collections of work by a “who’s who” of past and current album cover design such as Jonathan Barnbrook, Susan Archie, Michael Cina, Brian Roettinger and dozens of others.

The 320 page book is being released in the UK on March 8th by the noted Thames and Hudson Ltd publishing house (currently, the only link I can give you to pre-order the book is one to the item on the Amazon.com UK site – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Album-Art-New-Music-Graphics/dp/0500294151), and if you’d like to see more of Foster’s work, I’d invite you to visit his company’s site at http://www.badpeoplegoodthings.com/?page_id=2

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Speaking of Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz – on Feb. 23rd, the two of them brought together a panel of vinyl LP lovers, including several judges from the recent ALEX Awards and the leader of the Record Store Day movement, to discuss a variety of topics – judging the major award shows, vinyl printing techniques and the momentum behind the growing vinyl record business, etc. – on the Drate/Holly Stephey-hosted web radio show called “The Vinyl Show”.

Those of you vinyl geeks who’d like to listen to the aforementioned industry experts, who were also joined by Bryan Ekus and Larry Jaffee – the producers of the “Making Vinyl” industry trade show and who announced that the next show will be held in Detroit later this year (October 1-2) and that there will also be a similar show in Europe (dates TBD) – can listen to a recording of the festivities via the following link – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redvelvetmedia/2018/02/23/michael-kurtz-record-store-day–the-return-of-vinyl

Spencer was kind enough to send along a photo of the ALEX Award judging panel – quite the display of talent, I think you’ll agree….

 

 

 

 

 

ALEX Award Judges – Front Row, Left to Right: Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz, Sylvia Reed, Gail Marowitz.

Back Row, Left to Right: Larry Jaffee (“Making Vinyl” show founder),Sean Mosher-Smith,Stefan Bucher, Craig Braun.

b) The nominees for the 16th IMAs in the design/packaging-related categories were announced on February 14th and, in keeping with this organization’s successful efforts to feature great examples of indie talent in the music, video and design industries, this year’s nominees include works from all over the world, in a variety of genres and styles. The winning projects will be selected by both judging panels of top recording artists (including Tom Waits, Slayer, Bakithi Kumalo, Michael W. Smith, Sepultura, Evanescence’s Amy Lee and many others) and influential press and talent buyers from the Americas, Europe and Pacific Rim and online fan voting in several categories (voting on the IMA site for the fan- selected Music, Video & Design winners begins on Tuesday, February 20th and runs through March 20th at https://fans.IndependentMusicAwards.com). Winners will be announced at a special event in NYC’s Lincoln Center on March 31st.

Nominees in the “Album Art/Photography” category include –

  • Norwegian alt-rockers Soup’s latest release titled Remedies, with cover photos by Lasse Hoile and design/layout by Håvard Gjelseth;
  • Canadian singer/songwriter Matt Stern’s Magic, featuring artwork by Laura Horrocks-Denis;
  • Norwegian musician/painter Maren Ingeborg Gråblomst’s watercolor titled Madame Clamour is featured on her alt-rock duet Gråblomst’s 2017 release also titled Madame Clamour;
  • Artist, model and singer Maxine Syjuco produced the cover for  her Chicago-based experimental rock band Jack of None’s latest EP release titled The Tattle Tale Heart;
  • The team at the Brighton, UK-based Simply Marvellous creative        agency produced the artwork for the cover for Findlay Napier’s crowd-funded record titled Glasgow and
  • Chicago-based artist, actor and playwright Tony Fitzpatrick created the cover art for the new record called Bye Bye Blackbird by the trio of tenor saxophonist Frank Catalano, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and alto sax great David Sanborn.

Nominees in the “Album Packaging” category include –

  • Cali, Columbia-based graphic design studio Cactus Taller                crafted the packaging for the late Columbian Afro-Carribean star Magín Díaz’s final record – El Orisha de la Rosa (also winner of the recent 2018 Grammy Award and the 2017 Latin Grammy Award for “Best Recording Package”);
  • Designer/illustrator Greg Carr & Chris Daniels collaborated to create the cover art for soul/blues group Chris Daniels & The Kings (with singer Freddi Gowdy) 2017 release Blues With Horns, Vol. 1;
  • Lucidity Cultural Creative Design crafted the cover for the double CD set of Bhuddist music and chants from the Bliss and Wisdom Sangha & Dream Lotus Choir and Orchestra (on Wind Music) titled The Legend of the Sun King;
  • Taipei, Taiwan-based graphic artist Ming Liu designed the cover and packaging for Pop singer and composer FANN’s We Are Who We Are and
  • Vienese painter Katja Svejkovsky and her spouse, American producer puppy38 produced the cover art for p38 project hiroshimabend’s 2017 limited release ODP 048 – Rednow Gnir

In addition to the two packaging-related categories, awards are also handed out in other design-related areas such as Gig/Promo Posters, Publicity Photos, Live Performance Photos, Website Design and SWAG (AKA “merchandise), so if you’d like to see the rundown of all of the nominations in these categories, click on over to
http://independentmusicawards.com/16th-independent-music-awards-nominees/#design

c) Artists, designers, art directors, photographers and packaging experts in all related fields – here are two chances for you to show just how talented you are…The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC), is looking for submissions to a new album cover art-based show – titled In The Groove – that will feature cover art works for both real and imaginary music acts, with the selected works put on display in the organization’s Red Hook gallery from May 12th through October 28th of this year. According to the group’s promo info for this show, “the exhibition seeks to celebrate the mutually inspiring, creative relationship between music and art, and to recognize the profound cultural impact and influence of the art form itself, its trailblazing history and ever evolving visual and conceptual strategies.”

Submissions will be reviewed and judged by the “BWAC Selection Panel”, which includes Sal Cataldi (NYC-based musician and publicist, leader of the critically acclaimed Spaghetti Eastern Music and Founder and Creative Director of Cataldi Public Relations) and Wendi Gueorguiev, BWAC Performance Series Coordinator and Exhibiting Artist. All works will be submitted online, and a prospectus with the details and instructions available for download to interested artists via this link –  http://bwac.org/2018/01/in-the-groove-national-print-exhibition-of-original-album-cover-artwork/

Questions can be directed to BWAC staffers via this email address – bwacmusic@gmail.com

Wendi tells me that they’re hoping to show at least 50 different covers during the show, and with the non-for-profit’s gallery getting thousands of visitors each season, it’ll be a great opportunity to be seen on display in what’s Brooklyn’s largest artist-run organization. Best of luck to all entrants – eager to report on who’s included when the winners are notified on/around March 17th….

d) Just added an item to the ACHOF site’s “Resources” section about an album cover art database that should be of interest to anyone wanting to find out more about the imagery used on the covers of their favorite record albums. I recently read an article on the Openculture.com site about a project that combines the talents of the crews at MusicBrainz.com and the Internet Archive who, together, have created something called the Cover Art Archive and, by the looks of things, it’s a significant storehouse of imagery and data of the album cover variety. Currently packing over 800,000 covers (with more being added daily), the Archive is also looking for contributions, so if you don’t see something in their database that you feel should be included, they’ve provided a way for you to add your content and share it with all of the site’s visitors.

