Tag Archives: IMA Award

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 News Recap – March, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame.com’s Album Cover News Recap – March, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Ah, Spring’s in the air (and, at least out our way, the air’s quite warm and flower-scented) and, around the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere on the globe, album art and artists were making headlines throughout the month of March. Our news feed was chock-full of interviews, features and gallery/museum show items, some of which I’ll highlight now (with the rest, in greater detail, following the intro paragraphs).

In the area of interviews, fans had the chance to get into the heads and hearts of talented cover image producers including  Stanley Donwood, Gary Panter and Tony Hung, along with my own interview with photographer Emilie Sandy on her Deja Vu portraits featuring famous photographers striking poses made famous in their own album cover images.

Purveyors of fine art books were busy promoting their new releases, with packages on the Rolling Stones, John & Yoko, Linda McCartney’s portfolio of portraits and on Paul Weller/Jam/Style Council, as well as photographer Tim Mantoani’s book featuring photos of other famous photographers posing with their favorite photos (telling us the stories behind them), among others.

Exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery included the works of Don Adkins, George DuBose, Chris Bilheimer, Kevin Cummins and Cey Adams. The Bjork show at NYC’s MOMA garnered a lot of press attention, while the travelling David Bowie show moved on to Paris and a collection of Herb Ritts’ photos were put on display at the R&RHOF in Cleveland, Ohio. We were happy to provide cover art fans an in-depth look at the cover art show hosted at Inasmuch Gallery in Oklahoma City, OK.

Other stories included a look at the artwork of Ben Wilkerson Tousley and the Pen & Pixel team, and there were two stories on 3-D cover art – one on works by Rick Valentin and a second on Nick Relph’s Hot Chip custom covers (over 400 flavors!).  News continued with  the announcement of the nominees for this year’s IMA Awards for album cover art/packaging and number of “best ofs”, “best so far”, and Top 10s (already?), plus news of the sale of a house featured on a Pink Floyd cover and the destruction, by a local terrorist, of an iconic U2 album cover cactus. Finally, there was info on how the sale of album art can saves lives – in this case, that of Robert Freeman, whose family held an auction to raise funds for his health care.

Of course, 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. I’m still working hard to update those already there with new information and to add another 50-75 new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). I’ve got several interviews and/or features slated to be published in April, including one with Susan Archie (one of this year’s Grammy winners). In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were having to pay attention to Life’s distractions or, hopefully, you were out doing whatever it is that makes your days happy. As I’ve said many times (even last month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics (don’t you agree?), so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day (including April’s Record Store Day) to continue our efforts 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).

March 31st – 1) The nominees for the record packaging-related categories for the 14th annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs) have been posted, and it looks to be quite the international cast of designers, artists and photographers. Here are the details in both categories:

In the Album Art/Photography category, the nominees are
– Dan Seagrave, for Incite’s Up In Hell;
– Eleanor Crane, for Patrick Joseph’s Moon King;
– Ivo Cordeiro (photograph) & Rodrigo Lameiras / WhiteLab (post-production), for Melech Mechaya’s Strange People (Back Panel Card);
– Monica Bruyn/Rabidt Graphix, for Kathryn McKee’s Sang Chaud;
– Stevhen Koji Baianu, for The Dolomites’ Japan Years: Vol 1

In the Album Packaging category, the nominees are
– Chia-Wei Lai/David Lai Workshop, for  I don’t mind drifting alone with the wave by Frandé;
– Pei-Shih Wu & TotalBrand+TotalDesign Co., for Dream Lotus Symphony Orchestra & Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir’s Prajna: The Great Wisdom;
– Qing-Yang Xiao, for Chau Wakin & Zhang De Chun’s Jiang Hu | The Rhapsody;
– Qing-Yang Xiao, for Song Zu Ying’s The Epic of Love;
– Sergej Bulić/ART’S visual & process communications for Sudar Percussion & Matej Mestrovic’s Eat Suite (Album Can Packaging)

According to the group’s press release, “The eclectic mix of established and rising talent nominated in The 14th IMAs were culled from thousands of submissions that were released during the program’s eligibility period, between June, 2013 thru December, 2014. Winners will be determined by a panel of influential artist and industry judges as well as numerous talent buyers from high profile showcase platforms and performance venues throughout the world…In addition to the Winners selected by the Artist & Industry judges, music fans from around the world have until Friday, July 31, 2015 to vote for their favorite Nominees at The Vox Pop Jukebox, the fan-determined portion of The IMAs.

To see the full list of IMA Nominees in all categories, visit their site at http://www.independentmusicawards.com/…/14th-annual-indepe…/

2) Not sure if everyone has seen the postage stamp designs available in the Music Icons series from the US Postal Service, but my order arrived in the mail yesterday and I thought that I’d share some of the info on the people who designed these products, as a couple of them have a number of album cover art credits as well.

Released on a regular basis since 2013, the series now includes stamps featuring the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix (Greg Breeding/Journey Group was the Art Director and the trippy illustration was done by Rudy Gutierrez, the guy responsible for the cover for Santana’s Shaman LP); Ray Charles (Ethel Kessler was the AD, Yves Carriere supplied the photo and design was by 3X Grammy nominee Neal Ashby, well-known for his covers for Thievery Corporation and many others); Janis Joplin (photo by David Gahr and AD by Antonio Alcala); Johnny Cash (another Greg Breeding creation based on Frank Bez’s 1963 photo of the Man in Black) and Tejano music legend Lydia Mendoza, with art by a team including Antonio Alcala, Neal Ashby and his business partner Patrick Donohue.

While not quite the perfect product for album cover lovers (the UK still has us beat on that effort with their earlier series of stamps based on great British album cover designs), it is still nice to see music-related artwork priced for everyone to own (only 49 cents!).
http://uspsstamps.com/stamps/series/music-icons

March 30th – 1) While not exactly album COVER art, here’s a fine example of creative album art. I’d seen Daniel Edlen‘s work a few years back when i had my gallery, but it looks as though he’s really upped his game as evidenced by this new article by Benjamin Starr on his Visual News site…Album covers are integrated into each presentation of Elden’s artwork, which is painted directly on to each vinyl record. In this illustrated article, you’ll see examples of his portraits of Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, Frank Zappa and many others.  http://www.visualnews.com/…/portraits-of-musicians-on-old-…/

2) Artist Stanley Donwood, best-known for his intriguing album cover work for Radiohead, is the subject of a new interview with The Independent‘s Matilda Battersby in which he relays “the true story” of how he first re-kindled his relationship with his former Exeter classmate Thom Yorke, which ultimately led to their creative collaboration to produce the band’s cover imagery over the past 20+ years. The story includes references to busking and fire-breathing, so be sure to wear protective clothing while you read this interesting historical retelling – http://www.independent.co.uk/…/from-radiohead-to-jg-ballard…

3) Creative cover imagery continues to be on display in the world of rap/hip-hop music, with the use of illustration drawing a lot of attention to the artists that are creating fine covers for acts including Chance The Rapper, Action Bronson, Killer Mike, Big Pooh and many others. Writing for XXL, Sidney Madden has put together a collection of some of the most-recent examples, for your review. Note to Sidney – thanks for the slideshow, but it would have been nice to know who did the work..just saying… http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2015/…/animated-rap-album-covers/

March 27th – 1) A show opened March 27th at the House of Vans gallery in London is the “Heated Words: Initial Research” exhibition that, according to its PR, “is an immersive mixed media primer that serves as introduction to an ongoing investigation in to the life and times of a forgotten typeface.” What that means in plain-speak is that the show will focus on how and why a particular font named Fraktur became the default typeface for hundreds of hip-hop album covers. Photographer George DuBose – whose photos and notes are included in the show – traces its first uses back to a project he did for rapper Biz Markie but, as you’ll see on the show’s site, the use exploded from there…more details via the show’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/812614378804007

2) Following up yesterday’s post about Phil Hartman and his work – you’ll recall that Phil was a regular on Pee Wee’s Playhouse, which featured wild and crazy set designs by Gary Panter. Last night, to highlight his works featured in the Myopia exhibition currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Denver, Panter participated in a discussion (part of the museum’s “Who Made The 80s” lecture series) about his work with Paul Ruebens (AKA Pee Wee) and other iconoclasts, such as The Germs, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Frank Zappa. Writing for Westword, Bree Davies has posted an interview with the guy responsible for keeping us young and childish even as adults – http://www.westword.com/…/gary-panter-has-designed-everythi…

3) The work of Don Adkins, the photographer possibly best-known for his cover shot for the Bitch record titled Be My Slave that was just too-S&M-ish for Tipper Gore in the early 80s (leading her to rally for album labeling, to save our super-sensitive eyeballs from her definition of “questionable content”), is the subject of an otherwise easy-to-view exhibition up that began Sunday, March 29th at the Frame & Art Department in Hermosa Beach, CA. Adkins, who has worked primarily as a tour photographer, will be showing portraits he’s taken of musical acts including Motley Crue, Poison, Billy Joel, Heart, Peter Gabriel and Glen Campbell, taken during his 2011 farewell tour. The show runs through Sunday, April 12, with an artist’s reception Saturday, April 4th from 6-9pm at the gallery. More on this show via Michael Hixon’s article on The Beach Reporter site –
http://tbrnews.com/…/article_bb4cce10-d279-11e4-ae85-974576…

March 26th – 1) Quite the coincidence…just as I was beginning to research and write some more bios for the ACHOF site (I’m in the G’s at this point in time), along comes some additional information on someone that most of us know via his career as a comedian (and who did a dead-on Bill Clinton impersonation) but who actually had established himself beforehand as a graphic artist, illustrator and album cover art director – the late, great Phil Hartman. Writing for Fast Company magazine, John Brownlee has posted a very nice retrospective of some of Hartman’s better-known covers for clients such as America, Firesign Theater, Poco and Steely Dan. Hartman has over 40 cover credits, but we’re all happy that he had the opportunity to stretch his wings and show us his acting chops before we lost him – follow the link for more – http://www.fastcodesign.com/…/8-album-covers-designed-by-le…

2) Musician Paul Weller has teamed up with photographer Lawrence Watson and Genesis Publishing to release a new, 300+ page limited-edition book featuring over 800 photos of Weller’s solo career, along with an exclusive vinyl record. Since his rise to fame as a member of The Jam and The Style Council, Weller has released 11 studio albums, five live albums, 39 singles and three EPs, nearly all of which feature Watson’s photography – the two having met back in 1988 after Watson had shot the cover photo for The Style Council’s Confessions of a Pop Group record. For more info on the book – titled Into Tomorrow – and its availability, please visit (but hurry – Weller’s last photo book sold out very quickly!) –
http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/…/paul-wellers-later-career…

3) The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover has inspired yet another fascinating new product! Designer Wilmer Murillo has teamed up with a Taiwanese maker of on-demand, 3-D toys to create a set of “designer figures” that let collectors re-create the Fab Four’s famous walk across the street in front of EMI’s Abbey Road studios. Murillo’s interpretations of J, P, G & R remind me of the Sgt. Pepper‘s-inspired Japanese action figures that came out in the 90’s (I think via Kidrobot – does anyone remember?). Anyway, if you can read Chinese, you can hop on the ZecZec.com site (a Taiwanese crowd-funding site ala Kickstarter) and reserve a set of these for yourself or any Beatle fan –
http://blog.wilmermurillo.com/…/the-bitoy-design-collaborat…

