Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – June, 2015
By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
With Summer coming here to the Pacific Northwest with an unseasonable blast of heat and drought conditions to the East and South of us, many album art fans I know are looking for ways to spend quality time indoors, so what better way to beat the heat than by joining like-minded individuals from all over the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe in search of the latest news about album art and the artists that create it. To that end, there were a number of interesting headlines we at the ACHOF posted throughout the month of June, with an impressive number of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feed. In the following paragraphs, I’ll highlight several of them, with the rest following in greater detail.
Having survived one of the most-annoying of technological dilemmas – that being, the death of an old computer and the subsequent re-launching on a new one (along with the transfer of all files, contacts, emails, etc. from an ancient operating environment to a new one) – I’m glad to report that all’s well with yours truly on that front and, once again, I have say “thanks” to you all for your patience and continued support during that ordeal. And now, on with the report…
In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get to know a bit more about several of their favorite cover image producers including the always-controversial Stephen Sagmeister, photographer M. Sukita, designer Don Clark and Portland’s own Carson Ellis, as well as my own interview with one of the punk music scene’s most-influential shooters, Edward Colver. This interview came after years of attempts to organize a “Featured Artist Portfolio” item with the elusive Mr. Colver, so I’m proud to be able to finally share this with you.
In the ever-expanding fine art book category, publishers were busy promoting their new releases, with monographs featuring art and photos from artists including photographer Jay Blakesberg, illustrator James Marsh and, in a follow-up to my report a couple of months back about Ramon “Oscuro” Martos’s newest book titled And Justice for Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Cover, there’s a report on a new documentary film short based on the book created for fans of the fantastic art often found gracing the covers of heavy metal music records.
June proved to be a busy month for exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery, with curators and gallery owners in several locations around the world displaying collections that included the works of photographers Anton Corbijn, Richard E. Aaron and the late Ken Regan, Beatles animator Ron Campbell and Sgt. Pepper’s designer Jann Haworth, along with several retailers who are promoting the limited-edition re-releases of a group of LPs by the Rolling Stones and a group show in Ohio featuring several well-known shooters that covered various aspects of the local/national music scenes. Finally, in Chicago and on the West Coast, fans of the Grateful Dead will find several shows celebrating the band’s 50th anniversary (and their “final” tour).
Other stories included profile features on artist/surf music icon Dean Torrance and the enigmatic MC Escher, user-generated content built around their photos of the current state of the places where famous album cover photos were taken and a soon-to-be-released documentary on the career of famed photographer Brian Griffin. News continued with features on a Cleveland-based artisan who crafts working guitars out of wood and album covers and how one Portland, OR tourist magnet – Voodoo Doughnuts – crafted their own Sgt. Pepper‘s-like collage for an ad in a local paper promoting the shop’s 12th anniversary celebration.
As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. While I was slowed in my quest to update those already there with new information and to add another 50 or so new ones before taking a break to work on my book project (more to come on this later), that should in no means delay you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends and/or days when it’s beautiful outside) 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).
June 30th – As fans are getting ready to enjoy several “farewell” performances in Chicago this weekend, here are some Grateful Dead-related stories for you:
1) If you’re in Chicago (perhaps one of the 200,000 people who purchased tickets for the shows being played at Soldier Field), why not hop across the street to the Field Museum to see the special exhibition they’re running built out of items on loan from the Grateful Dead archive at UC Santa Cruz. The show’s called “All The Years Combine: Deadhead Treasures from the Grateful Dead Archive and GDTS Too” and was co-curated by UCSC archivist Nicholas Meriwether, who’ll also be contributing his writing skills to the group’s 50th anniversary box set that will be shipping later this year (80 discs for $700). For more information on this special showing, along with the shows Mr. Meriwether has planned for his own gallery back in California to commemorate The Dead’s golden anniversary, read Scott Rappaport’s recent article in the University’s newsletter via the link at http://news.ucsc.edu/2015/06/dead-archive-farewell.html
2) Two galleries – one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles – are also running special Dead-related shows featuring art and photography by many of the artists known for their work for (and featuring) the band. In the Bay area, the San Francisco Art Exchange has posted a collection of 19 images (with more to come ASAP) showing the band and the local scene throughout their career, with shots by photographers including Robert Altman, Jim Marshall, Graham Nash, Ken Regan, Bob Seidemann and Baron Wolman and including portraits, concert photos and others sure to warm the hearts of Dead Heads everywhere.
