Interview with art director Ian Cuttler Sala, winner of the 2006 Grammy Award (48th Annual) for “Best Boxed or Special Limited-Edition Package” for his work on The Legend – Johnny Cash on Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings
Edited from the original interview which was published in March, 2006 and reprinted to note the untimely passing of Mr. Cuttler Sala in February, 2014, killed in a car crash while in Los Angeles…
GRAMMY-winning packaging – how it all comes together.
You have to admit it – the nominees for the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards in these categories represented artists – both musical and graphic – from a wide variety of genres and disciplines. From the covers for an Alabama gospel/folk project and two leading female indie songwriters, to the packaging of multi-CD retrospectives on Sir Ray, The Man in Black, and NY’s premium purveyors of punk, every package spoke volumes of what lay inside the shrink wrap.
Recent research has shown that nearly 20% of all music purchases are affected directly from the impression made by the packaging, so these graphic first impressions have become even more important to an industry dealing with music delivered in new ways (including sans package!).
Mexican-born artist Ian Cuttler Sala has been living in New York City for the past 9 years, where he has excelled in his career as Senior Art Director for Sony Music. He has successfully art directed and designed a wide variety of projects such as Louis Armstrong: The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings (which was also nominated at the 43rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. Other projects in his rooster include CD packaging and campaigns for recording artists such as Beyonce, Destiny´s Child, Ricky Martin, Mariah Carey, Julio Iglesias, and Marc Anthony, among others. ¨This is just the beginning” Cuttler Sala claims. Even though he is well-established as an industry leader, his passion for the arts keep driving him to explore in related fields, such as photography, where his prowess is rapidly growing, creating quite a name for himself.
Interviewer Mike Goldstein of NY’s RockPoP Gallery asked this talented individual about his process, the artist and label rep he collaborated with to produce his winning work, and a little about what he thinks the future holds for them and the role of the art director in a rapidly-changing retail music environment. Here is an excerpt from that interview: