Tag Archives: interview

Interview With Designer James Faulkner – Public Image Ltd’s 9 Album Cover

Interview with James Faulkner – Public Image Ltd’s 9 album cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Interview Topic – the making of the album cover artwork for Public Image Ltd’s 9, a 1989 release on the Virgin Records label

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

When a team is assembled to create an album cover/package, a lot of talent can be brought to the table. In larger-scale endeavors – like the ones you’d often see for big-name acts, backed by significant budgets – a team might include an art director, a designer, a photographer and/or an illustrator (sometimes, both, particularly if there were logos and lettering to be done) and, as the folks tasked with these parts of a project would often find (and want to take advantage of), new techniques, materials and tools would be brought to bear. In the 80s and 90s, as computer-aided design was integrated into a products development and production, sometimes the tools that were “state of the art” at the time were found to be challenging to use, which would either slow down and frustrate some of the players or be seen as an opportunity to experiment and come up with something never before seen. Things like the budget, the production schedule and other distractions might force folks to knuckle down and get creative or, as might be the case in the production of the cover for PiL’s 1989 release simply titled 9 (which stood for the fact that it was the band’s ninth record), to frustrate the art director and leave him with less-than-fond memories of the process and, as a result, of the people who were there to apply their skills to the project via these new technologies.

Several years ago, as part of a Featured Artist Portfolio article I published built around some of the works in famed art director Mick Haggerty’s archives, Mick had included the cover in the mix as it was “my first image made on a computer.” Also according to Mr. Haggerty, that computer-based design tool “was a huge, noisy Swedish machine, I think, that came with a technician and an operator who was very hard to work with. Again, it took days to make an image now so simple for Photoshop..”, although he’d finally admit that, all these years later, “looking at it now, I really love the crudeness”…

One of the things that come as a result of having articles up on the web is that, at some points, people read them and, as has been the case here on the ACHOF site, several times I’ve been contacted by those who also took part in projects I’ve written about, with those people looking to tell, as Paul Harvey might say (young people – look it up), “the rest of the story.” Today’s interview is with a nice fellow by the name of James Faulkner, one of the designers working for Rod Dyer, Inc. – one of the most-sought-after record packaging designers to ever work in the music industry and the company that collaborated with Haggerty on the PiL project – and, as he tells it, the very same technician who operated that “Swedish machine” (in reality, a Dutch-built pre-press graphics machine called  the Aesthedes) which was used, ultimately, to help build the image found on 9‘s cover. As you’ll see as you read today’s interview on the subject, each party remembers the details of what it took to create this memorable image a bit (or two) differently but, I think you’ll agree, whatever emotional capital was spent in order to produce the cover of this record turned out to be worth the investment.

Interview with the designer, James Faulkner (conducted via email April/May, 2017) – 

Mike Goldstein, Curator, Album Cover Hall of Fame.com – James, thanks so much for corresponding with me and for letting me know the details, as you see them, about how this particular album cover image was made. If it’s OK with you, let’s get started with some background questions…So, can you tell me how it was that you were first introduced to your artistic cohorts on this project – (art director) Mick Haggerty and (photographer) Ross Halfin? Had you worked with them before?

James Faulkner, designer – I was employed by the Rod Dyer Group as a Designer-slash-Art Director and one of my responsibilities was that I ran and operated the Dutch pre-press graphics system we brought in house known as “The Aesthedes”. While I didn’t know Ross Halfin and didn’t work with him directly on this project, Mick Haggerty had been a former Art Diector at Dyer, and the PIL Disappointed LP was one of a few projects that I worked on with Mick. Mick, as you may or may not know, had been working independently for a number of years. The new PIL project was Mick’s and he asked Rod to work with him and take this project on. Since we had this wonderful creative machine to help generate a different approach in the design, we decided to use it rather than approach the work more traditionally.

Mike G – Were you familiar at all with the band its particular style of music? Was there a particular track – or something special about the music – from the song list included in the package that served as the inspiration for the package’s overall design?

James F – Yes, I was familiar with Public Image LTD. Mick had created the music video with the band for a track which was to be featured on the new record – “Disappointed” – and for that effort I supplied the background and motion elements from the album art package.

MG – If I recall correctly, that video had a lot going on in the background – nice work! Knowing what you do about the people involved and your overall knowledge of the music business, what was it that made PiL – and Mr. Lydon – and the Virgin label, with their particular approach to promoting/packaging music, different from other similar labels in their “category” at the time?

JF – For a record that was released in 1989, the music seems fairly timeless, unlike the majority of music from the 80’s. As for myself, I don’t think I actually heard the music until after the completion of the cover, although I do remember seeing lots of images from a photo shoot with the band. As Mick had said in his original description, our goal was to keep it kind of raw and loose. Of course, with John Lydon as a co-designer and the knowledge of how territorial some artists can be, his whole persona added to the feeling that we should be pushing the limits of the design here.

MG – The job looks like it would have required a team of designers, illustrators, graphic artists, photographers, etc., so how did you choose the talent who would work with you on this effort? Can you help me better understand the “who did what” on the project?

JF – Mick Haggerty was the Art Director on this project and I was the Designer, so I did the pre-production work and generated designs and alternate options for Mick to review.

MG – Got it. So, as you previously mentioned, you brought a special tool to the table – The Aesthedes computer-aided design/graphics system, a large-scale system that had been released commercially only a few years earlier. Can you give me an idea of how this tool was used and incorporated into your work processes and how it helped you create the finished product?

 

 

 

 

 

JF – The Aesthedes was a computer graphics or computer-aided design system designed and developed in the 1970s and 1980s by Claessens Product Consultants – now Cartils – in Hilversum, in the Netherlands. The computer was operational in 1982 and was launched commercially in 1985 from Aesthedes offices in Hilversum, London, Cologne and Los Angeles. It was equipped with ten microprocessors and had three 20” full color high-resolution screens and three small data display screens. It was unique at the time for being able to manipulate B splines – a type of curve – in real time and to produce camera-ready, ultra-high resolution finished artwork for use in offset printing or other printing processes. The final art was then generated at the Dyer Group.

MG – James, that raises some questions that I’d like your take on. My intro to this interview involves a brief discussion about how new technologies were incorporated into the day-to-day work efforts of design teams and, as I experienced personally in the 80s and 90s, sometimes those tools were latched on to as a way to extend and enhance people’s creativity and sometimes they were thought of as a waste of time and resources.

With this being said, can you please add some details regarding what the Aesthedes was brought in to do in this project, what the expectations were for it, how its use was presented – particularly, to Mr. Haggerty – as a newer/better way to do something, and what about the system’s use, such as the amount of time it took to prep or do the work, it’s cost, etc., would have frustrated some or all of the people working on the project?  As I’m trying to bridge two stories – yours & Mick’s – any detail you could provide would be very helpful as I hope to – at some point – get his take on those same questions.  

JF – Please remember that the “design team” essentially consisted of  Mick, the Art Director and myself in the roles of studio designer and operator of the Aesthedes. With the use of the Aesthedes in the studio, it enabled us to explore different layering techniques. With the photos of Johnny Lydon that Mick supplied, this system, along with the use of a Versatech printer for immediate output and comps, could create a variety of different comps in a short amount of time. This is all pre-Mac, remember. I was able to supply the printing company with camera-ready color separations of the final album cover art directly from the Versatech printer.

As far as cost, I cannot give you much info on in department. The Aesthedes at that time was a $500,000 system and I’m not sure what sort of deal Rod Dyer had set up with Mick or the record company. As far as the frustrations that Mick talked about in his interview with you, I’m still very confused where that’s coming from. I never got that vibe or had any feedback regarding this…it may have been Mick’s own expectations  with regards to the process. I had  an extremely good relationship with Rod Dyer and he would have conveyed any problems to me. I’d really like to know what Mick is referring to …though it’s a long time ago now!

MG – So, taking into account all of the project coordination, can you tell me how long this process took – from start to finished product?

JF – I have to be honest with about this – it was so long ago! Perhaps Rod or Mick can remember…As I personally often worked on multiple projects within the studio…it could have been weeks! Sorry, but I just don’t recall!

MG – That’s fine – I’m just happy to be able to glean what I can from you now! Here’s a slightly-different take…do you recall just how involved the artist/artist management/the record label was in the process of deciding what you should produce, and did they provide you with any direction? Did they give you enough money and/or time to do what you wanted to do? Were they happy with the results? How did they express that to you?

JF – Unlike the Bootsy Collin’s album cover project that I also did with Mick, on this project, since I was employed by Rod at the time, I never personally had any contact with the artist. Mick, of course, was in contact throughout. From what I gathered at the time, they were excited and loved what we were designing…it was a new technology that, at that time, had never been seen prior to this use.

MG – Before we change gears a bit, I’d like to ask you if there is any other anecdotal info about this project you’d be willing to share…every project I’ve ever looked into seems to have something of an “a-ha moment” or an “OMG moment”, so anything you’d be willing to share would be quite a treat!

JF – Sometimes, it seems that some of the best art is really created by accident. There was a lot of experimentation going on here. You never really know what to expect, though, of course, there is the basic idea and look that is sought after. With that being said, I think there were quite few of those moments on this job.

MG – Quite true. Whenever something new is being applied to whatever you’re working on, the results can be quite surprising, either in a good or bad way! Now, on to some of the more philosophical questions on some topics I’d like to get your opinion on…I once read an article that talked about how Modernism, Pop/Conceptual Art and other forms of contemporary art and graphics have all had an effect on the field of music industry-related visual production and with imagery that “swiftly and suggestively evoke aural encounters”. Do you think that this image did that for fans of the band and the prospective buyers of this record?

JF – Most certainly…just think about when you were out shopping for records as teenager and being drawn specifically to an album by its cover. As you well know, that can quite often be deceiving! Personally, I must admit that some of my favorite covers were on albums that I did not completely love every track found on the LP! I’m not sure where this stands today as the creation of graphics has changed so much. There was a time when you had to know how to draw, design and have an understanding of color and composition…Its seems that with the creation of the Mac and access to the web, your design word is your oyster and anything can be altered, ripped, reworked what have you!

MG – As a follow-up on the same quote, I’d like to ask whether you think that there are also examples of where album covers have, inversely, informed one or more of the various genres of modern art in some notable ways…I’m thinking Peter Blake’s work, or Jamie Reid’s, as examples. As a music fan and record art collector, I’ve always felt that the visual aspects of the rock music business, including the stage props, lighting, video, and the graphics developed to promote and sell music – at least, the most-iconic examples, such as Jamie Reid’s imagery for the Sex Pistols, Gerald Scarfe and Storm Thorgerson’s imagery for Pink Floyd, Mouse and Kelley’s imagery for the Grateful Dead – in many ways had a noticeable effect on Pop culture. What’s your take on this?

JF – Album covers were an integral part of growing up…well, at least for those of us who are Baby Boomers! I think about all the wonderful creativity that went into albums such as Jethro Tull’s Stand Up LP – circa 1969 – with its die-cut standup band members who were revealed when you opened the cover, or the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request with its lenticular 3D cover. Though there is possibly some resurgence in the popularity and sales of the LP, digital music and downloads have somewhat destroyed the album cover. Even moving from LP design to CD design was a somewhat daunting transition for me.

MG – Yes, it must have been traumatic going from a 144 square-inch canvas to a 25 square-inch one…So, tell me, more generally, does album cover imagery help us document modern human history and, in particular, Pop Culture? In the most-impactful examples, does it provide any direction, or is it merely reflecting the culture, or ??

JF – It is a sign of times, ever-changing and in transition. I think there are timeless works of art here. For instance, the Blue Note label, which has been in existence since 1939, their covers have a particular look, with aspects of the De Stijl movement and Dutch design taking place there (Editor’s note – also known as “neoplasticism”, this form of geometric and primary-colored art and architecture originated in Holland in 1917 with the works of practitioners including Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian and Gerrit Ritveld). You can still find records by contemporary jazz artists who still want to play off this style.

MG – Taking into account what you learned while putting this project together 30 years ago, can you tell me what your feelings are about album artwork-related design and photography these days? Are there any musical acts, labels, art directors, etc. that you think are keeping the field alive or important? Do you think album art matters anymore?