There are a number of ways to search and filter the data, so if you find yourself with a LOT of freetime and want to go on a hunting expedition for, for example, “all variations of Elton John covers from 1973” (there are currently 8 in the database), you’ve got the tools to do just that… Read the article at http://www.openculture.com/2018/02/enter-the-cover-art-archive.html  and then click on over to the database at https://archive.org/details/coverartarchive&tab=collection

I’m hoping to learn more about the people behind this project and their plans for the future and, if I’m successful in that effort, I’ll share what I find with you ASAP.

e) It might seem to be an unfair advantage to some when you have an uncle who is one of the most-respected comic book artists of his time and said uncle is more than happy to contribute his talents to produce the cover art for one of your record releases but, as you’ll see in this article about the Carmine Infantino-created cover for the 2003 release by nephew Jim Infantino’s band – indie rockers Jim’s Big Ego – titled They’re Everywhere – it was the perfect image for a package that contained the song “The Ballad of Barry Allen”, as Barry Allen is the name of one of Uncle Carmine’s most-famous creations, that being “The Flash”…

https://decaturian.com/arts/2018/02/21/album-review-5/

f) Following a series of events – including a drug bust and the band’s rather-casual approach to record-making – that left them without a manager, the Rolling Stones took on the production of their 1967 album titled Their Satanic Majesties Request and, in doing so, they felt compelled to do all they could to stay in the forefront of their fans’ (and the Press’) minds after the huge impact of their rivals’ Sgt. Pepper’s release. One step in that effort was to hire the same photographer – Michael Cooper – who’d helped The Beatles create the cover image of their psychedelic masterpiece and now, 50 years later, we find ourselves revisiting both cover images, each showcasing something unique and compelling – one being Peter Blake’s design and the other the use of 3-D “Lenticular” photography and printing…

Jay Jay French writing for GOLDMINE Magazine, author Jay Jay French takes us through the details of both entries in this trippy, mind-altering “face-off” between the two records’ music and imagery – http://www.goldminemag.com/articles/great-psychedelic-face-off-sgt-pepper-vs-satanic-majesties

g) While some of us with backgrounds in production understand – and often roll with – the music industry’s tendency to relegate production credits, including those for art and packaging, to near the bottom of the list of “important things to do” when releasing the details of a new record, it is nice to see that some in the new music world are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that fans get a chance to see the names of all of the people who’ve worked so hard to deliver their favorite music products to them. Here’s an article by Lily Puckett on The Fader web site about how the Spotify Music service has now begun to include more production credit info, including packaging credits – https://www.thefader.com/2018/02/02/spotify-producer-songwriter-credits

Now, if we could only get some of the award shows to include details beyond the name of Art Director when lauding a particular cover…who am I fooling?

h) Sports/news reporters can be just as obsessive as those focused on the music business in their love for all of the trappings surrounding their favorite subject, so it’s nice – but not surprising – to see this recent article by Alberta, Canada-based writer Cole Parkinson, writing for the Taber Times/Vauxhall Advance papers and web site, regarding his opinions on what constitutes the coolest overall packaging designs he found in a recent tour through his own record collection – http://www.vauxhalladvance.com/blog/2018/02/08/dusting-off-the-vinyl-record-collection/ And while the five records he includes are mostly from the late 1990s/early 2000s, it is impressive to see how he analyses these record packages with the same passion and attention to detail that I’m sure is central to his writing about local news and issues.

i) Staying in the Great White North for our final story this month, I’d like to turn your attention to the recent publicity surrounding the group of people who got together and delivered great buckets of love and compassion when a friend of theirs suffered what would be, for most of us, a truly life-altering experience. After an operation last Summer during which noted, Juno Award-winning Canadian album cover designer Michael Wrycraft – whose hundreds of album art credits include covers such as Bruce Cockburn’s Bone On Bone, Breakfast In New Orleans/Dinner In Timbuktu and Slice O Life; David Clayton-Thomas’s Canadiana; Watermelon Slim’s Ringers; Ron Hynes’ Stealing Genius; Burton Cummings’ Up Close And Alone and others for John Cage, Ron Sexsmith, Cara Dillon and The Hillbenders (TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opera) – lost his legs to a bone infection known as osteomyelitis, his friends and admirers in the local music community came together to organize and produce a special fund-raising event that raised both money and the spirits of everyone involved.

Held at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room night club recently, “The Art of Music – A Celebration and Fundraiser for Michael Wrycraft” was put together by a team that included music producer/musician George Koller, Canadian Folk Music Awards co-founder Judith Laskin and artist/guitar-maker Grit Laskin and fetured a night of musicianship and story-telling from a number of Michael’s well-wishers and supporters.

The people running the CityNews section on the MSN site covered the event, which you can watch via this link –  https://www.msn.com/en-ca/money/video/toronto-art-community-holds-fundraiser-for-legendary-album-cover-artist/vp-BBJAPm9

Although he’s been dealing with the changes in his life such a dramatic operation has brought upon him (as evidenced by the effort it took him to just get around the Hugh’s Room venue!), Michael’s spirit remains quite high and he continues to work on new projects for clients in Canada and elsewhere, including working with the archivists at McMaster University’s Mills Library in Hamilton, Ontario who are creating a “Man Called Wrycraft” archive of Wrycraft’s prodigious output of fine art and design.

“I’m not shaking my fists at the world,” he tells The Globe and Mail. “None of this affects the best part of me – my humour, my optimism.”

You can learn more about Michael and his career as an album cover designer via his web site at http://www.wrycraft.com/wrycraftrecentwork.html

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

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

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

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

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

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

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

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

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

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

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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Album Cover 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 – September, 2015

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

It’s October 2015 and we’ve been rewarded for our having withstood a wild Summer with an amazing “SuperMoon” display recently. Some of the larger local fires are now under control, but the album art world continues to burn up the news wires, with September stories featuring a steady stream of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feeds. In the following paragraphs, I’ll try and provide you with some highlights and updates, but it’ll be up to you at that point to complete your review of this impressive list sure to please album art fans everywhere.

There were interviews galore  – in print and on video – with the talented men and women who’ve enriched our lives by creating memorable  album cover art, including principals from the FUEL Design Group, photographers Mick Rock, Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd and Bob Gruen, Sir Peter Blake discussing his new Dazzle art mash-up app and a group of designers who share their favorite Rolling Stones covers and how they’ve influenced their own works.

In the fine art book category, artists and their publishers enticed us with new releases, with monographs featuring the works of Mick Rock (photos of early-stage David Bowie & Friends), Ringo Starr (with a new book of Beatles photos), Jazz Record greats, Brian Griffin (taking on a very thought-provoking subject) and punk/grunge-era designer Art Chantry, who warns prospective design students about the dangers of working in the music business.

There were a large number of exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery that premiered during September, with museum curators and gallery owners around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll find the details about current and just-completed exhibits such as Mick Rock’s photos of David Bowie at the Taschen Gallery in LA, Baron Wolman’s photos on display in a Louisville, KY distillery, David McClister’s photos at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, an upcoming display in Hoboken, NJ to commemorate the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra, Michael Miller’s display of West Coast Hip-Hop/Rap icons in Orange County, CA, Robert Knight & Maryanne Bilham’s photos in Las Vegas, Henry Diltz & Pattie Boyd’s multi-city photo show, Michael McCartney’s photos in Liverpool (where else?), a collection of photos of Bruce Springsteen up at Monmouth College and a show of Albert Watson’s fascinating collection of shots taken with a Polaroid camera.

Other stories included Rachael Stevens’ monthly record sleeve overview in the Creative Review, several “making of” articles by James Stafford and others (Pantera, The Offspring and Machine Gun Kelley), the release of a turntable/vinyl/book package for young record collectors, a look at an audiophile turntable featuring Queen graphics, Eric Arthurs video presentations of the “Worst Album Covers Ever”, a display of NFL football logos re-imagined as album covers, auctions with art by Andy Warhol, Lee Conklin, Klaus Voorman and the London Features photo syndicate and a teacher who styles his classroom and course materials around the art and music of Kanye West. Of course, I don’t have room 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!

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the several new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m prepping to provide as much new info as I can to the expert panel that make up the voters of the ACHOF, with our next class set to be inducted in late November, 2015. And while I know that with all of the distractions caused by global politics, celebrity clothing mishaps and clients that never seem to pay their invoices on time might keep you from checking in with us every day, I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I continue to say (every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

September 30th – End-of-the-month mish-mash of items for you:

1) In a new “And Justice For Art” posting by Ramon Martos Garcia on the MetalUnderground.com site, you’ll learn more about what must be the ultimate commitment to album cover art – having full-color covers tattooed across your back! In the nicely-illustrated article, you’ll find fans of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, KISS and others proudly displaying their cover art recreations. Whether they insisted on pixel-perfect duplications or allowed themselves some creative freedom and added/modified the originals to be more to their own tastes, you must admit that these fans have paid tribute to their favorite groups in a way that few other fans would dare – http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=116741

Have any of you gone down this same path?

