Tag Archives: Juxtapoz

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For June/July, 2018

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

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

 

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Music and art have been proven to be able to bridge the divides between people of different cultures, upbringings, lifestyles and mindsets while, at the same time, improving our creative competencies and our abilities to understand and appreciate different perspectives. I’ve recently experienced two examples of this that fortified – at least for me – the veracity of the elements included in my opening statement. The first was my recent purchase of an oil painting of a scene (a small compound of houses and outbuildings seen on the horizon of a field of green – “Early Spring” by artist Gary Stretar) that makes me smile and yearn for a more idyllic life (something our current political situation makes me dream for even more). The second example – much less personal than the first – was the posting of late night host James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment filmed in Liverpool with “the cute one”, Paul McCartney, during which they toured Paul’s boyhood/teenage haunts around the city, including Penny Lane (and the barbershop there), his childhood home and a local pub he and his chums played at early on in their careers. The faces of EVERYONE the pair encountered – young and old, conservatively-dressed and tattooed, etc. – showed the pure bliss people experienced both seeing the former Beatle out in the open and, at the end, hearing him play some of his best-known songs with his current band in an intimate setting. Anyone watching that segment was, at least for the moment, caught up in the joy of the whole thing and could remove themselves, however briefly, from all of their/our daily woes and contemplations of the future.

I begin this month’s summary with the news that, at least for the next several months, my news summaries will be more frequent but shorter in length and the number of stories featured. The reason for this is simple – there is a lot of research and writing that needs to be done for the ACHOF site in order to bring it up-to-date. I have, for the past 2 years, amassed the raw data for a huge number of artist bios I’d like to add to the site, and now is the time to turn my attention full-time into editing that information and posting it on the ACHOF site. I’ll also need to make some changes to the site’s navigation and search engine in order to make it easier for visitors to find and read those bios, so I do hope that you’ll be patient as I add these things to the site because, at the end, it’ll most-certainly be worth it, making the site’s content (and finding it!) all the more useful, easy and enjoyable.

For now, I invite you to dig through the treasure trove of news releases and articles were made available on the exhibitions, interviews, artist profiles, book/print publications and other album cover art/artist-related topics. As you’ve seen in my previous news summaries, if you simply read the summaries I’ve written and click the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world on items featuring many of your favorite – or soon to be favorite – album art creators. I would like to have you pay special attention to a new article just-published in the renowned arts and culture publication Ragazine written by – guess who – why ME of course! It’s an updated version of my interview with Elton John’s favorite art director and designer, the talented David Langham, about his work on the wonderful packaging for the now 40-year-old classic EJ record, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road –  http://ragazine.cc/2018/07/covering-elton-johns-gybr-mike-goldstein/

As always, I ask that you 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) The downside of writing and editing a monthly news service is that, sometimes, things that I report on are here and gone before I can share the info with you. When something takes place that is extremely time-sensitive, such as the reporting of a death in the industry or a “surprise” sale, I’ll do my best to release a flash news update via social media. There are cases, though, that I have learned about an event too late to share it in any meaningful way, and so I’ll just resign myself to having to report about it after the fact. Such is the case with the recent Markus Klinko photo exhibition held at the Mouche Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA for the two weeks from 6/15 thru 6/30/18.

One of the most sought-after shooters in the world of celebrity photography, Klinko is perhaps best-known for the output stemming from his long-term creative collaboration with the late rocker David Bowie, including the cover for his 2002 album Heathen and a number of other well-known portraits. He’s also produced the memorable album cover/packaging images for mega-stars including Beyonce (Dangerously In Love), Mariah Carey (The Emancipation of Mimi), Mary J. Blige and dozens more, and for this recent exhibition – titled simply 2000’s – the curators gathered a fine collection of photos that, according to the gallery, depicted “a variety of pop culture milestones that have truly defined the decade of the early 2000’s.”

The show was sponsored by FUJIFILM North America and also put on display a collection of cameras and lenses Klinko used over the years as he moved from using traditional photographic equipment and tools into the world of digital post-production, being an early adopter and experimenter and helping set trends in the then-new world of digital photography.

You can take a look at what was on display via this link to the Mouche Gallery web site – http://mouchegallery.com/event/markus-klinko-2000s/

b) Photographer Brian Griffin continues to bring his impressive portfolio, along with the tales on how they were created and his take on how and why his images continue to impress music/art fans all these years later, to exhibitions around the world, most-recently at the Crescent Arts Centre as part of the Belfast Photo Festival, which was on display from June 17th through the 27th.

Complete coverage of this show, along with an interview with this world-renowned talent, can be found on the Irish Times web site at https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/beats-shoots-and-sleeves-the-art-of-the-album-cover-1.3527959

c) While I’ve reported on a couple of Guido Harari-curated rock photo shows since the beginning of the year, a show of Harari’s own photos, organized in an exhibition called “Wall Of Sound”, opened this past June 28th at the Galleria nazionale dell’Umbria, from June 28 to August 23. Curated by Marco Pierini, director of Galleria nazionale dell’Umbria, and organized in collaboration with Solares Fondazione delle Arti from Parma, Umbria Jazz and Trasimeno Music Festival, the show presents a wide and eclectic overview on 40 years of Guido’s music photography output, with over 110 photographs included from Harari’s extensive archive, featuring important music acts including Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel and many, many more. The show runs through the 23rd of August, and there’s information on the show on the Gallery’s web site (in Italian) – https://gallerianazionaledellumbria.it/exhibition/guido-harari-wall-of-sound/

d) With a portfolio that contains a number of album cover photo credits in the Jazz, Reggae and Funk genres, including shots for records by jazz greats Stanley Clarke, Alice Coltrane, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock; funkmaster George Duke, singer Marvin Gaye and hit makers Earth Wind & Fire, it’s exciting to see that the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles recently launched an exhibition titled Bruce W. Talamon: Soul, R&B and Funk Photographs 1972 – 1982 that will give fans “a revealing look into the untold and unknown moments that happened off the stage and outside the recording studio, showcasing a period in musical history as seen through the eyes of a young African-American photographer at the start of his career.”

