Tag Archives: Michael Cooper

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For February/March, 2018

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

As a follow up all of the award-based excitement that took place in January, February proved to be no slouch as a source of album cover/cover artist-based news , with more awards-focused activities in the form of the announcement of the nominations in the packaging categories for the annual Independent Music Awards (IMA) and the calls for submissions to two more album cover art competitions. In addition to the competition and exhibition that is taking place this month in Oak Park, IL (which I’m honored to be part of), a similarly-built project is taking place in Brooklyn, NY in the upcoming months, as it the judging and announcement of the winners of this year’s international A Design Awards. All in all, a lot of talent will be on display and album art fans will find a lot to like in any/all of these shows.

An update about the launch of my book project – If all goes according to plans, I should be announcing the launch of my Kickstarter project before the end of March (OMG!). It will run for 33 days (I tried to get it to run for 33-1/3 days, but couldn’t quite make that happen) and, if successful, it should provide me with everything needed to get the new book designed, printed and shipped (along with any special rewards you’ve opted for) before the end of the Summer. The site’s ready, as are the pages on the ACHOF site where you’ll be able to see the rewards that’ll be offered at the various levels of support, so I just have to finish the obligatory intro video and we’ll be ready for prime time. Of course, I’ll make a formal announcement as soon as I can, so wish me luck and we’ll get this going just as soon as possible.

February’s news cycle rewarded us with a nice selection of interesting things to read and see in all the categories I summarize, providing you with new articles on the folks who are actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest exhibitions, new books, prints and products and several interesting interviews and artist profiles, along with other related reporting from sources providing these details around the world.

With so much to read and see, such as information on album art shows in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand; profiles on album art-makers including photographers Roe Etheridge and Ellen Von Unwerth and Pop Art master Andy Warhol; a pair of nice podcasts including one from GOLDMINE Magazine  with rock art auction king Jacques Van Gool from Backstage Auctions and another with several of the judges from last year’s ALEX Awards (and the folks behind Record Store Day); an intro to a huge new book coming out soon by designer John Foster (titled ALBUM ART: NEW MUSIC GRAPHICS) that delivers an impressive collection of images, info and articles on the topic and, as always, a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics such as the launch of a new album art database, what it’s like to work with your uncle – who also happens to be a noted comic book artist – on an album art project, a discussion about psychedelic album art and much, much more.

Of particular note was an article I found particularly uplifting involving a special fund-raising effort to help defray the immense medical costs incurred by noted Canadian album cover designer Michael Wrycraft as he battled an infectious disease that cost him his legs (but not his positive outlook on life).

As always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who a re fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

a) The judging is done – let the show begin! After receiving dozens of submissions for their Artifact 33.3 original album art competition, the Oak Park Art League’s panel of judges (including yours truly) has selected what it feels are the best entries from artists proficient in many areas of design, painting and illustration and will announce the winners – which will all be put up on display in the OPAL gallery in Oak Park, IL on Friday, March 9th during the opening reception of this show – titled Artifact 33.3: National Exhibition of Record Cover Art.

Artists were asked to submit original artwork for a fictional album by a fictional musical act and, after initial judging by the esteemed panel, a selection of these works are being professionally printed and displayed in 12”x12” frames for the exhibition at OPAL’s historic Carriage House Gallery beginning March 9th. An additional selection of works will be included in an online exhibit on OPAL’s website.

If you happen to be or live in the Oak Park, IL area, I’d like to invite you back to the gallery on Thursday, March 22nd from 7-8:30pm as I’ll be giving a presentation about some of the best-known album cover images and the people and stories behind them. I’ll be joined in this effort by some special guests who’ll be able to add their unique knowledge and opinions to the discussion…

I’m going to have a number of well-know album cover art prints – cover images for records by Supertramp, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and many others – up on display during the show’s run and will be bringing others just for this lecture, so please take a look at the special FB event page that’s been created and let us know if you can join us for the festivities that night.

https://www.facebook.com/events/327269481093572/

Hope to see you there – please share this with your friends in the area as well…
If you’d like to learn more about the competition and/or attending the show or panel talks, click on over to – https://www.oakparkartleague.org/artifact-33-3

b) Scheduled to close in just a few days (March 3rd) is the comprehensive album cover art show that’s been on display at San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery since early January called Art & Vinyl: Artists & the Record Album from Picasso to the Present. As I’ve written previously about this show, curated by Antoine deBeaupre of Total Records fame, the 258 record covers in the Art & Vinyl collection look at covers that represent modern/contemporary art in all its forms. Antoine chose the records in this collection for a few reasons: they had to be created by the artist specifically for that album (no re-purposing of images that is); the artists are all well known figures; and all of the albums are first editions. Antoine searched exhaustively for certain albums that were quite rare (the Warhol banana cover for The Velvet Underground, for example).

If you haven’t had the chance to see the show in person, you can choose to either hop on over to the gallery between now and Wednesday or take a look at Taylor Dafoe’s nicely-written overview of the exhibition on the Artnet.com site –  https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/art-vinyl-album-covers-1224242 In either case, enjoy the visit.

c) A vinyl collector’s passion for the recorded music products released by musical acts from his own country of New Zealand served as the basis of an exhibition of 90 album cover art prints currently on display at that collector’s music shop in Sydenham. The store – Penny Lane – is owned by ex-Londoner Dave Howard who, according to writer Warren Feeney’s article on the show on the Stuff.co.nz site, has built “an enviable collection from the mid-1950s to the present day” and organized the show, titled NZ Cover Versions, to display a collection of covers that “traces the evolution of local music through a history of design, illustration and fine arts”.

In a show that includes interesting examples of Kiwi album art, from Johnny Devlin’s first solo album, Johnny, released in 1959 to Motte’s  2017 album Strange Dreams, there’s certainly a lot of great imagery and now, via the miracle of the Interwebs, there’s a chance for those of us living thousands of miles away to see and learn more about them – https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/music/101721423/nz-cover-albums-a-celebration-of-where-art-meets-kiwi-music

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Loring from the very informative Cover Our Tracks web site sent me a link to a new post on the site that fans of album cover photography should really enjoy. Lara Kristin Herndon just contributed an interview she’s done with photographer Roe Ethridge, a commercial shooter who doesn’t have a large portfolio of album cover shots but, as you’ll see, has been responsible for several stand-outs, including one of the best-known shots from the early ‘aughts – that being the if-you-hit-me-I’ll-bleed cover photo found on Andrew W.K.’s 2001 release I Get Wet.

https://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2018/02/22/Body-in-Peril-The-Photographs-of-Roe-Ethridge

In addition to the I Get Wet cover, Ethridge has been responsible for an impressive portfolio of photos that have been included in shows and museum collections around the world, including institutions such as NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, LA’s MOCA, the ICA in Boston and London’s Tate Modern, as well as in publications ranging from VICE Magazine to the New York Times. Lara’s article takes advantage of her decades-long relationship with Ethridge and provides a degree of depth and intimacy we don’t see very often in articles like this.

b) CNN’s Style reporters have published a profile of prize-winning photographer/video director Ellen von Unwerth, perhaps best-known for her late 1980’s advertising and editorial works featuring the model Claudia Schiffer who then went on to create album covers and music videos for musical acts including Bananarama (Pop Life), Belinda Carlisle (A Woman & A Man), Janet Jackson (The Velvet Rope), Dido (Life For Rent), Britney Spears (Blackout), Christina Aguilera (Back To Basics) and Rihanna (Rated R), among others. A former fashion model herself, her talents behind the lens has kept her in-demand for commercial work for many years now, keeping clients including publications such as I-D, Interview, Vanity Fair and Vogue and companies including Clinique and Revlon enthralled with the works she’s produced.

Her works have been included in books and exhibitions all over the world, so I’d invite you all to spend a few minutes and enjoy watching this nice intro to a very talented shooter’s fashion work…

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/ellen-von-unwerth-fashion-photography/index.html

c) Inspired by a recent episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race show in which “the queens will be serving up looks inspired by the prince of pop art” Andy Warhol, Billboard’s Stephen Dow published an article online featuring a Billboard Pride compilation of ten instances during which Warhol “left his stamp on music” – https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/pride/8214697/andy-warhol-music-influence-rupauls-drag-race

The first several examples included in the article are ones that fans of album cover art should be quite familiar with – those being highlights of the album covers he created for musical acts such as the Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers, as well as a Jagger solo record), Aretha Franklin and John Lennon – reminding us that Warhol’s initial success as a graphic designer came from his time spent creating dozens of jazz (and then rock) album covers. You’ll also learn a bit more about his time managing the Velvet Underground, his work as a music video director (“Hello Again” for The Cars) and the somewhat-ironic fact that, although Warhol hated the fact that David Bowie used Andy’s name as a song title, Bowie would go on to provide movie-goers with a great take on Warhol in his role as the artist in 1996’s Basquiat.

