Tag Archives: Kanye West

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

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

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings to you all on this last day of June, 2017. Hope you’ve all had a nice Spring-to-Summer transition and that your plans for the next month include time to take advantage of some of the best of what the world has to offer – trips to the shore, family visits, attending a game or two of your favorite sport, eating great food and stopping by your favorite gallery or museum to see what’s on display there. I’m happy to provide you with the details of what’s showing in the Shows/Exhibitions summary that follows.

Of course, I’d have hoped that the last month’s schedule would have allowed me to make great progress on my book, but Life sometimes steps in and decides that your time is best spent in some other fashion (those of you involved in the care of an elderly person know what I’m talking about), so while I didn’t get 85% of the things done which I’d planned, I did get some additional content for the book from notables including photographer/designer/chef/man in a van Ed Caraeff, designer James Faulkner and author/historian/educator Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, among others, so if I ever get this book done, I know that album art/artist fans will most-surely enjoy what’s included.

In this month’s summary, you’ll find both a helpful recap of last month’s stories about the designers, artists, photographers and others who continue to produce great visuals for clients in the music business along with previews of what’s going to be on display and in-stores next month. As always. you’ll find that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works continue on with their quests unabated, and it continues to be my pleasure to be able to share the details about what they do with you and whoever you choose to share this information with. In the summary and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the escapades and triumphs of your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite) examples of album cover art/artistry that I’ve found in the daily news cycle, featuring stories of great interest and fascination delivered via the articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll find written on a wide range of related topics.

Once again, I urge you to 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) Here’s a reminder about the Gered Mankowitz/Rolling Stones photo show in Paris up now through the 22nd of July at the Photo12 Galerie on Rue des Jardins Saint-Paul. It’s called “Gered Mankowitz, The Rolling Stones Backstage” and, according to the gallery’s press, the images included in this show were “taken at the height of their early British fame and during their fourth American tour, the exhibition and book feature a combination of iconic material and previously unpublished images.

Gered was with the band constantly between ’65-’67 and this unique collection of photographs offers an intimate insight into the personalities of the Rolling Stones as they became world famous. He became part of the Stones’ inner circle and was treated as another member of the band. This gave him complete and unrestricted access to their on and offstage life.”

Album art images that are included in the show include the covers for Out of Our Heads and Between the Buttons. Some of the many covers credited to Gered also include – The Nice – Ars Longa…; Ultravox – Ultravox!; ABC – Lexicon of Love and Jimi Hendrix – The Ultimate Experience.

As you might hope, there’s a corresponding, limited-edition exhibition catalog/book also available, highlighting these shots (including many never-before-published) taken early on and also during  their 4th tour of America. The 96-page photo album is beautifully printed and comes in a slip case with photos front and back.

I’d invite you to first read an Intro article by the editors of L’Oeil de la Photographie –http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/en/2017/06/01/article/159953880/lintimite-des-rolling-stones-par-gered-mankowitz/  and then head on over to the gallery’s site for more – http://www.galerie-photo12.com

b) I rarely get to report on album art shows in the Asia/Pacific part of the world but, due to the availability of an article by Yukari Tanaka on the Japan Times site and the miracle that is Google Translate, I can now share some information about such a show now on display in Japan – KIT: Popular Music Collection — Exhibition of Album Art is currently on display (now through July 23rd) at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology, Grand Front Osaka, Knowledge Capital Event Lab.

According to the Museum’s introduction to this exhibition (unedited, so do your best) – “We will hold an exhibition entitled “Record Exhibition that Changed the World” this time. Following the history of “popular music” from the collection of 240 thousand records held by Kanazawa Institute of Technology will reconsider how the 20th century was creative. Please enjoy the unexpected dream trip that will lead to the future. In this exhibition, you can see about 5,000 record jackets… In addition, seven <installation booth> which close up important events in the history of popular music, you can experience the moment that changed the world.”

In other words, based on the photos of the show, it looks like they have set up a 50 meter-long chronology of world events and super-imposed important album art images to help illustrate what was happening in the world when these albums were released.

In Japanese, with English section titles – http://www.kanazawa-it.ac.jp/record/

Article on the Japan Times site – http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2017/06/27/arts/openings-outside-tokyo/kit-popular-music-collection-exhibition-album-art/

c) Part of the Manchester (UK) International Festival that’s kicking off today is an art exhibition titled True Faith that’s been built around the images of – and those inspired by – the talented artists who created the trend-setting album cover and promo imagery for Factory Records, lead by the iconic works done by designer Peter Saville, of which 14 images are included in this display.

Here’s a link to the recent Intro article in The Guardian featuring comments from show co-curator Jon Savage, who selects some of his favorites – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jun/27/factory-outlet-the-art-inspired-by-joy-division-and-new-order-ian-curtis

Saville’s favorite, as he relates in this interview by reporter Lucy Lovell found on the Manchester Evening News site, is Power, Corruption and Lies, the cover he produced in 1983 for New Order that’s based on French artist Ignace Henri Fantin-Latour’s 1890 oil painting titled A Basket of Roses after purchasing a postcard of the painting during a visit to The National Gallery… http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/iconic-joy-division-new-order-13206204

More info on the exhibition and other MIF events can be found at http://mif.co.uk/mif17-events/true-faith/

d) South Africa’s oldest newspaper, The Herald, just published an article about a recently-ended (but extended a short while in another location) album cover art show featuring over 60 years worth of cover artwork for musical acts from the region. A group of local designers and collectors curated the show, titled “SA Musical Graphics & Collectibles” and, according to the article, “this exhibition of 150 CD and album covers will take you on a nostalgic stroll down musical memory lane, from Arthur to Zonke, from Juluka to Savuka, from Springbok Hit Parade to the Springbok Nude Girls and plenty more in between.”

http://www.heraldlive.co.za/my-heraldlive/2017/06/08/alliance-francaise-soulful-exhibition-album-covers/

While I personally have next to no knowledge about the South African music/design scenes (although I have seen Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert 5-6 times – thanks, Paul Simon), I’m sure that this would have been an interesting show to see and learn more from.

e) As fate would have it, now that I no longer live in Portland, OR, one of the most-talented PDX-based designers was the subject of a new show that was held there recently and, as such, I wasn’t able to attend it in person but, according to the artist, the smart collectors back there swooped in and bought everything that was not nailed down, so while the show was scheduled to be running through early August, it’s now just a whisp of a memory…. The gallery that’s part of the East Side’s ultra-hip Jupiter Hotel complex was the temporary home of the aforementioned show by “the thinking man’s artist” and rock poster/album artist extraordinaire Emek, the Israeli-born artist and guy responsible for the surrealistic covers for records by artists including Erykah Badu, Neil Young, Bad Religion, Blue Cheer, Los Lonely Boys, Henry Rollins and many others.

https://jupiterhotel.com/artist-emek-first-friday-june-2/ for a recap and https://emek.net/ for the latest on this talented man’s career.

f) Genesis Publishing, responsible for some of the most-bautiful music art/photo-related collectible books made available to collectors, recently staged a gallery show in Soho, London to celebrate the release of their 100th edition. From Friday, June 16th to Sunday the 18th (including a reception on the 17th), company staffers moved in to the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms to set up an impressive exhibition of “prints, books, and rarities spanning our four decades of publishing.  Running across two floors, the show will include many of our authors and artists, including: Jeff Beck, Mick Fleetwood, George Harrison, Sir George Martin, Yoko Ono, Jimmy Page, Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Sir Jackie Stewart, Klaus Voormann, Paul Weller, Ronnie Wood and many more.”

Audiophile Man Paul Rigby just published an overview of exhibit on his site that gives you all of the details – http://theaudiophileman.com/george-exh/

g) It’s not often that I can share images I’ve taken of a show, but now that I live “in the big city” (Chicago) and one that has several world-class art establishments, I’m pleased to include some shots I took at the Takashi Murakami Exhibition at MOCA in Chicago, including several of the original works of art that were used in the packaging of Kanye West’s Graduation I was really taken by the scope of the artist’s work, but my day was made when I entered a room to find the “Dropout Bear” sculpture and the several oil paintings used on Graduation‘s packaging. As someone whose career included a stint in the animation business, it’s always fun to see the works of an artist whose own works reflect the cartoon world’s impact on his/her own creativity… Writing for the Chicago Tribune, reporter Audrey Gorden takes a look at the show and provides a lot of background into the relationship between two distinctive creative personalities and how they worked together (for nearly 3 years!) to achieve a milestone in contemporary album cover packaging – http://www.chicagotribune.com/redeye/culture/ct-redeye-murakami-exhibit-mca-chicago-20170605-story.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dropout Bear Sculpture (AKA “Kanye Bear, 2009”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduation Cover Painting (2009)

h) Given the opportunity to showcase 25 of your favorite rock music-related images in a gallery setting, which ones would you choose? In a show called “The Music Seen: Beyond the Stage” now running in the St. Louis, MO area through July 14th, an admitted “photography addict” – Jeff Appel – has given visitors a lot of great imagery to absorb. According to Robert Bullivant, proprietor of the gallery where the 25 photos – most in B&W and sized at 11″ x 14″ – are currently on display, the show is “a unique opportunity to show some of the best-known musical artists in both their onstage as well as offstage moments, as captured in a documentative style by some very talented photographers – a combination of performance art and visual art, if you will, but also considering the human side, meaning sure, these were famous musicians, but they’re people, too.”

Here’s a show intro as provided in the local Ladue Newshttp://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/new-bullivant-gallery-exhibit-showcases-years-of-musicians/article_d59eb885-4c20-5a43-bd1d-7828073d608b.html

i) Writing for the Kent Online site, Angela Cole gives us the details of a recent show at the Chappell Contemporary Art Gallery featuring the works of local and international art legend Sir Peter Blake, one of the noted designers whose work helped create some of the lasting images from 1967’s Summer of Love. In addition to the show, visitors to the area were given the opportunity to ride a Blake-decorated double-decker “art bus” – http://www.kentonline.co.uk/whats-on/news/dartford-born-sgt-pepper-album-cover-godfather-exhibits-in-whitstable-127036/

j) Another reminder to folks travelling through scenic Italy this summer – be sure to stop in at the Wall of Sound Gallery in Alba to look through the two exhibitions photographer/gallerist Guido Harari has up for your enjoyment – Stone Free, an exhibition of mid-1960s psychedelic posters, featuring the best-known practitioners of the form at the time, including Mouse & Kelley, Rick Griffin, Martin Sharp, John Van Hamersveld, Wes Wilson, Milton Glaser and many, many others. You’ll also see these artists’ works on album art for The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Cream, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa and more. Available for viewing through September 10th, Stone Free also includes a photo show with works by Ed Caraeff, Herb Greene, Art Kane, Jim Marshall and Bob Seidemann, with an illustrated catalog available to take home as well.

Also on display at the Fondazione Bottari Lattes in nearby Monforte d’Alba is Harari’s Wall of Sound 10 tenth anniversary exhibition that’s been built around fine art portraits – some in blue, on aluminum – of some of the many famed musical acts Guido has had the privilege to photograph over the years, including David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Bob Marley and dozens of others. This show will be available for viewing now through September 2nd before moving on to Spazio Don Chisciotte, in Turin, Italy from October 26th to December 24th.  More info on these shows is available at http://www.wallofsoundgallery.com/en/exhibitions.php

k) Proud Gallery (UK) is soon launching a show of photos by Michael Joseph that were taken during the 1968 photo sessions for the Rolling Stones’ controversial Beggar’s Banquet. Most of us will remeber the outrage seen when the record was ultimately released in December of that year (after being initially rejected by the record company and banned in some areas) with a cover shot by Barry Feinstein (design by Tom Wilkes) that featured a graffiti-covered bathroom wall. According to this recent release on PhotographyBlog.com, these photos – used on the inside of the gatefold sleeve – were ”shot on location at the Gothic studio of Sarum Chase, Hampstead and the derelict ruins of Swarkestone in Derbyshire.” These atmospheric images, elaborately staged and including real animals and the band participating in a Medieval feast (were any animals harmed in the making of these shots?), completed the package, and you’ll find a number of photos from these sessions on display (and for sale) during this show, which runs through the end of July.

http://www.photographyblog.com/news/beggars_banquet_photographs_by_michael_joseph/

More info on the show is available on the gallery’s site – https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

l) The Fine Arts division of the UTA talent agency, launched in 2015, is participating in its first art fair by putting on a display of “rebel artists of the past 30 years”, lead by art by the late Nirvana songwriter/guitarist Kurt Cobain. Paintings by Cobain, including one used for the album cover for the band’s Insecticide collection, along with other works by Mike Kelley, Raymond Pettibon and others, will be shown during next month’s (Aug. 3rd thru 6th) Seattle Art Fair, with details on the upcoming show and, perhaps, a larger exhibition to come, covered in this recent article Eileen Kinsella on the ArtNet News site – https://news.artnet.com/market/kurt-cobain-artwork-to-get-star-treatment-at-seattle-art-fair-1009391?

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Over on The Undefeated site, Miss Rosen brings us an interesting interview with photographer Michael Lavine about his photo shoot in January, 1997, which resulted in the cover for Biggie Smalls/Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 record Life After Deathhttps://theundefeated.com/features/notorious-big-life-after-death-album-cover/

I always hesitate using the word “shot” when talking about a photo session and, in this case, it’s particularly germane as the subject of the photo was, in fact, shot to death a short time after the photo, which certainly seems prescient in hindsight, was taken at the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. Lavine’s story about the entire project is an interesting-but-eerie read.

b) Century City News Pop Music and Film reporter Keith Chagall shares a recent interview with Henry Diltz re: the making of a number of different record covers, including those for Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles, The Monkees, James Taylor and Mama Cass Elliott, who Diltz refers to fondly as the “Gertrude Stein of Laurel Canyon” – http://centurycityview.org/celluloid-picasso-of-laurel-canyon-p852-176.htm

c) While not specifically an article about an album artist, designer and partner in the well-respected Pentagram design agency Angus Hyland is featured in this recent video interview on the Design Week web site during which he shares the fact that his love of the work people did on the album covers he was exposed to during his childhood ultimately inspired his choice of careers – https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/15-21-may-2017/angus-hyland-record-sleeves-reason-ended-graphic-design/

The interview is presented as a part of the publication’s “Design Week at 30” series and was conducted by Aimée McLaughlin

d) While Sepultura’s guitarist Andreas Kisser was scouring the Web for inspiration for the band’s most-recent album release – a record titled Machine Massiah – he came across the work of Filipina visual artist Camille dela Rosa, whose paintings seemed to perfectly reflect the album’s concepts. Kisser then reached out through a representative of San Miguel Corporation (which sponsored the band’s show in Manila last year) and, as though it was Kismet, a deal was struck for the band to use dela Rosa’s painting (titled “Deux ex Machina” and inspired by her love and respect of the work of the late surrealist H.R. Giger) on the record’s cover. A former singer herself, Camille was known to local audiences after she had appeared on the long-running Ang TV youth-oriented variety series on ABS-CBN Filipino TV) before switching her career path to painting.