On display now through the first of August and curated by Nwaka Onwusa, music art/photo fans are now given the chance to appreciate the fascinating imagery that Mr. Talaman captured at a number of the venues and events that helped introduce fans of all stripes to the best talent working in those genres in that time span, including Isaac Hayes at the Wattstax Music Festival, backstage at the legendary Soul Train television studio and performances by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, the Jackson Five, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Barry White and many others. The show is sponsored by Taschen Publishing, who has also just released a book by the same title that contains nearly 300 photographs selected from Talamon’s archives.

Bruce went on to work as a contract photographer for Time magazine in the 1980s, with his works also gracing the pages of publications including Ebony, People, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines.

More info about what’s on display during the Bruce W. Talaman show at the Grammy Museum can be found on their web site at – https://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/bruce-w-talamon, while more info on the corresponding book/catalog is available at https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/photography/all/05340/facts.bruce_w_talamon_soul_rb_funk_photographs_19721982.htm

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

There have been quite a few interview and/or profile articles published in the past couple of months, featuring talent from every area and genre within the music business, so I think it’d be most-beneficial to you simply to point you in the direction of these missives and let you go at it at your own pace…

a) Photographer Mark Seliger describes the work behind a number of his best-known portraits, including those of  LL Cool J and Kurt Cobain plus comedian Jerry Seinfeld, artist Cindy Sherman, former president Barack Obama and others in this nice article on the Artsy site by Molly Gottschalk – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-celebrity-photographer-mark-seliger-stories-8-iconic-portraits?

You can follow that article up with another on the always-popular Mr. Seliger, with this one being an interview with NPR’s Ari Shapiro posted on the All Things Considered page –  https://www.npr.org/2018/05/22/613032671/get-something-that-no-one-else-has-gotten-says-photographer-mark-seliger during which he tells some insights on how he works to differentiate his work from the mainstream (“get something no one else has gotten”) and elaborates a bit about his new book called Mark Seliger Photographs which, according to the article, “collects some of the best images from his last 30 years, including presidents, actors and rock stars.”

b) Here’s a new profile/interview article on the PosterHouse web site with artist David Byrd, one of the premiere poster artists employed by the Bill Graham organization (primarily at the Fillmore East in NYC) but who also gained national recognition with his original designs for the Woodstock festival and for The Who’s first staging of their rock opera Tommy in New York and who would go on to use his talents on projects for clients on Broadway and elsewhere in the music business – https://posterhouse.org/from-woodstock-to-broadway-the-poster-art-of-david-byrd

His artwork was also featured on a number of album covers, including Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out for the Rolling Stones in 1970, Lou Reed’s Sally Can’t Dance in 1974 and others for Country Joe & The Fish, The Frost, Essra Mohawk and several others.

c) OMG – it’s been 40 years since the release of Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town record and our first catching sight of photographer Frank Stefanko’s  shot of The Boss leaning on a doorframe and looking out at all prospective purchasers of this LP, so it’s with great interest and more than a bit of nostalgia that you’ll enjoy EW writer Sarah Sahim’s recent interview with Mr. Stefanko on making of this memorable cover portrait – http://ew.com/music/2018/06/08/bruce-springsteen-darkness-on-the-edge-of-town-cover-frank-stefanko/

d) I’d somehow missed this interview with illustrator and painter Sam Spratt, posted in March on the DJBooth.net site – which gives the details of his work on covers for Logic and a detailed look into his development process – https://djbooth.net/features/2018-03-09-sam-spratt-interview-covered

e) Profile of Cleveland, OH-based artist James Quarles and his work for hip-hop artists Muamin Collective’s latest release titled The Hues Brothers…the clever lads who began calling themselves that homonym early on relied on James to bake in some imagery derived from the works of famed film directing/producing pair Albert and Allen Hughes (AKA The Hughes Brothers, makers of Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, etc.) – http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2018/05/creating_the_cover_behind_the.html

f) Writer Jack Boyle’s recent HighSnobiety.com profile of and interview with Cary Fagan, the Texas-based photographer/art director who’s the one responsible for A$AP Rocky’s newest album cover called TESTINGhttps://www.highsnobiety.com/p/cary-fagan-asap-rocky-testing-album-cover/