March 25th – 1) Fans of advanced technologies will enjoy Hugh Hart’s Fast Company article on musician/tech-head Rick Valentin‘s approach to creating album cover imagery for the new record release by Thoughts Detecting Machine. Using a modified 3-D printer and software that let’s him grab wave forms from his music, he’s come up with a way to let him add customized graphics to the record’s packaging so that each record purchased is encased in a unique work of art. Rick attributes his inspiration for the basic theme of his cover to Peter Saville’s classic cover for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures but, you’ll have to admit, this is one application of modern technology that raises the bar and gives producers of physical music products a way to attract new fans and buyers. More on this, with video and photo illustrations, is available via the link – http://www.fastcocreate.com/…/diy-musician-translates-audio…

2) With SXSW wrapped up, visitors to Austin, TX can still see an exhibition of album cover designer Chris Bilheimer‘s Polaroid photo collection on display at the Bearded Lady Screen Printing location there. What you’ll find are nicely-laid-out groupings of Bilheimer’s shots of friends and associates you’ll know, including members of R.E.M., Green Day and celebrities from film and TV, along with photos he took from 1995 through 2008 of everyday things and places that interested him. The show’s up until April 11, and you can read/see more about it in Kevin Curtin’s article on the Austin Chronicle site – http://www.austinchronicle.com/…/playback-sxsw-news-and-si…/

3) Artist Ben Wilkerson Tousley has been quite in demand lately, completing commissions for book covers, film/TV graphics and the like, but it is his work in the field of album cover art that is the focus of Jason Lamphier’s article on the Out.com site. His work is done in a variety of styles and materials – from collages to ultra-clean embossed vinyl covers – and, based on the positive reaction to his efforts – his list of indie music clients should grow nicely over time (he’s only 28 years old – I see quite the future ahead of him if he maintains this level of creativity). Take a look at a collection of his work, and read the stories behind each of the pictured creations, via the link at http://www.out.com/…/album-designs-benjamin-wilkerson-tousl…

March 24th – 1) Writing for the Creative Review site, Mark Sinclair gives us an interview with art director Tony Hung about his work on the album cover for the first new recording by Blur in 12 years. Titled The Magic Whip, the cover features imagery based on Hung’s interpretation of Damon Albarn’s collection of photos and souvenirs he brought home from a trip to Hong Kong, where the band recorded music for the new album (set to be released in late April). The custom neon created for the cover is very nicely photographed by Nick Wilson, and regular buyers of LPs from Asian countries will get a kick out of the “obi-strip” included on the package. Read the entire illustrated interview via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/…/blur-the-magic-whip-neon-…

2) Fans of Pink Floyd’s album covers converged recently to bid on a garden cottage in Dungeness, U.K. that was featured on the Hipgnosis-designed cover of the band’s 1981 compilation album titled A Collection of Great Dance Songs and, when the smoke cleared after the auctioneer’s gavel came down, a lucky bidder purchased the somewhat ramshackle building for £215,000 (approx. $319,000) – £55,000 above the pre-auction estimate. Quite the souvenir, I have to say. I’m curious as to whether the new owners will be putting on rope harnesses to dance in front of their new home…Read the gory details – complete with photos of the property in its current condition – in Sam Lennon’s article on the Kent Online site – http://www.kentonline.co.uk/…/news/wish-you-were-here-33929/

3) In one more example of album artists “gettin’ no respect”, MXDWN.com writer Carlett Spike relays the story about the outcome of a long, drawn-out lawsuit between rock band Tool and the graphic artist that created the album cover for their 10,000 Days album. Turns out that a friend of guitarist Adam Jones had been hired to create the cover and, for some reason, was not credited for the work. He sued to correct this and the band then hired an insurance company to defend them against such inconveniences. The insurance company soon sued the band as well for “technicalities”, the band counter-sued and, 8 years later, an exciting conclusion was reached…No spoiler here, read the details for yourself –
http://music.mxdwn.com/…/tool-wins-lawsuit-over-album-cove…/

March 23rd – 1) To raise money for the ongoing care of the ailing photo great Robert Freeman, his family archive has released a new, limited-edition print of one of Freeman’s best-known photos – his 1965 photo titled “John Lennon with Panda”. According to The Daily Mail‘s Bianca London, Freeman’s son Dean has said that his 78-year-old father – a proud and eccentric individual – has refused all offers of aid and support from his family, forcing them to take this step in order to make sure that resources are in place to maintain the quality and dignity of life that this man – the one credited for shooting album cover shots for the first 5 Beatles albums – so richly deserves. The monies raised from this effort will also be used to maintain the elder Freeman’s archives, which contain memorable images of many important and influential people of the era – Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Ringo Starr, and others – some of whom were featured in the first Pirelli annual calendar, another of Freeman’s noteworthy accomplishments. For more info and links to the archives, click on over to the article at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Iconic-John-Lennon-snap-shot-f…

2) Writing for PASTE Magazine, Chris Kissel has posted an article in which he summarizes his take on “The Five Best Album Covers of 2015 (So Far)” and provides in-depth looks at, and the stories behind, these impressive examples of album cover artistry. Included in the list are covers from musical acts such as Purity Ring, Father John Misty, THEEsatisfaction, Moon Duo and Radical Dads – all very different and all the result of a young artist’s/illustrator’s take how best to represent the latest musical output from their music industry clients. Something for every lover of album cover art – http://www.pastemagazine.com/…/the-stories-behind-the-five-…
Looks like a good start to the year in album artwork, wouldn’t you agree?