A recent article on the ABS-CBN site by Rick Olivares shares the exciting story of how this match made in Heaven all came about –

http://news.abs-cbn.com/life/05/16/17/ex-ang-tv-star-creates-album-cover-for-metal-band-sepultura

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) The most-recent Heritage Entertainment Auction (held in mid-June) included the original artwork presented by artist Alton Kelley as an alternate scheme for the 1970 Big Brother & The Holding Company Be A Brother LP, the band’s first record after singer Janis Joplin left for a solo career. The 14″ square item, made from a photo of the band placed on a board, with Kelley adding his signature design flourishes and lettering, was not sold during the auction and, if you hurry, you can still buy it for $500. https://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/big-brother-and-the-holding-company-alternate-original-artwork-by-alton-kelley-for-be-a-brother-columbia-c-30222/a/7161-89422.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515

4) New Print/Book RELEASES –

Here are some quickie intros to several books hitting the market that should be of interest to album art fans –

a) The Austin, TX-based limited-edition art and music company Mondo has just released an interesting new package created in cooperation with the Z2 Comics company based on the score(composed by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys) to the “musical noir graphic novel” Murder Ballads which comes complete with music, graphic novel and art prints – now THAT’s how to sell something unique and desirable to your fans! The set includes music (on colored vinyl), a 160-page book and three exclusive prints by artist Tyler Boss. Packaged in a clamshell box decorated with artwork by Jon Langford of The Mekons (did EVERY great musician go to Art School?), it is available for viewing (and purchasing – $200) on the Mondo site via this link – https://mondotees.com/products/murder-ballads-deluxe-graphic-novel-10-ep-mondo-exclusive

b) Photographer and art show curator Raj Prem is releasing a new career retrospective photo book, with the details available in this PR release I discovered on a site called Military Technologies.net (??) – http://www.military-technologies.net/2017/05/20/raj-prem-announces-he-will-publish-new-book-documenting-career-in-music-photography/

c) Malaysian artist Mustaffa Ahmad Hidzir, who goes by the name “Tapa”, has released a new book that contains 200 of his album cover projects in full color and showing again how works by world-renowned album artists such as Roger Dean and the team at Hipgnosis have influenced sleeve design all over the world. Titled 12 x 12, the book’s been published by Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Negara (ITBN). There had been a related exhibition in Kuala Lumpur which ended in early June, but you can read more about Tapa’s work via this article on the Star2.com site (an entertainment and lifestyle portal based in Malaysia) http://www.star2.com/culture/arts/2017/05/23/tapa-album-art-book/

d) While I don’t have a specific category for non-print/book releases, this will do – two new sets of sculptures being released by the talented artists at KnuckleBonz now allow fans to purchase statues of the members of KISS as they appeared in two of the best-known album cover images – KISS ALIVE! and Hotter Than Hell – Check out the product shots and details via the links – https://knucklebonz.com/product/kiss-alive-bundle/
KISS ALIVE! Rock Iconz Set

https://knucklebonz.com/product/kiss-hotter-than-hell-bundle/
KISS Hotter Than Hell Rock Iconz Set

Like all other products offered by the company, there are only 3000 of each statue made and are available as a set or individually. Each hand-painted statue is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity on the base.

Clear off your bookshelves – KISS is coming….

5) Other articles of interest –

a) In support of their ongoing celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the release of the seminal Beatles album, the web team at Goldmine Magazine has posted an interactive Sgt. Pepper’s cover collage image that give you the details of every character on that cover – http://www.goldminemag.com/sgtpepper50/

b) Writing for The Guardian, music reporter Christina Lee offers up an article titled From Midnight Marauders to cute and cuddly: how rap cover art softened up where she presents her arguments that many of today’s hip-hop stars, including Lil’ Yachty, Big Baby DRAM and Drake, are chosing to toss the gun-toting, bitch-slapping “hyper-masculine” imagery so commonly found on the genre’s record covers and, instead, present us with pix of their kids, their puppies and their friends of all colors and lifestyles (which the author calls “cute and cuddly”). While there certainly are those who still feel the need to present fans with the more-traditional album art elements, it can’t be denied that there are many fans that welcome these occasional variations on the theme – https://amp.theguardian.com/music/2017/may/26/rap-cover-art-softened-lil-yachty

c) Sales of tattoo maven-turned-lifestyle brand Kat Von D’s line of makeup are being promoted by videos that re-create several attitude-filled album covers to help sell makeup – http://www.nylon.com/articles/nylon-album-covers-kat-von-d-june-july-2017 (includes video)

d) Here’s an important and interesting read for those of you who are working in the album cover art field and would like to know a bit more about how to protect yourself/your work (AKA “intellectual property”). Just like song compositions, album art can also be registered with the U.S. Library of Congress (AKA “the Copyright Office). And, just like song compositions, creators can retain the rights and license the work for use on record packaging (and merch). Yes, even if you do it for your best friend’s record.

http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2017/05/29/musicians-protect-music-intellectual-property/id=83619/

e) The design work done by the design team at FilthyMedia for British DJ Audio’s new record called Beastmode is featured in Sarah Dawood’s recent article on the Design Week site – https://www.designweek.co.uk/inspiration/beastmode-album-cover-filthymedia/

f) For the History Channel’s web site, reporter Christopher Klein writes about five people who were supposed to be on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s who were, for a variety of reasons, removed from the final product – http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/5-historical-figures-erased-from-the-sgt-pepper-cover

No surprise – Adolf Hitler. But why no Elvis or Ghandi or Jesus Christ or actor Leo Gorcey (HooTF is Leo Gorcey)? You’ll just have to read it to find out…

g) Speaking of cut-outs (sorry, clever play on words unavoidable) – Tony Curtis’ cut-out included in the famous collage by Sir Peter Blake and friends was put up for auction at the June 17th Heritage Entertainment gathering and had expected to bring around $60K. It went unsold, but you can read more about that item and its history in Tom Derbyshire’s recent article on the Antiques Trade Gazette – https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/news/2017/tony-curtis-cut-out-from-sgt-peppers-album-cover-up-at-auction/

h) As we’ve seen in the press recently, there are factions within our society that thrive on conspiracy theories (“Bigfoot surgically removed my congressman’s frontal lobes”), so it only makes sense that there have been a series of Album Cover Art-based conspiracies over the years (“Paul Is Dead” and “Breakfast In America predicted 9/11” are the ones I remembered quickly). But wait, there are more, shared by Rachel Sharer (?) on the Listverse site – https://listverse.com/2017/06/13/top-10-bizarre-conspiracy-theories-about-album-cover-art/

i) Grammy Award-winning rapper 2 Chainz recently took album cover “re-creationing” to a whole new level via his purchase of a house on Howell Mill Road in Atlanta, GA, which he subsequently painted pink and tagged it with the word “TRAP”, creating a new neighborhood landmark that looks somewhat like the album cover art for his Pretty Girls Like Trap Music recording, released on Def Jam Records in June of this year.

Following up an earlier marketing stunt in which a local nail salon was redecorated in a similar fashion and where fans could get 2 Chainz song-themed nail treatments for free, this latest moved has been earning reactions in the press and from local businesses that range everywhere from kudos along the lines of “this was an act of marketing genius” to complaints from the neighbors about excessive traffic and loitering. Personally, I like anything that builds upon a record’s visuals and gives fans a chance to participate…read more about it in this article by Najja Parker on the Statesman.com site – http://www.statesman.com/news/national/chainz-creates-atlanta-latest-landmark/DsuAuVLVwlVuzgnYhqPC2O/

Over 500 people have posted photos of their visit to the TRAP house on the project’s Instagram site – https://www.instagram.com/thepinktraphouse/

j) Lastly but not leastly, here’s an article that I’m sure will make you toss your 4th of July cookies – we all know that there are celebrities that are famous merely due to their ability to market themselves, and not for any specific talents or displays of creativity, and nowhere is this more evident than in this sad display of Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s usurping other peoples’ album cover imagery and, after adding their own why do we see them so many times faces, putting the results on some t-shirts they’re trying to hawk. The Twitterverse has responded unkindly but, I’m certain we’ll see, that won’t stop adoring fans from snapping these products up (perhaps a copyright infringement suit will accomplish just that – go get ’em Tupac and Biggie!).

And this is “making America great again”, circa 2017. Sad.

http://ew.com/music/2017/06/29/kendall-kylie-jenner-music-t-shirts/

That’s all for now – 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.

All text and images included in this article are 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 News Summary For August, 2016

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

 

 

 

 

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

It’s the beginning of September, 2016, with Labor Day upon us, marking the “official” end of this year’s Summer season. If you’re done packing your kids off to school and find yourself with a little extra “me-time” during the day, I’d like to propose that you spend a little time catching up on your album cover art/artist-related news which, as you all know by now, you’ll find nicely-summarized in my weekly and monthly recaps.

In this month’s summary – continuing on in the much-appreciated “less talk, more info” format I launched several months back – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to make news with their ongoing contributions to the field of album art/packaging, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

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

a) Launching September 1st at the San Pedro (CA) First Thursday Art Walk is an exhibition at the huZ Gallery featuring a selection of the photo portraits taken over the past 40+ years by photographer Peter Figen, a man who has produced stunning promo images of top talent including George Harrison, Bonnie Raitt, Doc Watson, Townes Van Zandt along with album package photos for David Grisman, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Hillman, Carl Verheyen and many others. With a career that was jump-started while shooting at an early 1970s Hot Rise show in California and being spotted by the art director for Frets Magazine, who asked him to submit his shots after the show, Figen has used his passion for folk/roots music to create confidence in his abilities as a photographer in his well-known subjects, with the results now on display during this gallery show. Writer Kathy Leonardo posted this profile on the artist recently on the Huffington Post site – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-leonardo-/music-and-photography-sha_b_11298832.html – while those interested in seeing and learning more about this new print collection can click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.huzgalleries.com/ . The gallery has also teased visitors with the fact that they’ll also be unveiling several new photo prints of a ready-to-be-discovered young musician named Elvis Presley taken by an Air Force photographer during a performance in Lubbock, TX in 1955…

b) Running now through September 10th at the Gabba Gallery on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood is a show featuring over 80 real and not-so-real album cover works created by a whole host of well-known and soon-to-be-well-known artists that’s called Cratedigger: The Lost Art of Album Cover Art. According to the gallery’s press, the exhibition “celebrates one of the twentieth century’s most influential art forms – the record sleeve cover. Curated by (gallery owner and accomplished artist in his own right) Jason Ostro, the exhibition showcases the work of 85 local and international artists. Each artist has imagined a cover design for a real or fictional album. Just like classic record covers, every piece in the show is 12” x 12”…

The gallery also shows music-related works by artists including Joey Feldman, Jules Muck and photographer Jeff Kravitz, so there will surely be a lot to take in during your visit. More info on the album art show is available on the gallery’s site – http://www.gabbagallery.com/cratedigger

c) Photographer Gerald Fearnley cemented his place in rock and roll album art history with the shot he provided for the cover of David Bowie’s debut record, but the folks at the Snap Gallery in London didn’t stop with just that image when they organized a show built around a recently-unearth cache of ’66 – ’67-era photos of the soon-to-be-recognized creative force that was Mr. Bowie. Fearnley was introduced early on to Bowie through his brother, bassist Derek Fearnley, who played in Bowie’s early backing band The Buzz, and used that access to arrange for a series of photo shoots that produced what looks to be a fascinating collection for fans of the era’s music and fashion. You can read an intro on the show – which runs through September 24th – via Tom Pinnock’s quicky posting on the Uncut site – http://www.uncut.co.uk/news/david-bowie-exhibition-feature-unpublished-photographs-86903 and get further details directly from the Gallery via this link – https://www.snapgalleries.com/exhibitions/bowie-photographs-by-gerald-fearnley/

d) The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, TX is where you’ll find a major collection of photos of rock’s best-known female stars taken by shooter (that takes on a new meaning in TX, no?) Anastasia Pantsios, an artist who’s been busy taking great photos for rock music clients including AC/DC, Journey, Eric Clapton, Michael Stanley and many others over the past 40+ years. Titled ” “Girls on Film, 40 Years of Women in Rock”, the show was originally organized several years ago and has been updated to include both some of Pantsios’s earliest works (e.g., Grace Slick with Jefferson Airplane in 1969, Deborah Harry in Blondie and mid-70s Patti Smith) and later examples including Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado and Shirley Manson of Garbage. While no longer working with clients in the music business (what, you want to get PAID to do your work?), Anastasia can look back proudly on her contributions to several Cleveland, OH-area publications including The Plain Dealer (where she also contributed as a writer) and alt weeklies including The Free Times and Cleveland Scene. More info on this show, running now through September 11th, via this article on the LubbockOnline.com site – http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2016-07-30/kerns-buddy-holly-center-displays-photo-exhibit-influential-women-rock#

e) What a combination – a prime collection of wonderful paintings and prints of worlds beyond our own put on display in a museum located on a mystical island! From now until the 19th of November, visitors to the Manx Museum – a National Heritage organization on the U.K.’s Isle of Man – can tour a collection of works by the impressively-talented Roger Dean, best-known to album cover art fans for his contributions to the visuals for bands including YES, Uriah Heep, Asia, Osibisa and many others.

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 work continues to impress and astound fans with its ability to take you to the farthest reaches of your imagination. You’ll find works in many media, including several models of designs he’s done for living spaces you can only dream you’d be able to live in. An article on the Isle of Man web site provides an intro – http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/80357/islands-and-bridges-the-art-of-roger-dean  while additional details are available on the museum’s site – http://www.manxnationalheritage.im/whats-on/detail/islands-and-bridges-the-art-of-roger-dean/

f) Since the time of the Woodstock Festival at the end of the 1960s, the exhibition of fine art with music has gone hand in hand, with everyone from poster/merch designers, painters, fabric artists and many other disciplines plying their wares and providing the visual backdrop for attendees at these festivals. One of the latest examples of this was on display recently during the Panorama festival held on Randall’s Island in New York City (as seen via the AFP-penned article that appeared on the ArtDaily.com site – http://artdaily.com/news/88984/For-New-York-s-new-festival–an-immersion-in-art).

Organized by the same team that puts on the popular Coachella festival (i.e., Goldenvoice), the festival features an area called The Lab which, according to the promoters, is an “interactive experience which features installations that combine technology, artistry, and design, created exclusively by New York-based artists for display only at PANORAMA.” Inside The Lab is “The Dome”, which is a huge dome that accommodates up to 400 people at a time and provides a 3D Virtual Reality display using music, animation and other forms of “immersive media”. The works of 11 studios combined to make this experience a fun and fascinating one, providing festival-goers with a place to take a break from the performances by acts including the Alabama Shakes, Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem and the act which has produced a number of very interesting album covers the past couple of years, FKA Twigs.

g) Friend of ACHOF Emily Smeaton of the UK’s Hypergallery was kind enough to share the details of an upcoming event that should be of great interest to anyone interested in both seeing a superb collection of album art prints and hearing from two of the most-respected designers in the field. Beginning on September 26th in lovely Henly-On-Thames outside of London, our chums at Hypergallery will host a pop-up exhibition called “The Art of the Album Cover” that will feature ” prints by Literary Festival speakers, from the days when all music was vinyl, and album covers became an art form of their own.” On the last day of the event – Sunday, October 2nd, at 5pm local time, in the Town Hall venue – two of rock music’s design greats – Aubrey (Po) Powell, the co-founder of the celebrated design studio Hipgnosis (best known for their covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel/Genesis and many others, and author of a book on his studio’s work titled Hipgnosis Portraits) will be joined by Richard Evans (who, in addition to his many well-known album art credits both with the team at Hipgnosis and on his own, was author of The Art of the Album Cover book) where, according to Emily’s note, “the two artists will be sharing anecdotes from the time they spent at the epicenter of the rock and roll tornado of the late 1960s and 1970s.” After the event, Hypergallery will host a book signing and exhibition of the authors’ design work in their print room, just across from the Town Hall. You’ll be able to meet the authors, have a drink or two and view the great collection of works that will be on hand.