g) A lover of art, music and skateboarding who grew up in Philadelphia and studied graphic design at the prestigious Tyler School of Art, Dewey Bryan Saunders chose to best express himself creatively via works of collage art built from images he hand-cut from popular magazines. Now busily working in Los Angeles, Saunders has become an in-demand designer for cutting-edge (sorry) musical acts such as Anderson .Paak and Lil Uzi Vert, introduced in greater detail to us here in William Emmons’ recent article in the UC Santa Barbara news service The Daily Nexus –  http://dailynexus.com/2018-04-26/dewey-bryan-saunders-the-artist-behind-your-favorite-album-cover-art/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) The Gotta Have Rock & Roll “Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction” scheduled to commence this coming July 11th (ending on July 20th) features several items that should be of interest to album art collectors, including several originals from the collection of noted designer Larry Vigon (who’s notable album cover credits include – The Rembrandts – The Rembrandts; Bonnie Raitt – Nick of Time; Sparks – Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat; Rick Springfield – Rock of Life; Fleetwood Mac – Mirage, Greatest Hits and Tusk; Stevie Wonder – Secret Life of Plants; Oingo Boingo – Deadman’s Party; Thomas Dolby – Close But No Cigar and Astronauts & Heretics,  plus many others), such as the paintings he did for the front and back covers of Eric Clapton’s 1985 record Behind The Sun and the comps, including George Hurrell’s hand-tinted photographs, of the cover art he created for Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 hit record Mirage. The preliminary info online also states that other items from Larry’s collection that will be on offer include “his hand drawn artwork for the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours as well as several drawings for their famous Penguin logo and Mick Fleetwood’s solo albums.” Also pictured in the preliminary auction documents is the original cover painting Vigon created for Chicago’s 1984 record titled Chicago 17, a rather unique take on the well-known John Berg/Nick Fasciano band logo-based covers, this time with the logo seemingly popping through a brown-paper wrapper (art director credits to the talented Simon Levy). No minimum opening bids have been posted, but I’d assume they’d be richly priced…

Although the official online preview isn’t up until July 4th, preliminary info I’ve been able to glom shows that other items of interest include original drawings by Michael Jackson, a John Lennon/Yoko Ono-signed photo from their 1969 “Bed-In” protest in Montreal, album and CD art signed by Nirvana and Led Zeppelin and quite a bit more (over 900 total items). If you’d like to see and learn more, I’d suggest that you pop on over to the company’s auction site – http://gottahaverockandroll.com/# – after the 4th of July Holiday to take a gander and then get your credit cards ready for action!

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Some of you who might remember my old gallery days will recall that I sold items from a line of intricately-crafted sculptures of iconic rockers/rock imagery made by a company called KnuckleBonz and, I’m glad to report, they’ve recently announced that they’re going to be manufacturing a line of limited-edition album cover art recreations they’re calling “3D Vinyl”. The first two items they’ve announced are stunning renditions of two great albums – Guns N Roses’ Appetite For Destruction and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, both of which are perfectly suited for a 3-dimensional sculpture.

https://knucklebonz.com/product/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here-3d-vinyl/

They’ve produced a nice intro video on this new Pink Floyd-based item that you can view at https://vimeo.com/276302319

https://knucklebonz.com/product/guns-n-roses-appetite-for-destruction-3d-vinyl/ will take you to the page on their site with all of the details on the AFD 3D Vinyl product, with the promo video available at https://vimeo.com/276296813

I’ve reached out to the talented team of designers and marketers who’ve created these new products and hope to bring you an update on their efforts soon.

b) Modern Rocks Gallery has announced the availability of several new images that should be of great interest to album cover art collectors, including a print of unique B&W treatment of Vic Singh’s fisheye lens-made masterpiece featured on the cover of Pink Floyd’s debut record  Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/featured-prints/pink-floyd-vic-singh)  and an expanded collection of renowned British photographer Robert Whitaker, best known internationally for his many photographs of The Beatles, taken between 1964 and 1966 – including the covers for hit records by the band – including the images used on the covers for their notorious Yesterday & Today LP, AKA “the Butcher Cover” , as well as his photographs of the rock group Cream, which were used in the Martin Sharp-designed collage on the cover of their 1967 LP Disraeli Gearshttps://www.modernrocksgallery.com/robert-whitaker-photographer .

c) I’ve written several times over the years about companies that have licensed album cover art and imagery to be used to make a variety of merchandise, including notebooks, clothing, clocks, mugs and the like, but I was really taken by the line of “official music wallpaper” and murals offered by the UK company Rock Roll that, for the rock art nerd looking for something memorable and stylish for use in their next home decorating project, is just about the coolest thing out there.

According to their promo materials, “’Rock Rolls’ official music wallpaper and wall murals have been designed in collaboration with some of the world’s biggest bands. We’ve partnered with musicians from Black Sabbath, The Who, and Guns n’ Roses to Rolling Stones and Green Day to create high-quality music wallpapers featuring some of rock’s most memorable artwork.” These officially-licensed products come in rolls measuring 500mm (approx. 19.7 inches) in width and 10 meters (32.8 feet) in length and are printed on thick, poster-quality (180gm) paper, with each roll priced at £70 (approx. $92). Murals based on the same basic designs come in sizes starting at 3.29 x 2.5 meters (10.8 feet  x 8.2 feet) up to 4.23 x 2.5 meters (13.9 feet x 8.2 feet) and are priced from £250 ($328) – £350 ($460), plus postage and handling.

Patterns available include cover imagery and logos from the previously-mentioned acts, including the iconic Lips & Tongue logo from the Stones, the “bullseye” logo for The Who, My Chemical Romance’s great spider logo and album art from Appetite For Destruction, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Black Parade, Never Mind The Bollocks… and Quadrophenia, among others.