Down the coast in LA, the Mr. Musichead gallery is hosting a show called Truckin’: Celebrating 50 Years of The Grateful Dead, where you’ll find photos and artwork by, Arnaud Azoulay Jay Blakesberg, Adrian Boot, Jack Morefield, Peter Simon, Leni Sinclair, and Baron Wolman. This display is available for viewing from now until July 9th. http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13701
June 29th – Stories about 2 Southern California-based album cover artists:
1) Famed cover and poster artist John Van Hamersveld has provided the citizens of, and visitors to, the town of Hermosa Beach, CA with something wonderful to look at – a new mural depicting the history of surfing/surfboards, delivered in a style that only the creator of both the Endless Summer and Magical Mystery Tour promo images could have done. Unveiled to viewers this past weekend, the mural pays homage to JVH’s fascination with both psychedelic art and the early 19th Century paintings by Japanese master Hokusai. More info on the project is provided by Stephen Carr on The Daily Breeze site – http://photos.dailybreeze.com/2015/06/photos-mural-by-artist-john-van-hamersveld-unveiled-in-hermosa-beach/#1
2) While most music fans are aware of Dean Torrance’s musical output as part of pioneering surf music duo Jan & Dean, fewer know about his equally-impressive graphic arts talents, shown over the years in the many album covers he produced. After the musical act was forced to sideline its work after Jan’s terrible auto accident in 1966, Torrance used the visual arts training he received while at USC and started a design company, producing imagery for music industry clients including the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson, Harry Nilsson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, earning four Grammy Award nominations for his work along the way and winning one in 1972 for the cover for Pollution’s self-titled LP. Today, at age 75, he’s still working at his design firm located – where else – in Orange County, CA’s “Surf City”, Huntington Beach, and you can read more about what else he’s up to these days in David Ferrell’s recent article on the Orange County Register web site at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/torrence-667695-city-surf.html
P.S. – R.I.P. Chris Squire – one heckofa bassist – you’ll be missed.
June 26th – 1) I’ve been muddling this over for a couple of weeks now and, since I can’t seem to come to any conclusions with regards to who is right and who is wrong, I thought that I’d just post this and see what my readers think. A couple of weeks back, designer Stefan Sagmeister was speaking at a conference and pronounced that – I’ll paraphrase as best I can – album cover designs are inherently better/more meaningful than those for movies, going as far as to pronounce that one rather-well-known theatrical poster (i.e., the one for the original Star Wars film) “is ultimately a piece of shit”.
As you may know, many designers/illustrators/art directors working today apply their talents to projects in both fields, as well as for clients in the book and magazine publishing worlds, theatrical design, etc., so while I think that Sagmeister’s comments might be true in some cases, I don’t see how, for example, Drew Struzan’s posters for the Indiana Jones film series are any less-impressive than his album covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath.
Rather than stoke the flames of a confrontation, I would be more than happy to moderate a discussion between these and other album cover/film poster art professionals and other experts in the field (as well as knowledgeable fans) on the topic or, more simply, just ask “can’t we all just get along?” Read the coverage on this, along with a recent interview with Mr. Sagmeister conducted by Dan Howarth for Dezeen.com – http://www.dezeen.com/2015/06/16/stefan-sagmeister-interview-graphic-design-star-wars-poster-album-record-covers/
2) Just who was responsible for the ideas that led to the creation of the originally-banned-but-now-iconic cover art for Never Mind The Bollocks…Here’s The Sex Pistols? There have been several participants who’ve claimed that the inspiration was all theirs, so it was wonderful to read this recent posting by Diffuser.fm’s James Stafford in which he provides “the facts” presented by the two principal protagonists – designer Jamie Reid and punk impresario, the late Malcolm McLaren. As some of you may recall, both the cover’s design and content led to some quite-contentious responses from critics, industry execs and, in the case of the use of the word “bollocks” – which has several meanings in British English – the local constabulary, who arrested a record store owner for indecency when he displayed the promotional items for the new record in his shop’s windows…While we may never know “the rest of the story”, it does provide us with a lot to ponder and enjoy (particularly, the music, samples of which are linked in to the story) – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-never-mind-the-bollocks-heres-the-sex-pistols/
June 25th – 1) Good things come to those that wait – At long last, I’m happy to announce the publication of the latest Album Cover Hall of Fame “Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio” article, with this one bringing you samples from the impressive portfolio of one of the best-known photographers that covered the punk music scene in the U.S., Edward Colver. Perhaps most-remembered for his photos of bands in the emerging Southern California punk club scene, Colver shares some of the stories behind “the making of” cover shots for musical acts including Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, TSOL and other acts – including one eye-catching image that was used on rapper Ice Cube’s Greatest Hits compilation. This article would never have been completed without the ongoing help of publicist Kate Gammell and ACHOF friend Robert Bostrom, so I’d like to thank them both for their ongoing support and patience during the nearly five years (!!) that it took to complete this.
And now, without any further delay, here’s the link – enjoy, and please share with your friends.