2) The promo team at the Girls Rock Camp organization has come up with a unique way to raise funds for their efforts – selling prints of re-creations of classic album covers starring some of their own campers. The “Record Remake Project” page shows nicely-rendered images of their takes on record covers originally produced for musical acts including David Bowie, U2, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar and several others. My hands-down favorite is their take on Blondie’s Parallel Lines record – little “Debbie Harry” is just so cute! Photo credits are given to Carli Davidson, Melanie Aron, Holly Andres, and Shelby Duncan and print prices begin at $50, with the proceeds go towards the group’s ongoing mentoring efforts –

http://www.girlsrockcampfoundation.org/store/

3) Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery in Louisville, KY has put together a wonderful rock photo show now running as part of the Louisville Photo Biennial. Launched last Friday (and running through November 27th),  “The Art of Rock: Transcending Sound” features a nice selection of photos by the talented Baron Wolman, along with prints produced by several local photographers. The exhibit was curated by Mary Yates, who collaborated with local photo gallery owner Paul Paletti and several others to procure all of the images now on display in the distillery’s 2nd floor gallery. More info on this show is available in this article by Sara Havens on the Insider Louisville site – http://insiderlouisville.com/lifestyle_culture/copper-kings-joins-louisville-photo-biennial-art-rock-transcending-sound/

BONUS CONTENT – Fans of graphic imagery from the 1990s will get a kick out of this new music video produced by top branding agency Pentagram’s London office for Jesse Hackett’s first single titled “The Dump Run”. Hackett had found a discarded electronic keyboard near a dumpster which inspired him with both its retro sound stylings and the graphics used on its case and keyboard. The Pentagram team took a decidedly early Flash-animation approach to the video, fitting the overall attitude of the cut quite nicely. It caught the attention of the folks over at Fast Company, who introduce it to us via this recent article – http://www.fastcodesign.com/3051400/pentagrams-new-music-video-is-an-ode-to-90s-graphic-design

Oh how I miss those days of Macromedia Director/Shockwave on an Amiga…

September 29th –  1) This past weekend, at the DiMattio Gallery in Rechnitz Hall at New Jersey’s Monmouth University, a new photo show debuted featuring an intriguing collection of photographs of NJ music legend Bruce Springsteen shot by photographers Danny Clinch, Ed Gallucci, Eric Meola, Barry Schneier, Pamela Springsteen and Frank Stefanko. Curated by the Grammy Museum, the 45 photos on display work to show The Boss at all stages of his 40+ year career in music-making, from shots of his famed May, 1974 show in Harvard Square thru photos taken for his most-recent release titled High Hopes. To provide a more-intimate experiece for visitors, there are video interviews (produced by the Grammy Museum) of each of the photographers talking about their experiences working with Springsteen. The show, titled Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey, runs through December 22nd, with more info available on the gallery’s site at http://www.monmouth.edu/templates/EventDetail.aspx?id=40802203509

2) Multiple award-winning photographer Albert Watson, the man responsible for a long list of great album cover images over the past 40+ years (you’ll recall his covers for Carly Simon, Sade, P.M. Dawn, L.L. Cool J and many others), is the subject of a new show that focuses on a select grouping derived from over 100,000 Polaroid photos he’s taken of a huge range of subjects. On display now through October 24th at the Christophe Guye Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland, ‘Roids! shows Watson’s process as he first used the inexpensive instant camera to help him set up shots he’d envisioned to later using scanning technology to take the medium’s unique image qualities to an even-higher level via a series of large-format prints he’s created. You can read more about the man and this show via this recent article in L’Oeil de la Photographie magazine – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/09/21/exhibition/29726/zurich-roids-by-albert-watson-at-christophe-guye-gallery
Of course, I’m hoping that the show’s title is a clever play on words and not one of those situations where the English gets lost in translation…

3) “Why did the Dalek cross the road”, you ask? You’ll have to talk to the Doctor who, in this case, is Doctor Who. It seems that the good Doctor and his BBC compadres have stimulated a lot of conversation with their re-creation of the often-imitated Abbey Road album cover, with this one featuring the Doctor, Clara Oswald and two of the show’s mechanical stars. With Clara in Paul M’s position in the image (barefoot, of course), does this mean bad things for her character? Conspiracy theorists have piped in with scores of explanations, so feel free to add one of your own after you’ve seen the image on Jonathan Holmes‘ article on the Radio Times site – http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-09-19/doctor-who-does-the-beatles–but-does-this-picture-prove-clara-oswald-will-die
Actress Jenna Coleman (Clara) announced that she’ll be leaving the show, so things are looking grim, wouldn’t you agree?

September 28th – Two interesting auctions and a thought-provoking interview:

1) Fans of psychedelic album art have always cherished illustrator Lee Conklin’s pen and ink “lion” cover for Santana’s debut record, so it’s fun to see a large collection of his poster work up for bidding on the Psychedelic Art Exchange as part of their larger anniversary auction, running now through 9PM EST on October 8th. You’ll see examples of Conklin’s work for Filmore Auditorium gigs by bands including Cream, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly and many others – each one a mind-blowing psychedelic masterpiece. Happy bidding!

http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com/catalog.aspx?auctionid=52&searchvalue=conklin&searchby=3

2) As part of their September 29th Rock & Pop auction, the folks at Sotheby’s in London offered a Lot (#105) that included the 58 albums designed by Pop artist Andy Warhol between 1949 – 1987. Two of the examples included in this rare collection – 1967’s Velvet Underground & Nico and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers from 1971 – are signed by the artist. The lot also included a hand-pulled silkscreen print, nine books, some 7″ single covers and an example of the last cover Warhol was working on (one for MTV’s High Priority album) when he died in 1987 (the design was completed by his studio staff). The pre-auction estimate ranged from $46,700 to $78,000, and fans of Warhol art can still get a closer look via the electronic catalog (“turn” to page 82) – http://www.sothebys.com/pdf/2015/L15414/index.html

Update – the lot detailed above did not sell at this auction, but another lot that featured the contract that The Beatles signed with their manager Brian Epstein did sell for approx. $554,000, a bit above its pre-auction estimate.

3) Designers Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell teamed to launch the FUEL design group in 1991 and, since then, have established a sterling reputation for their work for clients in the book publishing, TV/print advertising, music and film worlds but, as you’ll read in Andy Butler’s recent illustrated interview with the pair on the Designboom site, you can trace the earliest inspirations back to – guess where – album cover design. They met at design school (Central St. Martin’s college in the U.K.) in the late 1980s and first worked together to produce a magazine titled FUEL as “a vehicle to express ourselves in content and form, a means of reaching a broad audience, not just within graphic design”. I think that you’ll agree that they’ve done a good job of maintaining that approach to doing great work, with their motto being “bad taste is designing with good taste in mind”. Perfect.

http://www.designboom.com/design/fuel-design-group-interview-09-20-2015/ 

September 25th – 1) Major branding alert! The very British rock band Queen has teamed up with very British turntable (what’s that? they ask) manufacturer Rega to create a very unique hardware/content package that is available to collectors and audiophiles as of today (in the U.K.; early October for U.S. customers). The “Queen By Rega” turntable ($650 list), according to the manufacturer, is “a brand new limited edition official turntable to coincide with the release of the re-mastered coloured vinyl multi disc box set.” The design of this unique custom deck includes reproductions of classic Queen logos, including the Freddie Mercury-designed “Queen’s Crest” logos on the platter and the lid bridge. It’s available only thru authorized Rega dealers (not online – more details at http://www.queenonlinestore.com/Queen/Queen-Studio-Collection/Queen-by-Rega-Turntable/4REF056O071), while the “Studio Collection Vinyl Box Set”, which contains remastered versions of all 15 studio albums on 180 gram vinyl and a beautifully-illustrated 108-page book, is selling for $445. http://www.queenonlinestore.com/Queen/Music/Queen-The-Studio-Collection-Coloured-Vinyl-Box-Set/4O1C032M071    Oh, won’t you take me home tonight?