Now’s your chance to add some class to your man/woman caves. It’s OK to cover up your old beer logo art with these modern masterpieces, I swear  – https://rockroll.co.uk/

More coverage in this article – https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/home-garden/interiors/design-news/the-worlds-first-licensed-album-art-wallpaper-by-rock-greats-including-the-rolling-stones-the-sex-a121316.html

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Juxtapoz Magazine has started a weekly series called Sound and Vision that, with each article, shares the details behind the making of some of your favorite album covers. According to the editors, “Album artwork is one of the primary ways that musicians and visual artists are able to collaborate, and many iconic album covers are simultaneously iconic pieces of pop art,” and that’s the motivation for these new features, with a new one released every Sunday. The first was   a feature on the making of the cover for the 1998 hip hop classic Aquemini which, according to the author, “cemented OutKast, and Southern hip-hop in-general, as a force to be reckoned with. The album features a number of skits and classic tracks, centering around Big Boi and André 3000s’ giant personalities and showcases their incredibly symbiotic relationship. The cover was designed to showcase that same thing.”

https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/design/sound-and-vision-outkast-s-aquemini-and-an-interview-with-creative-director-dl-warfield/

The article is built around an interview with the album’s art director, DLWarfield, who shared the basic idea behind the cover’s look – that is, to remind fans of 1970’s “blaxsploitation” films and those groovy old posters painted on black velvet…The second posted article was about  Andy Warhol’s famous “banana cover” for his favorite band at the time, The Velvet Underground & Nico – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/design/sound-and-vision-the-velvet-undergound-nico-s-the-velvet-undergound-nico-cover-artwork-and-production-by-andy-warhol/

While the most-recent posting brings us the details about Raymond Pettibon’s work for the first record released (in 1979) by punkers Black Flag, an EP titled Nervous Breakdown. Pettibon, who’s last name was originally Ginn (he decided early on to change his name to “Pettibon,” a re-working of a nickname -“petit bon” – given to him by his father), was the brother of the band’s founder and guitarist Greg Ginn, and it was Raymond’s in-your-face (“get any closer and I’ll clobber you with this”) imagery that helped define the band for fans, along with, ultimately, those of other stable mates on his brother’s SST Record Label. Enjoying that creative work greatly, he went on to use his prodigious self-taught skills as an illustrator for punk and other anti-establishment groups in the LA area, creating many designs for gig posters, merch and album covers.

https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-black-flag-s-nervous-breakdown-cover-artwork-by-raymond-pettibon/

Eager to see where this series goes as it continues…

c) Did you ever buy a record solely on the basis of loving its album cover image? That’s the question posed by writer Jeff Terich in his recent article titled “Shadow of the Horns: The Art of the Metal Album Cover” found on the Treble (“Music for the Bleeding Edge”) web site – https://www.treblezine.com/art-of-metal-album-cover-shadow-of-horns/

He does bring up an interesting generational difference, noting that the music consumer today rarely if ever buys music without having first heard it – easy to do online, vs. “the olden days” when fans would trek to their retail location of choice and then begin the process by scanning what was on display on the wall and the aisle end caps before finally digging through the bins to see what looked interesting. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles on the subject, the first record I bought without knowing both the band and their music was “The Best of the Sir Douglass Quintet”, a record that featured a cover photograph shot in such a way that the musicians were in shadow and looked, to the untrained eye, like the quintessential British band. Putting the needle down on the first cut – “She’s About A Mover” – showed me otherwise, but I loved the record anyway….

d) Bruce at Vinyl Connection (Australia) posted a 2-part article on album covers from down his way –

https://vinylconnection.com.au/2018/05/01/8-aussie-album-covers-part-1/

https://vinylconnection.com.au/2018/05/08/8-aussie-album-covers-part-2/

I love Bruce’s articles as he always includes great examples of cover work for a wide variety of acts, from the one’s that became international stars (Midnight Oil, INXS, etc.) along with the many Aussie bands that I’ve never heard of and now must research (a good thing). Thanks again, Bruce!

e) Oasis What’s The Story long-lost shoot image – The long-time photographer of Oasis has said he was thrilled to have unearthed a never-before-seen unprocessed picture from the shoot for the band’s (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? cover. Just when you thought you’d seen everything, here’s something more…https://www.tv3.ie/xpose/article/entertainment-news/269787/Oasis-photographer-unearths-unprocessed-Morning-Glory-picture-from-1995

f) Here’s a recent news video posted by the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles about design great John Van Hamersveld’s recent efforts that resulted in the production of a HUGE mural on a water tank in El Segundo – http://abc7.com/society/iconic-album-cover-artist-creates-mural-in-el-segundo/3582634/   JVH was an El Segundo HS alumnus…The amount of thinking, preparation and coordinated production effort that resulted in this masterwork is truly inspiring (design students, pay attention here!).

More related coverage can be found online at – https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/legendary-artist-john-van-hamersveld-honors-the-city-of-el-segundo-and-local-surf-legends-with-massive-mural-300637193.html

g) Prog art/music fans will find this one of particular interest…artist Burton Silverman’s son Robert shares the story behind the sad fact that his father’s art was sold for a pittance to be used on what would end up being one of the music industry’s most-recognized album cover images – that being the watercolor image of a decrepit old man (an idea based, as it’s been reported, on band-leader Ian Anderson’s photo of a homeless man walking near London’s Thames River) on Jethro Tull’s 1971 concept LP Aqualung.

“In 1971, Terry Ellis, the co-founder of Chrysalis Records, paid him a flat $1,500 fee for the three paintings which would comprise the album’s artwork, consummating the deal with nothing more than a handshake. No written contractual agreement was drawn up, and, much to his eventual dismay, nor was any determination made about future use.” Continuing with “The money and the physical paintings are long gone, but what remains for dad still has immense value: the ability to reclaim the narrative and say what really happened.”