JF – Well it’s so much easier to create a cover now than it was 30 years ago. The tools we have today are ten times more powerful, although that’s not necessarily saying that the art is any better. I mean everyone calls themselves a photographer today, right, what with those amazing 30+ odd mega-pixel camera phones. It seems to me to now be less of a process and more an instant creation. There are, to my own horror, companies today that’ll do everything for a price…just choose your look from their cookie-cutter catalogue, which seems very sad. It seems that we have lost the beauty of the process, just because you can get things done in a wink of the eye!

MG – With the electronic delivery of music products and the resurgence of the popularity and sales of vinyl records and box sets – both of which are growing at a fast pace – do you think that there is any more or less enthusiasm within the music industry to invest time and money in promo images and packaging designs that appeals to their fans and extends their branding? I think that today’s music business also  seems to require musical acts to consider creating special, limited-edition products -posters and prints, books, vinyl, merch, etc. – in order to maximize their investments in the visuals that are created to market their music. Do you see more works like these coming from artists that work in several areas, such as graphic design, music, video, etc., or is this, in your opinion, just another – or perhaps, better – way for artists to sell something different and collectible?

JF – It seems to me that there will always be the merchandise, because fans really love souvenirs. I’m not sure how well these other products do – I mean, the limited edition materials which are usually expensive to produce – unless you’re talking about things from a major-selling artist. Some people, though, continue to make huge profits from selling old rock n’ roll memorabilia. Back in the day, with Bill Graham and the old Fillmore and Winterland Ballroom shows, tons of materials were generated.

I think that, generally speaking, fans love t-shirts from the shows they have attended, and limited edition vinyl seems to be making a resurgence. I was doing a small radio show here in LA some years ago and, as a result, I befriended quite a few musicians. At one point, Mario Lalli from Fatso Jetson shared some very cool one-off vinyl products with me, which made me notice that all you need is a musician who is also a painter pr graphic artist and that seems to add to the quality and quantity of swag items available!

MG – What are your views regarding the future of graphic/visual design in the music industry as it moves on to the many new distribution platforms and ways to own/rent music products? Do you wonder whether there are any lesser-known artists creating album cover images now that will be memorable as fine artists 20 years from now? In other words, will the work of album cover artists ever gain the respect of the fine art community, along and the support of well-heeled collectors?

JF – We all know that there has been a resurgence of vinyl over last number of years which has been great for fans of album cover art. The digital world has sort of struck a blow, on the visual end, to this kind of work. Understandably, we still have music videos to make, so we still get some creative freedom there. Technology obviously dominates a great portion of where the visual end is going, so it’s nice to see younger, newer artists embrace the different record formats and the creation of album cover art for their projects.

I do believe that there is some crossover with the creative work of album art and the fine art world! Generally, I think we as creatives will have many ways to express ourselves and, therefore, need to be versatile and not pin-holed into one form of work or another. Naturally, survival for us may depend on prostituting our talents to survive. Personally, I have been using my talents to create graphics for television projects for the last 25 years.

About the designer, James Faulkner –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Faulkner on CAD system at Rod Dyer, Inc., circa 1989

Although his first attempts as a kid at learning how to play various instruments did not continue, according to James, music has always been a big part of his life (in fact, he recently decided to learn how to play guitar, and he’s slowly-but-surely making progress). Growing up in England in the 60’s, his father was an prolific artist and inspired creativity in his kids by taping all of the then-current pop music from a children’s music program on the radio that featured everything from The Beatles, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, The Searchers, Hank Marvin and so on, with James and his brothers then performing them with plastic Beatle guitars, mimicking their heroes. He went to local village schools in the west country in Cornwall, England before migrating with his family to the U.S. in 1967 via the final transatlantic journey of the Queen Mary ocean liner. The family eventually settled in Santa Cruz, California, where his father taught art. He took his first trip back to England in ’73, where he got to experience London in its fashion heyday of 70’s – Carnaby St., Kings Rd, etc. He couldn’t help but notice that what was happening in London was quite different from California, music wise.

According to his site bio, throughout his career, James has maintained a passion to explore and learn, with his education including intense periods of study while attending institutions including the West Sussex College of Design in Sussex, England; the San Francisco Academy of Art College, San Francisco, California (where he earned his BA degree in Graphic Design in 1981); the Art & Film Institute, Los Angeles, California; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California and finally the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

James spent his early years as a puppeteer, sign painter and silk-screener. He has been involved with computer related design for nearly thirty years and was one of the first artists to work with emerging computer technologies in graphic design. He spent a year in the late 1980s working as a benchmark designer for the Dutch Company, Aesthedes, during its CAD product introductions and was instrumental in the company’s positioning as a leader in this new field in graphics.

Faulkner then moved on in 1988 to a job creating graphics for print and package design while on staff at the Rod Dyer Group/Rod Dyer, Inc. in Los Angeles. For the next three years, he worked with designers across the globe as he educated them on computer-generated graphics. As part of his responsibilities, he participated in numerous trade shows and conferences, where he served as a demo artist.

In 1991, James embarked on what would be an extensive and impressive career as a staff and/or freelance designer and art director for media companies including Capital Cities/ABC, Fox, Warner Brothers and Telepictures Productions while launching his own shingle – Faulkner Design – in 2006, adding work for companies including CBS, Castlerock Entertainment, ZigZag Productions, A&E and Fox Kids/Family. During that time, James was honored with two Emmy Awards (1992 and 1994) for his work in graphic design for ABC’s “Countdown to the American Music Awards” telecasts. In addition, he was awarded the Silver Award from the Broadcast Designers Association and is a long-standing member of the Art Director’s Guild.

As a fine artist, Faulkner’s work has been seen in a number of exhibitions on the West Coast, including shows at the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery at the University of California as well as the Pope Gallery (both in Santa Cruz, California); Sierra Madre City Hall and Belles Nest in Sierra Madre, CA; the Altadena Public Library, Altadena, CA; The Sun Gallery, Hayward CA.; the gallery at the Balconi Coffee Company, Los Angeles, CA as well as Gallery 800 in North Hollywood, CA. In addition, James Faulkner’s work is included in numerous private collections throughout the United States and Europe.

When not busy with his commercial work, James also volunteers his time as Art Director for the Mount Wilson Trail Race and as a DJ for a Sierra Madre-based online radio station.

More about this artist can be found on his web site at http://jamesafaulkner.wixsite.com/faulknerdesign

About the record and others mentioned in this interview –

After a foiled plot by Virgin Records head Richard Branson to have former Sex Pistols lead singer John Lydon (AKA “Johnny Rotten”) join the lineup of label-mates DEVO in 1978, Lydon went on to form his own group – Public Image Ltd. – later that year, with their first record – First Issue – sporting an album cover designed by Dennis Morris, who’d go on to design the band’s well-known PiL logo and then, teaming with the design team at Rod Dyer Inc., producing the now-iconic record in a film can package known as Metal Box in 1979.

For the next 10 years, the band continued to tour and release several more records, culminating in the release of their ninth studio album in May, 1989 that was simply titled 9. The record featured the hit singles “Disappointed”, “Don’t Ask Me” and “Warrior”, with the band at that point consisting of Mr. Lydon on vocals, John McGeoch on guitars, Allan Dias on the bass and Bruce Smith on the drums. The band supported the record’s sales via their 80+ appearances in the multi-band travelling extravaganza called “The Monsters of Alternative Rock” that performed all over the world in the Summer of 1989.

Rod Dyer, Inc. – the design group is credited for some of the most-creative packaging from the heyday of LP cover design, including Catch A Fire for Bob Marley & The Wailers (a huge, hinged Zippo lighter where the album was removed from the top, past the wick and striker) and PiL’s earlier (1979) Metal Box, which was a narrow metal film can, embossed with the Dennis Morris-designed band logo and  containing three 12-inch singles and a scrap of paper with the track list printed on it.

Grammy Award-winning Art Director Mick Haggerty‘s 2014 “Featured Artist Portfolio” here on the ACHOF site (link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/achof-featured-artist-portfolio-grammy-winner-mick-haggerty/) contained this quote on this record cover – “This was my first image made on a computer. It was a huge noisy Swedish machine I think, that came with a technician and an operator, who was very hard to work with. Again it took days to make an image now so simple for Photoshop. Looking at it now I really love the crudeness. I also loved working with Mr. Lydon. I shot three music videos for him and he was a real inspiration.” Haggerty’s worked on scores of well-known cover projects during his career, with notable album cover credits including – David Bowie – Let’s Dance, Never Let Me Down and Tonight; The Police – Ghost In The Machine; OMD – The Pacific Age; Supertramp – Breakfast In America; ELO – Face the Music; The Goo Goo Dolls – Gutterflower; The Smithereens – 11 and Stevie Winwood – Roll With It and many others.

About this AlbumCoverHallofFame.com interview –

Our ongoing series of interviews will give you, the music and art fan, a look at “the making of” the illustrations, photographs and designs of many of the most-recognized and influential images that have served to package and promote your all-time-favorite recordings.

In each interview feature, we’ll meet the artists, designers and photographers who produced these works of art and learn what motivated them, what processes they used, how they collaborated (or fought) with the musical acts, their management, their labels, etc. – all of the things that influenced the final product you saw then and still see today.

We hope that you enjoy these looks behind the scenes of the music-related art business and that you’ll share your stories with us and fellow fans about what role these works of art – and the music they covered – played in your lives.

Unless otherwise noted, all images featured in this story are Copyright 1979 – 2017 James Faulkner – All rights reserved – and are used by the artist’s permission. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2017 – Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com (www.albumcoverhalloffame.com) & RockPoP Productions – All rights reserved.

Album Cover Artist and Art News Summary and Preview for the Months of May and June, 2017

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF MAY, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR JUNE, 2017.

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings to you all on this first day of June, 2017.

I’d like to first let you know about an important change I’m making in the delivery schedule for my album cover artist/art news bulletins. For the next several months, I’ll be reducing the frequency from weekly to monthly (plus timely news alerts) in order to be able to focus my almost-complete attention on my book project. As it was my plan to have the book completely written prior to the launch of my fund-raising efforts – with final design and editing to come based on the success of that fund-raising (i.e., the more $$ raised, the more pages I can include in the book) – it finally occurred to me that I was getting further and further behind and, at this point, I’m nearly a year past when I’d hoped to put this out.

This is simply unacceptable to me. I’d promised all of the fine people who’d contributed to the book’s content that I’d have it in my readers’ hands ASAP, so now, even if it means trimming my news coverage, I’m going to do everything I can to live up to those previous commitments.

Such is the life of a one-man operation.

I do appreciate all the support I’ve been given and continue to get from both contributors and my readers, and I will work hard to finish this project and get back to the important work of updating the ACHOF’s bio section, adding more interviews and producing a regular series of news updates.

And so, In this month’s summary, you’ll find both a robust recap of last month’s stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business as well as several previews of what’s going to be on display/hitting the shelves next month. As always. you’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works continue on with their good work, and it’s my pleasure to be able to share the details about what they do with you and whoever you choose to share this information with. There continues to be an impressive number of items about album cover art/artists in the daily news cycle, adding stories of great interest and fascination to the month’s recap of the articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll find on a wide range of related topics.

Please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

Continue reading

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

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

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

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

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

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

Please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Sales/Auctions –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Other articles of interest –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All text Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Excerpts from Pierre et Gilles feature by Andrew Dineley for Classic Pop

Issue 28 – Classic Pop Magazine with Pierre et Gilles feature by Andrew Dineley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added by Mike Goldstein on March 31, 2017

In my ongoing effort to support album cover art fans wherever they may be, it’s been my recent pleasure to introduce you to the writing talents of Andrew Dineley, the Liverpool, UK-based proprietor of the SoftOctopus Design studio and regular contributor of album art-and-artist-related articles to the popular Classic Pop magazine and web site. As hard as I try to locate and promote the talents of people working in the album cover art space, I know that, due to my being located in middle-America, USA, I’m not always able to discover work done by people working for clients in other countries, so it was with great joy that I received Andrew’s friend request and link to a video he recently put together that showcases some of his latest contributions to the magazine – https://vimeo.com/205032038 and, if you’d like to see more of his own commercial work, check out his firm’s web site at http://www.softoctopus.co.uk/

Andrew was also kind enough to share some excerpts from a feature on the talented French design team of Pierre et Gilles he wrote and published recently in issue #28 of the U.K.’s Classic Pop magazine. Partners in work and in life for over 40 years, the duo has collaborated – and partied hard with – celebrities and those looking to the pair to create memorable images that might launch them into celebrityhood. Along the way, they’ve used their talents in painting (Gilles Blanchard) and photography (Pierre Commoy) to produce unique covers for records by artists including Erasure, The Creatures and Marilyn Manson as well as French acts such as Mathmatiques Moderne and Amanda Lear, so I hope that you enjoy this tidbit and will turn to the magazine soon for the full meal.