March 20th – 1) Writing for the Creative Review, Rachael Steven just posted her list of “Record Sleeves of the Month“, and the examples she’s included really do show off the wide range of creativity still being shown by those working in the music packaging field. With Record Store Day rapidly approaching (mid-April), some acts are going all out to do something different and, therefore, memorable and sale-able. I’m particularly impressed with designer/photographer Alexander Brown’s simple-yet-elegant white vinyl box for Amon Tobin’s new release titled Dark Jovian, as well as Ghostpoet’s new cover for their record Shedding Skin that is based on hi-res photos of skin cell biopsies (!!). See/read more via the link – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/…/record-sleeves-of-the-mon…

2) Famed album cover artist Nick Egan was kind enough to share some of the details of a multi-media show & sale taking place in Los Angeles tonight, including some pix of some of his new (non-cover) prints (see the collage accompanying this posting). The exhibition is called “Steal Music/Buy Art” and, in addition to live performances and video/film screenings, there’s an art show with prints and posters from top area designers and photographers, including Egan, Edward Colver, Greg Jacobs and many more. The show kicked off last night, so head on over to the Angel City Brewery on Alameda in Downtown LA tonight to take part in the party there – Lina Lecaro provides more of the details in this LA Weekly article – http://www.laweekly.com/…/party-pick-of-the-week-steal-musi…

3) Finally, Diffuser.FM‘s Chris Kissel poses an interesting question – “How is an album like a bottle of wine?” and, referencing a recent AdWeek interview with rocker Maynard James Keenan (who also owns a winery) where Keenan regretted losing control of his music in the digital world – happy that you can’t download his wine (!!) – Kissel suggests that one of the most-important advantages of a physical product is the large-scale presentation of the album cover art. Just as great wines are the result of a successful collaboration between grape growers and wine-makers, memorable album packages are the result of talented musicians pairing with graphic artists/art directors to produce a sleeve or package that makes fans happy with their purchase and provides some additional emotional connection between musical acts and their fans – something that is hard to do with a thumbnail image on your phone, he suggests. Read his entire essay, and then post your own thoughts when you get the chance – http://diffuser.fm/how-is-an-album-like-a-bottle-of-wine/

March 19th – 1) The talents of the Houston, TX-based design/marketing firm Pen & Pixel are on display in a new article on the Hot New Hip Hop (HNHH) site titled “The 10 Greatest Pen & Pixel Album Covers”, written by Angus Walker. Any fan of the genre will immediately recognize the firm’s classic design elements – diamond-encrusted 3-D fonts, bold use of color and graphic elements that look like they’re ripped from the most explosive scenes from any of today’s bad guys vs. good guys high-intensity action films (cars, guns, money, jewelry and buff-and-beautiful protagonists). Since the 1990s, they’ve done work for labels including No Limit, Cash Money, Suave House and other well-known deep South music producers and have since expanded their services to include music and video production, web design and marketing and logo/branding work. Each cover shown nearly leaps off the page, so test your reflexes and take a look at some top-rated efforts from this successful album cover design firm – http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/the-10-greatest-pen-and-pixel-a…

2) Classic album art, like classic rock music, continues to inspire today’s new recording acts, so it is wonderful to see a musical act’s efforts to honor one of David Bowie’s best-known cover scenes – Bowie as “Ziggy Stardust”, standing beneath a light in an alley, as he’s found on 1972’s Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust… – in a stunning recreation of the scene that’s used on the cover of their own album. In Barry Leighton’s article on the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald site, you’ll meet musician Ben Goddard, who is a member of a Malmesbury band called The Long Players and, working with photographer Jon Sneddon, found an ideal place on St. Dennis Lane to substitute for the original Heddon St., London, location and prepared it for use in this effort. I think that you’ll agree that the participants have done a truly amazing job – even more amazing in that it was done to promote the band’s March 15th local concert during which they played the entire Bowie record from start to finish! See the results via the link – http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/…/11856706.Malmesbury_mu…/

3) Finally (for today), more Bjork-related coverage, this time provided by Juxtapoz Magazine in their nicely-illustrated coverage of the show currently running in NYC’s Museum of Modern Art that provides a career-spanning retrospective of her work as a creative artist in the fields of music and visuals. Included in the article is an interview with the show’s curator and many of her daring (in so many ways) album cover images. Whatever you may think of this artist’s music (I’m still not sure I like it), the attention she pays to the graphics and videos that accompany her work is simply mind-boggling. Enjoy the show, via the link – http://beyondthecover.juxtapoz.com/april-2015-bjork

March 18th – As a follow-up to my recent posting about an album art show -titled “Tailored Jackets”, taking place now through the end of the month at Oklahoma City Community College’s Inasmuch Foundation Gallery, I got in touch with the show’s organizer, Scott Tigert, to see if I could get my hands on some additional info/imagery to share with you. Not only did Scott come through with additional photos, he was also kind enough to provide me with the details about how the show was conceived and sourced, as well as with samples of the information he and the exhibition show team researched and presented to the show’s visitors. I have organized the items he’s submitted into a new variation on our “Featured Fan Collection” themed articles, presented to you today as an “ACHOF Exhibition Tour”…Hope you’ll take a moment to take a virtual tour through the show and then share this with your friends as well. I’d like to thank Scott and all the nice folks at the school and the gallery who worked so hard to put this very informative and entertaining show together – looking forward to the third installment (please let us know if there’s going to be one, of course).