As we’ve seen time and time again – as you’ve seen in my earlier articles on Robert Crumb, Gerard Huerta, Karl Ferris and the multiple artists who claim credit for the Lips & Tongue logo for the Rolling Stones! – for other examples of working arrangements/agreements that paid little to the artist while reaping in millions for the folks that commissioned the works , it always pays for visual artists to spend the time to work out iron-clad agreements when working with clients in the music business…

https://theoutline.com/post/4490/jethro-tull-aqualung-cover-artist-burton-silverman?zd=1&zi=nxc7ka4n

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

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 by 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 March, 2017

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

Greetings once again from Chicagoland. Winter is slowly turning into Spring and, I have to tell you, this past Winter wasn’t anything like the ones I remember as a kid growing up here 50+ years ago. In fact, it was almost like a Portland winter (rain, one big snow, lots of mild days) and it has confused the heck out of me (and the plants and trees and people who shovel snow for a living), but I’ll take it any day over -30 degree wind chills, snow up to here and icy sidewalks. Too bad that we had to ruin the planet to make for a nice winter in Chicago, but that’s another column for another publication…

Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap – April 2014

Album Cover News Recap – April, 2014

April was a particularly busy month with regards to album cover related news. Highlights of this past month’s coverage include information and interviews with award-winning designers, several new books on rock and album cover photography, details on the latest gallery shows both in the U.S. and overseas, new Featured Fan Collections and Featured Artist Portfolios and, uncharacteristically, even some scandal and intrigue! There’s always something new to see in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site

April 30 – Nice interview (by writer Bill Jones on the Digital Trends site) with photographer Robert Knight about how he’s managed to become the “shooter of choice” for a number of musical acts (Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few) while their fame and careers grew. Robert has some good advice for photographers hoping to build their portfolios of “memorable photos” (hint – it’s not as simple as saying “I’ll just go photograph the Rolling Stones”).http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/robert-knight-grooms-next-generation-of-concert-photographers/

April 29 – 1) Running thorugh May 4 at the Brook Gallery in Budleigh Salterton (UK) is a show featuring the works of Storm Studios – Storm Thorgerson, Peter Curzon, Dan Abbott and Rupert Truman. In a recent interview on the Western Morning News site, photographer Truman shares some of the details on how this creative team produced many of their best-known images and, if you’re a fan of Storm’s work, you can’t help but be impressed about how these scenes were created. Rather than relying on computer-generated effects, if they wanted a 12-foot diameter disc partially buried in the sand for a shot (as they did for Steve Miller’s Big Discs), they built it actual size. For more details and info about the show, please visit http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Creating-art-record/story-21017570-detail/story.html

2) Many of you will recall musician Andrew W.K.‘s rather-bloody album cover for his “I Get Wet” album…well, building on the image’s popularity, Andrew’s merch team has released a new design for a t-shirt, now featuring the always-entertaining mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. Definitely worth a look – it’s bloody hysterical! Party hard – http://andrewwk.com/news/rob-ford-party-hard-t-shirt

April 28 – 1) I have to admit that I’ve never explored this angle – it seems that, for nearly 10 years, there’s been an ongoing discussion on the Prog Archives site about album covers featuring main characters that are bald. It turns out that there are quite a few – who knew (or, who cares)? It was fun paging thru the covers – everything from Gryphon to Kansas to Pink Floyd’s Metal Heads is included – http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=98034&PN=1

2) If you haven’t picked up the May 2014 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine – as part of their year-long 20th anniversary, they’re focusing on what they call “pivotal figures in contemporary art” and, as part of that effort, there’s a nice interview article with master collage artist/agent provocateur Winston Smith, known for his album covers for The Dead Kennedys, Green Day and many others. Always great to see folks whose works I admire included in these features – http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/on-sale-now-may-2014-with-alexis-ross-nick-cave-chris-johanson-winston-smith-and-more

April 25 – 1) To honor Rob Stringer for winning a recent Music Week award, David Bowie presented him with a custom-crafted re-creation of his classic Heroes album cover image, done “Daft Punk style”. I hope that this comes out as a print/poster – it’s quite stunning! As reported on the SPIN magazine web site –http://www.spin.com/articles/david-bowie-daft-punk-heroes-art/

2) Fans of all things vinyl-record related might want to consider a visit to the new exhibition at the Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art now through July 27th. Titled “Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records” and curated by the museum’s Senior Curator Rene de Guzman, this comprehensive display “explores the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting, and sharing records” and includes sections where visitors can see – and listen to – some of the impressive collections of a number of vinyl record aficionados. There’s also a nice album cover-related section, along with a film on the subject. I’m hoping to get some additional info/images on this show for you soon but, in the meantime, you can visit the museum’s site at http://museumca.org/exhibit/vinyl-sound-and-culture-records for more info. Let me know if you go!

3) I’ve just finished Graham Nash‘s book Wild Tales and while it gave me some insight into the complicated relationships between Nash and his band mates (and the women he loved), I just saw this article on the Never Mind The Bus Pass site (part of their “Classic Album Covers” series) about the cover for a related band – The Byrds – and it just made me wonder even more about the whole Laurel-Canyon-very-talented-ego-driven aspects of that part of the late 60s-early 70s music business. The degrees that they seemed to be willing to go to just to give what my grandmother called a “zetz” to their friendly competition are quite impressive – read the whole story via the link and let me know what you think – http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/happiness/classic-album-covers-the-notorious-byrd-brothers-the-byrds/

April 24 – In our ongoing effort to point fans of album cover art to places where they can find out more about it and the people that make it, I’d like to point you all to a site I found yesterday – Jive Time Records “Album Cover Galleries”http://jivetimerecords.com/blog/category/album-cover-galleries/ – This site is managed by the folks at Jive Time Records in Seattle, WA, a well-established used vinyl store located there. They’ve curated a number of themed album art galleries, including ones dedicated to psychedelic design, vintage designs, exercise records, artistically-defaced record jackets and covers featuring fruit and vegetables! I’ve added this link to the ACHOF Resources site as well. Enjoy!