2) One of the highlights of the 4th annual Beatles Festival – held for the first time this year on September 26th in the Strawberry Fields near the junction of the 605 and 60 Freeways near Southern California’s San Gabriel River – was a 3pm (PST) interview featuring the designer of the band’s Magical Mystery Tour album, artist John Van Hamersveld. JVH was there to talk about his designs and also had autographed MMT covers for sale (along with his books on design). The fest also had other art and memorabilia installations, including several 10-foot tall recreations of classic Beatles album art. More on this at the event’s web site – http://www.beatlestributefest.com/schedule.html

3) The works of celebrated photographer David McClister are the subject of a display launched recently in conjunction with the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, TN and hosted by one of the music industry’s best-known intimate music venues, The Bluebird Cafe, a place quite familiar to fans of the hit ABC TV series Nashville. The 32 photo prints on display will include shots of many of the best-known artists who’ve recorded and played in this music capitol such as Willie Nelson, Patty Griffin, Robert Plant, Ryan Adams (whose debut solo LP featured a cover shot by McClister) and many others. The show will be up for several months, and in Dylan Aycock‘s article on The Tennessean web site, you’ll get to meet the man whose 15+ years of photo imagery has made him a respected local asset – http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2015/09/19/americana-photography-exhibit-opening-bluebird-cafe/72471354/ More details also available at the venue’s site –
http://bluebirdcafe.com/viewArticle.cfm?id=158

BONUS  CONTENT – You all know photographer Bob Gruen‘s work – his photos of John Lennon, KISS, The Raspberries and many others are icons in the album cover world – but were you aware that he traveled with The Sex Pistols while they were on their “farewell” tour here in the U.S.? There to witness the break-up of the influential band, Bob’s photos (and the stories behind them) are the subject of a short video titled “Bob Gruen: On The Road With The Sex Pistols” just posted on the Artdaily.org site – http://artdaily.com/?date=09/24/2015#video Hear how Bob lucked in to getting the last seat on the tour bus and what he witnessed while the band worked hard to antagonize audiences all through the South – classic!

September 24th – 1) The folks at Backstage Auctions staged a new auction the weekend of September 24th that enticed collectors of rock/album art imagery. London-based photo agency London Features amassed a huge collection of rock ‘n’ roll photos starting in the 1960s and over 20,000 of these images will be put up for sale – many with full rights of ownership – in an auction of 425 assorted lots. I found 2 lots that album art fans might want to pay special attention to: Lot 1044 contains a selection of photos, slides and negatives of the members of the band Blind Faith taken by Bob Seidemann in 1969 and includes one photo that was used both as the back cover photo on the package with the controversial cover (i.e., the one with the naked young girl holding the shiny airship) and as the “alternative” front cover for markets too upset by the official cover – http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1044-blind-faith-1969-lot-of-29-bw-candid-posed-negatives-/ai/0/22656/

while Lot 1135 is a collection of 108 photo negatives of Beggar’s Banquet-era Rolling Stones taken by 10 different shooters and included is an alt version of the cover image taken during that record’s photo shoot – http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1135-the-rolling-stones-1964—1968-lot-of-108-bw-candid-outtake-negatives-with-full-rights/ai/0/22747/

The auction ends on October 4th – All it takes is money (and a winning bid) – best of luck!

2) A recent article by Kim Goggins on the Muskoka Region (Canada) site highlights the career of long-time rock photographer John Rowlands, who staged a fund-raising show/lecture about his work and career on the evening of September 25th at the Gravenhurst Opera House. The two-part fundraiser (another similar event was held on the 26th as well) is for a four-year-old local boy named Mason Anderson who has cerebral palsy. Anderson needs to travel to the U.S. for an operation called a “Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy” that the Ontario government won’t fund. Fundraising efforts since February 2015 have raised about $90,000 towards the $100,000-plus surgery. Event attendees will get to see many examples of Rowlands’ images of popular musicians, from mid-1960s Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga and Iggy Azalea. The show and silent auction began at 6:30pm local time, with more details via the link at http://m.muskokaregion.com/news-story/5914534-rock-n-roll-photographer-will-share-his-stories

3) Classic design is ALWAYS classic design, as is evidenced by Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s realization that the recent issue of Billboard Magazine he was featured on “looks like a Clash album cover”, referring to the cover created by the late designer Ray Lowry (featuring Pennie Smith’s iconic photograph) in 1979 for the band’s 1980 release London Calling. Music geek Fallon should also know that Lowry’s 35-year-old design actually paid homage to the original design featured on Elvis Presley’s debut record, and again in 1995 for Mick Jones’/Big Audio Dynamite’s release P-Funk. Joe Lynch gives us the details on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6700453/jimmy-fallon-billboard-cover-clash-album-tonight-show

Sept. 23rd – Three “making ofs” and an opportunity for YOU to become a rich and famous album cover designer…

1) While I spend most of my time researching and writing about “classic” album cover artists and their art, I do, on occasion, run across a new work of art that inspires me to learn more about the folks behind it and share that with you. This is the case today as I ask you to click on over to Troy Smith’s article on the Cleveland.com site about Tyler Nikkel’s fascinating cover image for Machine Gun Kelley’s upcoming new album titled General Admission (due out October 16th). Nikkel, who is a graphic designer based in Kansas, had been sending the rapper samples of his “fan art” via social media that ultimately convinced MGK to commission him for this new work. The two collaborated on a design that has a bit of a classic Roger Dean-style feel to it and including a lot of specific and hidden references to the architecture and culture of the city of Cleveland as well as to each of the songs on the new record. Nice job, I think – http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/09/the_story_behind_machine_gun_k.html

2) Writer James Stafford provides us with two new “Cover Stories” – over on the Loudwire.com site, you’ll learn more about Dean Kerr’s work (and re-work) on the cover shot for Pantera’s 1994 record Far Beyond Driven featuring an image that would prove popular both to the band’s fans and those who might spend a lot of time in the Hand Tools aisle at the local Home Depot. Interestingly enough, the original art Kerr produced made him a pain in the ass at the record label, while his fix simply gave them a headache – http://loudwire.com/cover-stories-pantera-far-beyond-driven/ Over on the Diffuser.fm site, Stafford gives us the details behind album cover and poster designer Frank Kozik’s illustration for the mega-selling 1998 record Americana by The Offspring. You want to know why there’s a little kid with a leg brace swinging while holding a huge bug? Click on over for a most-enlightening answer – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-the-offspring-americana/ Just don’t hate me when you’re done.