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Goldmine Magazine’s podcast featuring Backstage Auction’s chief Jacques Van Gool about his latest memorabilia auction (titled Headliners & Legends, which was live February 16-25). In addition to talking about the autographed, artist-used guitars, RIAA-certified record awards and original Peter Max paintings that were available, Goldmine’s Pat Prince probes Jacques for more info on what might be included in some upcoming auctions (reminding us all about the fact that those running auction businesses must sometime be flexible with their schedules in order to take advantage of unique opportunities) featuring gig posters, the personal collections of music industry big-wigs, a heavy-metal (“Rock Gods & Metal Monsters”) themed auction and much more. As a collector myself (who has dropped more than a few dollars at Backstage-hosted auctions over the years), it’s always interesting to hear some tantalizing tidbits from the guy that manages to keep us all eager for the next opportunity to cover our walls with more great art and memorabilia – http://www.goldminemag.com/podcast/backstage-auctions-jacques-van-gool-guest-goldmine-magazine-podcast-episode-17

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Due out in early March of this year is author John Foster’s book on album cover design/designers – ALBUM ART: NEW MUSIC GRAPHICS. What makes this book all the more interesting is that it’s been compiled and authored by an award-winning, working designer, with Foster serving as the principal of the MD-based design firm Bad People Good Things and in possession of a portfolio of notable album art credits including: Giant Sand – Provisions and Blurry Blue Mountain; Mission of Burma – Unsound; Bailter Space – Strobosphere and Trinine; Surf City – We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This and Jekyll Island; Mark Mulcahy – Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You; The Chills – The BBC Sessions and Silver Bullets; Wreckless Eric – Le Beat Groupe Electrique and America, among others. His commercial work has been lauded with kudos and awards from the Art Director’s Club and is featured in museums and galleries around the world. He’s also written a number of other design-oriented books included titles such as New Masters of Poster Design (Volumes 1 and 2), Paper and Ink Workshop and 1,000 Indie Posters, among others, and is an in-demand speaker at design industry conferences, so you know he knows his material through and through.

According to the book’s advance PR, this book “is the definitive guide to album cover design in the 21st Century”. In addition to the scores of examples of “innovative artworks by one-of-a-kind designers”, you’ll find interviews with designers Stefan Sagmeister, Art Chantry, Paula Scher and the dynamic duo of Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz (among others) and collections of work by a “who’s who” of past and current album cover design such as Jonathan Barnbrook, Susan Archie, Michael Cina, Brian Roettinger and dozens of others.

The 320 page book is being released in the UK on March 8th by the noted Thames and Hudson Ltd publishing house (currently, the only link I can give you to pre-order the book is one to the item on the Amazon.com UK site – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Album-Art-New-Music-Graphics/dp/0500294151), and if you’d like to see more of Foster’s work, I’d invite you to visit his company’s site at http://www.badpeoplegoodthings.com/?page_id=2

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Speaking of Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz – on Feb. 23rd, the two of them brought together a panel of vinyl LP lovers, including several judges from the recent ALEX Awards and the leader of the Record Store Day movement, to discuss a variety of topics – judging the major award shows, vinyl printing techniques and the momentum behind the growing vinyl record business, etc. – on the Drate/Holly Stephey-hosted web radio show called “The Vinyl Show”.

Those of you vinyl geeks who’d like to listen to the aforementioned industry experts, who were also joined by Bryan Ekus and Larry Jaffee – the producers of the “Making Vinyl” industry trade show and who announced that the next show will be held in Detroit later this year (October 1-2) and that there will also be a similar show in Europe (dates TBD) – can listen to a recording of the festivities via the following link – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redvelvetmedia/2018/02/23/michael-kurtz-record-store-day–the-return-of-vinyl

Spencer was kind enough to send along a photo of the ALEX Award judging panel – quite the display of talent, I think you’ll agree….

 

 

 

 

 

ALEX Award Judges – Front Row, Left to Right: Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz, Sylvia Reed, Gail Marowitz.

Back Row, Left to Right: Larry Jaffee (“Making Vinyl” show founder),Sean Mosher-Smith,Stefan Bucher, Craig Braun.

b) The nominees for the 16th IMAs in the design/packaging-related categories were announced on February 14th and, in keeping with this organization’s successful efforts to feature great examples of indie talent in the music, video and design industries, this year’s nominees include works from all over the world, in a variety of genres and styles. The winning projects will be selected by both judging panels of top recording artists (including Tom Waits, Slayer, Bakithi Kumalo, Michael W. Smith, Sepultura, Evanescence’s Amy Lee and many others) and influential press and talent buyers from the Americas, Europe and Pacific Rim and online fan voting in several categories (voting on the IMA site for the fan- selected Music, Video & Design winners begins on Tuesday, February 20th and runs through March 20th at https://fans.IndependentMusicAwards.com). Winners will be announced at a special event in NYC’s Lincoln Center on March 31st.

Nominees in the “Album Art/Photography” category include –

  • Norwegian alt-rockers Soup’s latest release titled Remedies, with cover photos by Lasse Hoile and design/layout by Håvard Gjelseth;
  • Canadian singer/songwriter Matt Stern’s Magic, featuring artwork by Laura Horrocks-Denis;
  • Norwegian musician/painter Maren Ingeborg Gråblomst’s watercolor titled Madame Clamour is featured on her alt-rock duet Gråblomst’s 2017 release also titled Madame Clamour;
  • Artist, model and singer Maxine Syjuco produced the cover for  her Chicago-based experimental rock band Jack of None’s latest EP release titled The Tattle Tale Heart;
  • The team at the Brighton, UK-based Simply Marvellous creative        agency produced the artwork for the cover for Findlay Napier’s crowd-funded record titled Glasgow and
  • Chicago-based artist, actor and playwright Tony Fitzpatrick created the cover art for the new record called Bye Bye Blackbird by the trio of tenor saxophonist Frank Catalano, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and alto sax great David Sanborn.

Nominees in the “Album Packaging” category include –

  • Cali, Columbia-based graphic design studio Cactus Taller                crafted the packaging for the late Columbian Afro-Carribean star Magín Díaz’s final record – El Orisha de la Rosa (also winner of the recent 2018 Grammy Award and the 2017 Latin Grammy Award for “Best Recording Package”);
  • Designer/illustrator Greg Carr & Chris Daniels collaborated to create the cover art for soul/blues group Chris Daniels & The Kings (with singer Freddi Gowdy) 2017 release Blues With Horns, Vol. 1;
  • Lucidity Cultural Creative Design crafted the cover for the double CD set of Bhuddist music and chants from the Bliss and Wisdom Sangha & Dream Lotus Choir and Orchestra (on Wind Music) titled The Legend of the Sun King;
  • Taipei, Taiwan-based graphic artist Ming Liu designed the cover and packaging for Pop singer and composer FANN’s We Are Who We Are and
  • Vienese painter Katja Svejkovsky and her spouse, American producer puppy38 produced the cover art for p38 project hiroshimabend’s 2017 limited release ODP 048 – Rednow Gnir

In addition to the two packaging-related categories, awards are also handed out in other design-related areas such as Gig/Promo Posters, Publicity Photos, Live Performance Photos, Website Design and SWAG (AKA “merchandise), so if you’d like to see the rundown of all of the nominations in these categories, click on over to
http://independentmusicawards.com/16th-independent-music-awards-nominees/#design

c) Artists, designers, art directors, photographers and packaging experts in all related fields – here are two chances for you to show just how talented you are…The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC), is looking for submissions to a new album cover art-based show – titled In The Groove – that will feature cover art works for both real and imaginary music acts, with the selected works put on display in the organization’s Red Hook gallery from May 12th through October 28th of this year. According to the group’s promo info for this show, “the exhibition seeks to celebrate the mutually inspiring, creative relationship between music and art, and to recognize the profound cultural impact and influence of the art form itself, its trailblazing history and ever evolving visual and conceptual strategies.”