Advanced tickets for the event are now on sale via the link – http://tiny.cc/hlf_artofthealbum  and you can visit the gallery’s site at https://www.hypergallery.com/event_hlf/  for more details. Of course, I will work to get hold of any photos, transcripts or videos that emerge from this event, so stay tuned. I am, of course, immediately jealous of anyone who’ll be able to attend this event…

h) Having just celebrated his 75th birthday (Happy Birthday, John!), graphic design superstar John Van Hamersveld marked the occasion with the launch of a new exhibition (running now thru October 16th, at the Manhattan Beach Art Center in Manhattan Beach, CA) titled Contemporary Post Future! The Dichotomy of Design and Art – John Van Hamersveld which, according to the gallery’s PR, ” presents past and present artworks where John Van Hamersveld explores the connection between art, design and commerce.” The centerpiece of the display is a 47-panel modular black and creme-colored collage/mural JVH created that surrounds the building with his talents. Inside, two galleries showcase a number of examples of both his commercial design work and his striking and imaginative fine art designs, so if you’re in the area or need a destination for an art-filled excursion, I’d suggest a trip on over to see this show, with details available via the link at http://www.citymb.info/city-officials/parks-and-recreation/cultural-arts/exhibition/creative-arts-center-exhibitions#ad-image-1

i) Just as a tease, the folks at the V&A Museum in the U.K. just announced that they’re going to stage a new exhibition beginning in May 13th, 2017 built around the imagery of one of Britain’s most-valuable exports – that being the rock band Pink Floyd. According to the press (as exemplified in this BBC Entertainment & Arts section article recently published – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-372284960 ) the show – to be titled “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains” – promises to offer “an immersive, multi-sensory and theatrical journey through Pink Floyd’s extraordinary world which will chronicle the music, iconic visuals and staging of the band, from the underground psychedelic scene in 1960s London to the present day”. With over 350 examples of Floyd-related visual imagery, including a whole host of album cover artwork created over the years by Storm, Po and the team at Hipgnosis, there will certainly be a lot to take in. Advance tickets are now on sale on the Museum’s website at https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/pink-floyd

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) When a long-time fan of a musical act – in this case, South Carolina-based artist Dave Beard – has the opportunity to provide design services for that act – in this case, the Beach Boys – great joy ensues, as is evidenced by this recent article by Andrew Stark for the Fort Mill Times (as shared with the HeraldOnline.com site). The article tracks Beard’s path from fan to fanzine editor/designer to Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) design cohort to a 2014 commission by the Beach Boys to create what Beach Boy Mike Love called “In the 54 years of touring and (a) multitude of concerts and concert programs, the new Beach Boys’ 2015 Official Tour Program is far and away the best I’ve ever seen.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to learn more about this story? Don’t worry, baby – here’s the link – http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article91728932.html

b) Fine artist Filipe Molina has been showing his works in top-notch galleries throughout his career, but when he was contacted by the folks at Capitol Records in 2014 to come up with artwork for the Counting Crow’s then-upcoming record titled Going Under Wonderland, he saw it as an opportunity to be able to share his work with potentially millions of the band’s fans and proposed that he create a unique work for each song on the album, greatly multiplying the “collection” each record’s owner would acquire. He then went on to create a really nicely-done multi-media light show that the band used during their 2015 World Tour. As I’m working on adding Molina’s bio to the ACHOF site, Felipe shared a link to a 25 minute video on YouTube that gives you an overview to the artist and the wonderful images he created for this record package – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz-Gj33Kg0g

To see more of the artist’s works, you can also visit his website at http://www.molinaart.com. Once there, you’ll find more about some of his other projects, including a “Wine Art Music” project (inc. custom labels for proprietary blends released by Standing Sun Winery) and The Outlaw Roadshows (indie rock music festival staged in Nashville and NYC) where Felipe both exhibits his artwork and is one of the event’s five producers.

c) Fascinating article by writer Anna Buksowicz for the British Journal of Photography on art director Samuel Burgess-Johnson that focuses on his most-recent work for the latest record by The 1975, with neon signs placed in unusual locations that are used to illustrate each of the album’s 10 song titles. It’s certainly a testament to the value of a proper budget for stunning album cover work, but I wonder if they paid whoever was hired to come up with the record’s title by the word – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It.

Burgess-Johnson also spends a fair amount of time sharing his feelings about what makes for a good album cover and why it’s still an important part of any new record release, so if you’d like to read more of the insights of one of the busier art directors working in the music business these days, click on over to http://www.bjp-online.com/2016/08/how-samuel-burgess-johnson-snapshots-music-through-art-direction/

d) I’ve written previously about the mega-exhibition (“Exhibitionism“) currently in London featuring a heaping helping of Rolling Stones art, photography, music and memorabilia, but fans of notable album cover imagery are in for a treat if you bop on over to this interview article posted on the Clash Music site featuring the wonderfully-talented photographer Gered Mankowitz, someone with several shots included in the show, including his cover photo for Between The Buttons and a portrait of the band’s metronome, drummer Charlie Watts.

While the interview provides an in-depth look at Gered’s relationship with the band, their management/record label and then touches on his other well-known subjects, including Jimi Hendrix (the iconic “Smoking” shot) and newer acts such as Oasis, Mankowitz does go on record with the lament that the first album package image he took of the band – the artsy alleyway shot used on their Out of Our Heads record back in 1965 – was NOT included in the show. “This will be the last time” (or, based on the total control the band has over its image, maybe not)….  http://www.clashmusic.com/features/gered-mankowitz-shooting-the-stones

e) While most album artist profile articles are cobbled together by writers (such as yours truly) asking the subject questions about themselves and their work, today I’d like to point you to one that presents an artist profile that’s been provided by one of the (late) artist’s better-known clients, by whom I mean guitarist Steve Miller, sharing his recollections of working with the famed art director/photographer Storm Thorgerson. One of Storm’s last record cover commissions was for Miller’s 2010 release titled Bingo, with the photo impressing Austin Chronicle writer Raoul Hernandez so greatly that he tracked down Mr. Miller to get his take on the collaboration with Thorgerson that produced such a memorable image.

Armed with a list of what he needed (logo, cover and a new take on a “Space Cowboy” image) and a rather nice budget for these elements, Miller got all he wanted and more and was left with what I’m sure you’ll agree was a long-lasting impression of what it was like to work with a talent such as Storm, even late in his career and having faced a stroke and cancer as obstacles. Really quite the talent…

http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/music/2016-07-29/adult-play-storm-thorgerson-by-steve-miller/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) The folks at the WA-based Visual Gallery have announced a sale on a select grouping of limited-edition album art prints that I thought you might want to check out. You’ll find promo pricing on prints including Cream’s Disraeli Gears (a Martin Sharp masterpiece), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, a Charlie Watts-signed Bridges To Babylon print and others. They’re also offering some nice deals on posters by Ioannis, Bob Masse and others, so click on over to see what’s on sale before it’s too late – http://www.visualgallery.com/

b) Works by the late artist Frank Frazetta have fed the fantasies of many a young science fiction/adventure fan as well as musical acts including Molly Hatchett, Nazareth, Yngwie Malmsteen and Wolfmother (who chose to use Frazetta paintings on the covers of several of their record albums), so it was interesting and exciting to see that one of the artist’s best-known paintings – titled At The Earth’s Core and used on the cover of the 1978 paperback release for famed writer Edgar Rice Burrough’s first Pellucidar novel – sell for over a million dollars during a recent Heritage Auction event in Dallas, TX (the actual selling price was $1.075 million, the most ever paid for a Frazetta work). You can click on over to this recent article on the Fine Books & Collections Magazine site in which the details are shared about both this impressive purchase, along with other big-ticket illustration art items that found new homes post-auction – https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/press/2016/08/world-record-for-frank-frazettas-painting-used-as-paperback-cover-art.phtml

c) Kanye West‘s design company – DONDA Design – pulled out all of the stops when they created an animatronic sculpture featuring 12 of the era’s most-recognized celebrities lying naked in a large bed, a prop then used in one of the musician’s latest music videos. Now, Mr. West has entrusted the Los Angeles-based gallery Blum & Poe to find a collector who’d be willing to spend $4 million to take the sculpture – complete with platform bed, bed linens and batteries – home for their very own. Made from silicon (a substance most-widely used for other purposes in today’s entertainment business), the work shows life-like models of Pop Culture icons such as Taylor Swift, Anna Wintour, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Bill Cosby and others all asleep, lying alongside West and two of his family members – wife Kim and Caitlyn Jenner. The gallery held a brief showing recently and is actively seeking a buyer among its contact list of well-heeled collectors and museums, so we’ll keep an eye out to see if/when/where it lands. For more details on the work, you can read NY Times writer Adam Popescu’s late-breaking story via the link – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/01/arts/design/gallery-hopes-to-sell-kanye-wests-famous-sculpture-for-4-million.html? or see more on the gallery’s site at http://www.blumandpoe.com/exhibitions/kanye-west

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) If you were impressed with the 50+ “variant covers” that Marvel produced last year which were creatively-reworked versions of well-known examples of hip-hop album cover art, you’ll be happy to read the details of a new series scheduled for this year, with the details provided to us in an article by Fuse‘s Zach Dione. Characters who’ll be featured in the first of this new series include Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Mosaic, built around designs originally found on records by King Mez, Infinite Mind War and Earl Sweatshirt. Keep ’em coming, folks!

http://www.fuse.tv/2016/07/marvel-hip-hop-variant-comic-book-covers-second-wave

b) While I’ve been working hard gathering and organizing the materials for my own book, I look on with great envy as author Ramon Martos Garcia shares the details of his latest release – a thoroughly-revised edition of his critically-acclaimed book on Heavy Metal album art/artists that’s titled And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers (Vol.2). The book, in a signed, limited-edition release (only 270 copies will be produced), is now available for pre-order ($39.99 plus shipping), with shipping set to commence next week.

According to the author, ” This new revised edition has many, many changes—some of them more significant than others, but equally important. Although the new book has the same number of pages (264) and a similar layout, I added a few new images that weren’t available at the time I published the first edition and exchanged some artworks for similar ones with much better quality.

Some parts of the text have also changed, in some cases dramatically. It’s not something you will notice at first sight, but once you go deeper, there are things that are unequivocally different. There are also new comments or interviews with bands and artists I interviewed after the first edition came out. Also, the color reproduction is richer and closer to how the original artworks look like. It took a lot of time and effort.”

If you, like me, are a fan of the many styles of art found on your favorite metal music recordings and you haven’t seen this book before, I’d suggest visiting the publisher’s site now to see more and order your own copy. Here is the pre-order link – http://andjusticeforart.bigcartel.com/product/and-justice-for-art-stories-about-heavy-metal-album-covers

c) The folks at UK print publisher The Flood Gallery recently emailed with some info and imagery about the latest in their series of releases featuring album cover fine art prints of designer/photographer Carl Glover‘s cover images for Marillion’s 2006 LP titled Marbles. In addition to the provocative cover shot, prints of the equally mind-bending graphics that were featured on the record label, CD and inner sleeve are also being offered, with collectors able to preview and purchase any/all of these memorable works via the link – http://www.thefloodgallery.com/search?q=marillion Fans can also check out the prints available for two more Glover-produced Marillion covers – Somewhere Else and Radiation – the latter image being a crafty combination of two photos taken 14 years apart!

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Writing for the DJ Booth site, writer Yoh has put together an interesting look at album cover designs that don’t show the musical acts on the cover. Its an interesting thing to see young writers looking at this as if it were something unusual, considering the number of covers that have been produced over the years that didn’t show the acts or, as evidenced very early on, were hesitant to show the acts for a variety of reasons (e.g., not showing black artists for fear of losing sales to predominantly white audiences or, in the case of some early American acts looking to hop on the British Rock invasion, adopting English names and clothing styles).

In the hip-hop world, where it tends to be important to look tough/rich/street-smart/etc., fans will typically find their favorite musical acts pictured prominently on the cover, so it seems that usually only the well-establish artists (Kanye, Jay-Z, etc.) are the ones willing to take a chance and show off their graphic design inspirations. Here’s hoping for more…  http://djbooth.net/news/entry/2016-07-22-album-covers-no-face

b) For an article posted recently on the Austin Chronicle‘s web site titled “Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler”, several of the publication’s writers were asked to pick their favorite illustrated album covers and album cover artists and let readers know why they feel these examples were stand-outs in their field. The people and images selected represent a very broad range of talent, including artists such as Roger Dean (YES, Uriah Heep, Asia, etc.), H.R. Giger (best-known for ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery, Debbie Harry’s cheek-pierced Koo Koo and the monsters in the Alien films) and Daniel Johnston, among others with works created for musical acts including Pink Floyd, Ramones, Miles Davis, The Beatles and Chance The Rapper. Whether you’re a fan of the hyper-realistic artwork of Mati Klarwein or the trippy, comic-inspired R. Crumb cover created for Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, you’ll find a hand-drawn example you’re sure to appreciate.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2016-07-29/adult-audio-coloring-book-sampler/

c) Washington Post columnist John Kelly recently posted a profile of Ken Orth, a retired urban planner/Beatles fan extraordinaire who travels the Beatles-related gatherings circuit putting on display selections from his 2000+ item collection of spoofs of Beatles record covers. Orth has been collecting these works of art since the early 1980s, and included in his collection are examples of well-known parody covers such as Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ We’re Only In It For The Money (a satirical take on the collage found on the Sgt Pepper’s LP) alongside lesser-known items such as Floyd Domino’s take on the Abbey Road street crossing scene, re-staged using four toddlers in diapers.

The entire parody sub-set of album art collecting is an interesting one, with a number of collectors doing a great amount of researching and Ebay purchasing in order to find prime examples of imagery inspired by classic album art. Ken’s working on gathering the nitty-gritty information on every original Beatles album cover so, with any luck, I hope to be able to share some of that with you when its made available. In the meantime, click on over to https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/beatles-album-parody-art-he-loves-it-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-/2016/08/09/b90e66fc-5dcb-11e6-8e45-477372e89d78_story.html  to read more about Ken and his most-interesting of album art collections.

Related content – if you’re really wanting to see a broad selection of parody covers – including hundreds of examples of “re-imagined” covers inspired by designs for the packages of records from the soundtrack for The Sound of Music to The Who’s Live At Leeds, you must pick up a copy of the 2011 book compiled and written by Jan Bellekens and ACHOF chum Simon Robinson titled Covered. The gall of some musical acts is truly mind-blowing (and, most-often, quite hilarious) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/095614392X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?

d) Leave it to the writing team on the Ultimate Classic Rock site to treat us to album art-related stories with a twist (or, in this case, with a piss). Author Nick Deriso recounts the story told by photographer Ethan Russell about “the making of” the cover image for one of The Who’s best-remembered records – 1971’s Who’s Next – which, you’ll recall, features a shot of the band having seemingly just relieving themselves on a concrete tower found along the motorway in Sheffield. In fact, only one of the stains resulted from a much-needed pit stop, with the others craftily created by the photographer, so if you’d like to get to the bottom of this story, click on over and the truth will be revealed – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/whos-next-album-cover/

That’s all for now – look for updates every week (usually, on 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.

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – September, 2015

It’s October 2015 and we’ve been rewarded for our having withstood a wild Summer with an amazing “SuperMoon” display recently. Some of the larger local fires are now under control, but the album art world continues to burn up the news wires, with September stories featuring a steady stream of interviews, features, book releases and gallery/museum show items finding their way into our news feeds. In the following paragraphs, I’ll try and provide you with some highlights and updates, but it’ll be up to you at that point to complete your review of this impressive list sure to please album art fans everywhere.

There were interviews galore  – in print and on video – with the talented men and women who’ve enriched our lives by creating memorable  album cover art, including principals from the FUEL Design Group, photographers Mick Rock, Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd and Bob Gruen, Sir Peter Blake discussing his new Dazzle art mash-up app and a group of designers who share their favorite Rolling Stones covers and how they’ve influenced their own works.

In the fine art book category, artists and their publishers enticed us with new releases, with monographs featuring the works of Mick Rock (photos of early-stage David Bowie & Friends), Ringo Starr (with a new book of Beatles photos), Jazz Record greats, Brian Griffin (taking on a very thought-provoking subject) and punk/grunge-era designer Art Chantry, who warns prospective design students about the dangers of working in the music business.

There were a large number of exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery that premiered during September, with museum curators and gallery owners around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll find the details about current and just-completed exhibits such as Mick Rock’s photos of David Bowie at the Taschen Gallery in LA, Baron Wolman’s photos on display in a Louisville, KY distillery, David McClister’s photos at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, an upcoming display in Hoboken, NJ to commemorate the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra, Michael Miller’s display of West Coast Hip-Hop/Rap icons in Orange County, CA, Robert Knight & Maryanne Bilham’s photos in Las Vegas, Henry Diltz & Pattie Boyd’s multi-city photo show, Michael McCartney’s photos in Liverpool (where else?), a collection of photos of Bruce Springsteen up at Monmouth College and a show of Albert Watson’s fascinating collection of shots taken with a Polaroid camera.

Other stories included Rachael Stevens’ monthly record sleeve overview in the Creative Review, several “making of” articles by James Stafford and others (Pantera, The Offspring and Machine Gun Kelley), the release of a turntable/vinyl/book package for young record collectors, a look at an audiophile turntable featuring Queen graphics, Eric Arthurs video presentations of the “Worst Album Covers Ever”, a display of NFL football logos re-imagined as album covers, auctions with art by Andy Warhol, Lee Conklin, Klaus Voorman and the London Features photo syndicate and a teacher who styles his classroom and course materials around the art and music of Kanye West. Of course, I don’t have room to include everything in this summary, so please take a moment to dig through the rest of what’s below – I’m sure you’ll find something that stimulates your interest!