Continue reading

Interview with Taschen’s Julius Wiedemann about his newest book – Art Record Covers

Interview with Taschen’s Julius Wiedemann about his newest book –  Art Record Covers

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

March 8, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last month, I reported on the latest effort by the prolific album cover art book editor and author Julius Wiedemann of the famed Taschen publishing house, who had recently announced the details of a new book just released in the U.K. (with buyers in the U.S. having to wait patiently until later in February to get theirs) titled Art Record Covers that, according to the press announcement, “showcases an alphabetized collection of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today. Highlighting the relationship between image-making and music production, the anthology presents 500 covers and records by visual artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha and many more.”

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

While some of you may recall that I’ve been working on a book based on the interviews I’ve done over the years with many of the best-known album art creators (due out later this year, I’m hoping), I am the first to admit that, as I’m not a trained art historian, I have always lobbied for the inclusion of album cover art/artists in the bigger ongoing discussion about the relationship between music and the visual arts, so it is inspiring to read books written by educators that further that conversation. Based on what I’d read and seen on this new book, I knew that I’d need to work to get a more-detailed look at the book and its contents, and the always-interesting Mr. Wiedemann was kind enough to work with me on a special feature for the ACHOF that I’m presenting to you today.

Continue reading

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

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

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

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

In this month’s summary, you’ll continue to be impressed with the stories about the talented people working to produce great visuals for clients in the music business. You can be sure that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works will continue to promote these good works and will share what they do with the rest of us. There continues to be a number of articles about album cover art/artists in daily the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.

Please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

a) You know his work and, beginning March 11th at the University of Brighton (UK), you’ll be able to tour through an exhibition culled from his 50+ year portfolio of work as a world-class designer, illustrator and, alongside his commercial practice, educator. George Hardie’s credits include work he did while part of the Hipgnosis team for clients including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Alan Parsons, Genesis and many other classic acts and then, working independently and in collaborations since the early 1980s (with design firms including Pentagram, The Partners and Trickett & Webb), Hardie provided his talents to a wide range of clients and garnered widespread recognition for his stamp designs for the Royal Mail, including the Channel Tunnel commemorative stamps in 1994, the Millennium stamp (for which he won a D&AD design award) and the Magic stamps in 2007.

An experienced educator, Professor George Hardie taught postgraduate students of graphic design at the University of Brighton’s Faculty of Arts and Architecture from 1990 until his retirement in 2014. He has run a number of design workshops world-wide and was a visiting professor at the University of Nagoya, Japan in 2006. In 1994, Hardie became a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (where he served as International Secretary from 2007-2010) and was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry by Britain’s Royal Society of Arts in 2005, an award given to design professionals who have shown “sustained excellence in aesthetic and efficient design for industry”.

His work has been exhibited extensively, including shows at the University of Brighton (1993′s “George Hardie Works”), Barcelona and in Ljublijana in 2008. His books – Available in Other Colours: the Illustrations of George Hardie: A Book of Scraps (1993, and winner of the graphic design section of the Pantone International Color Award that year). Denouement (1996) and Colour Atlas (1997) have been included in design exhibitions at the Pentagram Gallery and in Nagoya, Japan.

This new show at the University of Brighton’s University Gallery in Grand Parade will include a display of the original artwork for one of his best-known album covers – the dirigible-covered Led Zeppelin – the size of which, to fans of record art, will come as a bit of a surprise, much like the first time you see the Mona Lisa (it’s smaller than you think). Hardie shares a bit of the story behind that cover  in an intro article by Andre Rhoden-Paul   on The Argus (UK) web site – http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/15099162.A_stairway_to_heaven_for_fans_of_record_covers/

The “George Hardie: 50 Odd Years” exhibition will be on display through April 7th, with more info available on the following web sites – https://www.brighton.ac.uk/about-us/news-and-events/news/2017/02-14-george-hardie-%e2%80%93-50-odd-years.aspx

University Gallery info – http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/whats-on/gallery/gallery-exhibitions-2017/march-2017/george-hardie-fifty-odd-years

b) This past month marked the launch of a newly-curated rock photo show at the prestigious Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT titled Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography that, as you’ll read in the article recently posted on the New England Cable News site (which also gives you a nice video tour of the show along with an interview with the show’s curator – and the museum’s director – Tom Denenberg), gives fans a lot to see during their visits. Over 250 photos, including both well-known and little-seen images shot by a virtual “who’s who” of photographers from the world of music, features work by a number of people who’ve contributed photos for album covers including George DuBose, Bob Gruen, Lynn Goldsmith, Laura Levine, Jim Marshall, Baron Wolman and many others.

Fans will remember Denenberg’s original staging of the “Backstage Pass” show several years ago at the Portland (ME) Art Museum and, for this updated showing, they’ll be able to take home a new souvenir catalog – published by Yale University Press – that includes over 100 of the images on display, along with essays by Greil Marcus, Glenn O’Brien, Laura Levine and Kate Simon.

http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Backstage-Pass-to-Exhibit-Photos-of-Music-Icons-413437183.html

For more information on the show, which runs through May 7th, visit the museum’s site at https://shelburnemuseum.org/exhibition/backstage-pass/

c) Chicago-native Jim Marshall moved at an early age with his family to the Fillmore District in San Francisco, and purchasing a camera while still in high school, began his career by capturing the musicians and artists working  in the Bay Area on film. In 1964 he covered performances at the Newport Folk Festival and then moved back to San Francisco later that year. From that point forward, he was given unprecedented access to most of the iconic events in the history of popular music, shooting The Beatles’ final concert at Candlestick Park (the only photographer allowed backstage) in 1966, the Monterey Pop Festival and the pre-eminent acts performing during the “Summer of Love” in 1967 (Santana, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Cream, etc.), Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968, Woodstock, Johnny Cash “flipping the bird” at San Quentin and adding his images to the album covers for The Allman Brothers Live At The Fillmore East, Moby Grape and Commander Cody’s Country Casanova.

The 1970s found Jim continuing his streak of award-winning images, many of which graced the covers of Rolling Stone and LIFE magazines, including photos of the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, T-Rex, Joni Mitchell, jazz greats Carmen Mcrae and Dizzy Gillespie and Karl Malden and Michael Douglas on the set of the TV series Streets of San Francisco. In 2004, Jim received the Lucie Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Music Photography” and a book, titled Jim Marshall: Proof, which provided a rare look at the creative process, was published. In 2005, he was the recipient of MOJO magazine’s 2005 “Honours List Image Award”.

Two photo shows that chronicle the late photographer’s life titled Jim Marshall: 1967 – one at San Francisco City hall (Ground Floor Exhibition + North Light Court Banners) now thru June 17th, with a separate show in Los Angeles at the Grammy Museum’s  Special Exhibits Gallery on the second floor beginning March 10th (and running through May 14th) – are available for public consumption and, for a recent article that introduces us to these shows and how they were organized, the team at Juxtapoz Magazine interviewed SFAC Director Meg Shiffler as well as several other well-known chroniclers of the Bay Area music scene, the results of which can be read via the link at https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/jim-marshall-s-1967-an-all-access-pass/

d) For a new installation at two venues in downtown Los Angeles (FigAt7th and the Bank of America Plaza) that premiered February 10th and runs through the end of March, psychedelic art legend John Van Hamersveld has produced several monumental images in vinyl that will serve as centerpieces to a show of his works from the late 1960s to present day. Titled Signs of Life, you’ll get a chance to get up close and personal with examples of artwork produced by the talent responsible for some of your all-time favorite album covers, including Magical Mystery Tour for The Beatles; Blondie’s Eat To The Beat; Hotter Than Hell for KISS; The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street and many others.

Produced by the Arts Brookfield organization, you can learn more about the show on their site at http://www.artsbrookfield.com/event/signs-of-life/

Events that will be taking place in conjunction with this exhibition run from a special, psychedelic-themed Valentine’s Day party to a series of luncheons that will be held every 2nd and 4th Friday in February and March, during which you’ll be entertained by musicians from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) who’ll perform music by each iconic musician (Beethoven, Mozart, John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix) portrayed on the windows of Bank of America Plaza.

e) On February 8th, 2017, the New Museum in NYC opened a major exhibition focusing on the work of artist Raymond Pettibon. Presented on three full floors of the museum, “Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work” is the largest curated show of Pettibon’s work to date and features more than 700 works he’s created, from the 1960s to the present. One of the best-known artists to emerge from the LA-area punk rock scene of the late ’70s-early ’80s, Pettibon – the brother of Black Flag guitarist/song-writer Greg Ginn – rose to fame creating the minimalist and hand-drawn images for the band and their label, SST Records. Pettibon’s album cover credits include Introducing The Minutemen and Post-Mersh, Vol. 1 for The Minutemen; Life – A Tiny Twofer; Mike Watt – Hyphenated-Man; Black Flag – My War, Jealous Again, Slip It In and The Process of Weeding Out; Sonic Youth – Goo; Foo Fighters – One By One; Off! – Off! and Wasted Years and Saccharine Trust – Past Lives.

The museum’s show was curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director. Visitors and fans will be able to purchase an illustrated catalog of the show (co-published by the New Museum and Phaidon Press Limited), and following its run at the New Museum (on display through April 9th), the exhibition will travel to the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, the Netherlands, where it will be on view from June 1–October 30, 2017.

http://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/raymond-pettibon-a-pen-of-all-work

Writing for Juxtapoz Magazine, Carlo McCormick also provides a bit of an art world overview in this recently-published article on the magazine’s web site – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/raymond-pettibon-the-pen-for-these-times/

f) The popularity of themed cruises – particularly among Baby Boomers, who quickly snap up cabins on the several music-themed excursions that feature name acts performing for, and then mingling with, appreciative audiences – continues to grow, but this one’s the first I’ve seen that also included an exhibition and gallery of notable music imagery as well as the featured artist – in this case, Roger Dean – on board to help promote the sale of his works.

Departing from Tampa, FL this past February 7th and headed out on a fun-packed four-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, classic rock fans on the “Cruise To The Edge” were treated to a schedule of performances by musical acts including YES, Kansas, Steve Hackett, Focus, Spock’s Beard, Mike Portnoy, Pat Moraz and many others. In between sets, album art fans were able to head on over to the Diamond Club on Deck 13 to view the exhibition mounted by Dean and his U.K. fine art dealer, Trading Boundaries and, when so motivated, purchase one or more of the many prints that were on sale there. Dean was also selling collectible doodles and produced a special-edition Cruise To The Edge 2017 print just for tour participants. Details on this sold-out cruse are posted on gallery’s site at https://therogerdeangallery.smugmug.com/Exhibition-Dates as well as on the cruise line’s site – http://cruisetotheedge.com/

Now that they’ve returned to dry land, I’m able to point you to an article posted by Elmore Magazine’s Ira Kantor who, as a traveler on that cruise, was able to report back on what he experienced on board, from all of the music he was able to eat to an overview of the Dean exhibit, where he met Roger and shared his love of the album that kicked the artist’s career as a record cover designer into high gear – Afro-Pop band Osibisa’s self-titled 1971 debut, which featured flying elephants that would become the band’s signature visuals ( side note – after Dean did the band’s first 2 covers,  the group brought in another fantasy-inspired artist – Mati Klarwein of Santana/Miles Davis album cover fame – to do their third record’s cover). He also walked away with a personalized print of one of Dean’s wonderful covers for YES – Tales from Topographic Oceans. Lucky guy.