2) Special Southern California music scene bonus item – very few bands have had as powerful a logo/band icon as the one called the “Fiend Skull” associated with another early punk band The Misfits, so it was great to read the details of one of their most-recent shows and the band’s ongoing efforts to provide their fans with new and exciting band merchandise. While Jerry Only is the sole “classic line-up” member left (with Glenn Danzig and Only still duking it out over who has the rights to what), the skull logo motif has been updated to better-represent the current players while still giving fans what they love and respect. The current concerts revolve around playing complete albums, so the t-shirts sold at the event include both custom imagery and unique set lists. I only hope that these new shirts were damaged appropriately while worn in the very-active mosh pits found at each show. More on this in Will Theisen‘s recent article in (where else) The Orange County Register – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/misfits-667563-night-album.html
June 24th – Three for the photography lovers in the audience:
1) In preparation for the Photographs, Icons & Style auction Christie’s is holding on June 30th, they’ve published an article on one of the photographers whose works will be offered that day, that being Stéphane Sednaoui, a fellow well-known to album cover fans for his color-infused fantasy shot of Bjork found on the cover of her 1995 album Post, as well as his photo and video work for many other music industry clients, including Madonna, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Garbage. Some of his video work was on display as part of the recent Bjork exhibition at MoMA in NYC, while his photos are included in the “Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier” show running currently (through August 3rd) at the Grand Palais in Paris. More info on his artist and his works are available via the link – http://www.christies.com/features/Iconic-photographs-of-Bjork-Big-time-sensuality-6248-1.aspx
Follow-up – on June 30th, the two Stephane Sednaoui photos of Bjork sold at prices in the mid-range of their estimates – the color photo from the cover of Post had a pre-auction estimate of €20 – 30,000 and sold for €25,000 ($28,047); while the black & white photo he took while shooting for her Big Time Sensuality record (not the cover) had a pre-auction estimate of €8 – 12,000 and sold for €10,000 ($11,219). The auction, which featured images from photo greats including Richard Avedon, Nobuyoshi Araki, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, among many others, enjoyed total sales of 1,720,475 euros for the 62 lots offered.
2) Give the fans what they want! Dutch artist/photographer/film-maker Anton Corbijn’s much-lauded “1-2-3-4” show at the Hague Museum of Photography has been extended through August 16th, giving more fans world-wide an opportunity to see this prodigious album cover-maker’s work for subjects including U2, Nick Cave, The Slits, Nirvana and many others. Although he finds himself spending most of his time these days shooting and editing critically-acclaimed films (you’ll recall his work for the Ian Curtis bio-pic Control and The American, starring George Clooney), we’re glad that he found the time to select over 350 works from his archives for this impressive show. Rebecca Bengal gives us the good news in her recent posting in the Art and Culture section on the Vogue magazine site –http://www.vogue.com/13275138/anton-corbijn-exhibition-hague-museum-of-photography/
3) Photographer Jay Blakesberg has over 250 album package credits to his name, but his recently-released book titled Guitars That Jam has him delivering portraits of a very-specific type – images of guitars being played by their well-known owners. Inspired by fan feedback he received when he included several guitar/guitarist shots in his last book, Blakesberg felt that a book of these images would resonate with both fans and musicians, as there are many stories to be shared about the relationships between axe-slingers and their instruments (think B.B. King and Lucille, Clapton with his black & white Fender Stratocaster, etc.).Glide Magazine’s Joe Raniere interviews Mr. Blakesberg about his new book (which features an intro by Warren Hayes) in this article –
June 23rd – 1) Money and Fame are, most times, powerful incentives for artists to work on projects that they might not have done normally but, in the case of artist and “master of illusion” MC Escher – as the stories are retold in this nice article by Steven Poole on The Guardian web site – it was all about the respect he did or did not receive from fans, clients and the fine art world in general. While he did license his work for use on album covers for Clannad, Michael Brecker and Mott The Hoople, he turned down more requests than he accepted, including opportunities to work with Mick Jagger and film-maker Stanley Kubrick. Of course, as is often the case with great artists, his work was often appropriated without his knowledge, and it was only after his death in 1972 that Escher achieved the degree of success and respect (in the form of exhibitions and books on his work), so if you’d like to read more about the life and times of a true artistic visionary, please click on over to this story –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/20/the-impossible-world-of-mc-escher
2) Over the weekend, I discovered a new book that fans of music, art and fashion should certainly seek out. Written by author and Goth fan Natasha Scharf (and published late in 2014 by Backbeat Books, part of Hal Leonard Publishing), The Art of Gothic: Music + Fashion + Alt Culture is a very nicely-illustrated 224-page tome that explores the genre since it’s “launch” in the late 1970s and all of the various sub-genres – some quite dark, while others are simply fascinating – that have combined to make modern Gothic imagery one that continues to amaze and impress fans world-wide. You’ll find a lot of info on the many artists that produce album cover art for musical acts in the genre, including Alan Forbes, Andy Vella/Parched Art, HR Giger and multi-talented musician/artists including Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. I found a video trailer on YouTube featuring the author and her book, so fans of “the dark side” of the music/entertainment business can meet her and understand her motivations behind this new publication –
3) Lastly – I found a recent article on a site called Hit The Floor, written by Josh Pratt, titled “WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE BEST ALBUM ARTWORK OF 2015 SO FAR!” and clicked on over expecting to learn more about this survey and the artwork featured within. Alas, when I got there, what I found was a slide show featuring 33 recent cover images, but the selections were not accompanied by any explanation of why they were “the best”. No information was included besides the album’s name and the name of the musical act, and so I wondered what qualified the author to be able to make such a claim. Clicking on his bio, I found that he is a career military man living in North Carolina and, apparently, with no background at all in music or art. While I certainly believe that “citizen journalism” can be a benefit to us all – many bloggers and writers have impressive backgrounds in the subject area they write about, or at least a lot of passion for the subject – it is articles like this that make me wonder how/when (if ever) it will be possible to filter content in ways that allow us to keep informed via written articles that contain useful information. Am I being too hard on this guy, or ?? Your opinions would be appreciated.