As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the several new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m prepping to provide as much new info as I can to the expert panel that make up the voters of the ACHOF, with our next class set to be inducted in late November, 2015. And while I know that with all of the distractions caused by global politics, celebrity clothing mishaps and clients that never seem to pay their invoices on time might keep you from checking in with us every day, I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves. As I continue to say (every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

September 30th – End-of-the-month mish-mash of items for you:

1) In a new “And Justice For Art” posting by Ramon Martos Garcia on the MetalUnderground.com site, you’ll learn more about what must be the ultimate commitment to album cover art – having full-color covers tattooed across your back! In the nicely-illustrated article, you’ll find fans of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, KISS and others proudly displaying their cover art recreations. Whether they insisted on pixel-perfect duplications or allowed themselves some creative freedom and added/modified the originals to be more to their own tastes, you must admit that these fans have paid tribute to their favorite groups in a way that few other fans would dare – http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=116741

Have any of you gone down this same path?

2) The promo team at the Girls Rock Camp organization has come up with a unique way to raise funds for their efforts – selling prints of re-creations of classic album covers starring some of their own campers. The “Record Remake Project” page shows nicely-rendered images of their takes on record covers originally produced for musical acts including David Bowie, U2, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar and several others. My hands-down favorite is their take on Blondie’s Parallel Lines record – little “Debbie Harry” is just so cute! Photo credits are given to Carli Davidson, Melanie Aron, Holly Andres, and Shelby Duncan and print prices begin at $50, with the proceeds go towards the group’s ongoing mentoring efforts –

http://www.girlsrockcampfoundation.org/store/

3) Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery in Louisville, KY has put together a wonderful rock photo show now running as part of the Louisville Photo Biennial. Launched last Friday (and running through November 27th),  “The Art of Rock: Transcending Sound” features a nice selection of photos by the talented Baron Wolman, along with prints produced by several local photographers. The exhibit was curated by Mary Yates, who collaborated with local photo gallery owner Paul Paletti and several others to procure all of the images now on display in the distillery’s 2nd floor gallery. More info on this show is available in this article by Sara Havens on the Insider Louisville site – http://insiderlouisville.com/lifestyle_culture/copper-kings-joins-louisville-photo-biennial-art-rock-transcending-sound/

BONUS CONTENT – Fans of graphic imagery from the 1990s will get a kick out of this new music video produced by top branding agency Pentagram’s London office for Jesse Hackett’s first single titled “The Dump Run”. Hackett had found a discarded electronic keyboard near a dumpster which inspired him with both its retro sound stylings and the graphics used on its case and keyboard. The Pentagram team took a decidedly early Flash-animation approach to the video, fitting the overall attitude of the cut quite nicely. It caught the attention of the folks over at Fast Company, who introduce it to us via this recent article – http://www.fastcodesign.com/3051400/pentagrams-new-music-video-is-an-ode-to-90s-graphic-design

Oh how I miss those days of Macromedia Director/Shockwave on an Amiga…

September 29th –  1) This past weekend, at the DiMattio Gallery in Rechnitz Hall at New Jersey’s Monmouth University, a new photo show debuted featuring an intriguing collection of photographs of NJ music legend Bruce Springsteen shot by photographers Danny Clinch, Ed Gallucci, Eric Meola, Barry Schneier, Pamela Springsteen and Frank Stefanko. Curated by the Grammy Museum, the 45 photos on display work to show The Boss at all stages of his 40+ year career in music-making, from shots of his famed May, 1974 show in Harvard Square thru photos taken for his most-recent release titled High Hopes. To provide a more-intimate experiece for visitors, there are video interviews (produced by the Grammy Museum) of each of the photographers talking about their experiences working with Springsteen. The show, titled Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey, runs through December 22nd, with more info available on the gallery’s site at http://www.monmouth.edu/templates/EventDetail.aspx?id=40802203509

2) Multiple award-winning photographer Albert Watson, the man responsible for a long list of great album cover images over the past 40+ years (you’ll recall his covers for Carly Simon, Sade, P.M. Dawn, L.L. Cool J and many others), is the subject of a new show that focuses on a select grouping derived from over 100,000 Polaroid photos he’s taken of a huge range of subjects. On display now through October 24th at the Christophe Guye Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland, ‘Roids! shows Watson’s process as he first used the inexpensive instant camera to help him set up shots he’d envisioned to later using scanning technology to take the medium’s unique image qualities to an even-higher level via a series of large-format prints he’s created. You can read more about the man and this show via this recent article in L’Oeil de la Photographie magazine – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/09/21/exhibition/29726/zurich-roids-by-albert-watson-at-christophe-guye-gallery
Of course, I’m hoping that the show’s title is a clever play on words and not one of those situations where the English gets lost in translation…

3) “Why did the Dalek cross the road”, you ask? You’ll have to talk to the Doctor who, in this case, is Doctor Who. It seems that the good Doctor and his BBC compadres have stimulated a lot of conversation with their re-creation of the often-imitated Abbey Road album cover, with this one featuring the Doctor, Clara Oswald and two of the show’s mechanical stars. With Clara in Paul M’s position in the image (barefoot, of course), does this mean bad things for her character? Conspiracy theorists have piped in with scores of explanations, so feel free to add one of your own after you’ve seen the image on Jonathan Holmes‘ article on the Radio Times site – http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-09-19/doctor-who-does-the-beatles–but-does-this-picture-prove-clara-oswald-will-die
Actress Jenna Coleman (Clara) announced that she’ll be leaving the show, so things are looking grim, wouldn’t you agree?

September 28th – Two interesting auctions and a thought-provoking interview:

1) Fans of psychedelic album art have always cherished illustrator Lee Conklin’s pen and ink “lion” cover for Santana’s debut record, so it’s fun to see a large collection of his poster work up for bidding on the Psychedelic Art Exchange as part of their larger anniversary auction, running now through 9PM EST on October 8th. You’ll see examples of Conklin’s work for Filmore Auditorium gigs by bands including Cream, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly and many others – each one a mind-blowing psychedelic masterpiece. Happy bidding!

http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com/catalog.aspx?auctionid=52&searchvalue=conklin&searchby=3

2) As part of their September 29th Rock & Pop auction, the folks at Sotheby’s in London offered a Lot (#105) that included the 58 albums designed by Pop artist Andy Warhol between 1949 – 1987. Two of the examples included in this rare collection – 1967’s Velvet Underground & Nico and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers from 1971 – are signed by the artist. The lot also included a hand-pulled silkscreen print, nine books, some 7″ single covers and an example of the last cover Warhol was working on (one for MTV’s High Priority album) when he died in 1987 (the design was completed by his studio staff). The pre-auction estimate ranged from $46,700 to $78,000, and fans of Warhol art can still get a closer look via the electronic catalog (“turn” to page 82) – http://www.sothebys.com/pdf/2015/L15414/index.html

Update – the lot detailed above did not sell at this auction, but another lot that featured the contract that The Beatles signed with their manager Brian Epstein did sell for approx. $554,000, a bit above its pre-auction estimate.

3) Designers Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell teamed to launch the FUEL design group in 1991 and, since then, have established a sterling reputation for their work for clients in the book publishing, TV/print advertising, music and film worlds but, as you’ll read in Andy Butler’s recent illustrated interview with the pair on the Designboom site, you can trace the earliest inspirations back to – guess where – album cover design. They met at design school (Central St. Martin’s college in the U.K.) in the late 1980s and first worked together to produce a magazine titled FUEL as “a vehicle to express ourselves in content and form, a means of reaching a broad audience, not just within graphic design”. I think that you’ll agree that they’ve done a good job of maintaining that approach to doing great work, with their motto being “bad taste is designing with good taste in mind”. Perfect.

http://www.designboom.com/design/fuel-design-group-interview-09-20-2015/ 

September 25th – 1) Major branding alert! The very British rock band Queen has teamed up with very British turntable (what’s that? they ask) manufacturer Rega to create a very unique hardware/content package that is available to collectors and audiophiles as of today (in the U.K.; early October for U.S. customers). The “Queen By Rega” turntable ($650 list), according to the manufacturer, is “a brand new limited edition official turntable to coincide with the release of the re-mastered coloured vinyl multi disc box set.” The design of this unique custom deck includes reproductions of classic Queen logos, including the Freddie Mercury-designed “Queen’s Crest” logos on the platter and the lid bridge. It’s available only thru authorized Rega dealers (not online – more details at http://www.queenonlinestore.com/Queen/Queen-Studio-Collection/Queen-by-Rega-Turntable/4REF056O071), while the “Studio Collection Vinyl Box Set”, which contains remastered versions of all 15 studio albums on 180 gram vinyl and a beautifully-illustrated 108-page book, is selling for $445. http://www.queenonlinestore.com/Queen/Music/Queen-The-Studio-Collection-Coloured-Vinyl-Box-Set/4O1C032M071    Oh, won’t you take me home tonight?

2) One of the highlights of the 4th annual Beatles Festival – held for the first time this year on September 26th in the Strawberry Fields near the junction of the 605 and 60 Freeways near Southern California’s San Gabriel River – was a 3pm (PST) interview featuring the designer of the band’s Magical Mystery Tour album, artist John Van Hamersveld. JVH was there to talk about his designs and also had autographed MMT covers for sale (along with his books on design). The fest also had other art and memorabilia installations, including several 10-foot tall recreations of classic Beatles album art. More on this at the event’s web site – http://www.beatlestributefest.com/schedule.html

3) The works of celebrated photographer David McClister are the subject of a display launched recently in conjunction with the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, TN and hosted by one of the music industry’s best-known intimate music venues, The Bluebird Cafe, a place quite familiar to fans of the hit ABC TV series Nashville. The 32 photo prints on display will include shots of many of the best-known artists who’ve recorded and played in this music capitol such as Willie Nelson, Patty Griffin, Robert Plant, Ryan Adams (whose debut solo LP featured a cover shot by McClister) and many others. The show will be up for several months, and in Dylan Aycock‘s article on The Tennessean web site, you’ll get to meet the man whose 15+ years of photo imagery has made him a respected local asset – http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2015/09/19/americana-photography-exhibit-opening-bluebird-cafe/72471354/ More details also available at the venue’s site –
http://bluebirdcafe.com/viewArticle.cfm?id=158

BONUS  CONTENT – You all know photographer Bob Gruen‘s work – his photos of John Lennon, KISS, The Raspberries and many others are icons in the album cover world – but were you aware that he traveled with The Sex Pistols while they were on their “farewell” tour here in the U.S.? There to witness the break-up of the influential band, Bob’s photos (and the stories behind them) are the subject of a short video titled “Bob Gruen: On The Road With The Sex Pistols” just posted on the Artdaily.org site – http://artdaily.com/?date=09/24/2015#video Hear how Bob lucked in to getting the last seat on the tour bus and what he witnessed while the band worked hard to antagonize audiences all through the South – classic!

September 24th – 1) The folks at Backstage Auctions staged a new auction the weekend of September 24th that enticed collectors of rock/album art imagery. London-based photo agency London Features amassed a huge collection of rock ‘n’ roll photos starting in the 1960s and over 20,000 of these images will be put up for sale – many with full rights of ownership – in an auction of 425 assorted lots. I found 2 lots that album art fans might want to pay special attention to: Lot 1044 contains a selection of photos, slides and negatives of the members of the band Blind Faith taken by Bob Seidemann in 1969 and includes one photo that was used both as the back cover photo on the package with the controversial cover (i.e., the one with the naked young girl holding the shiny airship) and as the “alternative” front cover for markets too upset by the official cover – http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1044-blind-faith-1969-lot-of-29-bw-candid-posed-negatives-/ai/0/22656/

while Lot 1135 is a collection of 108 photo negatives of Beggar’s Banquet-era Rolling Stones taken by 10 different shooters and included is an alt version of the cover image taken during that record’s photo shoot – http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/1135-the-rolling-stones-1964—1968-lot-of-108-bw-candid-outtake-negatives-with-full-rights/ai/0/22747/

The auction ends on October 4th – All it takes is money (and a winning bid) – best of luck!

2) A recent article by Kim Goggins on the Muskoka Region (Canada) site highlights the career of long-time rock photographer John Rowlands, who staged a fund-raising show/lecture about his work and career on the evening of September 25th at the Gravenhurst Opera House. The two-part fundraiser (another similar event was held on the 26th as well) is for a four-year-old local boy named Mason Anderson who has cerebral palsy. Anderson needs to travel to the U.S. for an operation called a “Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy” that the Ontario government won’t fund. Fundraising efforts since February 2015 have raised about $90,000 towards the $100,000-plus surgery. Event attendees will get to see many examples of Rowlands’ images of popular musicians, from mid-1960s Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga and Iggy Azalea. The show and silent auction began at 6:30pm local time, with more details via the link at http://m.muskokaregion.com/news-story/5914534-rock-n-roll-photographer-will-share-his-stories

3) Classic design is ALWAYS classic design, as is evidenced by Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s realization that the recent issue of Billboard Magazine he was featured on “looks like a Clash album cover”, referring to the cover created by the late designer Ray Lowry (featuring Pennie Smith’s iconic photograph) in 1979 for the band’s 1980 release London Calling. Music geek Fallon should also know that Lowry’s 35-year-old design actually paid homage to the original design featured on Elvis Presley’s debut record, and again in 1995 for Mick Jones’/Big Audio Dynamite’s release P-Funk. Joe Lynch gives us the details on the Billboard.com site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6700453/jimmy-fallon-billboard-cover-clash-album-tonight-show

Sept. 23rd – Three “making ofs” and an opportunity for YOU to become a rich and famous album cover designer…

1) While I spend most of my time researching and writing about “classic” album cover artists and their art, I do, on occasion, run across a new work of art that inspires me to learn more about the folks behind it and share that with you. This is the case today as I ask you to click on over to Troy Smith’s article on the Cleveland.com site about Tyler Nikkel’s fascinating cover image for Machine Gun Kelley’s upcoming new album titled General Admission (due out October 16th). Nikkel, who is a graphic designer based in Kansas, had been sending the rapper samples of his “fan art” via social media that ultimately convinced MGK to commission him for this new work. The two collaborated on a design that has a bit of a classic Roger Dean-style feel to it and including a lot of specific and hidden references to the architecture and culture of the city of Cleveland as well as to each of the songs on the new record. Nice job, I think – http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/09/the_story_behind_machine_gun_k.html

2) Writer James Stafford provides us with two new “Cover Stories” – over on the Loudwire.com site, you’ll learn more about Dean Kerr’s work (and re-work) on the cover shot for Pantera’s 1994 record Far Beyond Driven featuring an image that would prove popular both to the band’s fans and those who might spend a lot of time in the Hand Tools aisle at the local Home Depot. Interestingly enough, the original art Kerr produced made him a pain in the ass at the record label, while his fix simply gave them a headache – http://loudwire.com/cover-stories-pantera-far-beyond-driven/ Over on the Diffuser.fm site, Stafford gives us the details behind album cover and poster designer Frank Kozik’s illustration for the mega-selling 1998 record Americana by The Offspring. You want to know why there’s a little kid with a leg brace swinging while holding a huge bug? Click on over for a most-enlightening answer – http://diffuser.fm/cover-stories-the-offspring-americana/ Just don’t hate me when you’re done.