https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/achof-exhibit…/

March 17th – 1) A host of new works featuring images that have inspired the world view of Def Jam Records album cover artist Cey Adams are included in a new exhibition running now at the Rush Arts Gallery in NYC’s Chelsea area. Titled “Trusted Brands”, you’ll find his interpretations of brands and logos which, like album covers, have informed popular culture. Like some of the covers he’s credited for creating – including those for acts including LL Cool J, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys – Adams feels that there are many logos that may have simply been marketing tools when they were created but have now become part and parcel of our collective consciousnesses. You can read and see more about this show, which ran through March 28th, in writer Roger Clark’s article and video report, both found on the NY1 web site at http://www.ny1.com/…/artist-of-iconic-def-jam-album-covers-…

2) The creative collaborations of talented designers often produce works that are more-impressive than the sum of their parts, so its not at all surprising to see that the efforts of the team of architect Bjarke Ingels and designer Stefan Sagmeister – well known in album cover art circles for his work on designs for Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne and the Talkiing Heads, among others – have been so impressive that they’re now the subject of a new (and now sold out!) book by art publisher Taschen. Titled Hot To Cold, the book shows and tells the story of how the two met (several years ago at a TED Talk), discovered that they were “kindred spirits” and determined then to team up to build great spaces. The book accompanies an exhibition running now through August at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, and for a look at the duo’s book-signing at Taschen’s store in Soho, NYC, you can simply click on the link to reporter Laura Feinstein’s article on the GOOD Magazine site – http://magazine.good.is/art…/bjarke-ingels-stefan-sagmeister

March 16th – 1) When rapper Kendrick Lamar decided that he wanted to feature an album cover image of an oppressed people banding together to take their government back, he tapped a photographer who, besides shooting album cover images for scores of international jazz/classical artists, has published a series of portraits of Senegalese wrestlers who’ve banded together to publicize and improve their bleak existences. Denis Rouvre‘s Lamb served as a follow-up to another series of portraits he took of people pushed to the brinks of their ability to endure hardship – survivors of the tsunami in Japan – and this new project seems to be tailor-made for his abilities – more on the cover and the photographer is included in writer Matthew Trammell’s recent article on The Fader site – http://www.thefader.com/…/meet-the-french-photographer-behi…

2) To follow-up the previous week’s article regarding the non-scientific-but-interesting selection of the “Top 10” album covers in Portland, OR’s music history, the folks at Plywerks (makers of the new Vinny series of album cover frames) have posted a series of photos capturing the kick-off event for their products and presenting the winners of the voting that night –http://www.plywerk.com/blog/2015/03/top-pdx-records/
Here are the Top 4 records – #1 is Menomena’s 2007 record Friend & Foe; #2 is Paul Revere & The Raiders’ 1963 release Sande’; #3 is Over The Edge, the 1983 release by Oregon punk rockers Wipers and at #4 – fans of Portlandia rejoice – Sleater-Kinney’s 1999 album The Hot Rock. Congratulations to the winners for covers well done.

March 13th – 1) Album art/rock photo fans that attended the Art Basel show in Hong Kong in March were fortunate to have been able to stop by the Taschen Publishing booth to take a look at (and, perhaps, buy) one of the two recent releases that feature, respectively, photos of John Lennon & Yoko Ono (in Kishin Shinoyama‘s John & Yoko, Double Fantasy) and the Rolling Stones in the 500-page, “Sumo-sized” book titled The Rolling Stones. Both books are available in limited-edition/signed offerings that include signed photo prints (“Collector’s” editions). While several of these editions have already sold out, others remain (priced anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the photo print included), so this is a great opportunity to “kick the tires” before purchasing one of these great books – more info on this on the Artsy site – https://www.artsy.net/…/editorial-taschen-brings-john-yoko-…

2) Allison Meier’s article on the Hyperallergic site about artist Victor Moscoso‘s new gallery show running now (thru April 25th) at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Manhattan brings you inside the gallery to see the artist’s full-range of psychedelic works, including his drawings/paintings for Zap! Comix, a wide range of gig posters for nearly every major band playing in the Bay area and, of interest to ACHOF fans, his album cover work for Steve Miller, Jerry Garcia, Sopwith Camel and Herbie Hancock. Victor Moscoso: Psychedelic Drawings 1967 – 1982 helps illustrate Victor’s role as one of the most-significant creative artists of his era, along with Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, Clay Wilson and others that contributed to the burgeoning San Francisco art scene, so if you can’t see the show in-person, take a moment to enjoy Allison’s preview via the link –http://hyperallergic.com/…/strange-days-in-victor-moscosos…/

March 12th – 1) Here’s another example of a photographer shooting portraits of other photographers…As the professional photo industry was moving from film to digital, one photographer – Tim Mantoani – felt that it was important to take advantage – perhaps one last time – of the availability of large-format film and thought that it’d be interesting to ask his fellow shooters to participate in a project where he’d photograph them with their “favorite” or best-known images. Since 2006, he’s taken over 150 portraits and collected anecdotes for each and, just recently, has released a book called Behind Photographs, where you’ll find album cover artists including Jim Marshall, Bob Gruen and MarK Seliger talking about their favorite shots of (respectively) the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, as well as that of many others who’ve shot some very well-known images in the areas of sports, politics, celebrity and US/World history. 14 of these stories are featured in an article by Christian Storm on the Business Insider site, reachable via the link – http://www.businessinsider.com/portraits-stories-14-iconic-…

2) Artist/Art Director Mario Hugo has worked long and hard to achieve success in the competitive graphic arts arena and, along the way, knew that there were a number of good (or great) works produced that, for one reason or another, were not approved for use by his clients. He also knew that that was certainly the case for most other creatives in his field so, recently, he contacted some of them and asked them to contribute examples of good-but-rejected designs to a new blog he launched called Recently Rejected. Some of the works submitted were those done for music industry clients and, in Carey Dunne’s recent article for the Fast Company site, you’ll get some insight into the projects that, although they produced some memorable imagery, just didn’t ring the client’s bell – http://www.fastcodesign.com/…/12-rejected-designs-that-show…