Submissions will be reviewed and judged by the “BWAC Selection Panel”, which includes Sal Cataldi (NYC-based musician and publicist, leader of the critically acclaimed Spaghetti Eastern Music and Founder and Creative Director of Cataldi Public Relations) and Wendi Gueorguiev, BWAC Performance Series Coordinator and Exhibiting Artist. All works will be submitted online, and a prospectus with the details and instructions available for download to interested artists via this link –  http://bwac.org/2018/01/in-the-groove-national-print-exhibition-of-original-album-cover-artwork/

Questions can be directed to BWAC staffers via this email address – bwacmusic@gmail.com

Wendi tells me that they’re hoping to show at least 50 different covers during the show, and with the non-for-profit’s gallery getting thousands of visitors each season, it’ll be a great opportunity to be seen on display in what’s Brooklyn’s largest artist-run organization. Best of luck to all entrants – eager to report on who’s included when the winners are notified on/around March 17th….

d) Just added an item to the ACHOF site’s “Resources” section about an album cover art database that should be of interest to anyone wanting to find out more about the imagery used on the covers of their favorite record albums. I recently read an article on the Openculture.com site about a project that combines the talents of the crews at MusicBrainz.com and the Internet Archive who, together, have created something called the Cover Art Archive and, by the looks of things, it’s a significant storehouse of imagery and data of the album cover variety. Currently packing over 800,000 covers (with more being added daily), the Archive is also looking for contributions, so if you don’t see something in their database that you feel should be included, they’ve provided a way for you to add your content and share it with all of the site’s visitors.

There are a number of ways to search and filter the data, so if you find yourself with a LOT of freetime and want to go on a hunting expedition for, for example, “all variations of Elton John covers from 1973” (there are currently 8 in the database), you’ve got the tools to do just that… Read the article at http://www.openculture.com/2018/02/enter-the-cover-art-archive.html  and then click on over to the database at https://archive.org/details/coverartarchive&tab=collection

I’m hoping to learn more about the people behind this project and their plans for the future and, if I’m successful in that effort, I’ll share what I find with you ASAP.

e) It might seem to be an unfair advantage to some when you have an uncle who is one of the most-respected comic book artists of his time and said uncle is more than happy to contribute his talents to produce the cover art for one of your record releases but, as you’ll see in this article about the Carmine Infantino-created cover for the 2003 release by nephew Jim Infantino’s band – indie rockers Jim’s Big Ego – titled They’re Everywhere – it was the perfect image for a package that contained the song “The Ballad of Barry Allen”, as Barry Allen is the name of one of Uncle Carmine’s most-famous creations, that being “The Flash”…

https://decaturian.com/arts/2018/02/21/album-review-5/

f) Following a series of events – including a drug bust and the band’s rather-casual approach to record-making – that left them without a manager, the Rolling Stones took on the production of their 1967 album titled Their Satanic Majesties Request and, in doing so, they felt compelled to do all they could to stay in the forefront of their fans’ (and the Press’) minds after the huge impact of their rivals’ Sgt. Pepper’s release. One step in that effort was to hire the same photographer – Michael Cooper – who’d helped The Beatles create the cover image of their psychedelic masterpiece and now, 50 years later, we find ourselves revisiting both cover images, each showcasing something unique and compelling – one being Peter Blake’s design and the other the use of 3-D “Lenticular” photography and printing…

Jay Jay French writing for GOLDMINE Magazine, author Jay Jay French takes us through the details of both entries in this trippy, mind-altering “face-off” between the two records’ music and imagery – http://www.goldminemag.com/articles/great-psychedelic-face-off-sgt-pepper-vs-satanic-majesties

g) While some of us with backgrounds in production understand – and often roll with – the music industry’s tendency to relegate production credits, including those for art and packaging, to near the bottom of the list of “important things to do” when releasing the details of a new record, it is nice to see that some in the new music world are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that fans get a chance to see the names of all of the people who’ve worked so hard to deliver their favorite music products to them. Here’s an article by Lily Puckett on The Fader web site about how the Spotify Music service has now begun to include more production credit info, including packaging credits – https://www.thefader.com/2018/02/02/spotify-producer-songwriter-credits

Now, if we could only get some of the award shows to include details beyond the name of Art Director when lauding a particular cover…who am I fooling?

h) Sports/news reporters can be just as obsessive as those focused on the music business in their love for all of the trappings surrounding their favorite subject, so it’s nice – but not surprising – to see this recent article by Alberta, Canada-based writer Cole Parkinson, writing for the Taber Times/Vauxhall Advance papers and web site, regarding his opinions on what constitutes the coolest overall packaging designs he found in a recent tour through his own record collection – http://www.vauxhalladvance.com/blog/2018/02/08/dusting-off-the-vinyl-record-collection/ And while the five records he includes are mostly from the late 1990s/early 2000s, it is impressive to see how he analyses these record packages with the same passion and attention to detail that I’m sure is central to his writing about local news and issues.

i) Staying in the Great White North for our final story this month, I’d like to turn your attention to the recent publicity surrounding the group of people who got together and delivered great buckets of love and compassion when a friend of theirs suffered what would be, for most of us, a truly life-altering experience. After an operation last Summer during which noted, Juno Award-winning Canadian album cover designer Michael Wrycraft – whose hundreds of album art credits include covers such as Bruce Cockburn’s Bone On Bone, Breakfast In New Orleans/Dinner In Timbuktu and Slice O Life; David Clayton-Thomas’s Canadiana; Watermelon Slim’s Ringers; Ron Hynes’ Stealing Genius; Burton Cummings’ Up Close And Alone and others for John Cage, Ron Sexsmith, Cara Dillon and The Hillbenders (TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opera) – lost his legs to a bone infection known as osteomyelitis, his friends and admirers in the local music community came together to organize and produce a special fund-raising event that raised both money and the spirits of everyone involved.

Held at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room night club recently, “The Art of Music – A Celebration and Fundraiser for Michael Wrycraft” was put together by a team that included music producer/musician George Koller, Canadian Folk Music Awards co-founder Judith Laskin and artist/guitar-maker Grit Laskin and fetured a night of musicianship and story-telling from a number of Michael’s well-wishers and supporters.

The people running the CityNews section on the MSN site covered the event, which you can watch via this link –  https://www.msn.com/en-ca/money/video/toronto-art-community-holds-fundraiser-for-legendary-album-cover-artist/vp-BBJAPm9

Although he’s been dealing with the changes in his life such a dramatic operation has brought upon him (as evidenced by the effort it took him to just get around the Hugh’s Room venue!), Michael’s spirit remains quite high and he continues to work on new projects for clients in Canada and elsewhere, including working with the archivists at McMaster University’s Mills Library in Hamilton, Ontario who are creating a “Man Called Wrycraft” archive of Wrycraft’s prodigious output of fine art and design.

“I’m not shaking my fists at the world,” he tells The Globe and Mail. “None of this affects the best part of me – my humour, my optimism.”

You can learn more about Michael and his career as an album cover designer via his web site at http://www.wrycraft.com/wrycraftrecentwork.html

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

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For January/February, 2018

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

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

The first month of 2018 really delivered for fans of album cover artistry, with kudos for Best Record Packaging and Box Sets/Limited Edition packages handed out at the Grammy Awards on January 28th along with the top picks for the annual Best Art Vinyl awards – chosen by voters around the world – announced earlier in the month on January 9th. As you’ll see in my recaps way down in Section 5, there were plenty of surprises – including a TIE (!!) – and praise handed out to the very talented producers of this year’s top vote-getters, so to all those who complain that “album art is dead”, I think that you should take a look at all of the nominated works before backing that horse from this point forward…

Some good news also about my book – I’ve just had the proposed details for my project approved by the folks at Kickstarter so, with any luck, I should be able to share a link to my project page for your review (and, if you like what you see, your support) sometime in the next month or so. With any luck, I should be able to get the books designed, printed and shipped to you sometime this Summer – and let us all say, “it’s about damn time”.