June 22nd – 1) Fans of all things rock and roll should have a good time tomorrow (june 23rd) at theExperience Music Project’s 15th anniversary bash at the museum’s HQ in Seattle, WA. I’ve been to the museum many times and am always impressed with their exhibitions, their permanent collection and the digital library and archive they’ve created. Of course, there are always many album cover-related items on display, and in their new Hendrix-centered display titled Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad 1966-1970, you’ll find many examples of original artwork, photography and personal items from the final stages of Jimi’s career. The museum offered free admission (and birthday cupcakes!) to attendees all day June 23rd – click on over to the EMP’s site for the details –
2) When both the label’s founder and its art director share a love of the memorable album art created by classic British indie labels 4AD and Factory Records, you can assume that they’ll bring that passion for great art to their own offerings and, as you’ll see in this recent article by Silas Valentino on The Village Voice web site, the head honchos at Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones Records have done just that. 135 records later, shades of Peter Saville and Vaughan Oliver are evident in the label’s artwork for their own acts such as The Hunt, Jenny Hval, Zola Jesus and many others. You’ll learn a lot more about the ongoing influence that art has on the label’s approach to offering fans something unique and interesting in this nice interview article, available via the link – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/adoptions-and-adaptations-the-distinctive-design-of-sacred-bones-records-7255864
3) Storm Thorgerson’s artistic vision, Bob Dowling’s photographic talent and an impressive album cover budget combined to deliver fans one of Pink Floyd’s most-memorable album covers, that being the one found on 1987’s A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Never before had over 700 hospital beds been arranged so nicely on a beach, so it was with great interest that I enjoyed the recent reading of this informative article on the topic by Matt Dolloff for the WZLX web site. I hope you’ll enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into this project as well –http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/2015/06/15/pink-floyd-momentary-lapse-of-reason-album-cover-photo-shoot/
June 19th – 1) Jann Haworth – the talented pop artist who teamed up with designer Sir Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper to bring us the timeless artwork for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album – is the subject of a new exhibition opening tonight in her adopted home town of Salt Lake City, UT. Ms. Haworth has lived in the area for over 15 years and even re-imagined the SPLHCB artwork in a mural she painted in downtown SLC, so this new show – titled “Round Trip” – serves to showcase her work and the influences of the places she’s lived throughout her career. The show can be seen at the Modern West Fine Art Gallery through July 16th, with an opening reception tonight (June 19) beginning at 6PM local time. More on this show in Kelsey Schwab’s article on the Deseret News web site –http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865630624/Local-exhibit-to-feature-work-of-pop-artist-behind-Sgt-Pepper7s-album-cover.html?pg=all
2) Also opening the weekend of June 19th was a new gallery show featuring the works of famed rock photographer Richard E. Aaron, a guy who many of you will know for his album covers for Kool & The Gang, Ray Charles, the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton (Aaron’s shot of the heart-throb in concert graces the cover of one of the most-successful double albums of all time – Frampton Comes Alive!). Called “Rock On Paper”, the show includes well over 200 of his best-known images, including many you’ve seen in magazines, books and other media outlets. Running through August 1st at the Fathom Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles (Aaron’s home town), the exhibit offers attendees a very small sampling of Richard’s archive – over 45,000 shots of the millions he’s taken have been published – no wonder why he was voted one of the Top 10 Music Photographers by Modern Photography magazine! Read more, see more (including a list of the shots that will be on display) on the Monsters And Critics web site –
3) Adobe – no stranger to visual imagery, as most of the world’s photographers, graphic artists, illustrators, etc., use their products to create and catalog their works – is celebrating their 25th anniversary and, as part of their festivities, recently published a list of the 25 most-influential young artists in the world. A young (18) artist from Egypt named Ahmed Emad Eldin was included on the list, giving him his second big win in the past year – the first being his commission from rock act Pink Floyd to create the album cover for their most-recent release, The Endless River. Fans of Eldin and his work will also soon get to see more of his creations when he “takes over” the Adobe Photoshop Instagram account for a couple of weeks and displays his portfolio on that popular platform. You can learn a bit more about this story via writer Enas El Masry’s recent posting on the Egyptian Streetsweb site – http://egyptianstreets.com/2015/06/17/egyptian-teenager-selected-among-the-best-25-visual-artists-worldwide/
June 18th – 1) Always happy to promote the album cover-related efforts of local (Portland, OR) talent, so today I’d like to point you to a recent interview/article on the talented author/illustrator/graphic designer Carson Ellis and her most-recent artistic endeavors, including a new children’s book and album packaging for her hubby Colin Meloy’s band, The Decemberists. While she’s illustrated books for other children’s book authors (Lemony Snicket and Florence Parry Heide, for example), the recently-published “Home” is her first as both author and illustrator. In Jeff Baker’s recent posting on The Oregonian‘s “Oregon Live” site, you’ll read more about Ellis, her work, her relationship with her musical husband and their recent move from Portland to a farm outside the city –http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2015/06/carson_ellis_finds_home_with_n.html
2) In order to provide a broader range of content than their budgets might allow, many publications have turned to “citizen journalists” for their help in gathering items for inclusion in their stories. In a new example posted recently on The Guardian(UK’s) site, you’ll find a number of photos of places that have served as the backgrounds for a host of well-known album covers such as a railing in NYC’s Greenwich Village used on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush to a back alley behind the original CBGB’s club used for the Ramones’ Rocket To Russia to a Liverpool pub used on Ringo Starr’s Sentimental Journey and an alley behind the band’s recording studio used on the cover of the debut album by The Clash. Leave it to the fans to find out the truth, I always say… http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/jun/09/albums-sleeve-art-locations-readers-pictures?