March 11th – Another photography-oriented “three-fur”… 1) When the ACHOF was launched, the voting panel chose a group of “early influencers” to honor – those selected being folks who had contributed to the acknowledgement of album cover imagery as an art form. While he was not included in the original selection as it is that our focus is on rock and pop music-oriented album covers, most-certainly some were left out and, with today’s posting, I hope to correct that to some extent. Although Chuck Stewart has always been labeled as a “jazz photographer”, with hundreds of credits for cover shots for jazz greats including Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and scores of others, his reputation brought him many other early rock and pop cover commissions, shooting covers for James Brown, Bo Diddley, Mary Wells, George Benson, Tito Puente and “the chairman” (and label owner) Frank Sinatra. Writing for Newsweek (and recording a video interview you’ll find there as well), reporter Jared T. Miller interviewed this photo great in his Teaneck, NJ home, which you can enjoy as well via the link – http://www.newsweek.com/through-chuck-stewarts-lens-history…

2) Album cover work provided the jumping off point for another talented shooter who has successfully branched out in to both fashion photography and video direction – in this case, for UK-based creative Jason Arber. In a recent interview with Chris Gampat for The Phoblographer web site, you’ll trace the path from record cover designer – with credits on packages for artists including Mike Hughes, Janet Jackson, Oasis and The Pandemonium, among others – to his career as a web designer, art/culture magazine publisher and now creative lead for his own photo/video studio called Phantom Limb. You’ll find the liberally illustrated article via the link at http://www.thephoblographer.com/…/jason-arber-creative-fas…/

3) Well, it is time again for a new Tumblr photoblog where iconic album cover images are re-imagined by a designer, in this case being a designer who is also in love with cats. Begun in 2012 by Alfra Martini with a cover featuring “David Meowie & Bing Catsby”, The Kitten Covers blog has added a large number of images that all feature a kittenish twist on a well-known image. You’ll find covers for The Clash, Queen, N.W.A., Heart and, my personal favorite (what’s yours? please share) Unknown Whiskers by the Purr Division (!!) – The Cat Channel‘s Cari Jorgenson provides an introduction via the link – http://www.catchannel.com/…/cats-recreate-classic-album-cov…
Wonder if they’ll have a selection of Litter Box Sets soon 😉

March 10th – 1) The David Bowie travelling exhibition (“David Bowie Is”) has been setting records at every stop during its run (currently, in Paris, France), with many of the items on display from Bowie’s official archives, which are quite extensive and, based on the info provided in this Jemma Buckley article in The Daily Mail, will soon include a set of lifelike masks depicting Mr. Bowie at various stages during his career. Originally, the life masks were made of Bowie’s face as part of his participation in the making of the movie “The Man Who Fell To Earth” and these props were discovered in storage and given to UK-based artist Mark Wardel, who proceeded to replicate and then decorate them to depict Bowie as he looked, for example, on the cover of his Aladdin Sane LP. Bowie was so impressed that he bought an entire set, which will now be part of his collection. Read more, and see some examples of these impressive masks, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Aladdin-Vain-Bowie-snaps-entir…

2) The late Linda McCartney’s photos and designs were found on many popular album covers (and illustrating scores of magazine articles) while she was active as a photographer from the late 1960s up to her untimely death in 1998. You’ll find her work on records such as her hubby’s McCartney, Ram, Venus and Mars (and others), as well as discs for Jimi Hendrix, Pretenders and Neil Young and, in a new book published by Taschen called Linda McCartney: Life In Photographs. The book includes a treasure trove of images of the photographers friends and acquaintances, including The Beatles (surprise!), the Rolling Stones, actors Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw and many of her family doing what comes naturally when you’re some of the most-visible celebrities in the world. Writing for the Daily Mail site MailOnline, Caroline Howe gives us an illustrated preview, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Candid-camera-photographs-Love…

March 9th – 1) On Thursday night, March 5th, I was happy to have been able to attend the launch of the new “Vinny” line of album cover art frames and accessories at the Madehere PDX store. These items are made by Plywerk, a Portland (OR)-based company that produces a full line of handmade products – picture frames, record crates and works of art fused to their “restoration juniper” wood backings – and is currently hosting a CrowdSupply.com project to allow fans to purchase these new products prior to their retail release. The record stand is available for $44, the 12″ square frame is $59 and you can visit their site for more info. As part of their launch, the company turned to Portland Mercury art/music writer Ned Lannamann to help select the “Top 10 Portland Album Cover of All Time”, and the list features covers for PDX-based bands old and new, including The Dandy Warhols, The Thermals, Dead Moon, Lifesavas, Sleater-Kinney, Paul Revere & The Raiders and several others. Review the selections – http://www.portlandmercury.com/…/the-top-10-portland-album-… and see the results of final voting on the Plywerks.com site.