As we begin the second month of 2018, I’d like my early Valentine’s Day presents to you all to be a) my just-published interview article in the March issue of GOLDMINE Magazine (page 50) about designer/photographer/pilot Bob Minkin’s work on the packaging for some of the fan favorite Dick’s Picks records released in the early 2000s by The Grateful Dead (my second article in this magazine this year, I’m proud to say), along with the following album cover artist news summary and preview. It will hopefully be just as nourishing and satisfying as a box of chocolates and one I think you’ll want to spend a few minutes reviewing and sharing with your friends. Besides the aforementioned award details, the past month was another one chock-full of news on this topic, delivering a trove of articles I know you’ll want to read, unearthing many new details about those folks who are actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest exhibitions, new books, prints and products and several interesting interviews and artist profiles, along with other related reporting from sources providing these details around the world. With so much to read and see, you should be pleased that I’m not one of those Americans who promotes the notion that nobody else in the world is as talented and praise-worthy as we are – just take a look at the portfolios of record packages produced by some of the people featured in this month’s summary and I think you’ll agree that their works speak for themselves…

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Album Cover News Recap for October, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – November 2, 2015

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s early November, 2015 and we’re heading into the late Fall season here in the Pacific NW – great hiking and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather, with wonderful colors found all around, including in the many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 or so days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and three new films adding to the pure joy found in our news feeds, I’ll spend a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates but, after that,  it’ll be up to you  to complete your review of this list by reading/viewing these items at your own pace…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with the talented men and women who’ve enriched our lives by creating memorable  album cover art, including artist of the macabre Jeff Gaither, art directors Mike Salisbury, Kosh and David Larkham, illustrators Shepard Fairey and Tony Quick (for the NEW Zombies LP) and singer/songwriter/painter John Mellencamp.

In the fine art book category, there was news of new and upcoming book releases from photographer/collector Raj Prem, the aforementioned Shepard Fairey, photographer Jay Blakesberg (a book titled Hippie Chicks) and videographer/vinly lover Eilon Paz, who brings his Dust And Grooves series from video to print.

There were a large number of exhibitions and shows built around rock-related imagery that premiered during October, with shows in museums and galleries around the world displaying collections that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll read more about current and just-completed exhibits such as the show at Hilton|Asmus in Chicago featuring photos by Henry Diltz, Carinthia West and Pattie Boyd, Neal Preston’s recent display at the LDI convention, the “Hippie Modernism” show at the Walker Art Center, a show of Michael Cooper photos in London, Graham Nash’s new display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Winston Smith’s collage show in San Francisco, musician/artist Wayne Coyne’s display in Baltimore and a show featuring “make believe” album art in New Haven, CT.

Other interesting articles appeared on subjects including the now-open voting for Art Vinyl’s yearly “Best Art Vinyl” awards, album art created by working musicians, a clothing license deal that will produce gear featuring 80’s style/art icon Patrick Nagel’s artwork,  a scientific study into whether album cover art influences the reviews by music critics and three films – Roddy Bogawa’s look into the life and career of the late Storm Thorgerson called Taken By Storm (covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and many others), one about photographer Robert Frank (Exile On Main Street for the Rolling Stones) and Colin Hanks & Co’s loving tribute to the life and death of that former temple of all things vinyl – Tower Records – titled All Things Must Pass. As it typically the case, I don’t have the time/space 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!

We’re going into the annual voting season for the ACHOF and, as part of that effort, I’ve added  several new biographies to the Artist Bios section on the ACHOF site during the month. With our next class set to be inducted before the Holidays this year, I’m working to include as many as possible for consideration in this effort. With all of the year-end distractions soon upon us , I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on recent news you may have missed but,  as I repeat (incessantly, I know) 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).

October 31st – not posted, but added today as a bonus – Bay-area photographer Jim Jocoy has dug deep into his archives and found a collection of late 1970s shots of a “who’s who” in the then-thriving punk music scene (previously publishing some of them in a book titled We’re Desperate: The Punk Rock Photography of Jim Jocoy) and now, in this recent article by Miss Rosen on the Crave Online site, sharing even more of them, including images of Patti Smith, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, Exene Cervenka of X and many other stars of the era. His observation that “Punk is an ephemeral thing. The Rolling Stones are still rolling along, and the Ramones are all gone”, while stating the obvious, certainly underlines the fact that so much of this creative energy has “left the club”… http://www.craveonline.com/art/909159-girls-film-70s-punk-legends-photographs-jim-jocoy#/slide/1

October 30th – 1) Perfectly-timed for a Halloween-weekend item was this just-released feature/interview with artist Jeff Gaither. Fans of album art will recognize his work for metal/hard rock bands including Testament, Pantera, The Misfits, Guns-n-Roses, The Undead and many others (over 200 credits!) but, as you’ll see when you read Kevin Gibson’s article on the LEO Weekly (Louisville, KY) site, the inspirations for the sometimes over-the-top ghoulishness of his imagery come from a fascination of all things serial killer (he even owns a piece of notorious murderer Ed Gein’s tombstone). When you’re done with the article, I’d also suggest a visit to Jeff’s site, where you can learn more about his past, including his five-year stint working for Mr. Rat Fink himself, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth – http://www.leoweekly.com/2015/10/serial-killer-culture-jeff-gaithers-dark-obsession-inspires-his-art-and-fandom/
Site link – www.jeffgaither.com

2) The folks at the Hilton|Asmus Gallery in Chicago have decided to extend the time that their popular photo show based around the photography of Henry Diltz, Pattie Boyd and Carinthia West will be up…Visions Of A Magic Time:Iconic Photographs Of The Music & Culture Of The 60s And 70s will be available for viewing now through December 20th. They also sent over a link to a recent episode of the popular “A Drink With…” web series (sponsored by Virgin Hotels and hosted by Hilary Sawchuck) in which Ms. Sawchuck hoists a margarita or two with the three aforementioned photographers while they talk about the behind-the-scenes details of many of their best-known images and Ms. Boyd (the former muse of rockers George Harrison and Eric Clapton) talks a bit about the ups and downs of being in love…

http://virginhotels.com/2015/10/09/a-drink-with-pattie-boyd-carinthia-west-henry-diltz/

Exhibition info – http://www.hiltonasmusfoto.com/exhibition-schedule.html

October 29th – 1) Album art fans in the New Haven, CT area were treated to an exhibit featuring 67 works of art depicting album covers for “make believe bands” called “Sound + Vision: A Visual Playlist” that ran at the Gallery at the Institute Library, 847 Chapel St., until Oct. 31. This portion of the city-wide “Open Studios” effort showed how local artists would approach projects designed to best-introduce fans to an act’s new music (“you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”), with some of the participants reaching back into the area’s musical history (e.g., a visit by The Doors in 1967 during which Jim Morrison was arrested for various acts of debauchery) to provide the bases for the visual imagery. From 7 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 31, there was a closing party with album sales, auction results, and a live broadcast on local radio station WPKN, so if you would like to learn more, read Brian Slattery‘s article on the topic on the New Haven Independent site –http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/sound_vision/

2) Music journalist, photographer, collector and curator Raj Prem has just announced that he’s working on a book chronicling both his own career as a rock photojournalist and working alongside other leading rock shooters – including Michael Cooper, Iain Macmillan, Robert Freeman, Jerry Schatzberg and many others – to curate gallery/museum shows of their works. He’s staged over 100 shows during the last 20 years, so the book will most-certainly include an interesting mix of behind-the-scenes story-telling, interviews and anecdotes. I hope to get hold of the nice man ASAP to see if I can find out more about when he anticipates he’ll release his newest tome but, in the meantime, you can learn more about the man and his plans on his website via the link – http://rajpremnews.com/2015/10/raj-prem-to-publish-new-book-about-his-career-in-music-photography/

October 28th – 1) Ever wonder what your favorite album covers would have looked like translated (literally) into proper French? Me neither – but now that I see them, I’m glad that London-based creative Thomas Olivier has taken the time to provide them to us! I’m particularly amused by several of them, including the newly-revised covers for The Who (“Les Qui”), Talking Heads (“Tetes Parlantes”) and James Brown’s “Sois Sur Ton Bon Pied“. See the rest in this recent article by Ana Leorne on the FourOhFive (is that L’Interstate 405?) site –http://www.thefourohfive.com/culture/article/here-are-some-of-the-world-s-most-famous-record-covers-in-french-144 

2) Influential graphic designer/photographer Mike Salisbury has had his hand in so many well-known images – including album covers for Ike & Tina Turner, George Harrison, James Taylor and Michael Jackson, among others, along with notable design elements for over 300 films (the Jurassic Park logo, for example) – that he most-certainly can claim to have had a notable effect on what Pop Culture “looks like”, but in this recent interview/profile of the artist by Mary Reinholz for The Argonaut site, readers will learn about aspects of his career that will both impress you and leave you wondering (Pop Culture being birthed by the CIA? He says he’s got the proof). I’m eagerly anticipating the release of his series on the topic titled “Mr. Pop Culture” but, in the meantime you can learn more via the link – http://argonautnews.com/mad-dog-sees/
I’d also invite you to view a short video that shows a number of the portraits he’s taken of celebrities from all aspects of Pop Culture via this link –https://youtu.be/l8bg6e3becc