3) In a quick follow-up to yesterday’s bit (posted June 17th) on the Lackey Rd. Guitars (featuring graphics supplied by some of your favorite classic rock record covers), I found a Flickr page that shows many more examples of these instruments – gotta love theLayla and Woodstock poster-based examples –https://www.flickr.com/photos/dlackey/sets/72157644738690191/
June 17th – Two new examples of album cover-inspired creativity:
1) Based in Cleveland, OH (home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and a pretty good basketball team) is a fellow by the name of David Lackey and David, a retired teacher, has started a small business making electric guitars out of cigar boxes and, most-interestingly, classic album cover-topped solid wood bases. Yes, musicians looking for something different to play can now hit the stage playing 12″ square custom guitars based on their favorite albums, or select one from a list of classics including Abbey Road, Cheap Thrills, Led Zeppelin’s Mothership or several Grateful Dead LPs.
Hoping to learn a little more about these but, in the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about David and his hand-crafted LP axes, please visit his site.
2) Often times, when fine artists are looking for easily-identifiable examples of Pop Culture on which to base their newer works, they turn to well-known album covers to serve as those bases. In a new example of such a project, Jeremy Hallock of the Dallas Observer introduces us to an art exhibition featuring the work of Amarillo, TX-based artist Jon Revett, whose new show titled The Glacier Project (which ran thru June 18th) was on display at The Safe Room gallery at the Texas Theater and offered viewers his attempt to combine Pop visuals with the spiritual graphical elements often found in Islamic art. Interestingly, each 12″ square “tile” in the finished work is available for sale at $20 each, so the “glacier” will “melt” a bit each time a tile is sold! Read more about the artist and this fascinating display via the link – http://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/the-glacier-project-is-melting-at-the-texas-theatre-7297442
June 16th – 3 items for fans of album cover photography:
1) With the much-lauded “David Bowie Is” exhibition moving soon to the Australian Centre For The Moving Image, writer Annemarie Kiely just posted an interview in her column for Vogue Living with long-time Bowie photographer Masayoshi Sukita about his new Bowie photo show at the Mossgreen Gallery in Melbourne. Best-known for his cover photo for Bowie’s Heroes LP, Sukita shares more details about that photo session, his relationships with Bowie and buddy Iggy Pop and touring Kyoto with Bowie doing the driving.
The show is on display at the gallery through July 30th, with the “David Bowie Is” exhibition launching July 1 and running thru the end of November. Click the link to learn more –http://www.vogue.com.au/vogue+living/arts/david+bowies+photographer+on+forty+years+of+collaboration,36960
2) After photographer Ken Regan passed away in late 2012, his daughter Suzanne uncovered a trove of unpublished photos in his archives that served to document “the turbulent 1960s”. Working with the folks at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street in NYC, a new show based on a selection from these shots – titled “Ken Regan – A Decade Of Uncovered Images” is now on display (thru July 3rd). While album cover fans will best remember Regan’s work via his images for Bob Dylan (Desire, Greatest Hits Vol. 3). The Alpha Band and others, Ken worked as a photo-journalist covering major news and cultural events, so in addition to his photos of celebrities from TV, film and publishing arenas, you’ll find shots of the Apollo 11 astronauts on parade, Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. You can find out more about this show in Leslie Feffer’s recent posting on theExaminer.com site – http://www.examiner.com/article/exhibit-of-ken-regan-photos-debuts-today-at-morrison-hotel-gallery
3) Last week, photographer Bud Lee died at the age of 74, 12 years after suffering a paralyzing stroke. During his career, the photo-journalist made a regular habit of catching celebrities from all walks of life in their natural settings, with his candid photos of subjects including Al Green, Clint Eastwood and Mick Jagger finding their way into articles in major publications and books world-wide. His photos of ZZ Top were used in two recent covers for the band – 2012’s Original Album Series and 2013’s The Complete Studio Albums 1970 – 1990. A service in Lee’s memory will be held July 11 at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, FL, the place he called home after moving there in the 1970s. More on Lee and his career can be found in Dave Nicholson’s article on the Tampa Tribune site – http://tbo.com/plant-city/photographer-whose-shots-included-both-famous-and-ordinary-folk-dies-at-74-20150611/
June 15th – 1) In this month’s edition of Rachael Steven’s “Record Sleeves of the Month“feature on the Creative Review site, you’ll find the stories behind a number of nice new cover images, including those for musical acts such as Everything Everything (illustrated by Andrew Archer), Of Monsters And Men (abstract logo design by Leif Podhajsky) and Tame Impala, with a somewhat-psychedelic cover image by Kentucky artist Robert Beatty. As always, Rachael includes some covers for international (meaning “not easily found in the U.S.”!) artists as well, so there are always some unusual and intriguing things to see and learn about. To read the entire, nicely-illustrated article, just follow the link –http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/june/record-sleeves-june
2) Writing for DIY Magazine, Sammy Maine recently posted an interview article with Seattle-based graphic powerhouse Don Clark in which he recounts his work for the cover of Brand New’s second major release, 2003’s Deja Entendu. Clark’s astronaut has become the basis of many a fan’s tattoo collection and was a fine example of a musical act’s trust in the talents and imaginations of the Invisible Creature team. Click on over to http://diymag.com/2015/06/01/inside-the-artwork-the-story-behind-brand-news-deja-entendu for “the rest of the story”.