3) The headline reads “Young Thug Wants YOU To Design His Slime Season Mixtape Cover“, and while there’s no official release date announced yet, nor is there much incentive provided in the accompanying article’s details (posted by Trevor Smith on the Hot New Hip Hop site), once can only assume that all of your hard work will be rewarded with a lifetime work contract and a huge percentage of the profits made via your design (isn’t that always the case, designers?) – http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/young-thug-wants-you-to-design-his-slime-season-mixtape-cover-news.17619.html

Sept. 21st –  1) Here’s a nice profile article on a Denver-based design agency called The Made Shop that grew from a way for a husband and wife creative team to share their love for design and music (and make some extra money on the side) to a full-time gig that lets them explore many different production and delivery methods while making memorable imagery for their clients. Now in business for over 12 years, Marke & Kimberly Johnson have created some wonderful album art for musical acts including The Fray and Son Lux (their cover for the band’s We Are Rising record features 28 exploding colored smoke bombs) while taking on projects for clients in the film, TV and print publishing worlds, with more behind the scenes details revealed in Rachael Steven‘s recent article on the Creative Review site – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/september/handcrafted-designs-from-denver-studio-the-made-shop-2/

2) More album art inspiration is on display in this rather-cool new exhibition at the Wolveschildren Art Space in Ballarat, VIC, Australia titled “Cover Versions” that features re-interpretations of a number of well-known album covers by more than a dozen local illustrators. While most designers and artists rely on digital tools to create album cover imagery these days, the works on display in this show have been created via “a range of mediums from pen, brush, ink, paint, sculpture and digital”. The exhibit is up until October 10th, with more details available in Dellaram Vreeland’s article on The Courier site – http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3353553/interpreting-record-covers/

You can see more pix of the show on the Art Space’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wolveschildren

3) Some of you may have seen these videos in the past, but I just recently discovered 3 short videos made by Eric Arthur that bring viewers dozens and dozens of horrible album covers, synchronized to classical music scores. Eric is a musician who plays piano in New Orleans-style blues band Bucucrasu & The Slimline Shufflers and has also established himself as an expert in Bad Album Art (you know it when you see it), so if you’re looking to test your tolerance (you can always close your eyes and just enjoy the score), start with Part One of his Worst Album Covers Ever video series and build calluses on your brain from there – http://ericarthur.co.uk/bad-lp-covers/

Sept. 18th –  1) Would like to see you all visit Bruce Jenkins‘ Vinyl Connection site to read a couple of his recent postings having to do with album covers featuring hands. It seems that a number of art-obsessed genres – Prog, Metal, New Age, Jazz, etc. – use images of hands as a central design theme. Many seem to show hands palms up in an effort to invite you in to the recording (or, in some cases, as a way to show us what’s growing in their palms), and most are done close-up, perhaps to allow the palm readers in the audience to determine the length of the models’ Life and Love lines… In any case, Bruce found enough examples (22) to bring us two detailed articles – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/09/01/10-handy-album-covers/ and http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/09/15/12-more-handy-album-covers/ with the second collection containing what is my favorite example, that being the cover of Jerry Garcia’s Studio Sessions record (classic Garcia humor)…

2) The Entertainment & Musical Memorabilia Signature Auction hosted by Heritage Auction house recently showcased examples of classic graphic design – including a set of Richard Avedon psychedelic Beatles posters done for Stern magazine in 1968 (you’ll know them when you see them) – and something really unique done by artist/musician/part-time Beatle Klaus Voorman, that being a 1990’s reworking of his iconic cover art for the band’s Revolver LP. Voorman takes an original Revolver LP cover, lays a 12″ x 12″ piece of acetate on top of it, and then paints on new graphics that depict the band in their colorful Sgt. Pepper regalia. It’s an impressive work, and one that, in my estimation, will sell well-above the $2500 opening bid (no reserve, though!).
http://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/klaus-voormann-original-beatles-artwork-sgt-revolver-germany-1990s-/a/7149-89117.s?ic4=GalleryView-Thumbnail-071515

Update – the Voorman artwork sold for $3250, while the Avedon prints sold for $4000 for the set…

3) Rock photography fans in the NYC area  were given the chance to hoof it on over to the “Photoville” pop-up photo show through Sunday the 20th to see some amazing shots on display from a number of the music industry’s best-known photographers, on display in a gallery made up of dozens of re-purposed shipping containers! The show – set up in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 Uplands area – was not limited solely to rock photography, but those with a keen eye will find works on display by Danny Clinch, Roberta Bayley, Janette Beckman (who also curated this part of the exhibit), Jill Furmanovsky, Barrie Wentzel and others. Writing for the Noisey Music By Vice site, Kim Taylor Bennett shares some examples of items you’ll see at the show and offers up some nice quotes from Ms. Beckman about several of her personal favorites. http://noisey.vice.com/blog/photoville-2015
Sept. 17th – 1) Well, Ringo’s not the only one with a new book and photo exhibition (see Sept. 16th entry)! Photographer Mick Rock spent a lot of time in the early 1970s with David Bowie who, at that time so early in his career, was enjoying an impressive creative and productive run, releasing several albums, going out on successful tours and even producing a record for Lou Reed (Transformer, which featured a great cover photo also by Mr. Rock). Mick amassed an amazing portfolio of Bowie photos during that period which now serve as the basis for a new book titled The Rise of David Bowie: 1972-1973, just published by Taschen Books. While Rock went on to produce memorable photos and video of many of the rising stars of the era – Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Queen and others – it was his work featuring Bowie that established his bona fides in the music industry. In this article by Drew Millard for the Vice.com site, you’ll learn more about the book and the stories that make it all the more impressive as a chronicle of a very exciting time in pop music – http://www.vice.com/read/mick-rock-documented-ziggy-stardusts-takeover-of-the-universe-taschen-909

In support of this new book, Taschen has put together a very impressive exhibit of photos from the book which is now on display at their gallery on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles (until October 11th). TItled “Mick Rock: Shooting for Stardust -The Rise of David Bowie & Co.”, the display will most-certainly tease collectors into thumbing through the 310-page, $700 limited-edition book (signed by both Rock and Bowie) of which only 1972 copies will be printed. Of those 1972 copies, 200 will be offered as “Art Editions” that will include one of two signed pigment prints. More details on the book are available at
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/03136/facts.mick_rock_the_rise_of_david_bowie_19721973.htm
While more info on the show – including a very nice photo gallery – can be found via the following link –
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/company/blog/661.mick_rock_shooting_for_stardust.htm

Bonus content – 5 years ago – Rock collaborated with director Barney Clay to create a short film based on footage (and other tidbits) Rock had in his archives from the video shoot of Bowie’s wonderful music video for the song “Life On Mars”. Done on behalf of the Creator’s Project creative collective, the resulting film is only shown in galleries and museums (per Bowie’s request), but you’ll enjoy learning more about “the making of” this film and seeing the joy on Mr. Rock’s face when he sees a sample of the work in progress (you’ll also like seeing an interview shot in the now-defunct Mars Bar…
http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/barney-clay-gives-mick-rocks-david-bowie-footage-a-new-life

2) Even rabid sports fans can’t help but enjoy this one – a designer in Holland named Maans D. has used his graphic design talents to offer us his take on logos from professional football teams here in the U.S., recreated as album cover art. To makr the start of the season (Go Bears?), five of them are highlighted by writer Jason Alsher in this article on The Cheat Sheet site – http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/nfl-5-team-logos-redesigned-as-vinyl-album-covers.html/?a=viewall
and, if you’re so intrigued, you can see the balance of the designer’s efforts on his Behance site – https://www.behance.net/gallery/22799719/NFL-Vinyl-Collection
I think that you’ll agree that the logo for the Washington Redskins is a bit more palatable than the team’s current offering (I would love to resurrect the Senators name, but they might never agree to play another game).

Sept. 16th – New book, exhibition and auction items from one of the best-known rockers of all time – Ringo Starr

By now, many of you will have heard about the once-in-a-lifetime auction that will be taking place at Julien’s Auctions at the end of November featuring items from the personal collection of drummer Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara. When most of us “down-size”, it means selling off our old sofas, framed art we don’t like any longer, etc., but when Ringo & Co. work to reduce their possessions, you can only imagine what’s going to be on offer! You can start to fantasize by reading the press release about the auction – which will include some amazing items for album art fans, including Ringo’s personal copy of “the butcher cover”, White Album serial number 1, a Peter Blake “Love Me Do” painting and several of Ringo’s own works – http://www.juliensauctions.com/press/2015/ringo-starr-barbara-bach.html

At the same time, there is an extraordinary photo collection on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London that features photos Ringo had collected over the years and which had been stored away until he found them while digging through his storage not too long ago. A selection of his favorite shots has been assembled into a new book titled Photograph By Ringo Starr, with the first limited-edition copies (produced by Genesis Publishing) selling off in record time (see a gallery of images from the book via this link – http://www.genesis-publications.com/photograph-by-ringo-starr-the-signed-limited-edition/default.htm). On September 21st, a new open-edition of the book – which includes Ringo’s original 15,000+ word manuscript – was released at a price of £35.00, with orders being taken now on the NPG web site – http://www.npg.org.uk/shop/shop-list.php?showProductDetails=8665

Writing for The Guardian, art correspondent Mark Brown gives us a look at “the making of” this new book, which features a cover photo Starr took of himself in a mirror (an early “selfie”, it seems) – http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/sep/09/ringo-photos-beatles-national-portrait-gallery-launch-book-exhibition
One tantalizing thought – Ringo is asking the surviving Beatle family members to dig through their own homes for photo books as he’s pretty certain that his other 3 band-mates would have similar troves of photos waiting to see the light of day….