October 27th – 1) In the third installment in his series for Rolling Stone Magazine, Bob Egan talks to photographer Jerry Schatzberg about “the making of” the cover image for Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde (you know, the “fuzzy cover”!). One interesting thing you’ll learn when you read Bob’s article is that while many tried to attribute the slightly-out-of-focus nature of the image to an attempt to appeal to recreational drug users, the real reason Jerry gives is that it was February, they were outside and it was COLD! Schatzberg is also responsible for a number of other well-known album cover images, including photos for Aretha Franklin, Sonny & Cher, The Rascals and my personal favorite, the wonderful Beatle-esque spoof created for Frank Zappa & The Mothers’ We’re Only In It For The Moneyhttp://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-dylan-photographer-explain-blurry-blonde-on-blonde-cover-20151027

2) Fans of the fantastic art of Roger Dean have another week to view the exhibition currently on display at the Trading Boundaries Gallery in Sheffield Green, East Sussex, UK titled Roger Dean:Somewhere Near Here. You’ll find original paintings, watercolors, sketches and other samples of the artist’s work on display, including art he’s done for YES, Steve Hackett’s Premonitions and more, including items related to the art he produced for the epic 14 CD box set recently released by YES called Progeny (with each disc sporting a unique Dean image). You can also sign up to attend a November 1st workshop with Dean where he’ll discuss his efforts for clients in the music, film and video game worlds – a chance to learn from “the master” of Prog Rock design – more info on the show (which ends its run November 3rd) on the gallery’s site at http://www.tradingboundaries.com/roger-dean/

3) Regular readers will recall an article a while back about the major travelling show being produced by the Rolling Stones that will feature over 50 years of band-related art and artifacts, set to launch next Spring at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Titled The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism, the show ” will use nine rooms amounting to over 1,750 square meters of the gallery, with each room its own distinctly designed environment. Guitarist Ronnie Wood said: ‘Let’s gather things together and let people have an experience in a well designed space’” Tickets are now on sale for the show’s first run from April thru September 2016, with the folks from the DIY Magazine site providing us with a bit more info in this recent post on their site – http://diymag.com/2015/10/21/a-look-inside-the-rolling-stones-exhibitionism

October 26th –  1) According to the research scientists at Lixar, album cover imagery has very little influence on whether a record will receive a good or bad review from critics. The company was commissioned by the Halifax Music Explosion to study this question and, as part of the process, used complicated software to study 1000 record cover images, calculate what makes them similar or unique to others, and then determine if patterns arose that would then be reflected in whether a record was well-regarded (or not). As you’ll read in Remo Zaccagna’s article on The Chronicle Herald (Canada) web site, the results showed that cover art had a <3% chance of effecting the outcome of a review. I’m going to follow up with the players in this study to see if they have any notion as to whether album art influenced consumer buying decisions – I think that most of us would say “yes” (at least on purchases made in the pre-digital-download time frame). More to come – in the meantime, click on over to learn more –http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1318508-music-not-art-influences-critics-lixar-study-concludes

2) While businesses of all types today use data visualization tools to help translate sophisticated data sets into something that mere mortals can understand, did you know that one of the best-known album covers of all time – Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, with design/art by Peter Saville) was based on a stacked plot diagram made during scientific study of pulsars nearly 50 years ago? You did? What a show-off 🙂 In a recent article by Jen Christiansen for Scientific American, you’ll more (and I mean, a LOT more) about these studies and the science that lead up to the image that was originally included in a PhD research paper published in 1970 by radio astronomer Harold Craft. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/sa-visual/pop-culture-pulsar-the-science-behind-joy-division-s-unknown-pleasures-album-cover/

3) Digging through the shelves of my local public library this past weekend lead me to find two books on album art that I wasn’t familiar with previously – Coast To Coast Album Covers: Classic Record Art from New York To LA by authors Graham Marsh and Glyn Callingham was published in 2011 by Collins & Brown (UK) and shows the earlier works of many rock/Pop album cover designers for a number of jazz/popular music labels in the 1950s-60s, while DIY Album Art: Paper Bags And Office Supplies (by J. Namdev Hardisty) focuses on the often hand-made covers created by indie/punk labels beginning in the 1990s. Even the book’s cover looks hand-made, featuring litho art on thick cardboard. You’ll find more details on this page on the ACHOF site –https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-resources-page-intro-and-links-to-album-cover-books-and-sites/

October 23rd –  1) Visitors to the Live Design International Trade Show in Las Vegas that weekend had the chance to tour an exhibition of the work of photographer Neal Preston, the man responsible for a host of well-known album cover images, including those for acts including Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Heart, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper and many others. Sponsored by stage lighting company Lightpower, “In the Eye of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hurricane” will showcase Preston’s covers, concert photos and portraits, with the photographer on hand all weekend to talk about his work, making this an even more-exciting opportunity. Read more about this show in this intro article on the Live Design Online site –
http://livedesignonline.com/ldi/ldi-and-act-lighting-present-eye-rock-n-roll-hurricane

2) The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN has a new exhibit that presents – through examples of art (including images created by several of the better-known poster/album artists of the era), design, architecture and other popular culture artifacts – how the counter-culture of the late 1960s – early 1970s impressed itself on all aspects of life at the time. Beginning October 24th and running there through Feb. 28th of next year, “Hippie Modernism; The Struggle For Utopia” puts on display ” a broad range of art forms and artifacts of the era” and “features experimental furniture, alternative living structures, immersive and participatory media environments, alternative publishing and ephemera, and experimental film. Bringing into dramatic relief the limits of Western society’s progress, the exhibition explores one of the most vibrant and inventive periods of the not-too-distant past, one that still resonates within culture today.” The show is curated by Andrew Blauvelt, with more info available on the museum’s site at http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2015/hippie-modernism-struggle-utopia.

3) Is using samples/stock items to create music and/or album art a new form of creativity or simply a way for the less-talented to quickly craft a new work? This seems to be the focus of a new article by Caitlin Lopilato on the Complex.com site titled “Is Using Stock Imagery As Album Art Cheating?” and, based on the comments she’s collected from a number of established designers – including Jonathan Mannion, HK and Kalen Hollomon – the discussion about what makes art of any type “original” remains one that will be batted back and forth for a long time. Sparked by the recent admission that the covers for two of rapper Future’s latest releases were made from stock photography, the author reaches her own conclusion that “the Internet is cutting them out of the equation, and their creative voices are being muffled by the temptation of copying and pasting.” What’s your take on the subject? Read more at http://www.complex.com/style/2015/10/hip-hop-album-art-stock-images

Bonus content: Famed cover artist David Larkham shared this link to an interview he participated in with one of his clients (retailer J.J. Hapgood) that, to me, nicely illustrates the “international-ness” of design – a U.K. artist creating compelling imagery for a client he’d originally met in California 30+ years ago who now runs a store/eatery in Peru (O.K., Peru, Vermont!). Larkham, who has done covers for top musical acts including Elton John, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, shares the details of how he developed the modern ID/graphics for an historical business in this article on their site – http://jjhapgood.com/general/legend-artist-behind-j-j-hapgood-logo-ties-sir-paul-mccartney-j-j-hapgood-run-deep/

October 22nd – 1) A group of photographs taken by photographer Michael Cooper of the Rolling Stones visiting sites including Stonehenge, Los Angeles and Joshua Tree are the basis of an exhibition titled “Courting The Stones: Photographs by Michael Cooper” which opened at London’s Proud Galleries Friday, October 16th and will be running there through November 22nd. Cooper – well known for his album cover photo work on both Their Satanic Majesties Request for the Stones and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for The Beatles – was part of the band’s “inner circle”, allowing him to catch band-members in a variety of intimate moments spent with friends (such as the late Gram Parsons), lovers and the people they’d meet in their travels around the world. Read more about the show in this nicely-illustrated article by Tim Chester on the Mashable site – http://mashable.com/2015/10/14/rolling-stones-exhibition-london/

2) The editorial staff at the World Religion News site has come up with a somewhat-unusual (and specific) “best of” album cover art list that looks back over the years for the Top 5 “Most Badass Christian Rock” covers. In the list, you’ll find bands that, in spite of their religion-focused lyrics (and band member lifestyles), these rockers, such as Trouble, Petra and Stryper, understood that hard rock fans had expectations of the inclusion of certain standard elements in their album art – powerful robots/slayers of evil, turbochargers and skulls (representing the evil about to be slayed) – and went to great lengths to provide them (in the most-respectable way possible, of course). Not much else info-wise was provided, but let the images speak for themselves – http://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/christianity/christian-band-album-covers