3) Lastly but not leastly, fans of Talk Talk cover artist James Marsh can now pre-order a copy of a new edition of his previously-sold-out art book Spirit of Talk Talk. Due out this October, the paperback version will be updated to include 24 pages of additional content, including interviews with several of the band’s best-known cohorts. Founding band member Simon Brenner will be autographing a small number of copies for early orderers, so click on over to the Spirit of Talk Talk site and reserve yours today – http://www.spiritoftalktalk.com/ You may recall that I interviewed James a couple years back about the body of his work, so if you’d like to re-introduce yourself to his work, here’s the link to that interview –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/james-marsh-talk-talk-interview/
June 12th – 1) What Time does to Anarchy….Virgin Money, a financial services company in the U.K., is now offering its customers a chance to get credit cards featuring memorable images from record covers for the Sex Pistols! Jamie Reid’s timeless design for Never Mind The Bollocks…(wait, isn’t “Bollocks” a bit of profanity?) can be had on your new Master Card, with the alternative being the artwork used on the single for the very un-capitalist tune “Anarchy in the U.K.”, complete with a safety-pinned Union Jack. I guess that those of us in the U.S. will have to wait until someone releases a Billion Dollar Babies credit card – no fair! Read and see more on this item in this article by the Daily Mail‘s Sam Dunn –http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3116191/Artwork-Sex-Pistols-album-feature-new-plastic-offer-Virgin-Money.html
2) While I’m always curious as to how a writer determines exactly what criteria must be met to be included in a “Most Controversial Album Cover” article (typically, nudity, followed by religious symbolism and “kids doing the darndest things”), it certainly must be said that album covers over the years have stimulated a lot of conversation about how best to create a memorable image, so while you might find some of the covers included in Lex Campbell‘s list found on the Triple M radio web site (Australia) more quaint than disturbing (these days), each example certainly did get folks talking when they hit the retail shelves in their day – http://www.triplem.com.au/sydney/music/news/2015/6/list-10-most-controversial-album-covers-of-all-time/
3) One final Rolling Stones re-release-related item – timed to coincide with both the re-release of the Sticky Fingers record and the band’s upcoming concert at Heinz Field, curators at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA have put together a special exhibition featuring production materials and correspondence related to the making of the famous album cover image – cover photos (front and back), inside sleeve shots (“the underwear”) and letters announcing the record’s Grammy nomination in 1972 for “Best Record Cover”. Writing for the Trib Live site, Bob Karlovitz gives us the details of this ongoing display –http://triblive.com/aande/music/8540066-74/warhol-album-cover#axzz3csNEzIi8
June 11th – 1) Very pleased to announce that film-maker Michael Prince has completed his documentary on the life and talents of photographer Brian Griffin, well-known to fans of album cover art for his memorable covers for acts including Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and many others. The Surreal Lives of Brian Griffin will be hitting the festival circuit in the UK soon, with Mr. Prince working hard to find distribution both in and outside the U.K. soon.
In the meantime, he’s put up a nice promo trailer on the Vimeo site, which I invite you all to watch via the link at https://vimeo.com/124393480
Please share this with anyone you know who is interested in learning more about this talented individual (as well as any fan of fine art photography).
2) With soccer/football/futball dominating the headlines these days, here’s a link to a story about how one Argentinian sports blog is working to highlight what appears to be fan-made apparel that appeals to two passions at once – love of soccer and love of music – by featuring graphics derived from great album art and band logos. As noted in this article on the MLS Soccer site, a blog called LaCasaca has gathered examples of jerseys featuring imagery from Queen, The Beatles, AC/DC, KISS, Metallica and several others. While I’m assuming that these examples are mostly wishful thinking, I’m also hoping that some deep-pocketed clothing manufacturer is paying attention and will work to bring us something similar soon. In the meantime, enjoy –http://www.mlssoccer.com/sideline/news/article/2015/06/10/rock-and-roll-soccer-jerseys-are-here-stay-check-out-latest-crossover-kits-s
3) To follow-up a recent posting about the new line of special-edition vinyl LPs and limited-edition art prints based on several re-releases by the Rolling Stones, there was a special event taking place on Thursday, June 18th at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that was built around these new items. On hand to introduce the line was Sirius/XM Radio host Chris Carter (Chris Carter’s British Invasion), so if you’re anywhere near the Sunset Blvd gallery, be sure to stop on in to take a look at these new items, published by Time Life’s Spotlight Gallery division. Preview these items on the gallery’s site at http://mrmusichead.com/?p=13708
June 10th – 1) While I know that many well-known album cover artists have applied their talents to clients in both the record and film industries (for example, Drew Struzan did film posters for Star Wars and Indiana Jones after creating covers for Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath), I was impressed to see this recent article by Ria Misra on the IO9 site featuring the talents of one her column’s contributors – who goes by the name of “poorfishy” – who posted his/her mash-ups of classic record and film imagery. You’ll find examples of Duran Duran, The Beatles and the soundtrack for the movie Grease re-interpreted using characters from Star Wars, Dr. Who and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others.