3) The headline reads “Young Thug Wants YOU To Design His Slime Season Mixtape Cover“, and while there’s no official release date announced yet, nor is there much incentive provided in the accompanying article’s details (posted by Trevor Smith on the Hot New Hip Hop site), once can only assume that all of your hard work will be rewarded with a lifetime work contract and a huge percentage of the profits made via your design (isn’t that always the case, designers?) – http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/young-thug-wants-you-to-design-his-slime-season-mixtape-cover-news.17619.html

Sept. 21st –  1) Here’s a nice profile article on a Denver-based design agency called The Made Shop that grew from a way for a husband and wife creative team to share their love for design and music (and make some extra money on the side) to a full-time gig that lets them explore many different production and delivery methods while making memorable imagery for their clients. Now in business for over 12 years, Marke & Kimberly Johnson have created some wonderful album art for musical acts including The Fray and Son Lux (their cover for the band’s We Are Rising record features 28 exploding colored smoke bombs) while taking on projects for clients in the film, TV and print publishing worlds, with more behind the scenes details revealed in Rachael Steven‘s recent article on the Creative Review site – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/september/handcrafted-designs-from-denver-studio-the-made-shop-2/

2) More album art inspiration is on display in this rather-cool new exhibition at the Wolveschildren Art Space in Ballarat, VIC, Australia titled “Cover Versions” that features re-interpretations of a number of well-known album covers by more than a dozen local illustrators. While most designers and artists rely on digital tools to create album cover imagery these days, the works on display in this show have been created via “a range of mediums from pen, brush, ink, paint, sculpture and digital”. The exhibit is up until October 10th, with more details available in Dellaram Vreeland’s article on The Courier site – http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3353553/interpreting-record-covers/

You can see more pix of the show on the Art Space’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wolveschildren

3) Some of you may have seen these videos in the past, but I just recently discovered 3 short videos made by Eric Arthur that bring viewers dozens and dozens of horrible album covers, synchronized to classical music scores. Eric is a musician who plays piano in New Orleans-style blues band Bucucrasu & The Slimline Shufflers and has also established himself as an expert in Bad Album Art (you know it when you see it), so if you’re looking to test your tolerance (you can always close your eyes and just enjoy the score), start with Part One of his Worst Album Covers Ever video series and build calluses on your brain from there – http://ericarthur.co.uk/bad-lp-covers/

Sept. 18th –  1) Would like to see you all visit Bruce Jenkins‘ Vinyl Connection site to read a couple of his recent postings having to do with album covers featuring hands. It seems that a number of art-obsessed genres – Prog, Metal, New Age, Jazz, etc. – use images of hands as a central design theme. Many seem to show hands palms up in an effort to invite you in to the recording (or, in some cases, as a way to show us what’s growing in their palms), and most are done close-up, perhaps to allow the palm readers in the audience to determine the length of the models’ Life and Love lines… In any case, Bruce found enough examples (22) to bring us two detailed articles – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/09/01/10-handy-album-covers/ and http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/09/15/12-more-handy-album-covers/ with the second collection containing what is my favorite example, that being the cover of Jerry Garcia’s Studio Sessions record (classic Garcia humor)…

2) The Entertainment & Musical Memorabilia Signature Auction hosted by Heritage Auction house recently showcased examples of classic graphic design – including a set of Richard Avedon psychedelic Beatles posters done for Stern magazine in 1968 (you’ll know them when you see them) – and something really unique done by artist/musician/part-time Beatle Klaus Voorman, that being a 1990’s reworking of his iconic cover art for the band’s Revolver LP. Voorman takes an original Revolver LP cover, lays a 12″ x 12″ piece of acetate on top of it, and then paints on new graphics that depict the band in their colorful Sgt. Pepper regalia. It’s an impressive work, and one that, in my estimation, will sell well-above the $2500 opening bid (no reserve, though!).
http://entertainment.ha.com/itm/entertainment-and-music/klaus-voormann-original-beatles-artwork-sgt-revolver-germany-1990s-/a/7149-89117.s?ic4=GalleryView-Thumbnail-071515

Update – the Voorman artwork sold for $3250, while the Avedon prints sold for $4000 for the set…

3) Rock photography fans in the NYC area  were given the chance to hoof it on over to the “Photoville” pop-up photo show through Sunday the 20th to see some amazing shots on display from a number of the music industry’s best-known photographers, on display in a gallery made up of dozens of re-purposed shipping containers! The show – set up in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 Uplands area – was not limited solely to rock photography, but those with a keen eye will find works on display by Danny Clinch, Roberta Bayley, Janette Beckman (who also curated this part of the exhibit), Jill Furmanovsky, Barrie Wentzel and others. Writing for the Noisey Music By Vice site, Kim Taylor Bennett shares some examples of items you’ll see at the show and offers up some nice quotes from Ms. Beckman about several of her personal favorites. http://noisey.vice.com/blog/photoville-2015
Sept. 17th – 1) Well, Ringo’s not the only one with a new book and photo exhibition (see Sept. 16th entry)! Photographer Mick Rock spent a lot of time in the early 1970s with David Bowie who, at that time so early in his career, was enjoying an impressive creative and productive run, releasing several albums, going out on successful tours and even producing a record for Lou Reed (Transformer, which featured a great cover photo also by Mr. Rock). Mick amassed an amazing portfolio of Bowie photos during that period which now serve as the basis for a new book titled The Rise of David Bowie: 1972-1973, just published by Taschen Books. While Rock went on to produce memorable photos and video of many of the rising stars of the era – Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Queen and others – it was his work featuring Bowie that established his bona fides in the music industry. In this article by Drew Millard for the Vice.com site, you’ll learn more about the book and the stories that make it all the more impressive as a chronicle of a very exciting time in pop music – http://www.vice.com/read/mick-rock-documented-ziggy-stardusts-takeover-of-the-universe-taschen-909

In support of this new book, Taschen has put together a very impressive exhibit of photos from the book which is now on display at their gallery on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles (until October 11th). TItled “Mick Rock: Shooting for Stardust -The Rise of David Bowie & Co.”, the display will most-certainly tease collectors into thumbing through the 310-page, $700 limited-edition book (signed by both Rock and Bowie) of which only 1972 copies will be printed. Of those 1972 copies, 200 will be offered as “Art Editions” that will include one of two signed pigment prints. More details on the book are available at
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/03136/facts.mick_rock_the_rise_of_david_bowie_19721973.htm
While more info on the show – including a very nice photo gallery – can be found via the following link –
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/company/blog/661.mick_rock_shooting_for_stardust.htm

Bonus content – 5 years ago – Rock collaborated with director Barney Clay to create a short film based on footage (and other tidbits) Rock had in his archives from the video shoot of Bowie’s wonderful music video for the song “Life On Mars”. Done on behalf of the Creator’s Project creative collective, the resulting film is only shown in galleries and museums (per Bowie’s request), but you’ll enjoy learning more about “the making of” this film and seeing the joy on Mr. Rock’s face when he sees a sample of the work in progress (you’ll also like seeing an interview shot in the now-defunct Mars Bar…
http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/barney-clay-gives-mick-rocks-david-bowie-footage-a-new-life

2) Even rabid sports fans can’t help but enjoy this one – a designer in Holland named Maans D. has used his graphic design talents to offer us his take on logos from professional football teams here in the U.S., recreated as album cover art. To makr the start of the season (Go Bears?), five of them are highlighted by writer Jason Alsher in this article on The Cheat Sheet site – http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/nfl-5-team-logos-redesigned-as-vinyl-album-covers.html/?a=viewall
and, if you’re so intrigued, you can see the balance of the designer’s efforts on his Behance site – https://www.behance.net/gallery/22799719/NFL-Vinyl-Collection
I think that you’ll agree that the logo for the Washington Redskins is a bit more palatable than the team’s current offering (I would love to resurrect the Senators name, but they might never agree to play another game).

Sept. 16th – New book, exhibition and auction items from one of the best-known rockers of all time – Ringo Starr

By now, many of you will have heard about the once-in-a-lifetime auction that will be taking place at Julien’s Auctions at the end of November featuring items from the personal collection of drummer Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara. When most of us “down-size”, it means selling off our old sofas, framed art we don’t like any longer, etc., but when Ringo & Co. work to reduce their possessions, you can only imagine what’s going to be on offer! You can start to fantasize by reading the press release about the auction – which will include some amazing items for album art fans, including Ringo’s personal copy of “the butcher cover”, White Album serial number 1, a Peter Blake “Love Me Do” painting and several of Ringo’s own works – http://www.juliensauctions.com/press/2015/ringo-starr-barbara-bach.html

At the same time, there is an extraordinary photo collection on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London that features photos Ringo had collected over the years and which had been stored away until he found them while digging through his storage not too long ago. A selection of his favorite shots has been assembled into a new book titled Photograph By Ringo Starr, with the first limited-edition copies (produced by Genesis Publishing) selling off in record time (see a gallery of images from the book via this link – http://www.genesis-publications.com/photograph-by-ringo-starr-the-signed-limited-edition/default.htm). On September 21st, a new open-edition of the book – which includes Ringo’s original 15,000+ word manuscript – was released at a price of £35.00, with orders being taken now on the NPG web site – http://www.npg.org.uk/shop/shop-list.php?showProductDetails=8665

Writing for The Guardian, art correspondent Mark Brown gives us a look at “the making of” this new book, which features a cover photo Starr took of himself in a mirror (an early “selfie”, it seems) – http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/sep/09/ringo-photos-beatles-national-portrait-gallery-launch-book-exhibition
One tantalizing thought – Ringo is asking the surviving Beatle family members to dig through their own homes for photo books as he’s pretty certain that his other 3 band-mates would have similar troves of photos waiting to see the light of day….

Sept. 15th – 1) Joaquim Paolo and Julius Wiedemann have just published a new, multi-lingual edition of their well-regarded Jazz Covers book, originally released (in super-deluxe editions) in 2012 but now made more-accessible and affordable! As you all know, many great designers, photographers and illustrators have displayed their talents for lovers of music in many genres, but I think that the closest ties are between innovations and trends shared between designs for jazz and rock/pop music, which is why you’ll find so many practitioners of album cover design doing great work for clients in both genres. The new hardcover – all 672 pages of it – is available now for less than $20 from booksellers everywhere, or direct from the publisher at http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film_music/all/45452/facts.jazz_covers.htm where you will find a nicely-illustrated intro to the book as well.

2) You can never get them started too young….Seattle-based record retailer/publisher Light In The Attic has teamed up with Jack White’s Third Man Records to release a “starter package” for young vinyl collectors – titled This Record Belongs To______ – that includes both a ready-to-run record player package and a specially-produced LP featuring music for kids by a host of top musicians – Carole King, Shel Silverstein, Harry Nilsson, Nina Simone and Kermit The Frog, to name several – as well as a custom cover and a story book by acclaimed artist Jess Rotter. The package retails for $95 complete, so with the Holidays not too far off in the future, click on over to http://lightintheattic.net/releases/1822-this-record-belongs-to__________ to take a look and pre-order this item (shipping in early November).

3) In another enviable example of an artist following his heart to settle in a place that gives him the best of everything he’s looking for, here’s an article about top rock photographer Steve Emberton‘s gradual (30+ year) transition from a U.S.-based shooter busy with hundreds of music industry assignments – having photographed many of the top 70s-80s acts both in the States and the U.K. – to a new life photographing his surroundings in the tranquil coastal town of Amble in England. You’ve seen his work – memorable photos of Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and album cover shots for acts including The Tubes, Lurkers and Gilbert O’Sullivan, among others – so it is intriguing to learn more about what motivated a guy used to the swingin’ scene in London to venture out to find a new life in Northumberland. Read the details in Barbara Hodgson‘s recent article on the Chronicle Live site – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/america-amble-how-rock-roll-10014482

Sept. 15th #2 –  1) I wrote recently about Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd‘s photo show (curated by Mr. Diltz’s gallery, Morrison Hotel) and was intrigued to see a new show, which launched September 18th at the Hilton|Asmus Foto Gallery in Chicago that combines their work with that of another high-quality shooter – Carintha West – with the results called “Visions of a Magic Time”. Rock photo fans in Chicago had the opportunity to meet all three players at a reception that Friday from 5:30pm – 9pm local time and chat with them as they took visitors through their respective collections. The show will be up until the end of October, with more details provided by writer Thomas Connors in Michigan Avenue magazine – http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/visions-of-a-magic-time—michigan-avenue-magazine.html

2) Always the trend-setter, famed Pop artist (and Sgt. Pepper’s cover art creator) Sir Peter Blake has fully-embraced the tools of the digital age in creating and promoting his latest works, as is evidenced by the art “mash-up” app featuring his imagery that’s detailed in this BBC News article by entertainment/arts writer Kev Geoghegan. Using what’s called the Dazzle It application, users can remix and re-imagine some of Sir Peter’s works to create something unique and personal. The article includes an interview with the always-creative designer about how technology has been both an influence and a tool throughout his career – read and learn from a true master of the media – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-34151804

3) We work hard to promote as many of the music industry award shows that honor album cover design, so here’s a new posting about the winner – musical act Enter-Tribal for their Hitting The Trail record – in the “Best Album Cover Design” of this year’s Indigenous Music Awards held last week in Winnipeg, Canada. Other nominees included:
BEATRICE DEER – Fox
BLACKSTONE – Kaskite Asiniy
FLORENT VOLLANT – Puamuna
HELLNBACK – #FOE=Family Over Everything

To read about all of the winners in the rest of the categories, click on the link to this article on the CBC News site – http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/indigenous-music-awards-1.3224505

Congratulations to the winners!

Sept. 11th – 1) Yes, we all agree that the album cover images for the rock band Iron Maiden are typically quite spooky, but can we agree on which version is the most terrifying display of Eddie we’ve seen? In this recent article on the topic by John Hugar on the Uproxx.com site – done to commemorate the recent release of the group’s 16th studio album, this one titled The Book of Souls, with artwork by British illustrator Mark Wilkinson, who has also created covers for Judas Priest, Marillion and Fish (along with two earlier IM records) – you’ll find the author’s take on each record’s cover, from least-scary (1998’s Virtual XI) to number-one-most scary (not gonna tell you).
http://uproxx.com/music/2015/09/iron-maiden-book-of-souls-album-covers-ranked/
While I strongly disagree with the #1 choice (shoulda been swapped with #3, IMHO), I am (as always) duly impressed with the 35-year run that this character has enjoyed – now THAT’s “iconic”.

2) Famed rock photographer Brian Griffin’s new book of photos he’s taken of the pathways (i.e., train tracks) that lead to the various Nazi death camps in WW2-era Poland has been released and, rightly so, for the haunting quality of each image, been met with much critical acclaim. Titled Himmelstrasse (“Heaven Street” – a term the Nazis used with sick irony), Griffin’s book was released last week with a gallery show at The Photographer’s Gallery in London, which was followed with an appearance and signing during NYC’s Art Book Fair the next week. The book was inspired by Brian’s train trips in Poland, journeys that lead him to learn more about the rail system’s disturbing history…More on this in Jonathan Bell‘s recent article on the Wallpaper.com site – http://www.wallpaper.com/lifestyle/road-to-hell-a-new-book-by-brian-griffin-reveals-polands-dark-rail-networks

3) Folks in the Hoboken, NJ area now have the opportunity to immerse themselves into all things Frank Sinatra by visiting the Hoboken Historical Museum’s special exhibition – curated by the Grammy Museum and Sinatra’s family – that marks the 100th anniversary of late crooner’s birthday (this coming December 12th). “Frank Sinatra: The Man, the Voice, and the Fans,” is a must-visit for serious fans of Old Blue Eyes, as it features (according to the museum’s site) ” interactive displays and videos, period-appropriate listening stations, and cherished fan photographs and artifacts to illustrate the singer/actor’s formative years in Hoboken, highlights from his remarkable 60-year career, and memories from legions of fans. The exhibit will be accompanied by packed schedule of singers, films and authors, and a big birthday bash on Dec. 12, 2015.” Be sure to use the last vestiges of the “Summer Wind” and rub shoulders with other “Strangers In The Night” – “I’m Going Out of My Head” that it’s 3000 miles away.. https://www.hobokenmuseum.org/exhibitions/main-gallery/current-exhibition 

Sept. 10th – 1) Now this I like – Phil Collins is re-releasing re-mastered versions of his solo catalog and, in the process, replacing the original Trevor Key close-up photos with those taken more-recently (i.e., 30+ years later). The new records are part of his “Take A Look At Me Now” campaign, with the first two releases (Face Value and Both Sides) due out in November. Michael Roffman gives us the details on the Consequence of Sound site – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/09/phil-collins-is-reissuing-his-solo-catalogue-and-remaking-each-album-cover/

The extreme close-up approach to album cover imagery is one that has been used many times throughout rock record history. In fact, there’s even an entire AMIRIGHT site page titled “Face Close-Up Themed Album Covers“, where you’ll find examples from pop (Adele, Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, etc.), hard rock (Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, KISS, etc.) and most other genres. Bob Marley, Frank Zappa, Joe Cocker and several others showed their faces in great detail in multiple albums while, in some cases (you’ll see what I mean), it might have been wise to use a little make-up – http://www.amiright.com/album-cover-themes/face-close-ups/

My favorite – Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life

Yours?