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2017/02/music-news/cruise-to-the-edge-diary-day-3

 2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Jamaican-born (but now Los Angeles-based) artist and photographer Neville Garrick has enjoyed a long association with the late, great Bob Marley (and several other well-known reggae music acts), having produced record covers, stage props and the like for his clients, so it would only make sense that, as they extended their brands into new areas, he’s be brought on to help design promo imagery/packaging for these new efforts as well.

Being as it is that a major component of the Rastafarian religion is the consumption of cannabis, the Marley family name has, for some time now, been used to brand a line of cannabis products sold in the U.S. called “Marley Natural” which, according to their site, “celebrates Bob Marley’s appreciation for the healing power of nature, the beauty of the earth and the relationship we all share with it.” As it is that Garrick is also one of the founders and Executive Director of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, he’s brought his in-depth knowledge of both the musical legacy and ongoing promotion of pot-related activities to task by coming up with the package designs for the brand’s first Anniversary product line, which you can find out more about in this recent article by Oscar Pascual on the SFGate.com site – http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2017/02/21/bob-marleys-album-cover-artist-now-designs-music-legends-cannabis-packaging/

Each of the four designs created by Garrick was greatly inspired by Herb (and not the “Peaches &” variety)…

b) To offer local musical acts “something special” when it came to album cover design/packaging, designer/art director David S. Blanco took it upon himself to expand his service offering a bit further than most. In fact, he created a record label – called Blank Editions – which creates and sells limited-edition music packages, recorded on vinyl and cassette tape, that incorporate Blanco’s biggest design influences, including architecture, minimalist art and the design aesthetic promoted in the 1970s by the Sainsbury grocery chain.

Writing for the Creative Boom site, Emily Gosling profiles David and the London-area company he launched in late 2011, showing off a number of his eye-catching packages he’s created for the three lines of projects he publishes – the Solo Series, which are limited-edition vinyl singles sold in handmade packaging; the Blank Tapes series, “mini albums”, EPs and experimental work from local acts which are released on cassette tape; and The Blank Community,  which is, according to the label’s site, “an open ended series to service more official work by local bands and artists.”  Artists who’ve worked to release music through Blanco’s label include Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, Douglas Hart from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Yuki Tsujii from Bo Ningen, Ted Milton from Blurt and several others. An in-demand designer/illustrator, Blanco has also done work for happy commercial clients such as The Guardian, Independent and Observer news organizations, Porter Air, Marquis Vodka, Nat Boyd and other record labels including All Saints, Heavenly, Polyvinyl, RCA and Universal Records.

Read more about this multi-talented (and greatly committed) artist via the link at http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/david-blanco/

c) “I always thought music and art went hand in hand together” is a quote from U2 bassist Adam Clayton as he talks with Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art for the Christie’s auction house prior to a sale that includes works by the late Pop artist jean-Michel Basquiat, about his passion for Basquiat’s work (which he collects) and about how the creative spirits of artists and musicians are similarly applied and how and when they intermingle, what comes out the other side…

Like his mentor/friend Andy Warhol, Basquiat also produced some notable album art work, including the fascinating covers for the Beat Bop series for Tartown/Profile Records, The Offs and German jazz musician Peter Kowald, but it was the painter and graffiti artist’s ability to easily mingle with both the fine art and hipster crowds of his era that impressed Clayton the most  –  http://www.christies.com/features/U2-Adam-Clayton-on-Basquiat-8034-1.aspx?

d) In a recent episode of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s State of Wonder radio show, host April Baer and reporter Matt Drenik interview two local artists who’ve made names for themselves in the world of album cover design – Orion Landau, whose impressive work as a graphic designer and art director for the metal music label Relapse has provided stunning designs for company’s acts such as Pentagram, Pig Destroyer and Red Fang (along with many others) for over 15 years, and local design legend Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co, who has produced impressive record package and merchandise designs for musical acts including Richmond Fontaine, Dawes, Conor Oberst, Danava, the Old 97s and Dinosaur Jr. (among others) and other notable work for commercial clients including Nike, SubPop Records, Timberline, Target, Bernie Sanders and more.

You’ll learn more about what it takes to deliver impressive designs these days in a field where consumers are looking for imagery for covers (and related items, such as tour posters and merchandise)  that (in Landau’s case) must appeal to a metal fan’s over-the-top expectations while guiding his clients away from “me-too” cover ideas (and producing great art on sometimes-meager budget), while Draplin is constantly challenged to create memorable work for clients who often don’t realize that they need to impress fans with quality graphics now because, quite honestly, “how many records are your really going to make in your life?”

You can listen to “What It Takes To Design An Iconic Album Cover” via the link at http://www.opb.org/radio/programs/stateofwonder/segment/chloe-eudaly-portland-winter-lights-festival-tony-furtado-sallie-tilsdale/

The interviews begin at around the 17:30 mark in the stream…

e) Photographer Piper Ferguson is one busy person these days! The LA-based shooter, well-regarded for her work over the years for a host of clients in the music business (from classic acts such as Merle Haggard, David Crosby and Kenny Rogers through the Backstreet Boys, Kasabian and the Shins to breaking acts such as Capital Cities and Bad Flower) continues to impress with projects that show off her talents as both a photographer and video director. I just received an email from Piper in which she lists some of her most-recent accomplishments, including several new music videos and some really well-shot commercial gigs (Zenni Eyewear and promo imagery for the 2017 Backstreet Boys “Larger Than Life” show in Las Vegas).

I’ve been a fan of Piper’s for a number of years now (she got me hooked with her great portraits of Merle Haggard standing in a swamp and Joe Strummer just sittin’ on a porch), so I’d invite you to take a look at her latest via this link to the web version of her recent email – http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=13a601b2c2b2ac92204379c01&id=48b49da285&e=3b62189452

f) Over the years, I’ve written several articles about the interesting fact that there are many people working as musicians who were either serious student of the visual arts or amateur image-makers, as evidenced by paintings, sculptures and the like produced by rock music luminaries including Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and many others. In some cases, however, these musicians-turned-artists have gone on to do double-duty or switched their career focuses altogether to work first and foremost as a designer, art director, photographer, etc. (e.g., Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean fame comes to mind).

In a recent article posted on The Week (U.K.) web site that excerpts from Francesco Spampinato’s interview of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon done for the new Art Record Covers book by Taschen, you can read about this artist’s ongoing efforts to participate fully as an artist of both the musical and graphic arts persuasions, beginning with her training at the famed Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (and some time spent later on working at various art galleries in NYC’s Soho art district), writing for several art scene publications and, along the way, curating art shows and presenting her own works in curated events. She’s also produced album artwork for records by acts she’s been involved with including Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore and Free Kitten as well as Essential Logic and Mirror, among others, and used her connections to the NY art scene to secure the participation of major artists such as Gerhard Richter, Mike Kelley and Raymond Pettibon to produce memorable album art for her own records (well done!).

http://www.theweek.co.uk/80781/art-record-covers-kim-gordon

 3) Sales/Auctions –

a) In case you weren’t aware – mid-February was Grammy time (!!) and, as part of the boatload of Grammy-related activities, fans and collectors were able to help support the organizations two charitable arms – The Grammy Foundation and MusiCares – by participating in their annual signed memorabilia auction, which this year featured a number of album art-related offerings including a selection of artist-signed album presentations featuring noted Grammy Award noms and winners (Adele, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Carrie Underwood, The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder and many others). Bidding ended February 19th and, on some of the items, was quite hot and heavy… While the original set of items has been snapped up by lucky collectors, there is a post-award show collection that’s now available that includes several items signed by Grammy show participants, as well has a number of items – including a 2018 Grammy Award Show VIP Experience package (with bidding starting at $5,000) now up for bid , so why not take a look and add something wonderful to your collection as you simultaneously give your support to these charities’ great work.

http://www.ebay.com/rpp/grammy/59th-awards/signed-memorabilia

b) In celebration of Black Sabbath’s return (and final) engagement in their hometown of Birmingham, England at the Genting Arena on Saturday, February 4th, the folks at St. Paul’s Gallery are offering album art fans an opportunity to buy a very limited-edition print (one of 195) of the Hipgnosis-designed Technical Ecstasy cover – hand-signed by both artist Storm Thorgerson and Sabbath guitar legend Tony Iommi.

This album – a Gold-selling record that rose to #51 on Billboard Magazine’s Pop Album chart – featured the somewhat-controversial cover art that showed, as Ozzy would put it, “two robots screwing on an escalator.” As always, the Hipgnosis team arrived at a very-interesting way to graphically-depict the record’s title, and with less than 200 copies available world-wide (and fewer-still featuring Iommi’s signature), right-minded fans might want to click on over to the gallery’s site to grab one before they’re gone – http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/album-prints/storm-thorgerson-black-sabbath-print.asp?

I first saw the band play at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago in 1971 (I think it was ’71, but might have been ’73. Wishbone Ash was the opening act…) and it was awe-inspiring for a kid in his teens. Lots of cool album art over the years, with Hipgnosis adding their unique stylings to both the 1976 Technical Ecstasy cover and the 1978 Never Say Die! cover with the two plugged-in pilots (the last studio record featuring all of the original members). Sad to see the end of their reign as the Godfathers of Metal Music, but they had a great run…

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) In advance of my long-form interview with Taschen’s Julius Wiedemann about his new book on the art of the album cover called Art Record Covers (which will soon be available on the ACHOF site ), I did want to point you to several nice articles on the book that, in varying degrees, help both introduce the book and the stunning works found between its covers:

– The first was posted recently by Stephanie Strasnick on the Architectural Digest site and provides you with a bit of an intro, along with some nice examples of art taken from the book. The book’s cover is Andy Warhol’s seemingly neon-inspired work for John Lennon’s Menlove Avenue record, the posthumous 1986 album of unreleased music recorded during the Walls & Bridges and Rock ‘n’ Roll sessions, so with a cover like that, you’re bound to find much to interest you on the inside –  http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/proof-that-artist-designed-album-covers-are-better-than-the-rest#

– In The Guardian (UK)’s Art & Design section, the editors have selected works created by several of the world’s better-known artists and designers and have provided a bit of text, too, to go along with the large, colorful examples on display. You’ll find covers done by noted artists such as Ai Weiwei, Ed Ruscha and Keith Haring along with those by newer talents such as Ryan McGinley, Albert Oehlen and the Dutch design team Metahaven, among others – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2017/jan/20/sound-art-album-artist-record-covers-taschen-ai-weiwei-ed-ruscha-keith-haring-takashi-murakami

– In Mungo Glaysher’s recent brief article on the topic for the Middle East edition of Esquire Magazine (based in Dubai), a somewhat different selection of covers are highlighted, such as those for musical acts including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tyler The Creator and Blondes, with art by Urs Fischer, Mark Ryden and Guyton/Walker, respectively.

http://www.esquireme.com/content/19491-sound-art

– Over on the It’s Nice That site – Rebecca Fulleylove writes with an eye towards that site’s design and art-oriented readers/viewers, displaying even more of the covers included in the book, adding images by Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Shrigley and Banksy, among others – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/taschen-art-record-covers-040117

b) In early 1965, cartoonist/caricaturist Gerald Scarfe was visiting the Twickenham Studios set where The Beatles were shooting segments for their film Help! and had the opportunity to sketch the band-members while they were in costume. When he was finished, he had the lads sign the work he’d created (which was later published in London Life magazine) and added it to his personal collection. Now, all these years later, Scarfe has asked the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange to help him find a new home for this rare and unusual work. For well-heeled collectors who might be interested, click on over to the special page that’s been set up on the gallery’s site (more info on this effort is coming soon – stay tuned) –

http://www.sfae.com/announcements/2017/scarfe_beatles/

If you are, perhaps, looking for a somewhat more-affordable Scarfe-designed option, there is another Beatles-themed print currently for sale on the illustrator’s personal web site. This particular print – produced on archival matte paper in a signed and numbered edition of 100, approximately 13″ x 19″ – is of a drawing from Gerald’s book and exhibition titled, Heroes & Villains, that was held at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2003.

http://www.geraldscarfe.com/shop/discount/the-beatles/

You’ll note that Mr. Scarfe’s work will also be included in the upcoming Pink Floyd art-related extravaganza opening on May 13th of this year at the V&A Museum in London (called Their Mortal Remains – more details forthcoming).

c) In 2013, author/broadcaster Jon Kirkman produced a gift for YES fans built around his 35+ year involvement with the band – a limited-edition book titled Time And A Word: The Yes Interviews. The autographed art book was priced for collectors, but now, working with Simon Robinson’s Stereo33 books, he’s re-worked the tome (including some updates) and is now offering the much more affordably priced, 260-page book with a new name – YES Dialogues – which features cover art, and interviews with, long-time YES collaborator Roger Dean. The new version also adds interviews with the late YES bassist Chris Squire, YES/ASIA keyboardist Geoff Downes and some members of a band named Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, the group that, in 1968, would evolve into the first iteration of YES. Learn more about this new release on the publisher’s sites – https://stereo33books.com/yes-dialogues/ and

http://www.ekmpowershop28.com/ekmps/shops/easyontheeye/yes–dialogue-full-order-292-p.asp

d) With the Grammy Awards taking place this past month, it’s important for fans of album cover art to understand the sometimes long-lasting impact that certain Grammy-winning album cover designs have had on the art and music scenes, and what better way to illustrate that than to report on the recent success of a new, limited-edition book offered by the U.K. publishing house Genesis Publishing that celebrates the work of the multi-talented illustrator Klaus Voorman for 1967’s Grammy winner for “Best Album Cover – Graphic Arts”, that being Revolver by The Beatles.