Creative inspiration comes from many sources, but only a few dare to turn it into something worth sharing – well done, poorfishy!
2) In another example of “you never know what might be worth saving (until you auction it off 50 years later)”, art collectors will enjoy reading the details of the recent luck of a Ms. Jinty Stephenson, a classmate of now-famed designer/artist Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s fame) who so loved a painting done by her fellow student that she purchased it – paying a total of £30 in ten weekly installments – and is now auctioning it off, with the item expecting to sell for about ten thousand times more than what she paid for it (i.e., approx. £350,000, or a half-million dollars).
It was one of 40 lots up for auction by Christie’s in their June 25th Modern British & Irish Art sale, so I’ll be sure to report back on just how much Ms. Stephenson’s cash account has grown post-sale. In the meantime, you can read more about this in writer Hannah Furness’ article on the Telegraph UK site – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/11655389/Best-investment-I-ever-made-Painting-bought-for-30-to-sell-for-350000.html
Follow-up – Well, our congratulations go out to Ms. Stephenson who, as the beneficiary of some spirited bidding, found her painting sold for NEARLY TWICE the pre-auction estimate – £662,500, or $1,038,800! The entire auction consisted of 32 lots and, with bidders from 18 countries participating, the total take on the evening’s sales was nearly $30 million.
June 9th – 1) To follow-up yesterday’s Rolling Stones-related article that touched on the upcoming re-releases of some quintessential Stones LPs, fans looking for something rare and collectible will have their wishes answered with the announcement of the availability of some special-edition versions of these recordings, made even more enticing by the inclusion of limited-edition album cover art prints. In the article by Nick DeRiso on the Ultimate Classic Rock site, you’ll learn more about the details of what’s available (12×5, Let It Bleed and Get Yer YaYa’s Out!), all done in clear vinyl and packaged with framed litho art prints that feature in addition to the expertly-done artwork found on the records, reproductions of the signatures of the band members.
The art prints were published by long-time album art producer Denny Somach and were done in a partnership between Somach, ABKCO Records and Time Life. The 2500 copies are priced (quite reasonably, I think) at $199.99, so if you’d like one, run don’t walk (or, quite simply, click on over) to the article to find all links as well as a nice video of DJ Chris Carter (host of the long-running “Breakfast With The Beatles” show) unveiling his own copy of the package –http://ultimateclassicrock.com/rolling-stones-clear-vinyl-litho/
2) Speaking of The Beatles – appearing at last weekend’s stop in Orlando, FL of the traveling Art Rock Show was famed designer and animator Ron Campbell, one of the people most-responsible for the memorable psychedelic imagery of both the Yellow Submarine full-length feature and the Saturday Beatles Morning Cartoon series that kept kids and their parents glued to their TV screens in the late 1960s. The 75-year-old artist’s appearance was a rare treat for fans, with the well-attended meet-and-greet a great chance to both hear from the accomplished animator (who worked on many other shows, including Rugrats and Ghostbusters), get an autograph and even take home a limited-edition print or two from the series produced by the artist.