2) Rock photographer Michael Miller has given us memorable cover photos for a wide range of musical acts, from Stan Getz to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Soul Asylum and over 50 rap/hip-hop acts, so it is not surprising to find his work featured in a new gallery show that focuses on the portfolio he produced of scenes and people related to the West Coast hip-hop scene of the 1990s. Writing for the OC Weekly, reporter Aimee Murillo gives us a look at this exhibition – titled “Love West Coast” – now on display (thru October 10th) at the DAX Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA that includes candid portraits of major music players including Tupac, Easy-E, N.W.A., Coolio and many others. Miller shares the stories behind several of his photo shoots, with pictures taken in areas and under circumstances that had the photographer more than a bit worried about his health, never knowing whether the residents of the neighborhoods they decided to stop in would appreciate the attention or exposure… for more info on the show, please visit – http://blogs.ocweekly.com/heardmentality/2015/09/mike_millers_and_west_coast_hip_hop_at_dax_gallery.php

3) It’s always nice when your alma mater’s college paper runs a story about one of your achievements, so photographer Eric Poppleton should be extra-proud of the coverage he received in Daniel Grady and Dara Metcalfe‘s recent article in The Ball State Daily about the now-famous photo he took that was featured on the cover of the now-even-more-famous N.W.A. record Straight Outta Compton. In the story, you’ll learn more about Eric, his mentor at Ball State (Muncie, Indiana) who encouraged him to consider a career in photography and how a kid from a very white part of the country ended up on his back in LA, looking up at a group of armed and fairly-menacing black men…read the details via the link at http://www.ballstatedaily.com/article/2015/09/straight-outta-muncie

Sept. 9th – 1) Rock art comes in all shapes, sizes and via many different forms of inspiration…Recently, artist Scott McPherson – who works using the moniker “Sink Shower” – was asked to apply his talents to help decorate a record store in Los Angeles called Vacation Vinyl. While on the surface that might not sound very interesting, Sink Shower’s best-known for a logo he designed for his own death-metal band, which he paints over and over again (with slight variations) to create a final image. What started as an art project back in Kansas has now taken on much larger proportions, with reporter J. Bennett working to help us understand the artist’s motivation and plans for the future in this article on the Noisy/Vice site – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/sink-shower

2) Way over on the other side of the country (Palm Beach, FL), the curators at the Holden Luntz Gallery have put together a show called “Let The Good Times Roll” that features 40 photos – dating from 1905 to 2010 – chosen to give show viewers an extended summer vacation, illustrating “the good life” in its many forms. Included in the show is a grouping of photos taken by famed rock photographer Norman Seeff (who has done well-known covers for Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones and many others) and featuring an image of young lovers Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe taken in NYC in 1969. Jan Sjostrum shares the details (and a photo gallery) with us in her coverage for The Palm Beach Daily News – http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/local/lifes-joyous-moments-on-view-at-holden-luntz-galle/nnSnX/

3) J.D. Cronise, front man for Austin, TX-based hard rockers The Sword, was so impressed with a gallery show by artist Jetter Green that he decided right then that he’d want to commission Green to do the art for the band’s next album. Knowing that “a good album cover always compliments a good record”, the pair worked together to produce the image that is now featured on High Country, just released on Razor & Tie Records. Read more about this successful collaboration in Scott Munro‘s article for Classic Rock (you’ll also find a podcast there with an interview with Cronise about “the making of” this new album) – http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2015-08-25/the-sword-praise-high-country-artwork

Sept. 8th – 1) Showing how art can both reflect and help better a lifestyle, this recent story by Andrew Edwards in the Long Beach Press-Telegram brings us news about artist Joe Cool (AKA Darryl Daniel, cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg and the guy that created the cover art for Dogg’s huge-selling Doggystyle album) and the unveiling of a new work of his (titled “Safe Refuge”) that he hopes will move those with substance abuse issues to consider – as he has – avoiding a life that’s been harmed by addiction. Today, after 12 years of sobriety, Joe Cool has teamed with local drug rehab organizations to bring both his art and his story to audiences that will hopefully appreciate both – http://www.presstelegram.com/arts-and-entertainment/20150827/doggystyle-artist-joe-cool-of-long-beach-has-new-art-and-new-lifestyle

2) Detroit, MI-based musician and album cover artist Niagara – having enjoyed some recent success for her stylish cover for Kid Rock’s latest record – has just released the artwork that will be used on a poster to promote the upcoming “Dally in the Alley” music/art event taking place this weekend in the city’s “Cass Corridor” neighborhood (former home of Creem Magazine and where The White Stripes played their first gig). Done in the instantly-recognizable “Niagara Style”, the poster’s subject asks you whether you’d like “to Dally in the Alley” and, as is usually the case when you see Niagara’s artwork, you find yourself wondering whether this would be safe to do (not because it is in Detroit – rather, because her femme fatales always look as though they might want to kill you rather than bother with you much longer!)…Read more in Lee DeVito’s feature on the Detroit Metro Times site – http://www.metrotimes.com/Blogs/archives/2015/08/28/niagara-designed-this-years-dally-in-the-alley-poster

3) Lastly, a slightly-belated R.I.P. message to fans of Sympathy For The Record illustrator “The Pizz”, who died recently at the young age of 57. Stephen Pizzuro has long been a well-loved and respected “lowbrow” artist, producing posters, fine art prints, Rat Fink comics and album covers for recording acts including Bad Religion, The Creamers, Ron Asheton’s Empty Set and others and his work has been featured in many rock poster books. I once had the pleasure of paging through his own book Atavistic Avatar and seeing his work on display at the La Luz De Jesus gallery in LA a number of years ago, so I will most certainly miss seeing any new output from someone who always brought a bit of outlandishness – and a ton of talent – to his work. Read David Peskovitz’s tribute on the Boing Boing site – https://boingboing.net/2015/09/01/lowbrow-artist-the-pizz-rip.html

Sept. 7th – 1) You might recall a recent posting about next year’s Rolling Stones-themed extravaganza at the Saatchi Gallery in London – 50 years of memorable iconography, including lips, tongues, steel wheels, goats heads, etc.. In anticipation of that show, which will be touring the world after its premiere in the U.K., The Drum‘s Thomas O’Neill recently posted his interviews with several leaders in the design world – including record cover designers Stefan Sagmeister, Carin Goldberg, Caroline Robert and Tom Genower – and asked them to note which examples of the Stones’ album art have had the most influence on their own careers. You’ll read stories about Exile, Sticky Fingers, Beggar’s Banquet and even a life-size poster of Brian Jones – http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/08/28/stone-cold-classics-unconventional-iconography-rolling-stones

2) Here’s an interesting example of album art inspiring an even more creative approach to teaching today’s media-obsessed youth – 4th grade teacher Adrian Perez has decorated his Mendota, CA classroom with artwork from Kanye West album covers (including the amazingly-popular Murakami teddy bear found on the rapper’s hit 2007 record Graduation) and used these images and the titles of West tracks as the bases for a number of his classes – “Math Monsters”, “Touch The Sky With ELA”, etc. – and to highlight the progress of his kids throughout the year (“I’m Amazing”, “Power Readers” and others). On the whole, parents seemed to be encouraged, but I’d like to see whether his students’ overall performance (in areas besides rhyming) improves via this unique teaching method…More on this in Eliza Murphy’s article on the ABC News web site – http://abcnews.go.com/beta/Entertainment/teachers-kanye-west-themed-classroom-welcomes-students-good/story?id=33391494

3) It’s been 10 years since the release of Wolfmother’s self-titled debut album, which initially caused a bit of a stir in the loins of certain record retailers who objected to the record’s use of a beautiful-but-bare-bosomed Frank Frazetta painting (titled “The Sea Witch”) on the cover (in addition to several other examples of the fantasy artist’s work for covers of some of the popular record’s singles). Well, the band is re-releasing the record later this month (Sept. 25th) in a special collector’s edition that will include more music (demos, live performances. etc.) and will be available – original artwork in tact – on 180-gram vinyl. If you’re a fan of this band and/or style of artwork, I’d strongly suggest clicking on over to this recent article by Mike “DJ” Pizzo on the Medium/Cuepoint site – quite the eyeful, I must say! https://medium.com/cuepoint/wolfmother-10-years-deep-5f7235d9b1c6

Sept. 4th – Three new shows for you to visit…
1) If you’re headed to Las Vegas any time soon, be sure to stop by the Delano Hotel to see Robert Knight and Maryanne Bilham‘s excellent new photo show there. In the new show, titled “Defiantly Inspired”, you’ll find portraits of many of your favorite rock artists – both classic and “up-and-coming” – including Santana, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Slash, LORDE and many others. They’ve also recorded “making of” descriptions for the images on display that you can listen to live via a downloadable app (how totally modern!). The show runs through the end of the month, and you can read more about it in this feature on the Vegas News site – http://www.vegasnews.com/140574/delano-las-vegas-unveils-rock-n-roll-photography-exhibit-defiantly-inspired-featuring-local-artists.html

2) When you’re done with your trip to Vegas, head a few hours West to see the premiere of a travelling exhibit curated by the Morrison Hotel Gallery featuring selections from the extensive portfolios of rock photographers Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd. The show’s called “Behind The Lens”, and both photographers were on hand to kick off the tour September 10th at Largo on La Cienega in Los Angeles. Both of these photographers were integral parts of the scenes they shot – Diltz as a member of the Modern Folk Quartet (and a Laurel Canyon resident) and Boyd as a top fashion model and muse/wife to both Georege Harrison and Eric Clapton – so their portraits have always benefited from this intimacy with their subjects. Writing for Goldmine MagazineChris M. Junior had the chance to interview both of them just before they left for their tour (which also had stops in Nashville, Chicago, NYC and the final one in Falls River, MA on Sept. 23rd), so click on over to learn more – http://www.goldminemag.com/article/diltz-boyd-behind-lens-tour?

3) The works of Paul McCartney’s younger brother Michael – a talented song-writer, musician and photographer himself – are at the center of a new photography exhibition that opened in early September in (where else?) Liverpool, England in a new gallery in the never-before-opened catacombs under St, George’s Hall. Titled “McCartney Luvs St. George’s Hall”, the show is built around a collection of 60 photos McCartney has taken of this beloved local landmark. McCartney’s photos of rock and entertainment royalty have been shown in exhibitions all over the world (including several in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery) and published in magazines, newspapers, etc. – even meeting the Queen herself during her Majesty’s historic visit to the Liverpool Museum when the city celebrated being a Cultural Capital a few years back. The show runs through October 18th, with details and more available via this article on the Broadway World site – http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwart/article/New-Photography-Exhibition-by-Mike-McCartney-to-Open-at-St-Georges-Hall-20150619

Sept. 3rdArt Chantry at Powell’s Books, Portland, OR – Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 7:30pm 

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Don’t call Art Chantry an “artist” – he’s a “graphic designer” and, although he’s quite adamant about the fact that most of the practitioners working in graphic design today are uninspired and simply willing to do anything for their corporate clients just so that they can put the billable hours on their timesheets, the thing that seems to bother him the most is that they are his unworthy competition. And you know, after watching the presentation he made before a good-sized crowd at Powell’s Books here in downtown Portland, OR last Monday night, I find myself agreeing with him, on the most part.

Art was in town to promote the release of his latest book on the field of graphic design titled Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History Of 20th Century Graphic Design (published by Feral House books, with a cover design by Crap Hound’s Sean Tejaratchi and John Hubbard) and, as someone with an album cover credit list that includes images for Soundgarden, The Rev. Horton Heat, Presidents of the U.S.A, Pigeonhed, Pussy Galore, Love Battery, The Beatles (yup, look it up) and many, many others, I knew that I had to be there to meet the man who, as 4X Art Director for the influential Seattle/Portland-area newspaper The Rocket (now deceased) and the foremost proponent of the “when you have no budget, you can do about anything, by hand and with salvaged materials” approach to memorable design, is most-credited for the U.S. punk and grunge-era aesthetic of the past 40 years.

Using his trusty Kodak Carousel 750H slide projector (via a 12-foot wired “clicker”), Chantry took the audience through a career retrospective that began with his first punk rock poster for a Bellingham, WA appearance of Penelope Houston’s The Avengers, which also turned out to be the first poster Art did that was torn off of most of the telephone poles in the area by folks who were less-than-happy with the print’s appearance. It was then that, according to the artist, “I learned that ugly can be a tool in controlling the viewer’s responses and emotions”. He used his early seat-of-the-pants experience to its next logical application as the art director for start-up Seattle-area entertainment rag called The Rocket, with that publication earning national attention for bringing a great sense of design and market-perfect editorial to readers looking for the news delivered to them in a language (visual and verbal) that was theirs alone.

A music review column called “Sub Pop” (written by Bruce Pavitt) was added to The Rocket in 1983 and, a few years later when Pavitt launched a new record label by the same name, he asked Chantry to provide the necessary graphics to package their new music products. Chantry recalled that one of the things that annoyed him the most about providing sleeve designs for his music industry clients was that the inside of the CD – the booklet, the insert graphics and the images printed on the CD itself – were usually very boring (and often obscured by the damage suffered by cracks and smudges in the jewel case), so he spent as much time as he could making sure that the insides would be as compelling as the cover images. Examples of this for clients including the Mono Men, Love Battery, Pigeonhed, The Thrown Ups and others helped those of us in attendance get a good idea of how important this effort really was.

Chantry did spend a lot of time presenting his case as to why working for music industry and other corporate clients has gone from a reliable source of pride and income to something that he’s telling up-and-coming graphic designers to strongly consider before choosing to work in this field. As he put it, “These days, everyone in America speaks and understands graphic design. We agree to the basic rules – the color green means “go”, red means “stop”, etc. – so the only way I can change someone’s mind about what those standard symbols mean is to f*ck with their mind. I work this way so that I can compete with and beat out a kid who just bought a computer and some software 2 weeks ago – they can’t do what I do on their computer”, meaning that great ideas don’t happen simply when someone takes a photograph and hits the “optimize” button.

Acknowledging that he realizes that he’s started something that, to the uneducated, can (on the surface, without the humor or the insight) be replicated by almost anyone with the tools, he admitted that “what I was doing worked too damn well and just about put me out of business”. These days, he realizes that he’s often being hired to “create an Art Chantry” – i.e., one that looks like what he’s done before, with his name on it – and while he might need to resort to accepting commissions like those to pay the bills, this is not where a famous designer should be at this point in his career. He also wants people to know that 20th Century design has been influenced by many talented and experimental designers, many who have gone uncredited and unacknowledged for years, so it is with this sense of purpose (and a desire to sell some books) that he’s published this new book.

I hope that you’ll find a copy (I’m going through mine right now) and take the time to learn what Chantry’s wanting us to know. As someone who is also working now on a new book that, when published, looks to bring music/art fans closer to the sources of their favorite album cover images, it was really quite the treat to be able to meet and learn from one of the greats.

You’ll find his book via the link – http://feralhouse.com/art-chantry-speaks/

Thanks again to Powell’s Books for hosting this (and so many other) author appearances! http://www.powells.com/calendar/

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

Album Cover News Recap – January, 2015

Album Cover News Recap – January, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

The new year brings an ongoing stream of news in the world of Album Cover Art and Artists, with winners selected in the annual Best Art Vinyl voting and the day drawing near (Feb. 8th, to be exact) when we’ll find out who has been honored with this year’s Grammy Awards in the Packaging Categories. Nominees were also announced for “best album cover” in several other award shows world-wide, with those winners to be announced at various times over the next several months (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

While a few sites/publications were a little slow in releasing the results of the “Best Of” and “Worst Of” lists for the previous year, Time and Talent marches on, with January being another busy album cover news-related month. Continuing to be popular are articles focusing on album art themes, including covers featuring food as the subject and the desolate landscapes often featuring on Alternative Rock/Grunge sleeves, along with another article on truly “bad” or “disturbing” covers (you know them when you see them, don’t you?). A number of new shows and exhibitions launched during the month featuring the works of artists and photographers from all areas of the art world, including famed Bauhaus/Yale designer Josef Albers, multi-media artist Christian Marclay, folk artist and self-proclaimed rock superstar “Mingering Mike”, Japanese “emoge” artist Tatsuya Shingyouji and modern classicist Kehinde Wiley, along with photographers Baron Wolman, Jason DeBord and Mark Weiss, among many others.