Sept. 15th – 1) Joaquim Paolo and Julius Wiedemann have just published a new, multi-lingual edition of their well-regarded Jazz Covers book, originally released (in super-deluxe editions) in 2012 but now made more-accessible and affordable! As you all know, many great designers, photographers and illustrators have displayed their talents for lovers of music in many genres, but I think that the closest ties are between innovations and trends shared between designs for jazz and rock/pop music, which is why you’ll find so many practitioners of album cover design doing great work for clients in both genres. The new hardcover – all 672 pages of it – is available now for less than $20 from booksellers everywhere, or direct from the publisher at http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/45452/facts.jazz_covers.htm where you will find a nicely-illustrated intro to the book as well.

2) You can never get them started too young….Seattle-based record retailer/publisher Light In The Attic has teamed up with Jack White’s Third Man Records to release a “starter package” for young vinyl collectors – titled This Record Belongs To______ – that includes both a ready-to-run record player package and a specially-produced LP featuring music for kids by a host of top musicians – Carole King, Shel Silverstein, Harry Nilsson, Nina Simone and Kermit The Frog, to name several – as well as a custom cover and a story book by acclaimed artist Jess Rotter. The package retails for $95 complete, so with the Holidays not too far off in the future, click on over to http://lightintheattic.net/releases/1822-this-record-belongs-to__________ to take a look and pre-order this item (shipping in early November).

3) In another enviable example of an artist following his heart to settle in a place that gives him the best of everything he’s looking for, here’s an article about top rock photographer Steve Emberton‘s gradual (30+ year) transition from a U.S.-based shooter busy with hundreds of music industry assignments – having photographed many of the top 70s-80s acts both in the States and the U.K. – to a new life photographing his surroundings in the tranquil coastal town of Amble in England. You’ve seen his work – memorable photos of Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and album cover shots for acts including The Tubes, Lurkers and Gilbert O’Sullivan, among others – so it is intriguing to learn more about what motivated a guy used to the swingin’ scene in London to venture out to find a new life in Northumberland. Read the details in Barbara Hodgson‘s recent article on the Chronicle Live site – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/america-amble-how-rock-roll-10014482

Sept. 15th #2 –  1) I wrote recently about Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd‘s photo show (curated by Mr. Diltz’s gallery, Morrison Hotel) and was intrigued to see a new show, which launched September 18th at the Hilton|Asmus Foto Gallery in Chicago that combines their work with that of another high-quality shooter – Carintha West – with the results called “Visions of a Magic Time”. Rock photo fans in Chicago had the opportunity to meet all three players at a reception that Friday from 5:30pm – 9pm local time and chat with them as they took visitors through their respective collections. The show will be up until the end of October, with more details provided by writer Thomas Connors in Michigan Avenue magazine – http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/visions-of-a-magic-time—michigan-avenue-magazine.html

2) Always the trend-setter, famed Pop artist (and Sgt. Pepper’s cover art creator) Sir Peter Blake has fully-embraced the tools of the digital age in creating and promoting his latest works, as is evidenced by the art “mash-up” app featuring his imagery that’s detailed in this BBC News article by entertainment/arts writer Kev Geoghegan. Using what’s called the Dazzle It application, users can remix and re-imagine some of Sir Peter’s works to create something unique and personal. The article includes an interview with the always-creative designer about how technology has been both an influence and a tool throughout his career – read and learn from a true master of the media – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-34151804

3) We work hard to promote as many of the music industry award shows that honor album cover design, so here’s a new posting about the winner – musical act Enter-Tribal for their Hitting The Trail record – in the “Best Album Cover Design” of this year’s Indigenous Music Awards held last week in Winnipeg, Canada. Other nominees included:
BEATRICE DEER – Fox
BLACKSTONE – Kaskite Asiniy
FLORENT VOLLANT – Puamuna
HELLNBACK – #FOE=Family Over Everything

To read about all of the winners in the rest of the categories, click on the link to this article on the CBC News site – http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/indigenous-music-awards-1.3224505

Congratulations to the winners!

Sept. 11th – 1) Yes, we all agree that the album cover images for the rock band Iron Maiden are typically quite spooky, but can we agree on which version is the most terrifying display of Eddie we’ve seen? In this recent article on the topic by John Hugar on the Uproxx.com site – done to commemorate the recent release of the group’s 16th studio album, this one titled The Book of Souls, with artwork by British illustrator Mark Wilkinson, who has also created covers for Judas Priest, Marillion and Fish (along with two earlier IM records) – you’ll find the author’s take on each record’s cover, from least-scary (1998’s Virtual XI) to number-one-most scary (not gonna tell you).
http://uproxx.com/music/2015/09/iron-maiden-book-of-souls-album-covers-ranked/
While I strongly disagree with the #1 choice (shoulda been swapped with #3, IMHO), I am (as always) duly impressed with the 35-year run that this character has enjoyed – now THAT’s “iconic”.

2) Famed rock photographer Brian Griffin’s new book of photos he’s taken of the pathways (i.e., train tracks) that lead to the various Nazi death camps in WW2-era Poland has been released and, rightly so, for the haunting quality of each image, been met with much critical acclaim. Titled Himmelstrasse (“Heaven Street” – a term the Nazis used with sick irony), Griffin’s book was released last week with a gallery show at The Photographer’s Gallery in London, which was followed with an appearance and signing during NYC’s Art Book Fair the next week. The book was inspired by Brian’s train trips in Poland, journeys that lead him to learn more about the rail system’s disturbing history…More on this in Jonathan Bell‘s recent article on the Wallpaper.com site – http://www.wallpaper.com/lifestyle/road-to-hell-a-new-book-by-brian-griffin-reveals-polands-dark-rail-networks

3) Folks in the Hoboken, NJ area now have the opportunity to immerse themselves into all things Frank Sinatra by visiting the Hoboken Historical Museum’s special exhibition – curated by the Grammy Museum and Sinatra’s family – that marks the 100th anniversary of late crooner’s birthday (this coming December 12th). “Frank Sinatra: The Man, the Voice, and the Fans,” is a must-visit for serious fans of Old Blue Eyes, as it features (according to the museum’s site) ” interactive displays and videos, period-appropriate listening stations, and cherished fan photographs and artifacts to illustrate the singer/actor’s formative years in Hoboken, highlights from his remarkable 60-year career, and memories from legions of fans. The exhibit will be accompanied by packed schedule of singers, films and authors, and a big birthday bash on Dec. 12, 2015.” Be sure to use the last vestiges of the “Summer Wind” and rub shoulders with other “Strangers In The Night” – “I’m Going Out of My Head” that it’s 3000 miles away.. https://www.hobokenmuseum.org/exhibitions/main-gallery/current-exhibition 

Sept. 10th – 1) Now this I like – Phil Collins is re-releasing re-mastered versions of his solo catalog and, in the process, replacing the original Trevor Key close-up photos with those taken more-recently (i.e., 30+ years later). The new records are part of his “Take A Look At Me Now” campaign, with the first two releases (Face Value and Both Sides) due out in November. Michael Roffman gives us the details on the Consequence of Sound site – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/09/phil-collins-is-reissuing-his-solo-catalogue-and-remaking-each-album-cover/

The extreme close-up approach to album cover imagery is one that has been used many times throughout rock record history. In fact, there’s even an entire AMIRIGHT site page titled “Face Close-Up Themed Album Covers“, where you’ll find examples from pop (Adele, Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, etc.), hard rock (Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, KISS, etc.) and most other genres. Bob Marley, Frank Zappa, Joe Cocker and several others showed their faces in great detail in multiple albums while, in some cases (you’ll see what I mean), it might have been wise to use a little make-up – http://www.amiright.com/album-cover-themes/face-close-ups/

My favorite – Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life

Yours?