Read the nicely-illustrated coverage of this event by Caitlin Dineen of the Orlando Sentinel on the paper’s site at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orange/os-ron-campbell-beatles-cartoon-animator-20150606-story.html
Voodoo Doughnuts ad
3) Wasn’t I surprised when paging thru last week’s edition of the local Portland alternative paper (The Portland Mercury) when I came upon an ad from huge tourist magnet/donut shop Voodoo Doughnuts that thanked locals for their ongoing support and marked their 12th anniversary with their own re-interpretation of Sir Peter Blake’s often-replicated cover design for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP (see picture at top of this posting). The shop is famous for putting just about anything on a donut (bacon maple is a big seller, as is one in the shape of a voodoo doll), so the collage certainly is representative of the artistic approach to high-calorie snack foods that keeps people filling pink boxes with them every hour of every day… See attached picture and, if tempted, visit their site to learn more –http://voodoodoughnut.com/doughnuts.php
June 6th – 1) Much has been said and written about Sir Peter Blake’s Grammy Award-winning design for the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s by The Beatles, but have you ever wondered just who were all of the people featured in that grouping? Some are quite obvious – two sets of Beatles, Edgar Allen Poe, W.C. Fields and Bob Dylan, to mention a few – but, for example, who are the two 19th Century-looking dudes on the left-hand side of the next-to-last row of figures? Let’s thanks the folks at Ultimate Classic Rock and Diffuser.FM for a detailed slide show containing all of the missing information regarding the “who’s who” of this memorable assemblage – click here and your questions will finally be answered – http://diffuser.fm/sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-cover-art/
2) I’ve written before about photographer Eilon Paz’s book titled Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, a tome that tries to explain that strange-but-wonderful connection some folks have with the physical aspects of collecting music on vinyl or CD. In his book, the author discusses how the apparent “value” of music has been diminished by the almost unlimited amount of it you can listen to digitally (i.e., via streams, downloads, etc.). Compare this with the value that a record collector attaches to his/her vinyl or CD collection – those items being things that the collector has decided to invest in for posterity’s sake and, at the same time, helping support the careers of his/her favorite musical acts. In this recent article by Kate Beaudoin on the Mic.com site, Kate works with Paz to select and highlight seven of the collectors/collections featured in the book, letting each subject explain and demonstrate why it is that they prefer – for a variety of reasons – to build and maintain their collections of their favorite music. Very insightful… http://mic.com/articles/120134/7-stunning-images-prove-just-how-much-we-lose-with-digital-music
June 5th – 1) The works of several Ohio-based rock photographers are now on display (through the end of August) in a new show at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in Youngstown, OH titled “Rock Gods: The Art of Rock ’n’ Roll Photography”. The 100+ photos on display were shot by photographers who’ve covered the local music scene for the past 40+ years and include Cleveland-based Janet Macoska and two Youngstown, OH-based creatives, Tony Nicholas (photographer) and Chris Yambar, a graphic artist who has “re-imagined” some of Macoska’s photos and created new works of art. Visitors to this show will recognize Janet’s work as part of the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, along with being seen in most major music publications. You’ll also be able to take home prints of the images on display (priced from $30 – $2500) – great souvenirs of a wonderful exhibition. Read all the details in Guy D’Astolfo’s article on the subject found on the Vindy.com web site – http://www.vindy.com/news/2015/may/28/rock-gods-show-at-tyler-center/
2) Album covers from all over the world continue to intrigue music and art fans worldwide, so it is nice to be able to show examples of pop music packaging from place that your Curator hasn’t had much exposure to, such as the collection of Welsh language rock album covers that will be on display at the Galeri Caernarfon in Gwynedd, Wales beginning this weekend. The exhibition features 40 specially-selected examples and is part of the 2015 Inc Festival taking place. If you’re heading out to take part in the annual celebration there this weekend, here’s a link to an article recently posted on The Daily Post UK web site –http://www.dailypost.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/galeri-caernarfon-hosts-exhibition-iconic-9381265
Perhaps someone can tell me more about the musical acts and artists/photographers whose works are featured in this show – to be honest with you, I’ve been somewhat thwarted in my efforts to determine who’s who from the descriptions provided 🙂
June 3rd – Every once in a while, an item comes up for bid at auction that gives collectors an opportunity to add something unique and beautiful to their album art-related collections, and today I’m reporting on one such opportunity.
You may recall seeing artist Mila Furstova’s wonderful collage that was produced for the cover of Coldplay’s Ghost Stories record, and it proved to be such a popular image that the artist has gone ahead and created a limited-edition series of mixed-media collages that re-create the original wing-shaped image.
Made with two etchings placed on top of a painted background, the nearly 40″ square works are made even more-collectible by the fact that they’re each signed by the artist and the four members of Coldplay. The Bonham’s auction house had one of these prints (there were 25 total in the edition) included in their new Entertainment Memorabilia auction that accepted final bids on June 24th. The pre-auction estimate on this print is approx. $4600, with a percentage of the final price being donated to the Kids Company charity. You can take a look at this nice print via the link –http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22444/lot/251/
Follow-up – while there was a good turnout for the aforementioned auction, the Furstova Coldplay collage went unsold. A happy Coldplay fan, however, did go home with the guitar that Chris Martin used during the recording of their Parachutes record, with the somewhat-battered acoustic selling for $29,462, or nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!
June 2nd – 1) Friday, June 5th was BBC Radio’s “BBC Music Day” and, in support of this event, a number of the network’s on-air personalities have worked together to re-create examples of much-loved album cover imagery, including covers originally featured on records for acts including Oasis, The Smiths and Lisa Stansfield. The participants really seemed to have enjoyed themselves in this work, and the results are pretty impressive, I must say. Seriously, who wouldn’t love to “play” Morrissey or Liam Gallagher for a few minutes? Read and see more about these nice promo images in this article by Emma Flanagan on the Manchester Evening News site –http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-manchester-album-covers—9350395
2) You may recall an article posted not long ago about a new book by author Ramon Oscuro Martos about the amazing range of album cover images found in the hard/heavy metal rock genres, so it was great to see this new short-form video – produced by the author and film maker Randy Salo – in which Martos provides the narration and briefly discusses why he thinks that the artwork in these genres is unique and an important part of the overall connection between bands and their fans. I haven’t yet seen the book in the flesh, so it was also nice to see how well-produced and illustrated And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers is. It certainly has given me some additional inspiration for when I begin serious work on my own book….To read more about this new docu and to watch it yourself, head on over to the Metal Underground site –http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=113772
That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you.
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