3) The music industry awards for talent based in Canada’s provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador – known as the MusicNL Awards – were handed out this past week, with designer Jud Haynes given kudos for “Graphic Artist Of The Year” based on his cover for Chris Hadfield’s Space Sessions: Songs From A Tin Can (on Warner Music). The awards were distributed at a banquet in the ballroom at the Delta Hotel this past weekend, with the top award winner being Fortunate Ones who picked up awards for Group of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Folk/Roots Recording of the Year and the top prize, the FACTOR Album of the Year. Designer Haynes has a long list of clients in the music business and, as a former musician, also books bands for local venues. More on the award show on the CBC web site – http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/fortunate-ones-the-once-kat-mclevey-big-winners-at-musicnl-awards-1.3277065
while you can learn more about the award-winning designer on his own site at http://www.judhaynes.com/

October 21st –  1) The video for Part 2 of Bob Egan’s presentation about “the making of” the album art for three quintessential records from Bob Dylan’s catalog – this one focused on Highway 61 Revisited – has been posted as part of an article on the Rolling Stone magazine site. Daniel Kramer’s well-known photo showing Dylan sitting on the steps of the apartment building that his manager (Albert Grossman) lived in – wearing a Triumph motorcycle t-shirt, with Ray Bans in hand – is one well-known by fans, so it is interesting to learn more about the location and the process by which Kramer coaxed this image from Dylan who, at least to me, didn’t seem all too happy about having his photo taken that day…http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/go-behind-the-scenes-of-bob-dylans-highway-61-revisited-album-cover-20151013

2) On the first day of November, the team at Art Vinyl in the U.K. launches its annual survey of the best in album cover art 2015. This year’s judging will be a bit different than what’s been done in the past in that they’re inviting the winners of the previous years’ voting (with voting having started back in 2005) to help select the 50 nominees whose works will also be put on display in five public venues (in Scotland, Italy, Norway, Hungary and England) for fans to review. Last year, over 16,000 participants cast their vote for their favorite covers, selecting the cover for #1-selling U.K. rock duo Royal Blood‘s eponymous record (featuring a Victorian etching-inspired work called “Falls” by artist Dan Hillier) as the best of 2014. To learn more about the upcoming survey and previous winners, please visit the Art Vinyl web site at http://www.artvinyl.com/best-art-vinyl/ Very eager to see who is nominated for this year’s survey – lots of good work done the past 12 months…

3) Original founder/lead singer for Oasis Liam Gallagher has a store in Manchester called Pretty Green that features his clothing line by the same name, and now he’s bringing fans/shoppers an opportunity to see an album cover photo show featuring works – including his many album cover shots for Oasis – by designer/photographer Brian Cannon. Brian’s also done covers for Ash, Suede, Super Furry Animals, The Verve and other well-known music industry clients, so it only makes sense that Gallagher would work with Cannon to shoot photos of his new clothing line as well. In this article by Emily Heward on the Manchester Evening News site, you’ll learn more about Cannon, his long-standing relationship with Oasis (a band not known for long-lasting relationships) and the stories behind some of the band’s best-known record covers – http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/iconic-oasis-britpop-album-covers-10260594

October 20th –  1) The producers for the documentary on the rise-and-fall of the Tower Records chain (titled All Things Must Pass) has just announced that the film will go into wider release over the next few weeks (even hitting here in Portland on December 4th!), so if you’d like to find out when and where it will be playing in your area, click on over to their site at http://www.towerrecordsmovie.com/theatrical-info/
The film premiered last week and has rec’d some very nice reviews. I’ll be wearing my bright yellow “Kickstarter Supporter” t-shirt when I see it – can’t wait. To see the trailer, visit http://www.towerrecordsmovie.com/trailer/
Anyone who has spent time digging through bins there should get a kick out of reliving those moments in this film.

2) The more-painterly endeavors of Seymour, Indiana’s best-known export – musician John Mellencamp – are now on display in a new art show hosted by the the ACA Galleries in NYC that opened Oct. 22nd. Running there through December 19th, “The Isolation of Mister” will show that, while the young artist’s career as a painter was side-tracked by his career as a R&RHOF-inducted rock star, his ability to express himself on canvas was never diminished. I also think you’ll enjoy reading Isaac Kaplan’s recent interview with Mellencamp on the Artsy.com site, where he talks about his craft, how a visit by Bob Dylan to his art studio kept his painting career front-and-center in his life and why he doesn’t make these colorful/insightful images to make YOU happy – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-rock-and-roll-legend-john-mellencamp-talks-painting
To learn more about his new gallery show, click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.acagalleries.com/artists/m/John-Mellencamp/

3) Artist Shepard Fairey has enjoyed success as an album cover artist (doing works for Tom Petty, The Black-Eyed Peas, Billy Idol and Led Zeppelin, among others), a poster artist (dozens of designs, including the acclaimed “Obama/Hope” design) and purveyor of graffiti and murals both legal and less-so, so capturing the essence of his work in a single book must have been quite the daunting task. However, as you’ll see when you thumb through his latest monotype – titled Covert To Overt – his motivations and influences over the years haven’t changed all that much, with a focus on “the subversive” and bringing meaningful ideas (AKA “propaganda”) to life through design. In this interview with Hugh Hart on the Fast Company/Create site, the pair talk about his career, his Obey Giant Industries business and how his “propaganda” is really there to start conversations on topics important to us all. http://www.fastcocreate.com/3051383/post-hope-poster-shepard-fairey-on-art-advertising-and-propaganda

October 19th – 1) While Nick Schager’s review on the Variety.com site of Laura Israel’s just-released documentary about famed art director and photographer Robert Frank (titled Don’t Blink) might not motivate you to rush out to see the film, it seems clear that the subject material – Frank’s impressive career and even more-interesting life – deserved the attention. Most of us will regard just two examples of his creative output – his book titled The Americans that documented his journey across mid-century America with photos that showed both the beauty and sadness of the country at the time, plus his cover for The Rolling Stones’ 1972 masterpiece Exile On Main Street – as a lifetime’s accomplishment, but he’s continued bringing us – on film, in pictures, etc. – fascinating and wonderful items that show the world – warts and all – as he sees it (and wants us to see it) – http://variety.com/2015/film/festivals/dont-blink-robert-frank-review-1201612629/

2) If you were reading magazines, buying posters to decorate your dorm room or listening to Duran Duran in the late 1970s-early 1980s, you undoubtedly were familiar with the works of artist Patrick Nagel. His Art Deco-influenced paintings of seductive women (those eyes!) were a staple illustration found in Playboy and Rolling Stone and in ads for Intel, IBM and Budweiser and, although he’s been dead for over 30 years, his artwork is still popular with poster collectors and merchandising companies world-wide, as is exemplified in this article by Hayley Helms for the Transworld Business site in which we learn more about the recent deal to produce limited-edition products signed by skateboard/clothing manufacturer HUF and Nagel’s estate. According to the nicely-illustrated article, “HUF proudly partners with Patrick Nagel and his estate to release a collection of items highlighting the artist’s work and legacy. Consisting of reversible satin bomber jackets, fleece hoodies, skateboard decks, 6-panel hats, a blanket, pin set and tees, the HUF x Nagel Collaboration retails from $12-$190. More via the link at http://business.transworld.net/news/huf-and-patrick-nagel-join-forces-for-limited-edition-collaboration/

3) Yes, you heard it right – The Zombies have a new album out, and it features artwork by Terry Quirk, the artist responsible for the very-psychedelic designs featured on the band’s seminal 1968 release Odessey & Oracle. The new record, titled Still Got That Hunger, brings together original members Rod Argent and Colin Bunstone and the song-writing duo will re-team with original Zombies Chris White (who introduced Quirk to the band) and Hugh Grundy to perform Odessey & Oracle in its entirety on tour soon. We’re assuming that the band kept the title for the new record simple so as to avoid any further spelling mistakes going forward…Read more about the band and their ongoing efforts in Jordan Runtagh’s interview article on the VH-1 site via the link – http://www.vh1.com/news/212077/the-zombies-still-got-that-hunger-interview/