April 23 – 1) Album cover art seems to inspire the most-creative people to bring things to another level…in this case, a London-based makeup artist/musician named Natalie Sharp has applied her skills to re-create 8 album covers – on her face! While she says that these records aren’t necessarily her favorites, she was inspired by them and, while I’m not sure I’d go outside looking like this, the results would certainly be head-turning. My favorite one is the Talking Heads cover – how about you? More on this in John Doran’s article on The Quietus web site – http://thequietus.com/articles/15044-lone-taxidermist-fact-paint-record-store-day

2) While I usually don’t report on anything of a sensational nature (there are plenty of outlets for that these days), I was rather taken-aback by the news about the accusations made against photographer Terry Richardson. As reported in the NY Daily News, model Emma Appleton has accused him of having offered her free photo services in exchange for sexual favors. He denies it, she stands by it, and Vogue magazine has gone on record saying that they won’t work with him in the future. Of course, this was all done over Twitter…The celebrity art and photo world is surely a world apart, except when it’s not. More on this via the link – http://www.nydailynews.com/terry-richardson-denies-propositioning-model-sex-article-1.1763389

April 22 – 1) Wax Poetics contributor Seb Carayol curated an exhibition that was on display thru April 24 at Sonos Studio in LA highlighting the accomplishments of the artists and musicians who’ve promoted “Jamaican Sound System Culture”, with a focus on the colorful album cover art by a trio of illustrators – Beth Lesser, Wilfred Limonious, and Pekka Vuorinen. If you’re not familiar with the genre, the album covers are a great introduction. In the accompanying article, musician ChrisBateman talks about his love for the covers featured on these little-seen albums and, in particular, the work of Limonious, who died 15 years ago after illustrating over 150 records (Bateman has a book out later this year on the subject) – http://www.waxpoetics.com/blog/guest-blog/illustrator-wilfred-limonious-drew-150-iconic-dancehall-lp-covers?email=limonious 

2) Fans of the Verve record label will have something to cheer about when author Richard Haver’s book on the label, titled VERVE: The Sound of America (published by Thames & Hudson) hits the shelves soon. Norman Granz’s label was one of the leaders in album cover design, and the book features a number of great examples. Steven Heller of the New York Times gives you a preview in his “Visuals” section –http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/03/28/books/review/28visuals-2.html

April 21 – 1) The 700+ entries for this year’s Secret 7″ event are up and available for viewing via the link. This year’s participating artists were given songs by a number of popular musical acts (including Black Sabbath and Lorde!) and came up with an amazing selection of customized covers. You can buy these works, but you won’t know who created them until you get one. Participating artists include Storm Studios (7 entries), Dan Tobin Smith, Ian Wright, Plasticgod, Richard Evans, Stanley Donwood and many others. Proceeds go to the War Child charity, so the money’s going to a great (and needed) cause –http://www.secret-7.com/gallery/

2) LA-based artist Young & Sick, who gave us the nice album cover art for Foster The People’s Torches record, shows another side of his creativity with the release of his new, self-titled debut record. AKA Nick Van Hofwegen, Y&S has also done covers for Robin Thicke and Maroon 5. To learn more about his own music and inspirations, please read this article by Brian Austin on The DePauw/WGRE site – http://www.thedepauw.com/mobile/features/foster-the-people-cover-artist-tries-out-the-music-industry-1.3162032

April 18 – 1) New interview alert! Last month marked the release of the 40th anniversary edition of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, so it is with great pleasure that I’m announcing the publishing of my latest interview, featuring none other than the designer for that great record package, David Larkham. David has worked as Mr. John’s designer for 40 years and has a long list of credits for other acts including Queen, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Van Morrison and many others. This is a must-read for fans of album cover design, so please pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in the topic – enjoy! https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/interview-with-david-larkham-elton-johns-goodbye-yellow-brick-road-album-cover/

2) Last night, I watched another BBC documentary (!!) called “Prog Rock Britannia” that aired a couple of years back and, if you’re a fan of YES, Procol Harum, The Nice, Soft Machine, Jethro Tull, ELP, etc., AND if you’d like to watch a discussion about the importance of album cover imagery as it relates to the genre, I’d invite you to click on this link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8De_YroimA

At about 42:45 (until 46:20), you will find the likes of Carl Palmer, Rick Wakeman and Mike Rutherford discussing the topic and, as a special treat, there’s a bit with artist Roger Dean that shows early comps of the YES logo (a classic!) and a scale model of one of his homes! As they flip thru some of his designs, it becomes quite clear to the viewer that the visual style of Avatar must have been derived from that film’s creators’ exposure to Dean’s images (and I’d say that in court, too!)…

April 17Record Store Day 2014 (which took place April 19th) included a list of specially-produced records that were made available. While the special day is past,  I’d suggest a visit to your local record emporium. Many of these will be limited-edition items, such as Christian Death’s “Edward Colver Edition” that comes packaged with a selection of the famed photographer’s photos of the band; Jerry Garcia’s Garcia, with this first solo album featuring Bob Seidemann’s awesome cover image; Sub Pop/KEXP’s special edition of the “Mudhoney On Top” recording done to celebrate both the band and the label’s 25th anniversary, recorded on the roof of the Seattle Space Needle (and with a very 50’s jazz-inspired record cover) and, in case you were waiting, a picture disc version of Sky Ferreira’s album in the nude, Night Time, My Time. To read the full list, please visit – http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases

April 16 – 1) As a follow-up to the item I ran a short while back about photos of the places featured on a number of well-known album covers, here’s a piece in The Gothamist about a NYC photo, taken in the 1930s, that was used on Van Morrison’s 1993 record Too Long In Exile. The photographer was Berenice Abbot, lauded chronicler of New York City –http://gothamist.com/2014/04/10/the_1930s_nyc_photo_that_served_as.php

2) Here’s another fine example (featured in an article on the Death & Taxes site) of the “fun with Photoshop” talent on display on the Web…in this example, a fellow by the name of Lance Underwood has created a blog called QT Albums, where you’ll find Lance’s recreations of well-known album covers for artists such as Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Dr. Dre where the main characters have been replaced with images of his very cute kids. I’m particularly fond of his reworking of What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye – what’s your favorite? http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/218835/dad-adorably-remakes-classic-album-covers-with-his-sons/

April 15 – Found an article about a show that I wish I had the chance to see in person, so I’m hoping that album cover art fans in New Zealand will let me know if/when they’ve visited this exhibition and what they thought of what they found there. The show I’m talking about is called the “Bleeding Vinyl Covers Exhibition” currently on display at Creative Tauranga (now thru May 6th, before moving over to the Lightwave Gallery in Mount Monganui for an extended run there). In this show, a number of artists have re-interpreted well-known album covers, and there’s an interesting interview with one of the artists – James Stanbridge – about his vision for a Moby Dick-based cover for Led Zeppelin. As always, it is fascinating to see just how younger artists are drawn to the notion of the record cover as an important element of Pop art – here are the details as given by writer Rosalie Crawford on the SunLive.com site –http://www.sunlive.co.nz/blogs/6301-reinterpreting-led-zeppelin.html

If you’d like to see more on the gallery site – click here – http://www.creativetauranga.org.nz/gallery/exhibition/bleeding-vinyl-cover-exhibition.html

April 14 – 1) A selection of former Life Magazine photographer Richard Busch‘s photos of music celebs including Hendrix, Clapton, Ike & Tina Turner and many others are in an exhibition titled “It’s Only Rock and Roll” currently on display at the gallery at 8 Chains North Winery in VA (now thru June 8). Busch was a busy photographer in the NYC area in the late 1960s, but he’s since moved to an old dairy farm near Washington, DC and now focuses his talents on pottery. Here’s an overview of the exhibition as it was featured on the LoudenTimes web site –http://www.loudountimes.com/news/article/wine_and_art_its_only_rock_and_roll_at_8_chains_north898

2) What do rock stars do during their free time while out on the road? Well, if you’re The Kills’ Alison Mossheart, you paint and, over time, put together an impressive portfolio of work. As she explains in a recent article in the NY Times T Magazine, her work went on public display for the first time (thru April 26th) as part of a group show at Art NowNY. The art on display reflects her feelings at the time they’re done, so there’s quite the array of emotions depicted in her work. If you’d like to see more of her work, follow the link – http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/on-view-the-kills-alison-mosshart-reveals-her-artistic-side/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

April 11 – 1) In the first of two articles published this week highlighting efforts to recreate the past, writer Laura Mitchell (of The Express) interviews photographer Mick Rock about his recent efforts to update some of his classic compositions using images of today’s top talent. You’ll see his re-do of classic shots of Queen and Debbie Harry featuring Danielle Parente and her band and there’s a video interview with Mr. Rock as well –http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/music/468470/Debbie-Harris-Queen-David-Bowie-Photographer-Mick-Rock-recreates-icon-Seventies-images

2) The UK’s Chronicle dug deep into their photo galleries to grab a selection of their iconic black and white images of rock/pop stars – Mick Jagger, Bill Haley, Lindisfarne, Eric Burden, AC/DC and others – and had an expert colorize them. The accompanying photo gallery allows you to toggle back and forth between color/non-color images and, in a nod to one of the many ways traditional publications are now “monetizing” their IP assets, fine art prints of these new images are also for sale – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/iconic-images-rock-stars-north-6935880

3) Finally, in the “please be sure to let your staff know to be careful about NOT throwing anything nice out when cleaning up after an auction” category, this story (on the ArtDaily site) about the Hong Kong police’s efforts to find a painting that was auctioned off for $3.7 million but, somehow, ended up (they hope) in a local landfill after being added to a pile of trash gathered by the cleaning staff of the Grand Hyatt Hotel there. While not really having anything to do with album cover art, I just thought that it should serve as a reminder to art collectors to be sure and pick up their winnings BEFORE leaving the auction (sheesh!) – http://artdaily.com/news/69334/Hong-Kong-police-search-landfill-for–3-7-million-painting-dumped-by-cleaners-at-Grand-Hyatt-hotel#.U0g6RvldUrU

April 10 – Well, I finally took the time to watch the BBC’s 2013 special called “When Albums Ruled The World” in its entirety and, naturally, I was pleased to see the inclusion of a number of interviews with album cover artists (Roger Dean, Aubrey Powell) and musicians (Grace Slick, Noel Gallagher, Rick Wakeman) with a keen appreciation for the importance of album art. At the 49:00 mark, there’s a nice overview of Pedro Bell’s covers for Parliament/Funkadelic, and that flows right into a segment where Aubrey Powell talks about Hipgnosis and their work on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Record producer Tony Parsons said it best – “The record collection WAS the art collection of the ordinary man” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em4kpy1YuNQ