In 1965, the band began to experiment with what had been, to that point, a pretty standard-issue, photo-based approach to album cover imagery when they released Rubber Soul with a cover that was pretty “trippy” and used psychedelic lettering and contained NO MENTION of the band’s name (!!). The next year, when they began the efforts to select an approach for the cover for their new album Revolver, they turned to their chum (and occasional bass-player) Voorman to apply his talents to creating an illustration that would ultimately incorporate photos that the band supplied and would go on to free other album cover art directors to try out some of their more-experimental ideas for their own clients hoping to compete for the buying public’s eyeballs going forward.

According to the publishing company’s promotional materials about the now-fully-subscribed (that means SOLD OUT) art book, “Voormann is working with Genesis Publications on a limited, Grammy Anniversary edition of a book he has created, entitled REVOLVER 50. Including new artwork, photos, and introductions by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the book offers a fascinating insight into the making of the legendary cover artwork. The commemorative REVOLVER 50: THE GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION is limited to only 500 copies. Each book comes with a signed original drawing by the artist; a one-of-a-kind artwork, from a selection Voormann has curated exclusively for this anniversary edition, as well as a special Grammy Anniversary 12-page commemorative booklet.”

As I noted previously, the two versions – a “Deluxe” edition of 67 copies (of 500 total in the edition) and priced at £325.00 and a “Collector’s” edition (#s 68 thru 500) – sold out in 12 days. Congratulations to all of you who managed to grab a copy, but for all of us who weren’t so lucky but who’d still like to go over the details (we can dream, can’t we?), here’s a link – http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-birth-of-an-icon-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm

e) Fans of minimalist-inspired album artwork ala that created by ACHOF “Early Influencers” Alex Steinweiss, Saul Bass and S. Neil Fujita and others including Josef Albers and Andy Warhol should really get a kick out of a new series of prints being offered by LA-based label/retailer Daylight Curfew, who recently collaborated with artist/designer Mick Watson who, working under the moniker Smartesgiant, has created art inspired by some of Hip-Hop’s classic albums. According to Daylight Curfew’s PR, the team chose “some of our favorite hip hop records, ones that inspire us daily, and those we classify as instant classics. Each are reinterpreted and abstracted in minimal form. Being huge fans of minimalism, abstract expressionism, and hip hop, we figured you may enjoy the collection as well.”

Included in the offering are wonderful re-interpretations of covers from musical acts including Nas, Outkast, Run DMC, Run The Jewels, Salt-N-Pepa and Kanye West.

Priced at only $45.00 unframed and $95.00 framed, each giclee’ print is sized at 18×24″ (unframed) and has been produced to museum-quality standards. They’re printed on 310gsm fine art matte cotton rag and printed with Roland eco archival inks on a bleach-free, soft-textured surface.  To see the entire collection and learn more about what’s available, click on over to https://www.daylightcurfew.com/blogs/daylight-curfew/smartestgiant-x-daylight-curfew

5) Other articles of interest –

a) While Spoon’s newest album – Hot Thoughts – might not be hitting shelves until later in March, fans can get a head-start on their immersion into the new music package by spending some time with a new app called the Aura Reader that will allow you to make your own album cover image. The first step is to click on over to the special site they’ve created – http://aura.spoontheband.com/ – and then begin the process by creating a Spotify playlist of 10 songs that “describe yourself”. The app will then analyze your playlist and…well, since I’m an old person and can’t name 10 Spoon songs, let alone 10 that describe me, I’ll have to let one of my readers go through the process and then share the results with the rest of us.

Exclaim.ca’s Brock Thiessen recently published a brief overview of the app that helps explain things a bit – http://exclaim.ca/music/article/you_can_now_make_your_own_album_cover_for_spoons_hot_thoughts#  Maybe if I get the time, I’ll be able to see what color my aura is but, in the meantime, enjoy yourself.

b) I hope that all you professional and aspiring album art/packaging designers/art directors saw my recent posting regarding the last date you were able to submit your work to the 2016-17 A Design Award international design competition (that being this past Tuesday, February 28th).

This huge competition – with a judging panel of over 160 scholars, professors, designers and members of the press – covers great design in hundreds of categories and, in the packaging category – everything from works for distilled beverage companies, seeds, frozen foods, cosmetics and other goods to CD and DVD sleeves and boxes. If you’d like to see the submissions turned in by the individuals and teams from around the world that beat the deadline (best of luck to you all), you can click on over to http://www.designaward.com,  where winning designs will be highlighted later this year. More info at  #adesignaward

c) Grammy Award Show Results – In case you didn’t get a chance to see them…during the pre-telecast “Premiere Ceremony” event on the Sunday afternoon prior to the recent award show in Los Angeles, the winners for the two design and packaging related Grammy Awards were announced, and they were:

For “Best Recording Package” –  Jonathan Barnbrook (art director) for Blackstar, performed by David Bowie and released on ISO/Columbia Records, and

For “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” – Gérard Lo Monaco, art director for Edith Piaf 1915-2015, with music by Edith Piaf and released on the Warner Music France label.

Although not album image-related, I would like to congratulate album note writers Ken Bloom and Richard Carlin for their Grammy-winning work on the liner notes for  Harbinger Record’s Sissle And Blake Sing Shuffle Along.

Congratulations to both the winners and this year’s other nominees for their continued great work in the field of album art and packaging design and production.

d) One of the tributes that was performed during the recent Grammy Awards telecast was in honor of the late David Bowie, so it’s nice to be able to report that one of this year’s Grammy-nominated works (and the eventual winner – Jonathan Barnbrook’s titillating cover for what would turn out to be Bowie’s final album – Blackstar ) was also recently honored with one of this year’s “Beazley Designs of the Year” awards, announced by London’s Design Museum in advance of an exhibition of all of the nominated and winning designs that was on display at the museum through February 16th.

In its ninth year, the Design of the Year awards celebrate design that promotes change, enables access or captures the spirit of the year. Previous winners have included the London 2012 Olympic Torch and the Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Barnbrook’s design was the top vote-getter in the Graphics category, while the overall winner was a project that produced the “Better Shelter”, an easily-transported, flat-packed housing module whose design team included the IKEA Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (who currently has over 30,000 of these tiny homes in use) and which, according to the item’s info page, “works to create more robust and appealing shelters for refugees” and which, while not solving the crises, “goes a long way to accelerate innovation, challenge unacceptable norms and communicate respect.”

So while an album cover design isn’t solving a humanitarian crisis, it is a fitting tribute to an artist who used his considerable public visibility and personal resources to support a number of charities, including Save The Children, Witness, War Child and many other groups that do.

https://beazleydesignsoftheyear.com/#/project/blackstar

e) Last year, when U.K. utility company Smart Energy GB set out on a country-wide effort to install “smart meters” in every home (with each meter including a small, in-home display that shows users their consumption stats), they turned to noted designer Sir Peter Blake (of Pepper’s fame) to help design and illustrate promotional materials for that effort. Now, in an example of generosity to one of the country’s charitable organizations, Sir Peter has donated one of only 30 signed prints of his The Arrival of the Smart Meters to People United in Canterbury, U.K.

A recent article by Tom Pyman on the Kentnews.co.uk web site gives us the details and the very happy and grateful reactions of all parties involved – http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/dartford_pop_artist_sir_peter_blake_who_designed_cover_of_beatles_album_sgt_pepper_donates_unusual_homage_to_smart_meters_to_kent_charity_1_4869813

f) While we were all saddened recently by the passing of actress/feminist icon Mary Tyler Moore, it was something of a comfort to see this article posted by reporter James Reed on the Los Angeles Times web site in which we’re introduced to some of the work MTM did as a model for late 1950’s album covers, including several for a label called Tops, who included a young Ms. Moore’s youthful visage (and dancer’s physique) on records with titles such as Latin Favorites (by Miguel Lopez), Organ Favorites (by Steve Philips) and not one but two Gigi records – one for Gordon Fleming and the other for the Norman Leslie Orchestra. Included in the story is a link to a RateYourMusic.com page where you can find these covers and choose your favorites. While these early works don’t give us much of a clue as to how Ms. Moore would grow into the portrait of the intelligent, independent woman – one that didn’t rely on her looks to make it in “a man’s world” – they certainly help illustrate how the products released by record labels of the era most-certainly reflected the societal norms of the period.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-st-moore-album-covers-20170126-story.html

g) Those of you who’ve been following my writing over the years know just how impressed I’ve been about the long-lasting nature of some of the imagery that’s been created to help both promote a band’s music and to create symbols that fans immediately are drawn to (think the Lips & Tongue logo for the Rolling Stones, the Skull Fiend image for the Misfits, etc.). And whether you’re a fan of their music or not, you cannot deny that, since its first appearance in 1980, there have been very few icons that have so consistently identified a musical act as Iron Maiden’s “Eddie” (AKA “Eddie The Head”).

What’s interesting about this particular character is that, unlike many bands who’ve had only one or two artists responsible for the basic “look and feel” of a character, in Eddie’s case, there have been at least 8 artists who’ve all produced their own take on this key player, from Derek Riggs’ original adaptation of what was originally a mask used as a stage prop through the newest iterations created by Melvyn Grant and Mark Wilkinson. In this recent article by Joe DiVita for the Loudwire.com site, the author takes you through a timeline and overview of the 25 covers that have been produced for the various albums the band has released and, to add insult to injury, actually has the nerve to rank them (leaving, of course, a lot of room for discussion and online ranting and raving about the other guy’s stupid list).

http://loudwire.com/iron-maiden-studio-live-album-cover-artwork-ranked/

While I won’t be so bold as to rank them myself, I will go on record saying that, personally, I’m a bit partial to Mr. Riggs’ originals, along with Hugh Syme’s disturbing take found on The X Factor

h) While the idea behind the long-running “Sleeveface” site – where folks from all over the world worked to create interesting photographs by (according to the site’s definition) “…obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion” – has continued to inspire creative types to one-up each other via some really-entertaining displays of visual artistry, I was really impressed with a new music video just released by electronic music artist Corey Regensberg (working under the name Moon Bounce) in which he walks into a record store to find all of his favorite records now picturing his own image on the cover.

Realized by the talented music video director Peter English (working alongside animator/art director Raymo Ventura), Regensberg’s video for his song “Drugs” shows him appearing on the jackets for records such as …and, in some cases, bringing those images to life with himself as the main character. You’ll also get a kick out of how the production credits for this video are presented – nice job, people!