2) One of the best-known photographers who worked in the fields of fashion, celebrity and album cover imagery – the late Herb Ritts – is the subject of a new exhibition that launched Friday the 13th of March at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. In “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits”, you’ll find over 30 shots of some of the best-known musical acts of their era – David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Cher, Bob Dylan, Chris Isaak, k.d. lang, Madonna, Prince,Tina Turner and many others – along with video interviews, alt shots and other portraits from his years providing editorial and advertising imagery for magazines including Interview, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Visitors are also able to take their own photos in front of backdrops taken by Ritts – more on this in Jeff Niesel’s article on the topic on the Cleveland Scene site at http://www.clevescene.com/…/rock-hall-to-open-new-photo-exh…

March 6th – 1) Album art fans in the nation’s center are being treated to a new exhibition titled “Tailored Jackets – 2nd Fitting” featuring a collection of 59 signed album covers representing 80 years of album artistry. The grouping is owned by Scott Tigert, a Cultural Programs assistant at Oklahoma City Community College at 7777 S. May Ave. and was on display at the Inasmuch Gallery of the Visual and Performing Arts Center from March 6th through March 27th. Attendees were able to enter a drawing for a 1923 poster featuring pop star (at the time) Bessie Smith – more details about the show are available via the link – http://www.occc.edu/cp/currentgallery.html

2) How are your Catalan language skills? While it might help fully-understand this news report about the opening of the Johnson Gallery in Barcelona (mentioned in the previous day’s news posting), viewers will most-certainly get a good sense of the joy folks in attendance felt with the show and the appearance of one of the featured photographers, George DuBose, who (in English, thankfully) gives us a little info on some of his photos that are included in the show, including album cover shots he took of The Ramones and B-52s. Enjoy reporter Victor Jonama’s report as found on the BTV web site – http://www.btv.cat/…/johnson-gallery-una-galeria-dedicada-…/

3) The art world has suffered much in terms of vandals destroying history but, rather than revisiting the atrocities that have taken place in Iraq, we’re treated to one closer to home. The iconic Joshua Tree that was featured on the cover of U2‘s 1987 album of the same name was toppled a number of years ago, but fans still take regular pilgrimages to the spot and, this year, one of them arrived shortly after someone had taken a saw to the tree in order to take home a large souvenir from it…what’s next – IEDs near Abbey Road Studios? The pathetic details are found on The Daily Mail (UK) web site, via the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/U2-fan-pilgrimaged-band-s-Josh…

4) Just posted a new interview with photographer Emilie Sandy about her “Deja Vu” photo series, which features new portraits of well-known music industry photographers posed as if they were the subjects in some of their best-known shots. You’ll learn a bit more about how she organized these sessions and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business – Anton Corbijn, Chris Gabrin, Gered Mankowitz, Robert Whitaker and many others – as they recreated their famous portraits of artists such as Miles Davis, Elvis Costello, John Lennon and others. Liberally illustrated, you’ll find this article posted at the following link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/interview-wit…/

March 5th – Limited only by your imaginations…. 1) Winnipeg Jets goal-tender Ondrej Pavelec is such a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen that he goes all-out to integrate all things Boss into his daily routine. For most of us, that would mean playing Springsteen tunes while wearing a concert t-shirt, but for the 27-year-old Czech native, the best way to maintain a high level of Bruce-on-the-brain was to have his protective helmet/mask decorated with images taken from the covers of his favorite records. On the custom-painted gear, you’ll find snippets lifted from Born In The USA, The River, Magic and Born To Run. The work was done by Swedish artist Dave Gunnarson, whose “DaveArt” business has provided airbrush art for many NHL players. More on this in Bobby Olivier’s recent article on the NJ.com site – http://www.nj.com/…/springsteens_albums_commemorated_on_nhl…

2) Artist Eisen Bernardo attracted a lot of attention recently with his “Mag+Art” project, where he combined cover images from magazines with famous works of art to create new works of Pop Art. His next logical step was to go all Christian Marclay on us and combine album covers with masterworks, which he has done quite nicely in a series that focuses on the covers of Taylor Swift albums. Titled “Album+Art Tribute To Taylor Swift”, you’ll find the singer’s covers blended in to works by Dutch, German, French and Italian masters. While the jury’s out as to whether her music lasts as long as the influence of these painters, it’s obvious that she has a great fan in this artist based in the Philippines – https://www.behance.net/…/…/AlbumArt-Tribute-to-Taylor-Swift

March 4th – 1) The works of photographer George DuBose – well-known to album art fans for his many cover shots for artists in Punk (Ramones, Misfits), New Wave (B-52s, Go-Go’s, others) and early Rap/Hip-Hop (Biz Markie, Notorious B.I.G., more) – were included in the kick-off show for a new rock-n-roll photo gallery that opened on March 5th in Barcelona, Spain. The Johnson Gallery (named after blues legend Robert Johnson) is the brainchild of fan/collector/entrepreneur Philippe Delecluse, who’ll be offering a slate of images from George and other respected rock photographers including Mick Rock, Adrian Boot and Curtis Knapp. When the gallery opens its doors, visitors were able to view over 50 images and listen to a concert given by Johnny & The Blues Workers. Since the gallery’s site is still under construction, here are the important details in case you’re in the area and want to join Philippe and his team in the post-grand-opening festivities – Gallery Johnson, Pg. Rector Oliveras, 4, 08009 Barcelona. (C. Arago between Roger de Llúria and Bruc). Open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 16 to 8:00 p.m. Email: galeriajohnson@gmail.com

More info: galeriajohnson.com (coming soon). To preview some of George’s works that will be available thru the gallery, please visit his website at http://www.george-dubose.com/

2) Well, the first reviews of Bjork’s new show at MOMA in NYC are in and, well, at least this particular reviewer wasn’t all that impressed…Long an artist that has stretched the limits of normalcy in the visuals that accompany her music (her album covers and music videos all being great examples of her willingness to experiment), the museum’s show is segmented into displays built around each of her eight studio albums, with costumes, props, photographs and other items included that should assist fans in getting a better look behind the scenes of the pop mistresses artistic endeavors. In his review for the ArtNet News site (http://news.artnet.com/…/ladies-and-gentlemen-the-bjork-sho…), Ben Davis shares his frustration with everything from the displays to the audio guide that accompanies the show (it “doesn’t actually guide you”). If any of you have seen the show and can provide your own details and opinions, please share them here.