There were also examples of artists from other disciplines re-imagining album cover images as if they were done by European Modernists or by your best friend’s Mom on an Etch-A-Sketch (!!).  There were new books released featuring the work by a variety of accomplished artists for bands big (e.g., the Rolling Stones) and small, along with many interviews with creatives making their mark in the music/art world. Of note are two interviews with people that are well-known for their musical talents – Paul Simonon of The Clash and Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs – who are now happy to show us their talents in the visual arts and talk about the relationships between the two disciplines.

Of course, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site – I’m working hard to update those already there with new information and to add another 50-75 new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). I’m working on lining up some new interviews with some very talented men and women who make at least part of their living in the world of album cover art but, in the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were out shoveling snow, watching your favorite teams win/lose or doing whatever it is that makes you happy and satisfied. As I’ve said many times, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics (don’t you agree?), so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site.

January 30 – 1) Noisey/Vice writer Tony Rettman has posted a nice interview with Hardcore art star Sean Taggart in which he chronicles his rise from late 70s metal fan thru early 80s NYC punker to album cover illustrator for the genre’s top acts, including Agnostic Front, Crumbsuckers, Twitching Tongues, Cro-Mags and many others. Taggart’s art is intricately-detailed…the type of art that draws you in to look for all of the things you didn’t see the first five times you looked at it (depending a lot, of course, on your state of inebriation at the time). Rettman’s got a book out on the subject, so he’s good at digging deep into the mind of this talented artist – http://noisey.vice.com/blog/sean-taggart-interview

2) Writing for the Metro UK site, author Caroline Westbrook shares a collection of album cover images that seem to have truly disturbed her and, based on the covers included in her list of “album cover nightmares you can never unsee”, a lot of her fears for her sanity are quite well-founded. There are several covers that tend to make lists like this one, but the author does work hard to cross multiple genres and include examples from both obscure genres/labels and those meant to shock as well. Glad to see both 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna Be (the first officially-designated “obscene” cover) and the soundtrack for “karatist preacher” Mike Crain on the list – is there anything missing, you think?

http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/30/joyce-dick-black-and-2-live-crew-15-album-cover-nightmares-you-can-never-unsee-5043162/

3) As a follow-up to my recent headline about the new “Albers In Command” show that launches in Los Angeles this weekend, I would like to point you to some additional info and commentary on the subject that has been posted by the exhibit’s curators. You’ll find some additional details on the label Albers was commissioned by, particularly Enoch Light, whose releases on the Command Records label were engineered to highlight the advantages of a high-quality sound system…learn more via the following link – https://medium.com/vvvvvv-studio/albers-in-command-b3184edd7746

January 29 – 1) Album cover artist Shepard Fairey, whose work under the OBEY Giant moniker has provided him with a well-documented place in the history of “subversive” artwork, was seen in a cameo role in a recent episode of IFC’s Portlandia tv show playing, as you might guess, a clerk in an art store here that specializes in “shocking art supplies” – smashed TV sets, baby dolls in various poses, upside-down American flags and other basic needs for use by any serious producer of “scandalous” artwork. ArtNet News writer Eileen Kinsella was kind enough to post a link to their exclusive preview of Mr. Fairey’s work alongside Fred and Carrie – pretty cute, I think – http://news.artnet.com/art-world/take-an-exclusive-look-at-shepard-faireys-portlandia-cameo-219411

2) Artist Christian Marclay, whose “Sleevage-style” works combining sections of well-known album covers to create something new and fun (you might even say “shocking”) are just one example of his career-long efforts to combine music and art, will be the subject of a new solo exhibition that launched the weekend of Jan. 30 at the White Cube Bermondsey gallery in London. In addition to many new examples of his multi-media work, the gallery will play host to an ongoing series of events and performances, including a program this weekend by the London Sinfonietta. Of particular note for fans of the LP-making process, vinyl record manufacturer The Vinyl Factory and art printing house Coriander Studio will be installing and operating a full-bore record plant, showing visitors the entire production process of making and packaging an album. More info on the gallery’ site – http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/christian_marclay_bermondsey_2015/

January 28 – Two new photo shows and a chance to see an original classic cover painting:

1) From now through May 10, 2015, the Reading (PA) Public Museum is host to a show built around shots from the amazing photo archive of Baron Wolman, the photographer credited with being one of the first – and most-recognized – photo-journalists in the modern Rock era. Titled “Backstage Pass: Baron Wolman and The Early Years of Rolling Stone“, the show (according to the Museum’s web site) “…allows guests to explore how photographers and editors of Rolling Stone guided the creation of the “rockstar” persona, from concert, to cover, to icon. Immortalized by writers, filmmakers, and musicians from Stephen King to Dr. Hook, the cover of Rolling Stone magazine has embodied generations of popular culture.” Wolman’s photos also appeared on a number of record covers for artists including Janis Joplin, Chuck Berry, Booker T. & The MGs, Tony Bennett and many others, so if you find yourself om the road from Philly to Harrisburg and are looking for an interesting side trip, be sure to stop and see this fine show, curated by Ben Ahlvers of the Lawrence (KS) Art Center – http://www.readingpublicmuseum.org/museum/exhibits/exhibitions/backstagepass.php

2) Over 40 photos from the collection of Pattie Boyd will be on display for six weeks – beginning with an RSVP-only reception on Saturday, February 14th – in a show at the San Francisco Art Exchange titled “Like A Rainbow; Love & Inspiration – Photographs by Pattie Boyd”. While most rock fans know of Ms. Boyd’s history as the muse/wife for George Harrison and Eric Clapton, for years collectors have been impressed with her photos taken from her life as a chronicler of, and active participant in, rock and roll history. To make the show even more intriguing, the gallery will have, on display for the first time in the U.S., the painting used for the cover artwork on Clapton’s epic Layla album (how cool is that?). To see a selection of the photos that will be on display, and to learn more about SFAE’s show, click on the link – http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400114

January 27 – Two design-oriented articles for your reading pleasure:

1) Was doing some cover-related research and followed a link to a site that I thought you might enjoy. Many album cover artists are also commissioned to produce the entire graphics package for their clients, bringing their design sense to merchandise, set design and, more commonly, gig/tour posters. So intrigued was he with the variety of styles found on such posters that one designer – Mike Joyce of NYC’s Stereotype Design studio – has developed quite the sideline – that being, recreating punk, rock, new wave and indie show posters in his own style, with the text in each design set in the lowercase Berthold Akzidenz-Grotesk Medium (not Helvetica) typeface. On his site, you’ll find (and are able to buy) prints of designs for hundreds of shows that took place at a myriad of venues over a 30+ year period. A fascinating display (although I personally would have like to have seen some of the original poster images, just as points of comparison). In any case, it’s another great example of one artist’s creativity being influenced by years of great music industry design – http://www.swissted.com/

2) Keeping in the European Modernist mindset…long after former Bauhaus (the design school shut down by the Nazis in the early 1930s and not the British goth band lead by Peter Murphy) instructor Josef Albers came to the U.S. to teach at Yale’s department of design (leaving to work independently in 1958), he was hired by “lounge music” label Command Records to create several album covers. Working alongside label owners Enoch Light and George Schwager, Albers brought his minimalist design sensibilities to bear and created covers that still impress. A collection of these covers was found by studio VVVVVV creative director Nitzan Hermon and are the basis of a new exhibition launching on January 31st at the Ace Hotel gallery in Los Angeles. Titled Albers In Command, the display is all the more special as it represents almost all of Albers’ commercial work (aside for a book cover done in 1934). At 2pm on the 31st, Hermon will lead a presentation – complete with music samples and prints from designers commissioned specifically for this event – that will certainly be a must-see for die-hard fans of album cover design. For more information, please read writer Steven Heller’s intro to the display on The Atlantic web site – http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/01/when-bauhaus-met-lounge-music/384711/ or click on this link to the gallery’s events page for details and directions – http://www.acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/albers-command

January 26 – 1) Paste Magazine‘s food editor Sara Bir started off our week with a selection of 24 food-themed album covers. Some – such as The Who’s The Who Sell Out, Warhol’s banana cover for The Velvets and Whipped Cream & Other Delights for Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass – are well-known “classics”, but you’ll find many lesser-known examples from all genres of music. I’m glad that she included one of the Ohio Players’ honey-based covers and it has piqued my research genes to find others. Does Judas Priest’s Rock-A-Rolla (reimagining the Coke logo) count? Slideshow is available via the link – http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/01/hungry-sounds-album-covers-featuring-food.html

2) The Smithsonian’s American Art Museum will be launching a new exhibition at the end of February to display a collection of album covers for records that never were, created by an artist in the late 60s – early 70s who went by the name “Mingering Mike”. TItled “Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits”, the show is possible only due to the fact that the covers were discovered by a record collector at a flea market several years ago after having been somehow lost to the original artist. On February 27th, there will be a panel discussion featuring Mingering Mike (who’ll appear in costume) along with the collector who found him – sometimes, when you don’t find exactly what you want, it just makes sense to make it on your own, I guess… http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2015/mingering_mike/

January 23 – 1) Throughout album cover art history, there have been many examples of stylistic themes that have dominated certain periods of design – think about how many covers in the mid-late 1960s sported “psychedelic” colors and typestyles and the covers for records by early rap stars that featured band members standing in a semi-circle and looking down menacingly at the photographer…Catching us up on a trend that started 30 years ago and that still seems to be a popular theme even today, the editors for the music pages on the Death & Taxes site take us on a stroll through “The Grunge Forest”, showing us examples of barren landscapes that have been included in both album cover and music video imagery. You’ll enjoy revisiting these images from acts including U2, David Sylvian, Live, Nirvana and many others – http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/233546/enter-the-grunge-forest/ Hope that your local greenery is in better shape than the examples you’ll find here…

2) In his ongoing effort to establish himself as the supreme talent in both the music and art worlds, Kanye West has worked hard to bring his own imprint on album cover design via the work of his DONDA agency. To catalog the string of artistic designs generated for DONDA clients – for both singles and albums – HotNewHipHop writer Chris Tart has assembled a portfolio of the agency’s works and provided them to us in a nice slideshow featuring covers for acts including Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, ASAP Rocky, John Legend, Mr. West and others. Each image includes a brief description of the relationships that exist between Yeezus and his client base. http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/a-complete-list-of-kanye-west-s-donda-designed-music-artwork-news.13645.html?gallery-24783-photo-0

January 22 – 1) In another fascinating display of both creative artistry and someone with way too much time on her hands, Philly-based artist Alli Katz shows us what can be done with both in this display of classic album art done on an Etch-A-Sketch. In the slide show featured in Fast Company writer John Paul Titlow’s recent article on the subject, you’ll find faithfully-reproduced covers of records by The Beatles, David Bowie, Springsteen, Sonic Youth and several others. I’m particularly impressed with her version of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours LP – what say you? http://www.fastcocreate.com/3040876/these-classic-album-covers-were-drawn-on-an-etch-a-sketch

2) Just downloaded a free guide published by DiscMakers called “The Musician’s Guide To Vinyl” and thought that I might share the link with those of you who might be interested in learning a bit more about both “the making of” vinyl records and things you should consider – including an impactful album cover design – if you’re setting out to release your own music in this format. While they didn’t spend a lot of time on the subject of album cover design, I did visit their site afterwards and found a lot more info, along with a number of good case studies, on the topic, published by their in-house design team. Warning – you will have to provide contact info in order to download the guide, but it’s a small price to pay for the info you’ll get (I think) – http://www.discmakers.com/request/musicians-guide-to-vinyl.asp?

January 21 – 1) Former President Bush is not the only one who is eager to show off his painting skills (?) later in life…In this article on the ArtDaily site, you’ll learn more about a new exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London featuring the works of Clash bassist Paul Simonon. The show is titled “Wot No Bike” and puts on display a series of oil paintings the former Byam Shaw School of Art student recently completed. An avid biker, the images are representative of Simonon’s own motorcycle-related effects – jackets, gloves, boots, etc. – and, according to the artist’s site, “the paintings are as much self-portraits as they are still lifes. By rendering possessions that he uses on an almost every day basis, Simonon transmutes Wot no Bike into a visual diary in paint.” The show runs now through the 6th of February – http://artdaily.com/news/75884/Paul-Simonon-presents-a-series-of-new-paintings-at-London-s-Institute-of-Contemporary-Arts

2) The French Canadian music arts organization known as the APCM has released the list of nominees for its annual Trille Or awards, with five records, featuring the works of four design professionals, nominated for “Best Album Cover” (“Meilleure pochette”, in French):

Christian Pelletier, for Alter Ego by Le Paysagiste;

David Langis, Hannah Ford for Le Scone à soir by Le Scone;

Guy Dutrisac for Perles et paraboles by YAO;

Marc Girouard for Papillon by Gabrielle Goulet, and

Christian Pelletier for Silence Radio by En bref

The winners will be announced and awards handed out at the gala ceremony set for May 7th. Que le meilleur concepteur gagner! To read about the rest of the nominees, please visit the APCM site at http://www.apcm.ca/apcm-gala-des-prix-trille-or/nouvelles/pleins-feux-sur-les-artistes-en-lice-pour-le-gala-des-prix and don’t forget your French dictionary!

January 20 – 1) To coincide with the release of a new series of limited-edition silkscreen prints of over 40 of his best-known images (currently on display in an exhibition at the Art629 Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ), the editors at New Jersey Stage magazine have published an interview they did with photographer Bob Gruen during which they touched on a number of topics, including his experiences shooting rock royalty including John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Debbie Harry, Bob Dylan, The Ramones, etc., his feelings about the demise of many famous rock venues and his take on the benefits/drawbacks of allowing fans to bring their camera-equipped phones to concerts. There are also links to a couple of video interviews with Gruen in the article allowing us to see/hear him expand on some of the topics included in the interview. The show runs from now until February 28th, with Mr. Gruen on hand to sign copies of his latest photo book – See Hear Yoko – February 8th. http://www.njartsmag.com/new-jersey-stage-january-2015/0595784001421535801/p7

2) I was doing some research when I ran across a recent posting by Richard Butler – frontman of The Psychedelic Furs and an accomplished visual artist – during which he attempts to define the differences between “art” and “design”. He promotes three distinct differences, with design appearing to be a much more practical pursuit, and then includes a link to a video of Rex Ray – the man responsible for both a wide range of beautiful products found in the Jonathan Adler retail stores and distinctive album cover designs for David Bowie, The Residents and many others – in which Mr. Ray explains how he manages to keep his careers in both design and fine art separate-but-equally fun and challenging. Butler’s site and blog are consistently interesting reads – http://www.richardbutlerstudio.com/?p=37

January 19 – 1) The latest installment in writer Abigail Radnor’s ongoing series in The Guardian that she calls “That’s Me In The Picture”, the author tracks down and interviews the world’s best-known album cover naked baby swimming in a pool, Spencer Elden. Taken when he was just 4 months old, Spencer’s parents shared a mutual friend with photographer Kirk Weddle and responded positively when asked if they wanted to earn a quick $200 by throwing their newborn into a pool, with the resulting photo creating album cover history. He’s gotten over the fact that millions of people world-wide have seen his little penis over the past 24 years, but he’s still amazed that people claim to recognize him from time to time when he’s out in public…Ms. Radnor’s series focuses on people who’ve appeared in famous photos, with this latest posting available via the link –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jan/16/thats-me-picture-spencer-elden-nirvana-nevermind

2) In reading the personal histories of many visual artists who work in the music business, one theme you’ll find over and over again is that a percentage of these creative individuals took up design or photography as a way to attach themselves to the music world since they had little or no musical skills themselves (all of us wannabe rock stars who gave up the pursuit of a career as a musician can most-certainly relate, right?). In a recent article about die-hard music fan-turned-photographer Jason DeBord – whose work is featured in a new show staged at the Monterey County Weekly’s new venue called the Press Club Gallery – tells about his journey from fan-with-a-camera to a photo pro whose images have appeared in galleries and museum shows alongside album cover photo greats including Ethan Russell and Tom O’Neal. There’s also a companion piece in which he shares the details of the times he’s met some of the industry’s best-known performers. This article proves that “stick-to-it-ievness” can a passion for what you do can certainly pay off in the long run…http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/news/cover/a-fan-turned-photographer-stocks-the-press-club-s-first/article_74f376f4-9c4a-11e4-bd63-af4988af8a4f.html?mode=jqm