Nathaniel Ainley shares an intro to the project in this recent posting on the Creator’s Project blog –

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/corey-regensburg-iconic-album-covers

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

All text Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Interview with Isle of Man PO’s Paul Ford on The Islands and Bridges Stamp Set by Roger Dean

Interview with Paul Ford, Stamps & Coins Coordinator, Isle of Man Post Office (UK) about the Islands & Bridges stamp set by Roger Dean

 

Roger Dean Islands and Bridges

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

This past August, I reported on an art show that was taking place on the Isle of Man built around the works of artist Roger Dean.  With a portfolio that includes not only album cover imagery but (both alone and working with his talented brother Martyn) stage designs, architecture, calendars and a wide variety of merchandise, Dean’s fantastic work continues to impress fans with its ability to transport you to places beyond the imagination. He has worked in many different media, creating designs and illustrations for commercial and fine art customers, including several  architectural designs he’s done of dream-like living spaces and furnishings.

In addition to this show – titled Islands & Bridges – that ran through mid-November at the Manx Museum – a National Heritage organization on the U.K.’s Isle of Man – Dean’s works served as the basis for a collection of postage stamps produced by the Isle’s Postal Service, an organization that has gained a world-wide following of collectors who have been impressed with their previous series of collectibles, including specially-commissioned stamps featuring quintessential U.K. and Isle of Man subjects such as the works of the Aardman animation studio (Morph, Wallace & Gromit and Shaun The Sheep), artist Matt Sewell’s illustrations of birds and, of course, the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races.

Continue reading

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

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

Please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Sales/Auctions –

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

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

e) When Arthur Kanofsky was young, he was fascinated with fairy tales, fantasy illustrations and, as a Boy Scout in his Bronx troupe, reptiles (earning himself a Reptile Study merit badge!). Hoping to become a world-famous artist when he grew up, he took the first step in preparation for this career when he enrolled in NY’s Cooper Union College but, a year into his studies, he was drafted into the Army, bringing his talents to a special unit  – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops AKA “The Ghost Army”. These artistically-trained troops were sent in to areas where they created the illusion of the presence of actual Army units, fooling the enemy into thinking that they were out-manned/gunned via inflatable tanks, artillery, sound effects and dummy battalions. After his deployment, he returned to the U.S. and worked briefly in the theater before returning to his studies in art, design and photography at Cooper Union and graduating with honors in 1950. With his experience and impressive talents clear to prospective employers, Arthur (now Kane) accepted a position as the art director for Seventeen Magazine becoming, at age 26, one of the youngest holding this position at a major publication.

With his highly-unique talents and experiences combining to give Kane exceptional conceptual/compositional skill set, Kane became a must-have photographer for all of the best-known photo journals and magazines of his time, with his works appearing in the U.S. in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Look, McCall’s and others and overseas in the Italian versions of Bazaar and Vogue, Amica, Stern, German Vogue and Zeit. His subjects included celebrities in the fields of music (Bob Dylan, Cream, Aretha Franklin, Jefferson Airplane, Jim Morrison, Sonny & Cher, The Who and Frank Zappa), art (Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and Cy Twombly) and photo illustrations for a wide range of subjects, from the concentration of talent in Harlem, NY illustrated in his famous 1958 portrait titled Jazz to the struggle for civil rights down South as well as the plight of wounded war vets and many other aspects of the politics and cultural changes that were taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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

5) Other articles of interest –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special announcement –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Cover Hall of Fame All Points Bulletin –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All text Copyright 2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of December 2016

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He will be missed.

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

3) Sales/Auctions –

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

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

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

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

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

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Other articles of interest –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All text Copyright 2016/2017 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the month of November, 2016

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

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

 

By Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s early December, 2016, and WOW! has a lot happened since we last communicated. Of course, the results of the U.S. elections early in the month have either demoralized or energized half the population here, with only the news of the Chicago Cubs breaking their 108-year World Series drought bringing everyone together in peace and harmony, if only for a short while…With all of the uncertainty remaining as to what’s in store for us here, you’d think that there’d have been a brief slow-down in the output of news relating to the art and music scenes but, no, creative people continue to do what comes naturally and, therefore, other people with related businesses and interests (galleries, publishers, collectors, etc.) continue to do what they do to share what they do with the rest of us. As you’ll find in this most-recent summary of news from the world of album cover artists and the wonderful products they’re creating for us fans and collectors of the genre, I believe that we’ll all find enough inspiration to see us through whatever comes our way.

This month’s summary, which includes the results of both our own activities here at the ACHOF and those of other experts in the world of music-related design, art and photography, will still provide you with sufficient proof that the people that make our favorite album imagery are working hard to contribute quite regularly to the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

Special Note – In case you missed the mid-November announcement of the people who were inducted into the Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, you can click on over to the special intro page on the ACHOF site where you’ll find the details. This year’s list of inductees in each of the six major categories will impress you with their range of talents and depth and breadth of their respective portfolios, so why not take a moment to review the details at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2016-inductee-intro-page/

Very exciting to see names such as Roberta Bayley, Brian Griffin, Dave McKean, Stan Evenson, Paul Whitehead, Laura Lipuma-Nash, Jeri & John Heiden, Vaughan Oliver and Roland Young included in this year’s list, but each inductee’s impressive list of accomplishments has served to entertain and impress us all, so let’s give them all a hand and kudos for jobs well done.

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

Once again, congratulations to all of this year’s inductees, and thanks for the contributions you’ve made to the careers of many of the music industry’s best-known and admired musical acts (and their fans, too).

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

a) Not exactly sure if this counts as an “exhibition” in the normal sense of the word…no, I have to say that it is not “normal”, but it will certainly be an exhibition, and a very punk one at that. On Saturday, November 26th, Joseph Corre, the son of two punk-era icons – designer Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, the creator/manager of the Sex Pistols and himself the man behind the Agent Provocateur lingerie line – celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of the Pistol’s record “Anarchy In The U.K.” by setting fire to a collection of punk-era memorabilia worth an estimated £5 million ($6.2 million) somewhere in Camden, U.K. and invites other like-minded individuals to add their trinkets to the bonfire.

Corre believes that this was the best way to draw attention to the degree that Britain has commercialized what was supposed to be the most anti-commercial movement, particularly as the country has spent all of 2016 staging some very commercial (and government-sponsored) celebrations of “the birth of punk’s” 40th anniversary. Whether you agree or disagree with the degree and style being put on display by this protest, you must admit that it serves as a wake-up call to those of us overtaken by complacency lately. As you’ll read in Hili Perlson’s article on the Artnet.com site – https://news.artnet.com/people/punk-memorabilia-to-burn-450458?

Joseph believes that “the most dangerous thing is that they have stopped fighting for what they believe in. They have given up the chase. We need to explode all the shit once more.”

UPDATE – To bring new meaning to the Holiday tradition of roasting things on open fires, punk scion/fashion industry heavyweight Joe Corre kept true to his word and, this past Saturday, set ablaze a valuable collection of punk memorabilia to protest the over-commercialization of all things and punk things in particular (“Come celebrate Punk’s 40th Anniversary”, the headlines read). In this just-posted BBC video of the event (held, quite appropriately, on a barge in the Thames River, ala a stunt staged by the Sex Pistols 40 years ago), you’ll watch as Corre briefly introduces the stunt and then uses a flaming torch to set ablaze items including clothing, posters, etc.. “Punk was never meant to be nostalgic”, he stated. No punks were harmed in the making of this video.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38120496

b) The Albany Institute of History & Art recently launched an exhibition featuring the work of rock photographer Patrick Harbron that will be of great interest to fans of classic rock imagery. The show, titled “Rock & Roll Icons: Photographs by Patrick Harbron” (and runs through February12, 2017) is built around the portfolio of the photo-journalist and portrait artist who has contributed his talents to album packages for acts including Black Sabbath, George Carlin, Bruce Cockburn, The Nylons, Rush, Triumph and everyone’s favorite Canadian talk show hosts, Bob & Doug McKenzie (The Great White North– “Take Off, You Hosers!”). In addition to a fine selection of photos, the show adds other items from Harbron’s personal memorabilia collection, including posters, magazines and tour souvenirs.

Read more about the show and the talent behind it via Michael Hallisey’s recent article on the topic on the web site of local (Albany, NY-area) news service “The Spotlight” – http://www.spotlightnews.com/thespot/2016/11/10/harbron-photos-of-rock-icons-at-the-albany-institute-of-history-art/ and then on the Gallery’s own site – http://www.albanyinstitute.org/rock-and-roll-icons.html

c) In November, the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor (Long Island), NY gave its customers a chance to see photographer Eric Meola’s display of a collection of previously-unseen photos taken during the June, 1975 shoot for one of Bruce Springsteen’s best-known album cover images – that for his mega-hit record Born To Run. Meola, who went on to become one of the world’s busiest shooters, has spent his time more-recently travelling around the country to photograph tornados (I guess that standing next to the late Clarence Clemons while he played his sax wasn’t loud enough for him!) and other scenes off the beaten path, but it was his photos of the emerging superstar taken to help package his then Magnum Opus that established the Long Island, NY resident as one of rock’s go-to photographers.

The Gallery in Sag Harbor was not too far from the place where Eric and his family have called their home for many years. An intro article about the show and the man whose photos are featured in this exhibition can be found on the Dan’s Papers site – http://www.danspapers.com/2016/11/eric-meolas-born-to-run-shares-unseen-bruce-springsteen-photographs/

More info about the show and the gallery can be found on their site at http://www.tullaboothgallery.com/index.shtml

d) Blondie founder/photographer Chris Stein’s photo show at the Gallerie Agnes MonPlaisir in Paris (“Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk”) closed after the weekend of November 13th, but if you’re in the area and are a fan of Stein’s band, his band mates (inc. singer Debbie Harry) and his amazing photos of other mega-stars of the era – Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, Andy Warhol and others, shot in classic venues including CBGBs and Warhol’s Factory in NYC or the Beverly Hills Hotel out West, be sure take a look a pix from the event on the gallery’s site – http://www.agnesmonplaisir.com/en/9-cs.html

e) In support of a new show now on display at the Society of Illustrators’ Gallery in NYC called “Drawn To The Music” – in which a slate of illustrators have created unique works of art based on lines from their favorite songs – the gallery held an Opening Reception during which visitors had the chance to see these wonderful examples of the way “music influences art influences music”. Illustrators have always played an important part in the world of music product packaging and promotion – from mega-works such as Klaus Voorman’s cover for Revolverfor The Beatles, Lee Conklin’s trick-of-the-eye “Lion” pen drawing found on Santana’s debut record and Al Hirschfeld’s one-of-a-kind portraits found on Aerosmith’s Draw The Lineto the lettering and background images found on countless other albums – so it’s fascinating to see how today’s illustrators use their talents to visualize  famous song lyrics…Society of Illustrators “Drawn To The Music” show – https://www.societyillustrators.org/exhibits/drawn-music

f) Ron English “Popaganda” pop-up art show at The Wood Shoppe ” (a “‘bodega’ of cannabis-themed pop art and images”) was on display in NYC through November 8th – see interview in Section 2, below, to read more about this influential and prolific artist…

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Rarely do you get a chance to see an album cover as it is being made and, in this amazing example of having a video camera on hand in the right place at the right time, fans of the band Radiohead can actually watch long-time band album artist Stanley Donwood paint the cover while the band is recording the record in the studio next door! Clicking on over to Gil Kaufman’s recent article on the comsite, you’ll be able to launch a video, taken late last year, where you can act as a “fly on the wall” in Donwood’s studio (in France) as he works while you hear singer Thom Yorke recording vocals to a track on their most-recent record – A Moon Shaped Pool– in the background.

I often ask album artists if they’re given the chance to hear the music before they begin work on a project (usually “yes”, often “no”) but here, in this case, inspiration comes right through the walls!

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7580291/radiohead-artist-stanley-donwood-a-moon-shaped-pool-video

b) 36 years ago (1980), U2 released their first record, simply titled Boy. In Europe, the record featured the photo of a very young, shirtless boy on the cover and, although the boy in question turned out to be the young son of one of Bono’s friends, record distributors in more-puritanical countries (yes, that means the U.S.) were “unhappy” with the image and demanded an alternative, which was put together by photographer/designer Sandy Porter and used up until 2008, when re-issues were able to use the original photo.