2) Rock photographer Michael Miller has given us memorable cover photos for a wide range of musical acts, from Stan Getz to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Soul Asylum and over 50 rap/hip-hop acts, so it is not surprising to find his work featured in a new gallery show that focuses on the portfolio he produced of scenes and people related to the West Coast hip-hop scene of the 1990s. Writing for the OC Weekly, reporter Aimee Murillo gives us a look at this exhibition – titled “Love West Coast” – now on display (thru October 10th) at the DAX Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA that includes candid portraits of major music players including Tupac, Easy-E, N.W.A., Coolio and many others. Miller shares the stories behind several of his photo shoots, with pictures taken in areas and under circumstances that had the photographer more than a bit worried about his health, never knowing whether the residents of the neighborhoods they decided to stop in would appreciate the attention or exposure… for more info on the show, please visit – http://blogs.ocweekly.com/heardmentality/2015/09/mike_millers_and_west_coast_hip_hop_at_dax_gallery.php

3) It’s always nice when your alma mater’s college paper runs a story about one of your achievements, so photographer Eric Poppleton should be extra-proud of the coverage he received in Daniel Grady and Dara Metcalfe‘s recent article in The Ball State Daily about the now-famous photo he took that was featured on the cover of the now-even-more-famous N.W.A. record Straight Outta Compton. In the story, you’ll learn more about Eric, his mentor at Ball State (Muncie, Indiana) who encouraged him to consider a career in photography and how a kid from a very white part of the country ended up on his back in LA, looking up at a group of armed and fairly-menacing black men…read the details via the link at http://www.ballstatedaily.com/article/2015/09/straight-outta-muncie

Sept. 9th – 1) Rock art comes in all shapes, sizes and via many different forms of inspiration…Recently, artist Scott McPherson – who works using the moniker “Sink Shower” – was asked to apply his talents to help decorate a record store in Los Angeles called Vacation Vinyl. While on the surface that might not sound very interesting, Sink Shower’s best-known for a logo he designed for his own death-metal band, which he paints over and over again (with slight variations) to create a final image. What started as an art project back in Kansas has now taken on much larger proportions, with reporter J. Bennett working to help us understand the artist’s motivation and plans for the future in this article on the Noisy/Vice site – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/sink-shower

2) Way over on the other side of the country (Palm Beach, FL), the curators at the Holden Luntz Gallery have put together a show called “Let The Good Times Roll” that features 40 photos – dating from 1905 to 2010 – chosen to give show viewers an extended summer vacation, illustrating “the good life” in its many forms. Included in the show is a grouping of photos taken by famed rock photographer Norman Seeff (who has done well-known covers for Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones and many others) and featuring an image of young lovers Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe taken in NYC in 1969. Jan Sjostrum shares the details (and a photo gallery) with us in her coverage for The Palm Beach Daily News – http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/local/lifes-joyous-moments-on-view-at-holden-luntz-galle/nnSnX/

3) J.D. Cronise, front man for Austin, TX-based hard rockers The Sword, was so impressed with a gallery show by artist Jetter Green that he decided right then that he’d want to commission Green to do the art for the band’s next album. Knowing that “a good album cover always compliments a good record”, the pair worked together to produce the image that is now featured on High Country, just released on Razor & Tie Records. Read more about this successful collaboration in Scott Munro‘s article for Classic Rock (you’ll also find a podcast there with an interview with Cronise about “the making of” this new album) – http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2015-08-25/the-sword-praise-high-country-artwork

Sept. 8th – 1) Showing how art can both reflect and help better a lifestyle, this recent story by Andrew Edwards in the Long Beach Press-Telegram brings us news about artist Joe Cool (AKA Darryl Daniel, cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg and the guy that created the cover art for Dogg’s huge-selling Doggystyle album) and the unveiling of a new work of his (titled “Safe Refuge”) that he hopes will move those with substance abuse issues to consider – as he has – avoiding a life that’s been harmed by addiction. Today, after 12 years of sobriety, Joe Cool has teamed with local drug rehab organizations to bring both his art and his story to audiences that will hopefully appreciate both – http://www.presstelegram.com/arts-and-entertainment/20150827/doggystyle-artist-joe-cool-of-long-beach-has-new-art-and-new-lifestyle

2) Detroit, MI-based musician and album cover artist Niagara – having enjoyed some recent success for her stylish cover for Kid Rock’s latest record – has just released the artwork that will be used on a poster to promote the upcoming “Dally in the Alley” music/art event taking place this weekend in the city’s “Cass Corridor” neighborhood (former home of Creem Magazine and where The White Stripes played their first gig). Done in the instantly-recognizable “Niagara Style”, the poster’s subject asks you whether you’d like “to Dally in the Alley” and, as is usually the case when you see Niagara’s artwork, you find yourself wondering whether this would be safe to do (not because it is in Detroit – rather, because her femme fatales always look as though they might want to kill you rather than bother with you much longer!)…Read more in Lee DeVito’s feature on the Detroit Metro Times site – http://www.metrotimes.com/Blogs/archives/2015/08/28/niagara-designed-this-years-dally-in-the-alley-poster

3) Lastly, a slightly-belated R.I.P. message to fans of Sympathy For The Record illustrator “The Pizz”, who died recently at the young age of 57. Stephen Pizzuro has long been a well-loved and respected “lowbrow” artist, producing posters, fine art prints, Rat Fink comics and album covers for recording acts including Bad Religion, The Creamers, Ron Asheton’s Empty Set and others and his work has been featured in many rock poster books. I once had the pleasure of paging through his own book Atavistic Avatar and seeing his work on display at the La Luz De Jesus gallery in LA a number of years ago, so I will most certainly miss seeing any new output from someone who always brought a bit of outlandishness – and a ton of talent – to his work. Read David Peskovitz’s tribute on the Boing Boing site – https://boingboing.net/2015/09/01/lowbrow-artist-the-pizz-rip.html

Sept. 7th – 1) You might recall a recent posting about next year’s Rolling Stones-themed extravaganza at the Saatchi Gallery in London – 50 years of memorable iconography, including lips, tongues, steel wheels, goats heads, etc.. In anticipation of that show, which will be touring the world after its premiere in the U.K., The Drum‘s Thomas O’Neill recently posted his interviews with several leaders in the design world – including record cover designers Stefan Sagmeister, Carin Goldberg, Caroline Robert and Tom Genower – and asked them to note which examples of the Stones’ album art have had the most influence on their own careers. You’ll read stories about Exile, Sticky Fingers, Beggar’s Banquet and even a life-size poster of Brian Jones – http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/08/28/stone-cold-classics-unconventional-iconography-rolling-stones

2) Here’s an interesting example of album art inspiring an even more creative approach to teaching today’s media-obsessed youth – 4th grade teacher Adrian Perez has decorated his Mendota, CA classroom with artwork from Kanye West album covers (including the amazingly-popular Murakami teddy bear found on the rapper’s hit 2007 record Graduation) and used these images and the titles of West tracks as the bases for a number of his classes – “Math Monsters”, “Touch The Sky With ELA”, etc. – and to highlight the progress of his kids throughout the year (“I’m Amazing”, “Power Readers” and others). On the whole, parents seemed to be encouraged, but I’d like to see whether his students’ overall performance (in areas besides rhyming) improves via this unique teaching method…More on this in Eliza Murphy’s article on the ABC News web site – http://abcnews.go.com/beta/Entertainment/teachers-kanye-west-themed-classroom-welcomes-students-good/story?id=33391494