March 3rd – 1) Possibly the best-known photographer who covered the rock music scene in Manchester, UK beginning in the late 1970s, Kevin Cummins is now the subject of a new exhibition now on display at the Lucy Bell Fine Art gallery on Norman Road in East Sussex, UK, from now until April 10th. The show’s titled “Disclosure” and includes over 50 images Cummins took of the players that made up the “Madchester” music scene, including Joy Division, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Morrissey, The Smiths, Stone Roses and Manic Street Preachers, along with other members of rock royalty – including the Rolling Stones and David Bowie – who he’d shoot portraits of and album covers for later in his career. Read more about the artist and this show in this article on the Art Daily site at http://artdaily.com/…/Exhibition-at-Lucy-Bell-Fine-Art-feat…

2) Anyone who cruised Sunset Boulevard and the surrounding areas will recall the many billboards you’d have seen promoting the latest releases by major music acts, and it was welcoming to see Robert Landau‘s book on the subject when it was published a couple years back. One of the best-known designers to have contributed to these mega-sized works of art was John Van Hamersveld (whose Exile On Main Street billboards for the Rolling Stones became quite famous for their mind-blowing imagery), and now that he’s got a gallery of his own in San Pedro, he’s brought together a number of photos of those works – along with Mr. Landau – and hosted an event on March 5th during which visitors were treated to a special presentation about these billboards, followed by a book-signing and the release of several limited-edition prints. For details about the event, please visit the Post-Future Art site at http://www.post-future.com/williams/williams.html

3) Just a reminder to all Bowie art fans – the “David Bowie Is” exhibition is now on display at the Philharmonie de Paris from now until the end of May. The show was a HUGE success in London so, with its emphasis on design, fashion and art, I’m predicting a respectable turn-out during the exhibition’s run in France. There will be a number of design and music-related events that will take place at various times while the show is on display, so if you’d like to learn more, please visit the show’s site at
http://davidbowieis.philharmoniedeparis.fr/en
This palace to the arts is easy to reach via the Paris Metro (Line 5, Porte de Pantin station), and the building by Jean Nouvel is a wonder in itself…

March 2nd – 1) With all the excitement and controversy regarding that white/gold/blue/black dress, it only makes sense that a music industry writer with a keen eye for color would put together an article wondering what the similar process of over-saturating colors might have done to some of our favorite record covers. Let’s thank Music Times writer Ryan Brook for this in-depth look at what our ability/inability to see certain colors – in this case, blue – differently under different lighting conditions might have done to our appreciation of records from Nirvana, Weezer, The Eagles, John Coltrane and several others. http://www.musictimes.com/…/blue-dress-viral-light-sensatio…

I just hope that this is all over soon.

2) I continue to be impressed with the imagination shown by music marketers with regards to coming up with new ways to differentiate their clients’ packaging…Here’s an example of a band that hooked up with an “on demand’ printing company to create a unique album cover for each and every physical copy produced! As you’ll see in this article by the staff at HUH., designer Nick Relph prepared a basic style guide for Hot Chip’s upcoming release (to be titled Why Make Sense?) and, when orders start to come in, a cover printed in one of over 500 colors will be used, along with similar-but-slightly-different graphics, when the record is finally put into its sleeve. I hope to find out more about this process but, in the meantime, you can view an animation that shows some of the many options available when you place your order – http://www.huhmagazine.co.uk/…/every-physical-copy-of-hot-c…

3) At least once a year, an article is written about the occasional use of nastier-than-normal album art to help package and promote new music. This year’s article is presented to us by Gavin Edwards, writing for Rolling Stone Magazine, and includes 20 records that, in their own special way, were considered “naughty” by both the press and record retailers, many of whom would not sell the records until they’d been veiled somehow. Not sure exactly what prompted this year’s offering – maybe the $500M box office so far for 50 Shades of Greyhttp://www.rollingstone.com/…/as-nasty-as-they-wanna-be-the…

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.

 

Interview with Ben Kweller – the making of the album cover for Go Fly A Kite

Interview with Ben Kweller about the package he produced for his 2012 record release titled Go Fly A Kite

Go Fly A Kite, diorama, Ben Kweller

Go Fly A Kite – assembled diorama

While I’ve written before about the number of musicians who’ve shown great talent in all of the creative aspects of their professional lives, it seems that most of them sought out a formal education in the arts before setting out on their paths to musical stardom. You’ll recall examples such as Pink Floyd (Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright all went to London’s Polytechnic College on Regent Street in London, while Syd Barrett studied at Camberwell), Talking Heads (David Byrne, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz all attended the Rhode Island School of Design), Devo (Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale studied at Kent State) and The Clash (Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon and Mick Jones), along with Freddie Mercury, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Ray Davies, Michael Stipe, Pete Townshend, Ron Wood and many others.

Nominated for both a 2012 Grammy Award in the “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” and a 2012 Independent Music Award (IMA) in the “Album Packaging” category, musician/songwriter Ben Kweller’s work on Go Fly A Kite – the debut CD/LP on his own The Noise Company label – is an impressive example of a multi-talented musical performer involving himself in every creative aspect of his products. What’s even more impressive is that Kweller is self-taught, having dropped out of high school at 15 to devote full time to his first band, Radish. By telling the “formal” music business to “go fly a kite – I’ve got the talent to make it on my own”, it is Ben’s commitment to all aspects of his craft – along with a long list of fans both in and outside of the music business – that has provided him with the ability to impress both fans and critics on his own terms with each successive outing. Drawing on inspirations from his love of comic book illustrations and taking advantage of a chance meeting with someone at his young son’s pre-school, the intricate and impressive packaging for his latest release had me wondering about how it all came to be, and faithful readers know what happens when I get to wondering…. 😉

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