In this recent article by U2Songs.com contributors Aaron J. Sams and Don Morgan, you’ll read an interview they did with Porter about that project and how he created the new image as one of the first projects he worked on after his 1979 graduation from London’s Royal College of Art (rather an auspicious start to a career, wouldn’t you say?). Working with little time, no budget and not much in terms of source materials (sounds familiar, doesn’t it, fellow producers?), Porter and Island Records designer Bruno Tiley collaborated on what would turn out to be an important early image for a band set on super-stardom. What you’ll like about this article is that Porter dug into his archives to provide several fascinating images of works-in-progress and some of the alternative designs that were proposed prior to the final one being selected – fascinating, I think you’ll agree – http://www.u2songs.com/news/coverboy

c) New to the Modern Vinyl site and podcast is a feature built around album cover artist interviews conducted by artist Michael Paul Escanuelas titled “Missing Artwork”. The first interview posted is with artist Dewey Saunders about the very psychedelic cover image he created for Oxnard, CA-based recording artist Anderson.Paak’s 2016 release titled Malibu. Saunders has created several other trippy collages for other Paak records and has produced nice work for clients such as Traffic Skateboards and the Red Bull Music Academy, so this interview provides fans of album art/illustration a unique peek behind the scenes of an artist hard at work for his clients and their fans – http://modern-vinyl.com/2016/11/01/missing-artwork-s01e01-dewey-saunders-anderson-paak/

Interviewer Escanuelas’ own site shows a nice music packaging portfolio as well – http://cargocollective.com/michaelpaul

d) Boy, does this man know his pixels! Artist David Larkham, long an icon to fans of album cover artwork due to his memorable work for Elton John, Three Dog Night, Leo Sayer, Ambrosia and many others, continues to impress us with his newer works, such as the fine art portraits he’s created using a fascinating pixel-based technique he’s perfected. David just sent me a link to a video he’s created that shows him producing his latest work, a portrait that introduces us to the winner of the recent presidential election in the U.S. (well, at least in a parallel universe, thus giving us the title for the 3-minute “making of” film he’s produced that features the music of Late Show with Steven Colbert‘s house band, Jon Batiste & Stay Human).

Thanks, David, for sharing this and for your continued great work – https://youtu.be/F98rYAaUZ9A

e) When he’s not conducting and performing as part of the ensemble that provides the music for the Broadway production of the Disney musical “Aladdin“, Andy Grobengieser uses his artistic talents in a rather unusual -yet-impressive fashion – he creates Lego versions of some of his favorite album covers, musical acts, classic rock instrumentation and other Broadway productions. He’s rightly proud of his work and, as you’ll read in Stan Polanski’s article for the Effingham (IL) Daily Newsservice, he’s hoping that large numbers (at least 10,000) of people like his work enough to vote on the Lego site so that the company will consider adding Andy’s creations to their line of available project kits.

You’ll get a kick out of his cover recreations for bands including Boston, ELO and Journey (I was particularly fond of his Jeff Lynne Lego figure) along with his takes on electronic instruments (including the Moog synthesizer) and everyone’s favorite album art prism image. Read the EDN article first at http://www.effinghamdailynews.com/news/local_news/altamont-native-proves-legos-aren-t-just-for-kids/article_5010419f-e163-5df1-ba37-2fa78a3a2cc1.html and then click on over to Andy’s site at http://www.grobiebrix.com/ to see his full line of creations.

f) Over on the Thump/Vice site, writer Ali Gitlow treats us to profiles of ten graphic designers who have excelled at creating visuals for many of today’s most-successful electronic music artists – people who are often not well-represented in the mainstream music press but who have legions of fans in clubs all over the world. While early electronic musicians – Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Synergy and others – used album cover imagery to raise the visibility of their recorded music products in the days before the Internet, today’s designers are tasked with creating graphics for their clients’ many touch points with their fans – set designs, web sites, merchandise, videos and more – and so to learn more about these talented (young) creatives and see their work is quite the treat.

You’ll meet designers based in the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., Europe and Russia, each with their own unique take on how best to create just the right imagery for their popular clientele – https://thump.vice.com/en_us/article/graphic-designers-electronic-music-list

g) I had the opportunity last year to see a small gallery show that featured photographer Jerry Uelsmann’s fascinating (and, sometimes, disturbing) photo-montages, so when I saw this recent article on the Music Universe site about the composition that rocker Bon Jovi has included on the cover of their most-recent record – This House Is Not For Sale– I knew that I had to share it with you. Considered one of the pioneers in digital photo manipulation, Uelsmann was a professor at the University of Florida and has displayed his works in exhibitions and galleries all over the world. In addition, over 20 books have been published that include his work, so it is with particular pride that Floridian and Music Universewriter Buddy Iahn lauds the artist’s latest commission – http://themusicuniverse.com/bon-jovi-album-cover-is-work-of-florida-artist/

To see what Uelsmann is doing these days – and to see many more examples of his work (for which he won a Lucie Award For Achievement in Fine Art Photography in 2015) – I’d invite you to visit his web site at http://www.uelsmann.net/

h) The writing staff at teamrock.com recently posted an article on their site in which they talk to noted cover designer Aubrey Powell (of Hipgnosis fame) about “the making of” one of Pink Floyd’s best-known cover images – that for the band’s 1975 release titled Wish You Were Here, an image which showcased a handshake between two nicely-dressed men, one of whom happened to be on fire. According to the article, executives at the group’s label at the time (Harvest/Columbia) didn’t appreciate the liberal use of symbolism (no one likes “getting burned” by their partners), and so it’s interesting to hear from Powell about how the team managed to include a number of unusual elements in the record’s packaging, including their use of a black plastic wrapping which concealed the provocative cover…

http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-10-21/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here-album-artwork-interview

i) World-renowned pop artist Ron English – who has a very nice portfolio of album cover images to his name, including work for The Dandy Warhols, Slash and Korn, among others – has used his talents to help illustrate just how crass, manipulative (but, ultimately, influential) ads for consumer products can be at times, so with his unique eye and mind set brought to task, we now have a chance to see how he thinks the world might look one year after the world has decriminalized cannabis products in a new show now on display in NYC. Writer Ben Adams, in a recent article for Merry Jane magazine, shares an interview he did recently with English about the new show during which he shares his take on the world of advertising, consumerism, info on some of his newer works and how album covers and posters can still be valuable additions to the arsenal of products that musical acts can enable to engage and communicate with their fans – https://www.merryjane.com/culture/ron-english-popaganda-popaganja-art-show-interview

j) Photography has always been an important part of how rap and hip-hop artists have both shared their creative visions with us and used those images to project whatever aspects of their personalities and life styles – whether real or imagined – the so chose to share, but the identities of many of the photographers who’ve been there to document these personalities and participate in their projects remain somewhat hidden. Artsy writer Demie Kim helps lift that veil of secrecy a bit with a new article featuring profiles on a dozen of the most-prolific shooters working in that genre since its earliest days, including Chi Modu, Michael Miller, Lisa Leone, Ricky Flores and Jonathan Mannion, among others – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-12-photographers-who-captured-hip-hop-from-old-school-to-the-90s

k) Jonathan Mannion shows up again in another recent posting on Hip-Hop album cover photography, this time in an article on the Bella Naija info/entertainment portal about a new show of his photos of artists including Jay-Z, Nikki Minaj, Drake and others in Lagos, Nigeria organized as part of Cognac-maker Hennessy’s art and music series called “Hennessy Artistry”. Learn more about the show, titled “Beyond The Music” with Jonathan Mannion – via the link at https://www.bellanaija.com/2016/10/hennessy-nigeria-presents-jonathan-mannion-the-legend-behind-hip-hop-album-covers/

https://www.hennessy.com/en-int/music/hennessy-artistry

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Now with all the ads for “Pre-Holiday Black Friday Extravaganza Super Sales” bombarding us, it’s nice to find an opportunity to find a unique product (or several) on offer from one of today’s better-known rock photographers. Ami Barwell’s portfolio of projects for acts including Motorhead, Foo Fighters, Iggy Pop, R.E.M., Paul Weller and The White Stripes (among many others) has given us fans many great portraits of our favorite musicians, so it’s great to see that she’s now going to offer several of her better-known images on a line of t-shirts that are available via her Etsy site – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ByAmiBarwell

Barwell’s photos have also graced the covers of music released by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Interpol, Bang Bang and The Cribs, so now you have a chance to add works by an accomplished shooter to your collection for a song (they make great gifts, too).

b) The Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction house’s soon-to-end Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction and, for fans of album art, there are several items you might want to take a look at. There are photos – both for the actual album covers and alt takes shot during the same sessions – as well as artwork, printer’s proofs and other related production items for albums by The Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Little Feat, Lita Ford, Journey, Stevie Nicks, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zant. Of course, memorabilia collectors will also find 800+ items including costumes, instruments used on stage, lyric sheets, posters, gold record awards and much more, so hop on over to the company’s site to take a look and get ready for the final auction action that takes place December 2nd.

Take a look and, if you’re lucky, bring home a new addition to your collection this holiday season.

All album cover-related items –  http://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/catalog.aspx

Original Artwork – http://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html

c) Some pretty impressive sales results were posted during Heritage Auction’s Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction (as described in detail in earlier postings) which took place Saturday, November 12th in Dallas, TX both online and in person at their facilities. Examples of the items sold include:

– a “first state” mono Beatles “Butcher Cover” (the recalled cover to the band’s Yesterday & Today record) sold for $42,500, while a stereo version realized $8,125;

– a set of 12 color photos (including the negatives) taken on the set of The Beatles’ in performance for the film Hard Days Night was snapped up for $9,000;

– a promo stand-up for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers LP – featuring Mick Jagger – was sold for $3, 000;

– a 1976 EMI promo poster for the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The UK” was picked up by some lucky collector for $1,875

There were loads of other interesting items that found new homes, so if you’d like to scour through the listings, feel free to click on over to – http://www.ha.com/7154

d) Remember that auction at Sotheby’s in London I told you about recently that was built around portions of the late David Bowie’s personal art collection? Well, they held the first segment (one of two) yesterday (Nov. 10th) and – well, let’s put it this way…rich people still have money to spend! For the 49 lots offered for sale – which included works by Warhol, Basquiat, Duchamp and others – the auction house raised over $30 million, well over twice the pre-auction estimates. Then on Friday the 11th, they held the auction for the remaining lots (with a focus on a collection of works of the “eccentric” Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Milan-based Memphis group) which, until now, looked to bring in another $3-5 million to the estate’s coffers. I had thought that it’d go a bit beyond that (wouldn’t you agree) but, in reality, the entire collection raised just under 1.4 million GB pounds, or approx. $1.75 million You can read more about that night’s details on the comsite in reporter Colin Gleadell’s summary of events, via the link – https://news.artnet.com/market/744056-744056? Two key items from the collection – Bowie’s Giacomo/Castiglioni record player and a lipstick-red “Valentine” typewriter – sold for big money, with the stereo going for £257,000 and the typewriter fetching £47,500.

There had been opportunities to look through examples of the items that were put up for auction during shows that have been staged in venues in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, New York and London over the past year, but collectors at the London event had the unique opportunity to preview the entirety of what was be put up for sale (over 400 items!) at the Sotheby’s location in London, with an overview to this display provided to us by Artsy‘s Lorena Munoz-Alonso in this recent posting on their site – https://news.artnet.com/market/memphis-bowie-collector-sale-sothebys-london-730169?

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Photographer Michael Zagaris has taken some of the best-known photo portraits of rock’s royalty – the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed & The Velvet Underground, Eric Clapton, Blondie, The Clash and so many others who found their way to the San Francisco Bay area in the 1970’s – and since he approached his subjects as a fan (rather than a paid shooter) most of the time, he was able to capture them in ways that more formal photo sessions would not have been able to. It also produced a large archive of unused photos which, until now, have mostly remained unseen, but Zagaris and the folks at Reel Art Press have worked hard to rectify that situation and recently released an anthology of his work called TOTAL EXCESS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL ZAGARIS.