April 9 – Here’s another article by Fuse’s Joe Lynch that introduces a video by LA hair band Steel Panther in which they discuss all of the rejected album cover image ideas of the ones they considered while developing their latest album, titled All You Can Eat. All of the concepts were based on classic works of art by DaVinci, Vermeer, Botticelli, etc., with DaVinci winning out at the end, with the cover a parody of his “Last Supper”. Keen-eyed viewers will also note another parody design – based on a well-known Van Halen cover – featured on band member Michael Starr’s t-shirt. I have to admit – I thought that band’s like this had disappeared (I mean, there’s a guy in the band named Lexxi Foxx – “Lexxi rhymes with Sexy!”) but, nonetheless, I do like a good parody album cover – http://www.fuse.tv/videos/2014/04/steel-panther-album-covers

April 8 – Here are a couple of interesting articles giving you some alternative ways to enjoy your favorite album covers –

1) My old chums at Fuse have posted an article by Joe Lynch that highlights a Flickr site run by someone named Harvezt who has created a number of images that give us his/her take on how famous albums covers might look if you were able to see them from another angle. You’ll get to see the Nirvana baby in the pool – from behind – along with alt shots of covers by Public Enemy, The Beatles, Metallica and others. Truly fascinating, and I hope to track down the mysterious Harvezt to find out more – http://www.fuse.tv/2014/04/beatles-nirvana-reverse-album-covers

UPDATE – after what seemed to be days of searching, I’ve given up trying to find out who Harvezt is – he/she has cleverly hidden him/her self. If anyone has been able to locate this person, please let me know! MG

2) Halley Docherty from the U.K.’s The Guardian has used Google Street to bring us to the locations where a number of well-known record covers were photographed. Via this article, you’ll be taken on a trip around the world to see the locations where covers for Oasis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and others were shot. Now, if someone wants to make it their life’s work to actually go to these places to confirm this work, I’d be happy to provide them a forum for regular updates on their travels –http://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2014/apr/07/classic-album-covers-in-google-street-view-in-pictures

April 4 – 1) Nice overview on the Tonedeaf site of artist Andy Warhol’s album cover artwork in an article called “Before He Was Famous, Andy Warhol Designed Album Covers”. In fact, Warhol got his start as a commercial artist working for RCA Records and, later, Blue Note Records, designing dozens of album, sometimes working with ACHOF “early influencer” inductee Reid Miles. Enjoy the slide show of 15 of his earliest covers –http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/slideshows/394373/before-he-was-famous-andy-warhol-designed-album-covers.htm#1

2) The Library of Congress is adding some 25 new recordings to its list of albums to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. U2’s The Joshua Tree (with cover photo by Anton Corbijn) and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel (cover photo by Eve Babitz) will be included, along with the single “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival, featured on their LP Willy & The Poor Boys, with cover art by Basul Parik. The AP’s Brett Zongker gives us all the details in his recent story on the Dayton Daily News site – http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ap/entertainment/u2-linda-ronstadt-among-25-albums-to-be-preserved/nfQTR/

3) Finally, while I was doing some research the other day, I found another site that offers a selection of the stories behind some of your favorite album covers. The UK-based site is called Never Mind The Bus Pass and is geared toward the Boomer crowd, but the record sleeves chronicled include selections from the 60s thru today. Hope to get hold of these folks soon to find out more about their work. In the meantime, here’s a link to their “Classic Album Cover” story archives – http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/category/happiness-archive/classic-album-covers/

April 3 – Some of you may recall an article I’d written a couple of months back about Pozzie Mazerati’s “Red Arrow” campaign, which came about as a result of a posting I had done on the Musicpage.com web site looking to feature the personal album cover art collections of folks in the music business. In the same category, I recently received a note from another musician about the sources for the artwork he used on the covers of his own recordings and so I thought that I’d once again expand the definition of what I was looking to include in this site’s “Featured Fan Collections” section to show you the works used by this artist to create the eye-catching covers for his albums. Ladies and Gentlemen – meet “The Insanitizers” – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-conrad-swartz-the-insanitizers/

April 2 – It’s exhibition-mania! 1) At the Brook Gallery in Devon, UK – Opening on April 4th and running for the next month is a Storm Studios show, featuring the works of the late Storm Thorgerson and his cohorts. Photographer Rupert Truman will be on hand to kick off the exhibition of works for Pink Floyd, 10cc, Muse, Steve Miller and many others – http://www.brookgallery.co.uk/category.php?catid=126

2) April 4th was also the launch day for a screening of a new film about artist Robert Williams, creator of one of my favorite album covers (Appetite for Destruction for Guns n Roses) and the subject of “Mr. Bitchin”, which is being shown as part of the Society of Illustrators Film Series at the Beatrice Theater in NYC. The artist will be at the event and will take part in a panel interview with director/producer Nancye Ferguson and art writer/editor of Paper Magazine Carlo McCormick – http://www.societyillustrators.org/Film.aspx?id=11297

3) If you’re anywhere in the NYC area, I’d suggest renting a car and driving up to the museum at the Bethel Woods Center for The Arts for their re-opening and their new exhibit titled “America Meets The Beatles”. In addition to a impressive display of Beatles-related art and memorabilia from the Rod Mandeville Collection, there will be an appearance by famed TIME Magazine photographer Bill Eppridge, who will be on hand to show and talk about his photos of the Fab Four’s first visit to the U.S. and their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (“Close your eyes, and I’ll kiss you…”).  http://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/bwevents/eventdetail.aspx?id=460