3) It’s been 10 years since the release of Wolfmother’s self-titled debut album, which initially caused a bit of a stir in the loins of certain record retailers who objected to the record’s use of a beautiful-but-bare-bosomed Frank Frazetta painting (titled “The Sea Witch”) on the cover (in addition to several other examples of the fantasy artist’s work for covers of some of the popular record’s singles). Well, the band is re-releasing the record later this month (Sept. 25th) in a special collector’s edition that will include more music (demos, live performances. etc.) and will be available – original artwork in tact – on 180-gram vinyl. If you’re a fan of this band and/or style of artwork, I’d strongly suggest clicking on over to this recent article by Mike “DJ” Pizzo on the Medium/Cuepoint site – quite the eyeful, I must say! https://medium.com/cuepoint/wolfmother-10-years-deep-5f7235d9b1c6

Sept. 4th – Three new shows for you to visit…
1) If you’re headed to Las Vegas any time soon, be sure to stop by the Delano Hotel to see Robert Knight and Maryanne Bilham‘s excellent new photo show there. In the new show, titled “Defiantly Inspired”, you’ll find portraits of many of your favorite rock artists – both classic and “up-and-coming” – including Santana, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Slash, LORDE and many others. They’ve also recorded “making of” descriptions for the images on display that you can listen to live via a downloadable app (how totally modern!). The show runs through the end of the month, and you can read more about it in this feature on the Vegas News site – http://www.vegasnews.com/140574/delano-las-vegas-unveils-rock-n-roll-photography-exhibit-defiantly-inspired-featuring-local-artists.html

2) When you’re done with your trip to Vegas, head a few hours West to see the premiere of a travelling exhibit curated by the Morrison Hotel Gallery featuring selections from the extensive portfolios of rock photographers Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd. The show’s called “Behind The Lens”, and both photographers were on hand to kick off the tour September 10th at Largo on La Cienega in Los Angeles. Both of these photographers were integral parts of the scenes they shot – Diltz as a member of the Modern Folk Quartet (and a Laurel Canyon resident) and Boyd as a top fashion model and muse/wife to both Georege Harrison and Eric Clapton – so their portraits have always benefited from this intimacy with their subjects. Writing for Goldmine MagazineChris M. Junior had the chance to interview both of them just before they left for their tour (which also had stops in Nashville, Chicago, NYC and the final one in Falls River, MA on Sept. 23rd), so click on over to learn more – http://www.goldminemag.com/article/diltz-boyd-behind-lens-tour?

3) The works of Paul McCartney’s younger brother Michael – a talented song-writer, musician and photographer himself – are at the center of a new photography exhibition that opened in early September in (where else?) Liverpool, England in a new gallery in the never-before-opened catacombs under St, George’s Hall. Titled “McCartney Luvs St. George’s Hall”, the show is built around a collection of 60 photos McCartney has taken of this beloved local landmark. McCartney’s photos of rock and entertainment royalty have been shown in exhibitions all over the world (including several in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery) and published in magazines, newspapers, etc. – even meeting the Queen herself during her Majesty’s historic visit to the Liverpool Museum when the city celebrated being a Cultural Capital a few years back. The show runs through October 18th, with details and more available via this article on the Broadway World site – http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwart/article/New-Photography-Exhibition-by-Mike-McCartney-to-Open-at-St-Georges-Hall-20150619

Sept. 3rdArt Chantry at Powell’s Books, Portland, OR – Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 7:30pm 

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Don’t call Art Chantry an “artist” – he’s a “graphic designer” and, although he’s quite adamant about the fact that most of the practitioners working in graphic design today are uninspired and simply willing to do anything for their corporate clients just so that they can put the billable hours on their timesheets, the thing that seems to bother him the most is that they are his unworthy competition. And you know, after watching the presentation he made before a good-sized crowd at Powell’s Books here in downtown Portland, OR last Monday night, I find myself agreeing with him, on the most part.

Art was in town to promote the release of his latest book on the field of graphic design titled Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History Of 20th Century Graphic Design (published by Feral House books, with a cover design by Crap Hound’s Sean Tejaratchi and John Hubbard) and, as someone with an album cover credit list that includes images for Soundgarden, The Rev. Horton Heat, Presidents of the U.S.A, Pigeonhed, Pussy Galore, Love Battery, The Beatles (yup, look it up) and many, many others, I knew that I had to be there to meet the man who, as 4X Art Director for the influential Seattle/Portland-area newspaper The Rocket (now deceased) and the foremost proponent of the “when you have no budget, you can do about anything, by hand and with salvaged materials” approach to memorable design, is most-credited for the U.S. punk and grunge-era aesthetic of the past 40 years.

Using his trusty Kodak Carousel 750H slide projector (via a 12-foot wired “clicker”), Chantry took the audience through a career retrospective that began with his first punk rock poster for a Bellingham, WA appearance of Penelope Houston’s The Avengers, which also turned out to be the first poster Art did that was torn off of most of the telephone poles in the area by folks who were less-than-happy with the print’s appearance. It was then that, according to the artist, “I learned that ugly can be a tool in controlling the viewer’s responses and emotions”. He used his early seat-of-the-pants experience to its next logical application as the art director for start-up Seattle-area entertainment rag called The Rocket, with that publication earning national attention for bringing a great sense of design and market-perfect editorial to readers looking for the news delivered to them in a language (visual and verbal) that was theirs alone.

A music review column called “Sub Pop” (written by Bruce Pavitt) was added to The Rocket in 1983 and, a few years later when Pavitt launched a new record label by the same name, he asked Chantry to provide the necessary graphics to package their new music products. Chantry recalled that one of the things that annoyed him the most about providing sleeve designs for his music industry clients was that the inside of the CD – the booklet, the insert graphics and the images printed on the CD itself – were usually very boring (and often obscured by the damage suffered by cracks and smudges in the jewel case), so he spent as much time as he could making sure that the insides would be as compelling as the cover images. Examples of this for clients including the Mono Men, Love Battery, Pigeonhed, The Thrown Ups and others helped those of us in attendance get a good idea of how important this effort really was.

Chantry did spend a lot of time presenting his case as to why working for music industry and other corporate clients has gone from a reliable source of pride and income to something that he’s telling up-and-coming graphic designers to strongly consider before choosing to work in this field. As he put it, “These days, everyone in America speaks and understands graphic design. We agree to the basic rules – the color green means “go”, red means “stop”, etc. – so the only way I can change someone’s mind about what those standard symbols mean is to f*ck with their mind. I work this way so that I can compete with and beat out a kid who just bought a computer and some software 2 weeks ago – they can’t do what I do on their computer”, meaning that great ideas don’t happen simply when someone takes a photograph and hits the “optimize” button.

Acknowledging that he realizes that he’s started something that, to the uneducated, can (on the surface, without the humor or the insight) be replicated by almost anyone with the tools, he admitted that “what I was doing worked too damn well and just about put me out of business”. These days, he realizes that he’s often being hired to “create an Art Chantry” – i.e., one that looks like what he’s done before, with his name on it – and while he might need to resort to accepting commissions like those to pay the bills, this is not where a famous designer should be at this point in his career. He also wants people to know that 20th Century design has been influenced by many talented and experimental designers, many who have gone uncredited and unacknowledged for years, so it is with this sense of purpose (and a desire to sell some books) that he’s published this new book.

I hope that you’ll find a copy (I’m going through mine right now) and take the time to learn what Chantry’s wanting us to know. As someone who is also working now on a new book that, when published, looks to bring music/art fans closer to the sources of their favorite album cover images, it was really quite the treat to be able to meet and learn from one of the greats.

You’ll find his book via the link – http://feralhouse.com/art-chantry-speaks/

Thanks again to Powell’s Books for hosting this (and so many other) author appearances! http://www.powells.com/calendar/

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.