The books 272 pages include hundreds of shots of stars in performance, behind the scenes and just mugging for the camera, capturing many of them early on in their careers. Fans of the ever-changing popular music scenes of the 70s and 80s will find a lot to love here. Zagaris, who started his career as a law student working for Robert Kennedy, took up photography to help him recover from the shock of Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 and soon after began covering the awe-inspiring local music/cultural scenes, which The Guardian‘s Charlotte DeFazio provides more details about in her recent profile on the man behind the camera – https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/nov/07/rock-photographer-michael-zagaris-the-who-rolling-stones

Read more about the book on the publisher’s web site at http://www.reelartpress.com/catalog/edition/91/total-excess-photographs-by-michael-zagaris

b) While the late Swiss artist H.R. Giger may perhaps be better-known to the art world for his contributions to the movie business – after all, he did come up with the Oscar-winning surreal designs for James Cameron’s 1979 and 1986 sci-fi classics Alienand Aliens(who can forget the uber-scary Xenomorph creature and the doomed cargo ship?) – music fans have always been most-impressed with Giger’s fantastic cover images for classic rock records including Emerson Lake & Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery and Debbie Harry’s solo effort titled Koo Koo.

To honor the painter/sculptor/set designer’s amazing portfolio of work, the folks at Taschen Books have just released a new book for collectors (simply titled H.R. Giger) that includes 400 “SUMO-sized” (15″ x 20″) pages that detail his paintings, sculptures, record covers and designs for films, the stage and his own unique take on architecture and design. The limited-release tome has been produced in an edition of only 1000 copies and includes scholarly essays, a number of multi-page spreads, examples of the artist’s own writings and much more. Priced at $900 per copy, the book is available now via Taschen’s web site – https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/art/all/06390/facts.hr_giger.htm where you will also find details on the two additional “Art Editions” of the book that are also available – a $2000 edition of 100 pieces that is signed by Carmen Giger (the artist’s second wife and director of the Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland) and is packaged with Untitled, “a ready-to-hang relief cast from an original polyester sculpture created by Giger in 1964” and a 100-piece package priced at $3000 which adds a copy of a 1965 photogravure titled Gebärmaschine (Second state).

Make this book your lucky star…”You…lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky…”

c) Publisher United Editions has released a new limited edition compendium of designs made for punk and post-punk record releases called Action Time Vision: Punk & Post-Punk 7″ Record Sleeves which, according to the publisher, “is a celebration of DIY graphics… all have an urgency and an exhilarating disregard for design conventions that makes them exceptional. They are all clarion calls for independence and freedom from pop industry norms.” Examples of these works were in the collections of Unit Edition’s founder Tony Brook and scholar Russ Bestley, and the book also includes interviews with luminaries and experts in the field, an example of which is designer Malcolm Garrett, whose covers for the Buzzcocks, Simple Minds, Duran Duran and others helped usher in the use of computers and other DIY tools to create memorable images for music industry clients going forward. Creative Reviewwriter Mark Sinclair caught up with Garrett to discuss both his role in the development of this still-impactful aesthetic and, in particular, how his collaborations with the Buzzcocks moved him along the path to a new visual language for the punk era – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/action-time-vision-malcolm-garrett-buzzcocks/

You can take a closer look at the book on the publisher’s web site at https://uniteditions.com/

d) Wilfred Limonious might not be well-known to rock music fans here in the U.S., but to fans of album art – particularly to fans of Jamaican dancehall music – his illustrations are legendary and continue to influence many in the world’s design community. To document his work, author and Edmonton (AB, Canada) library technician Christopher Bateman undertook a lengthy world-wide search (including multiple trips to Jamaica) to collect hundreds of examples of work and the details behind them, ultimately publishing the results in a new 272 page hardcover book (published by One Love Books) titledIn Fine Style: The Dancehall Art of Wilfred LimoniousEdmonton Journal reporter Fish Griwkowsky talked to Bateman just prior to his book launch event this week and shared the details in an article –  http://edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/books/edmonton-author-pays-tribute-to-legendary-jamaican-artist-limonious

e) Continuing on my reporting of new punk-era-themed books coming to market (you’ll recall my earlier report on United Editions’ new book on punk/post-punk 7″ single sleeves), I found a recent report on the Creative Review(U.K.) site about publisher Phaidon’s recent book built around the archives of collector/punk era historian (and one of the designers who founded the London-based artist collective called the Grey Organisation) Toby Mott called Oh So Pretty – Punk in Print 1976-80 that I want to point you to. With a collection of over 1000 items to select from (posters, flyers, ‘zines, album covers, etc.), the book’s 512 pages include over 500 photos/illustrations that, according to the publisher, reflect “a DIY spirit and instantly recognizable aesthetic that was as raw and strident and irrepressible as the music. As disposable as the items in this book once were, together they tell a story about music, history, class, and art, and document a seismic shift in society and visual culture.”

Read more about the book in Mark Sinclair’s article at Punk book – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/oh-pretty-punk-print-1976-80/

and you’ll find additional details on the Phaidon site at http://www.phaidon.com/store/fashion-culture/oh-so-pretty-punk-in-print-1976-1980-9780714872759/

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Voting has begun for this year’s “Best Art Vinyl” competition, staged by frame-maker and lover of all records packaged in 12″ square sleeves, the U.K.’s Art Vinyl. Visitors to the site (http://www.artvinyl.com/LP-records-displayed-as-artwork-prize/) can view the 50 nominated album cover images and then select three to put your support behind during the voting period which lasts from now until early January, with the results being posted on January 5th.

Fans in Italy and the U.K. also can look at the covers in person at two exhibits currently on display – one at the Semm Music Store in Bologna, Italy and the other at London’s Vinyl Cafe (Kings Cross), with the winners being announced in an event at the Hari Hotel in the Belgravia section of London on January 5th.

The team at the Creative Review site have put together a nice overview of the competition for your perusal prior to voting – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/art-vinyls-record-sleeves-year-2016/

and then, when you’re ready, you can head on over to the voting page to add your input – http://www.artvinyl.com/best-record-cover-design-competition/

May the best designs win – stay tuned for more details.

b) Film-maker Adam McDaniel has launched his fund-raising campaign on the IndieGogo site for the film he’s working on about the career of the late great illustrator Richard Amsel.

One perk available to supporters provides a double-dose of album art talent – Art Director Mike Salisbury, who worked with Amsel on promo art/materials for films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Dark Crystal (and who, like Amsel, also created an impressive collection of album cover images), has donated two signed copies of his now-out-of-print book An Art Director Confesses: I Sold Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll to the campaign, each available to collectors in return for a $150 donation.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/amsel-illustrator-of-the-lost-art-movie#/

c) Boulder, Colorado-based specialty vinyl publisher/record club Vinyl Me Please has impressed collectors with their dedication to special packaging, delivering music by both established (Beck, Black Sabbath, Fugees, Weezer and others) and “emerging” (The Books, Nils Frahm, Glass Animals, etc.) in packages that include colored vinyl, unique album imagery, posters, stickers, etc. – a much more-fulfilling retail packages for fans of the acts featured each month.

Another Vice-related site called The Creator’s Project recently posted an article written by Beckett Mufson about how VMP artists have reworked ten classic album images to create something new and exciting for the club’s subscribers. The new covers for Sabbath’s Paranoid and Beck’s Odelay certainly are eye-catching, but it’s up to you to decide which ones best-represent the music packaged inside…

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/10-classic-album-covers-get-modern-illustration

d) The Beatles’  Sgt. Pepper’s record features what is perhaps (if you believe the polls – is that a wise thing to do these days?) the best-known and loved album cover image in rock music history. The assemblage created by Sir Peter Blake, Jann Haworth, Michael Cooper and art director Robert Fraser featured life-size cardboard cut-outs, wax figures and other props, with the band and many famous/infamous people included in the mix. Over the years, this image has been spoofed, recreated and bastardized for a variety of different purposes, so it is not surprising to see another like the one featured in this ITV News article. However, this one – created by Twitter user christhebarker – is particularly poignant as it includes images of the many celebrities – including musicians such as David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen (talk about up-to-the-minute) and others well-known around the world (it even includes a bright red “Make America Great Again” cap in the foreground).

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-11-11/touching-tribute-to-celebrities-lost-in-2016-using-sergeant-pepper-album-cover/

To see the larger version posted on the artist’s site, follow this link – http://www2.b3ta.com/host/creative/4270/1478856455/2016lc.jpg

Bonus content – If you’re like me, you thought that 2016 was a pretty horrible year overall (for a variety of reasons). If you’d like to tell the year to “Kiss Off” in a slightly more vulgar fashion, here’s a link to a video that comedian/social commentator John Oliver created that features appropriate send-offs supplied by celebrities and us “normal” (i.e., depressed) people, too – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ6WPo-oW5Q

e) I’m very excited to be able to share some preliminary details with you regarding designer Lawrence Azerrad’s newest project with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) that, based on my first read, should be of interest to anyone actively involved in the design community (either as an artist/illustrator, branding/marketing executive, packaging designer, etc.) and, in particular, those who focus on the intersection of the worlds of art/design and music.

Boing Boing‘s David Peskovitz recently posted an intro article on the project –https://boingboing.net/2016/11/04/design-and-the-future-of-the-m.html in which Azerrad relates why he believes that, in today’s much-more-passive music world, people are missing out on many of the aspects – particularly the visual ones – that used to draw fans closer to the musical acts they admired, so he hopes that, with this initiative, designers can work to re-establish these ties. This also has the nice side-effect of keeping more of those working in the visual communications field employed and busy with music industry-related projects… Read more about the project in an aptly-titled article (“The Design + Music Industries are BFFs—They Just Don’t Know it Yet”) you’ll find on the AIGA site – https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/the-vital-links-between-the-design-music-industries-how-can-they-enhance-one-another/

I’ll be sure to share more as I learn more about this exciting new initiative.

f) You’ve seen examples of “sleeve-facing” before here in our news summary, but this is the first time I’ve seen one brought to life and, in this case, it was done in support of the efforts of a classic rock radio station, so it’s all the more appealing (at least to me). If you click on over to this article by David Kiefaber on AdWeek’s “Adfreak” feature page, you’ll find more info and a link to a video created by Vancouver (Canada) ad group Spring for their client, local classic rock station Rock 101to promote it’s morning oldies show where staffers lip-synch to song clips from the Rolling Stones, Bowie, Loverboy and others all while having a portion of their faces/bodies covered by a classic album cover image.

Nicely done, and proving, once again, the long-lasting connection between time-honored music and the sleeves they’re packaged in – http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/radio-station-made-fun-clever-use-album-covers-ad-its-morning-show-174094

g) While singer/actor Jarrod Spector has garnered a good reputation for his own musicality via his featured roles in the Broadway musical hits Jersey Boys and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, if given the opportunity to star in a new musical featuring the songs of his own favorite musical act, without hesitation he’d star in one – if it existed – that was based on the music of Bruce Springsteen. Raised in the Philadelphia, PA area, Spector has been a fan of The Boss and his music for as long as he can remember, and so when Playbill Magazine photographer Monica Simoes approached him to work on re-creating several of Springsteen’s best-known album covers, he was only too happy to oblige (in fact, he includes his own version of “Born To Run” in his cabaret act). Playbill writer Mark Ezovski talks to Jarrod about his career and Bruce fandom in this article – complete with photos and performance video – for the Playbill web site –  http://www.playbill.com/article/exclusive-jarrod-spector-covers-bruce-springsteen-and-recreates-iconic-album-covers

R.I.P. I’d like to note the passing of Al Brodax this past week at the age of 90. For those of us growing up in the 1960’s, Mr. Brodax delivered a couple of examples of what would turn out to be very-influential cartoon animation while at King Features Syndicate – the Saturday Morning Cartoon Beatles series (beginning in 1965) and then, in 1968, working with a meager budget and very little help from the band, produced a psychedelic film (directed by George Dunning, art-directed by Hanz Edelmann and featuring art/animation by a large crew that included Ron Campbell, Paul Driessen, Dianne Jackson and Heavy Metal director Gerald Potterton, among others) for the ages – Yellow Submarine.  You can read Brodax’s William Grimes-penned obit in the NY Times via the link – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/movies/al-brodax-who-steered-the-beatles-yellow-submarine-to-the-screen-dies-at-90.html?

He’s a REAL Nowhere Man, now, but will forever hold a place in this young (now old) Beatles fan’s heart.

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

All text Copyright 2016 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.