October 16th – 1) The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH recently launched an exhibit sure to delight fans of Graham Nash and the whole West Coast music-making scene. Titled “Graham Nash: Touching The Flame”, is a multi-media extravaganza with a twist – it’s focus is on all of the things (people, scenes, world politics, etc.) that helped shape Graham’s life and creative output, both as a musician and as an accomplished photographer (and inventor of advanced digital photo printing processes). In addition to photos, memorabilia and the like (per the show’s press kit – it will “showcase his interests in photography, collecting and other artistic endeavors. Among the items that will be featured in the exhibit are some rare pieces of Buddy Holly memorabilia and photos that Graham has collected” – there are several interactive elements to the show, including a station where you can sing harmonies with Mr. Nash (if only!). Read more about the exhibit and watch a video introduction hosted by Nash via the link – http://rockhall.com/exhibits/graham-nash-touching-the-flame-exhibit-rock-hall/

2) The folks at L-13 Gallery in the U.K., as part of a display at the Multiplied Contemporary Art Editions show hosted by Christie’s in South Kensington this weekend, are releasing a new set of prints that fans of iconic punk imagery are going to want to look at. Famed designer Jamie Reid has produced what he calls a “Republic Box Set” consisting of “documentary materials relating to the God Save the Queen artworks, all sourced from original materials held in the Jamie Reid Archive.” The set will be released in a signed and numbered edition of 113 (with 13 APs) boxes, each containing 11 prints (approx. 16.5″ x 11.8″) on 310 gsm photo gloss paper, with each one numbered and stamped on the back and housed in a silver clam-shell box with debossed covers. The publishers are so thoughtful that they’re also throwing in a set of black latex gloves for handling! The set is published by John Marchant Gallery in association with the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop. There was a limited-time special offer for the duration of the art fair: £195 (approx. $300, plus shipping), with the price going up on Monday the 19th to £250 (about $385, plus shipping). Details are available on the L-13 site – http://www.l-13.org/acatalog/L-13_Latest_Works.html

3) Grammy-winning album cover designer Fritz Klaetke (principal at Boston’s Visual Dialogue design firm) has used whatever spare time he could take from an already-busy schedule to work with his team to create a new store (currently a “pop-up”) that has called on all of their talents – “we created the concept, developed the branding, designed the merchandise, sourced local makers, curated the vintage items, developed the website, constructed the store, etc., etc…all on top of our “day jobs” running Visual Dialogue” – to offer customers a wide range of products made by local designers and artisans. Called “1630” (the year the city was founded), the products are “a treasure trove of antiques and collectibles. We’ve scoured the best vintage fairs and markets to bring you curated, one-of-a-kind home goods, jewelry, and artwork. Each of these unique objects tells a story–so you can bring a piece of history home”…Still working for clients in the music business, the team also just created the Lead Belly box set for their client Smithsonian Folkways. Best of luck, Fritz! To learn more about this latest effort, please visit http://1630boston.com/#proprietors

October 15th – 1) I’m not sure whether it is because I spent a number of years creating programming for young people or, more likely, I’m still a juvenile at heart, but I sure love them Minions…Because of happiness these pill-shaped characters bring to me every time I see them, I was even more happy to see them in this new application – featured characters in a series of heavy metal album cover recreations! If you click on over to Greg Kennelty’s article on the Metal Injection site, you’ll learn more about a DeviantArt page hosted by the “Croatian Crusader” where you’ll find his collection of covers for his imaginary “Iron Minion” band based on the well-known designs of seminal metal band Iron Maiden.
Number Of The Beast made me laugh out loud – what’s your favorite? http://www.metalinjection.net/around-the-interwebs/only-a-matter-of-time-iron-maiden-minions-mashed-up-album-covers
I can only assume that, somewhere on the interwebs, there’s a site where you’ll find famous punk covers featuring the Seven Dwarfs.

2) Speaking of Belles – there was a special presentation the week of October 20th at Help of Ojai’s Kent Hall (in Ojai, CA.) done as part of the monthly meeting of the Ojai Photo Club featuring musician and photographer Chris Jensen who, according to this article by Myrna on the Ventura County Star site, has produced portraits of everyone from “Belles and Brawn to Rockers and Troubadors”. Originally a drummer in local bands, Jensen went back to school in the mid-70s to earn his degree in graphic design and then, in the late-70s, opened a design/photography studio in Salt Lake City, soon taking on projects for a wide range of local clients. News of his talents spread, landing him gigs with subjects including Ozzy Osbourne and Rod Stewart and, ultimately, moving to the LA area (actually, Ventura) to be closer to his client base. Jensen will be providing a retrospective of his career, so click on over to http://www.vcstar.com/ugc/yournews/from-belles-and-brawn-to-rockers-and-troubadors-chris-jensen-talks-about-portriture-at-ojai-photo-club_188823 to get the details.

3) Film-maker/obsessive record collector Eilon Paz has worked for the past several years on digging into the details of what makes people put together large collections of records/CDs and, as the result of that effort, he’s just released a new book titled Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, compiled by Paz and edited by Sheila Burgel, who’s own huge collection was also featured in the book. Writers Oscar Garza and Cameron Kell, writing for The Frame site, interviewed the two about their new tome and learned quite a lot about what motivates folks to invest the time, money and sagging floors in order to have their music close at hand. You’ll also be able to hear the interview via the audio file posted on the site – http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2015/10/06/44702/dust-grooves-one-on-one-with-the-world-s-most-obse/ 
One look at Questlove sitting amongst his collection explains quite a bit, don’t you think (“happy as a ____ in ____” – you fill in the blanks).

October 14th – 1) Need to clarify and update my posting yesterday on the death of John Berg – John died this past Sunday due to complications from pneumonia. Since then, I’ve received a number of notes from people that either/both worked with him and/or were mentored by him that expressed their sorrow about his passing and emphasized the long-term impact he had on their lives and careers.

With his permission and to exemplify the sense of loss being felt in the industry, I want to share a brief statement that accomplished designer Ron Coro sent me, along with a photo from back “in the glory days” – “The memories of working with John from 1966 on, are priceless for all of us album package designers that worked on the 10th floor at CBS Records in NYC at “Black Rock” building, as we called it, in the mid sixties…..I was hired by John right before I even graduated from The School of Visual Arts and was recommended to John Berg by Milton Glaser, my graphic design instructor…What a time it was, and it will never be repeated.”

Photo by David Gahr, used with permission from Ron Coro.

Photo by David Gahr, used with permission from Ron Coro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This photo (above) was taken in 1971 by David Gahr on the 10th floor of the CBS Building in John Bergs office. This is a year before I was promoted to Art Director, CBS Records, West Coast. Left to right: Ron Coro, John Berg and Richard Mantel…..”
Thanks for sharing this, Ron…

2) Here are reminders for two events that took place this week featuring two accomplished music industry image-makers:

a) On Thursday, Oct. 15th at Revolution Hall in Portland, OR, designer Paula Scher presented a talk sponsored by AIGA Portland titled “Identity Design Today… and Why the Blogosphere Should Shut Up!” (I’ll try not to take offense). According to the AIGA’s site, Ms. Scher “will share her views on the current state of design and social media. Sure to be engaging and thought-provoking, Scher’s talk is a rare opportunity to see one of America’s leading designers in a bold, no holds barred talk.” A principal at leading NYC design firm Pentagram, Scher’s been responsible for hundreds of record cover since she began her career at Atlantic Records in the 1970s, so if you’re wanting to hear more from one of the greats, here’s your chance – http://aigaportland.org/aiga_event/paula-scher/

b) Also that Thursday, photographer Jay Blakesberg was on hand at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles to launch a showing of his work, lead a lecture and present his latest book project titled Hippie Chick: A Tale Of Love, Devotion & Surrender. The lecture, titled “Chasing The Light: The Rock & Roll Photography of Jay Blakesberg” will include stories about his 35+ year career covering the Grateful Dead and a host of other rock music luminaries. He was on hand to sign copies of his new book as well, so if you’d like to learn from one of the music industry’s most-accomplished shooters, visit the following link – http://mrmusichead.com/event-book-signing-lecture-with-jay-blakesberg/

October 13th – 1) It is with great sadness that I must note the passing of one of the world’s most-prolific album cover art directors, former Columbia Records cover guru John Berg. He was 83 and had been suffering with Parkinson’s disease, according to his wife and creative partner, Durell Godfrey. Berg’s portfolio includes credits for over 5,000 (!!) covers, including memorable images for Barbra Streisand (Barbra Streisand Album), Bob Dylan (Blonde On Blonde and Greatest Hits), Jeff Beck (Blow By Blow), Bruce Springsteen (Greetings From Asbury Park and Born To Run) and 14 covers for Chicago (including the most-delicious one – Chicago X – done in chocolate!).
What was truly impressive about Berg’s work was his ability to find and collaborate with the most-talented photographers, designers and illustrators available, bringing the talents of people including Richard Avedon, Paul Davis, Milton Glaser, Jerry Schatzberg and many others to projects for hundreds of clients over the years.
Read more about John and his contribution to great rock imagery in Jon Blistein‘s article on the Rolling Stone magazine site – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/john-berg-album-art-director-for-springsteen-dylan-dead-at-83-20151013
My condolences to his family and friends – his efforts will not be forgotten.