January 16 – 1) With John Kerry in the news a lot these days, this seemed timely –  on Jan. 21, Mr. Kerry presented the US State Dept’s Medal of Arts to the artist Kehinde Wiley, the talented painter who is best-known to album cover art fans for the painting he created for Santigold’s hit 2012 record Master Of My Make Believe. I had the pleasure of seeing a showing of some of Wiley’s work at the Brooklyn Art Museum several years back and, since then, his stylish portraits of African-American subjects set in classic European settings have garnered a great deal of attention in the fine art world. Beginning in late February, The Brooklyn Museum will be launching a major exhibition of Wiley’s work titled “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic”, giving fans old and new an opportunity to fully-appreciate the scope of this artist’s talents. More on this in Sarah Cascone’s article on the artnet News site – http://news.artnet.com/art-world/john-kerry-will-present-the-state-department-medal-of-arts-to-kehinde-wiley-220370

I found a very nice video on YouTube detailing “the making of” the Santigold cover – well worth the watch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQvCwOxY3jQ

2) Launched on Jan. 16 at the MPLS Photo Center in Minneapolis, MN is a new exhibition featuring the works of a number of photographers who work in the rock music arena. Titled (I think) “The World of Rock & Roll Photography”, the show is an opportunity to see a nice collection of images taken by photographers both local and national in scope, and the Center is also hosting a juried exhibition where shooters of all stripes can submit their best shots for review by a group of established rock photographers including Paul Natkin, who has produced an impressive portfolio of portraits of well-known musicians over the years and whose work is also included in the show. The collection is on display from now until March 1st, with more info available via the link – http://www.mplsphotocenter.com/exhibits/current-exhibits.php

January 15 – 1) Vinyl record recycler/designer Jeff Davis at Vinylux has come up with a VERY cool new device – an amplifier for your guitar and/or mobile device made out of recycled vinyl records! Called the “Vinyltone”, each unit is hand-made and is built around state-of-the-art technology. Power is provided by a 9-V battery, with separate controls for volume and gain. You can attach your smartphone via an 1/8″ to 1/4″ plug adaptor (not included) and, if you’d like a floor-standing version, simply attach your practice amp to any standard camera tripod. Jeff’s company also makes bowls, picture frames, notebooks and more from recycled records and album covers, so it is nice to see him continuing to innovate to bring music fans these wonderful items. The retail price of the Vinyltone is $150 (check his site for availability), and you can find out more about the company on the Vinylux web site – http://vinylux.net/

2) Many (if not most) album cover designers have also produced graphics and imagery for their clients’ promo posters and, as you’ll learn in Roger McNamee’s recent posting on the Relix.com site, their status as “the unsung heroes” in the music and fine art businesses is just as confounding. Rather than wallow in frustration, McNamee created a consortium of artists to produce great art for his musical group’s ( Moonalice ) performances and, since 2007, has been able to offer fans over 750 different posters at affordable prices. Soon, he’ll be taking it one step further as he’s just received funding to create what will be called the Haight Street Art Center in San Francisco later this year. At the center, artists will be able to produce silkscreens, lithos and other styles of poster and then display them in an attached gallery space (yes, I’m jealous!). I hope to learn more about these efforts and report back to you soon but, in the meantime, read Roger’s posting to learn more – http://www.relix.com/articles/detail/my_page_roger_mcnamee_preserving_poster_art

January 14 – Hip-Hop site Boom Box is staging its second annual reader poll for the “Album Cover Of The Year” (2015), and this year’s nominees represent quite a collection of talent and progressive art. Included in the poll are several covers that topped most of the 2014 year-end polls, including LP1 by FKAtwigs, Run The Jewels 2 and And Then You Shoot Your Cousin by The Roots, as well as entries by YG, Wu-Tang Clan and many others. The poll is open to all and they’ll be tallying all votes entered before 10AM EST on February 16, so please take a look at the entries and add your votes. Of course, you’ll find the results here on the ACHOF site as soon as they’re announced – http://theboombox.com/album-cover-of-the-year-2015-the-boombox-fan-choice-awards/

January 13 – 1) While the recorded music business in the U.S. was centered in the NYC area, talent was enlisted from all over the country to contribute to the designs used to package and promote music products, with the state of California home to a large contingent of designers, illustrators and photographers. In the new book Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936–1986 (titled this way due to the constant changes in the state brought about by its environment and population and how those changes inspired and shaped design there) published this week in the U.K. by Thames & Hudson, you’ll find a collection of promo imagery for music, film and other events done by artists who have contributed greatly to album cover/concert poster art – John Van Hamersveld, Gene Howard and Earl Newman, among others. Writing for The Guardian, Corrine Jones provides and introduction and a nice selection of examples from the book – http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2015/jan/10/the-best-californian-graphic-designs-1936-1986-in-pictures

Knowing that Ernie Cefalu, Nick Egan, Drew Struzan, Kosh and others based in CA are continuing to contribute to the state’s impressive portfolio of examples of great design, I’m hoping that someone will do a follow-up book, taking us from 1987 to present…

2) Artist Tatsuya Shingyouji, best known for his contributions to the anime-style pornographic video game industry (AKA “emoge”) so popular in Japan, has just published a new collection of re-interpretations of classic rock album covers, updated to include characters done in the time-honored, “Speed Racer”-style cartoon look. The mash-up of classic scenes, poses and colors with the voluptuous, wide-eyed characters found in Shingyouji’s art are truly compelling – sometimes funny, always fascinating – and another example of classic album packaging continuing to inspire artists world-wide to take things “to a whole, nother level”. Scott Green’s article on the Cruncyroll site is illustrated with several great examples, including covers for Queen, Prince, Pink Floyd, ELP and more – enjoy – http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2015/01/11/classic-era-artist-illustrates-another-set-of-madoka-magica-classic-album-cover-parodies

January 12 – 1) The tradition of fine album cover art continues to be carried on by a number of talented and motivated artists – this statement is certainly backed up by several of the impressive examples included in Rachael Steven’s latest installment in the “Record Sleeves of the Month” section of the Creative Review site. Many different approaches to intriguing music packaging are on display – fine photography, illustration and design – with several examples of quality die-cutting that adds even greater dimension to the images presented. I particularly like the design of the box set package that holds one version of The Decemberists recently-released new album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World. For $69.98, buyers get (in addition to an autographed copy of the music on vinyl) several limited-edition prints done by the album cover designer (Carson Ellis), embroidered patches and a 14″ x 20″ “Masonic” satin banner. Read Ms. Steven’s rundown of the latest and greatest via the link at http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/december/record-sleeves-of-the-month and take a look at the special Decemberists fan package at http://www.myplaydirect.com/the-decemberists/deluxe-autographed-box-set-digital-album/details/33256560?feature-name=pre-order&feature=33227180

2) While there have been a number of musical acts that have shown a talent for the graphic arts as well, I find myself particularly impressed with the paintings of John Mellencamp and, apparently, my feelings are not unique in that there have been several exhibitions of his works over the years, the most-recent on having opened on January 11 at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA. Titled “American Dreams: Paintings By John Mellancamp, the exhibit features a large collection of his mixed-media and oil paintings and will be on display until April 12th of this year. Mellencamp decided early on in his artistic career that he’d focus on his music but, after years of training in the visual arts, I’m for one quite happy that he has since taken the time to explore, quite nicely, his painterly side as well. Additional details here on the Art Daily site – http://artdaily.com/news/75626/-American-Dreams–Paintings-by-John-Mellencamp–opens-at-the-Morris-Museum-of-Art

January 9 – 1) I am always impressed to find artists that have been motivated to re-imagine classic album cover art in new and exciting ways, so it’s my pleasure to introduce you to the work of Brazilian artist (and creative director at the Ópera Comunicação agency in Sao Paolo) Rafa Melandi, who has redone a series of well-known heavy metal album covers to present them as if they’d been created by 1950s’- 60s jazz record cover designers. You’ll find new versions of records such as Metallica’s Master Of Puppets, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, Judas Priest’s British Steel and many others. Rafa’s tribute to the early greats in album cover design can be found on his Behance site at https://www.behance.net/gallery/22172745/Metazz-Metal-Album-Covers-Redesigned

Looking forward to new additions as they’re released.

2) Using Google’s Street View utility, Metro writer Stephen Marr has located the original settings for a number of well-known album covers and has set up a gallery of them with the ability to slide left-to-right (and back) to see the “before and after” versions – i.e., the actual locations and then the view given to us on the record cover. He’s scouted locations in the U.S. and U.K. to bring us the current views of well-known cover photos for Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Oasis, Pink Floyd, The Streets and several others. You’ll find that many spots still look remarkably the same, while others have gone through, let’s say, some “modernization”, but it’s cool to see them nonetheless. Click on over to http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/02/guess-the-classic-album-covers-from-these-google-street-view-snaps-5006837/ to find your favorites.

January 8 – Two items for fans of rock (music) photography:

1) Here’s an nice example of a well-known album cover photographer using his works to better the world – Mark Weiss, best-known for his photos of rock music icons including Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister and many others in the “heavier” end of the spectrum, is auctioning off a number of his photo prints to raise money for two humanitarian organizations – Light Of Day (which works on helping those afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease) and Lunch Break, a NJ-based organization that provides assistance to those who have difficulty affording food. In the last two years, Mark’s efforts have raised over $30,000 for these organizations, and his current auction on Charitybuzz.com looks to continue his efforts. You can read more about Mark and his charitable efforts (and find a link to take you to see what’s available in his latest fund-raising auction) in this article by John Pfeiffer on The Aquarian Weekly web site – http://www.theaquarian.com/2015/01/07/light-of-day-winterfest-2015-world-renowned-rock-photographer-mark-weiss-auctions-off/

2) Over in “Rock City” – i.e., Cleveland, OH – the work of local photographer Walter Novak is the subject of a new exhibition at the Cleveland Rock Gallery on Waterloo Road, presented by Space:Rock Gallery, titled “Walter Novak – He’s Back”. Included in the show are over 50 photographs of both locally-and-internationally known music acts – including The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Van Halen, Soundgarden and many more – taken during the Czech-born shooter’s career providing imagery to both local and national publications. Read Cleveland Plain Dealer writer John Petrovic’s article on the show and the talent behind it via the link – http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/01/cleveland_photographer_walter.html

January 7 – Follow-up on two previously-mentioned items:

1) The crew behind the new Taschen Gallery in LA have generated a lot of publicity both for their gallery and the book/collection behind their opening exhibition, titled “It’s Just A Shot Away: The Rolling Stones In Photographs” and featuring over 100 images of the Rolling Stones taken over the years (including several album cover photos, such as David Bailey’s memorable shot of Mr. Jagger for Goats Head Soup) by a number of talented shooters including Bailey, Gered Mankowitz, Terry Richardson and Ethan Russell, among others. The show runs through the end of the month, but if you’re unable to make it to the gallery during its run, the editorial staff on the Artsy site have put together a nice illustrated article for you – https://artsy.net/post/editorial-taschen-offers-the-rolling-stones-visual-greatest?

2) Last April, I wrote about the work of a mysterious visual artist by the name of “Harvezt” who maintains a Flickr site featuring artwork he’s created that works to show famous album covers as if the viewer is now looking at these scenes from behind. The collection has now expanded to include over 30 such scenes, allowing viewers to see covers including Nirvana’s Nevermind, Iron Maiden’s Killers, Bowie’s Aladdin Sane and many others from an entirely different perspective. Who knew that there was an actual image of the “Stairway To Heaven”? Paste Magazine’s Jeff Pearson gives us an update in today’s posting – you’re sure to find something new and controversial there (I still can’t find this guy – any clues?)…http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/01/the-dark-side-of-album-art-series-by-artist-harvez.html

January 6 – 1) The winners of the 2014 Best Art Vinyl album cover competition have been announced, with the top 3 spots going to 1) Royal Blood’s Royal Blood (design by Richard Welland and illustration by Dan Hillier), 2) FKA twigs’ LP1 (artwork by Jesse Kanda) and 3) Future Islands’ Singles (design by Matt de Jong and artwork by Beth Hoeckel). In its tenth year of popular polling, voters from all over the world selected covers from major and indie labels, with several of the top vote-getters having appeared on a number of year-end “Best Of” lists, while other lesser-known works obviously impressing fans of music art with their ingenuity and beauty. You can take a look at the whole list on the Art Vinyl site at http://www.bestartvinyl.com/previous-winners/2014.html and, for a more in-depth look, read Angus Montgomery’s overview in this article on the Design Week web site – http://www.designweek.co.uk/3039593.article

Congratulations to the winners!

2) Scottish photographer David Boni, known world-wide for his controversial photograph featured on the cover of The Stranglers’ 2012 album Giants, is garnering a lot of attention these days with a new exhibition of photos of six women who are coming up with interesting and cathartic methods (via the destruction of objects meant to represent whatever trauma they may have experienced) of dealing with the most-traumatic experiences in their lives. Titled “Behind The Social Media Mask” and produced in conjunction with the anonymous social media site Pencourage.com, the show will launch in London and travel to other venues in the U.K., letting viewers experience the powerful images themselves and, perhaps, help them deal with their own demons in an artistic way. More on this in this article on the Herald Scotland site – http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/shocking-new-exhibition-by-controversial-photographer-illuminating-dark-corners-of-ou.26176054

January 5 – 1) Just heard from Emily at Hypergallery in the U.K. (nice to hear from you, Emily!) – for fans of album cover art, it is a business dedicated to exhibiting and publishing high-quality art prints from an impressive list of album cover designers and photographer and definitely worth a visit. In any case, I clicked on over to their site and found a very nice interview they published recently with Marc Bessant (an album cover designer and head of design for Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios) in which he gives us a run-down of his favorite album cover designs (and why they rank so highly with him). His love for cover design spans a number of decades and genres, making this a very interesting and insightful Monday morning read – http://hypergallery.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/whats-your-favourite-record-sleeve-of.html

2) Writing for Goldmine Magazine, Susan Sliwicki just posted an informative article about one of the album cover art world’s most-intriguing packages – that being the one for The Beatles’ Yesterday & Today which, in addition to the two well-known covers (those being known as “the Butcher Cover” and “the Trunk Cover”), were also recorded in several different formats which, of course, collectors must all have. Add those to the various digital versions and their respective packages and, I’m estimating, you can spend the better part of a year digging through (and the better part of your savings buying). To get a better understanding of the details before beginning any quest to own one of everything, click on over to this article – http://www.goldminemag.com/article/variations-beatles-yesterday-and-today-lp-cause-collecting-confusion?

January 2 – Here are a couple of new stories to kick off the year (my summary of album cover news for the month of December will be posted later today):

1) The folks at the VH-1 site have put together a nice compilation/slideshow of their choices for the best (or, as they put it, “most important”) music magazine covers for 2014. As you might figure, most of the photographers that produced these impactful images have many album cover credits as well (unfortunately, for most, album cover work doesn’t pay all of their bills!) – you’ll find the work of Steven Klein, Miller Mobley, Tom Medvedich and other noted industry shooters on pix of artists including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Dr. Dre (who’d have thought that the last two would ever be mentioned in the same sentence?). To see the list, click on over to Chris Rosa’s article – http://www.vh1.com/music/tuner/2015-01-02/2014-magazine-covers/

2) Not sure if everyone has seen the article on the “interactive” album package produced for DJ Qbert’s new record Extraterrestria (I’d seen a posting in early January) but, after doing a bit of research, I thought that I’d continue promoting it a bit as I think that it’s another fine example of how smart music marketers can come up with unique products to help separate their products from the thousands released and promoted each year. Combine novel technology, a tech-savvy audience and a limited-edition/”cool factor” off the charts and you have a winning package that fans (and non-fans) will clamor for. Hope to see more of these as time goes on – in the meantime, congratulations to all involved (Algoriddim for their DJ app and Novalia for their impressive technology, as well as the musical act for their bravery and promo smarts). See more on the Fact Magazine site – http://www.factmag.com/2014/12/31/dj-qberts-new-album-sleeve-doubles-as-a-dj-controller/

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