2) There was an exhibition that ran through October 20th at the Kendal Museum (part of Kendal College) in Kendal, Cumbria, England that will be of interest to fans of both album cover art and comic books. Curated by artist Sean Phillips in anticipation of the upcoming Lakes Comic Book Festival, there are 60 covers on display featuring the work of well-known album cover artists including Richard Corben (Bat Out Of Hell for Meat Loaf), Guy Peellaert (Diamond Dogs for David Bowie), Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz), Robert Crumb (Cheap Thrills for Big Brother & The Holding Company) and many others (60 artists in total). According to Festival Director Julie Tait, “Our exhibitions program is intended to appeal to a broad range of tastes and interests and to demonstrate that there is more to comic artists and art than meets the eye,” Find out more about the exhibition on the museum’s site at http://www.kendalmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions-and-events/phonographic-exhibition-part-of-the-comic-art-festival

3) Not sure exactly why I wouldn’t want to make Grace Jones mad at me (other than the feeling that I think she could snuff me out rather quickly), but fear of her wrath seemingly did not deter self-proclaimed musical genius Kanye West from “honoring” Ms. Jones’ earlier contributions to album cover imagery by recreating them – without her approval – in his own promotional imagery (featuring his then-girlfriend Amber) when he launched his web site several years ago. This did not escape Grace’s keen eye and, in Paper Magazine‘s Nowstalgia issue, she minces no words – “‘Kanye has been ripping off stuff from me and Jean-Paul Goude for a long time, so it was no surprise to me”.
You might recall that photographer Goude did work with the new Mrs. West a couple of years ago, recreating another famous image of his – of a model balancing a champagne glass on her rather-curvaceous posterior – substituting in Kim’s ledge-like butt, with the resulting photo breaking the Internet for a couple of days…More on this in Eric Tempesta’s article on The Daily Mail (UK) web site at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3260820/Supermodel-Grace-Jones-slams-Kanye-West-ripping-images-website-weighs-Kim-Kardashian-s-internet-breaking-Paper-magazine-cover.html

October 12th – 1) Over on the East Coast Radio site (East Coast of South Africa, that is), writer Bongani Mtolo presents what is called “The Hardest Album Cover Quiz You’ll Ever Take”. You’re presented with 10 partial album cover images and have to guess (multiple choice) which records they’re from. I got 9 out of 10 (missed #2 and lucked out on #3) and, quite honestly, I think that I’ve seen/taken “harder” quizzes on the subject in the past, but I’d like to hear how you all do – http://www.ecr.co.za/shows/bongani-mtolo-1/hardest-album-cover-quiz-youll-ever-take/

2) Famed Pop Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat had his own record label 30+ years ago (Tartown Records) and released a single on vinyl by Rammellzee and K-Rob called “Beat Bop” that featured a cover design by Basquiat. Quite rare (you can, on occasion, find original copies for $1K or more), the design is now featured on a fully-licensed, limited-edition (1000) record box that, I’m assuming, will be a “must-own” collectible for DJs world-wide.
The record’s artwork is featured on all of the boxes surfaces, both inside and outside, and the box holds 50 discs, with the price for this “box set” (as they call it) being a quite-reasonable $75, while supplies last. You can read about it in David Ireland’s article on Magnetic Magazine –
http://www.magneticmag.com/2015/10/the-jean-michel-basquiat-record-box-pure-dope-for-vinyl-djs-and-collectors/ 
and buy one for yourself (or as a gift) directly from the Get On Down store (with shipping starting later this month) – http://getondown.com/album.php?id=18014

October 9th – Two award show nomination summaries and a look at album art created by musicians:

1) The nominees for “Best Recording Package” for this year’s Latin Grammy Awards have been posted, and they are:

Blam! Blam! – on Coqueiro Verde Records
Julia Rocha, art director (Jonas Sá)

Este Instante – on Aluna Music
Natalia Ayala, Carlos Dussan Gómez & Juliana Jaramillo, art directors (Marta Gómez)

Noel Rosa, Preto E Branco – on Tenda Da Raposa
Anna Amendola, art director (Valéria Lobão)

Tajo Abierto – on Frantastic Records
Pablo González & Francisca Valenzuela, art directors (Francisca Valenzuela)

Veinte Años El Grito Después – on Universal Music Group/EMI
Laura Varsky, art director (Catupecu Machu)

The winners will be announced on November 19th – congratulations to all of the nominees!
http://www.latingrammy.com/en/nominees?genre=55

2) The Australian record industry announced the winner in the “Best Cover Art” category for the annual ARIA Awards. The technical award categories are awarded prior to the televised show on November 26th that will feature the principal award categories.

This year’s winner is Courtney Barnett for Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (Milk! Records / Remote Control)

Ms. Barnett’s album, which went #10 on the Billboard Album Charts and #13 on the UK Album Charts, also received nominations in the following categories: Album Of The Year, Best Female Artist, Best Independent Release, Best Rock Album, Breakthrough Artist and the publicly voted categories for Best Australian Live Act and Best Video for the song, ‘Pedestrian At Best’ which was directed by Charlie Ford.

Other nominees in the Cover Art category included Daniel Johns, Aref and Peter Salmon-Lomas for Daniel Johns – Talk (Eleven / EMI); Timothy Lovett for Flight Facilities – Down To Earth (Future Classic); Bjenny Montero for Pond – Man It Feels Like Space Again (EMI) and Nathan Johnson for Gang of Youths – The Positions (Verge / Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Get all of the details at http://www.ariaawards.com.au/News/2015/2015-ARIA-Awards-Connected-By-Telstra-Nominated-ar

3) Writing for the Gigwise site, Alexandra Pollard has put together a nice article that serves to show just how unfair life can be sometimes, with all of the talent genes installed into a small group of lucky recipients. It’s a review of album covers that were created by musicians, with the list of 10 featured in the article including cover images created by acts including Muse, The Stone Roses, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens (AKA Yusuf), John Lennon and several others. With a large percentage of musicians having gone to “art school” (although, some admit to going “just for the chicks”), it seems clear that they often times enjoy showing off their creative “chops” in other aspects of the recorded music business (and making Art Directors quite happy sometimes, I’m told)…http://www.gigwise.com/photos/103068/album-artwork-drawn-and-designed-by-bands-and-musicians-muse-joni

BONUS BIRTHDAY CONTENT – Very happy to be able to point you to a nice article on the Biography.com site written by a former FUSE TV colleague of mine – Laurie Ulster – that talks about the many creative inspirations and outlets for the late, great John Lennon, who would have been 75 years old yesterday had not some idiot with a gun (are you detecting a pattern, perhaps?) taken his life 35 years ago… Laurie also notes that there is a gallery show featuring Lennon’s artwork running currently (through the end of the month) at the AFA Gallery down on Greene Street in NYC where you can see several dozen examples of his talent with pen and ink (and watercolor) on paper. Nice article, Laurie! – http://www.biography.com/news/john-lennon-biography-facts-75th-birthday

October 8th – 1) New and classic works by master of the collage/album cover art great Winston Smith are featured alongside several other local artists in a new show that opened October 8th at the Robert Berman Gallery in San Francisco. “Paper Cuts” will treat collectors/visitors with a selection of works that, according to the gallery’s press release, will show “how paper can take on a strength and beauty in its abstract and narrative forms. In this exhibition, we observe how such a simple medium can be transformed into diverse ranges of forms.” Smith – well known for his work for Green Day, The Dead Kennedys and others – will be showing several of his hand-cut and often humorous masterpieces and, by the looks of the other works to be shown by the other participants, the entire show looks as though it will appeal to all of our creative instincts – more via the link at http://e6gallerysf.com/future

2) I continue to be impressed with the works of album cover artists all over the world, with the Internet bringing us the ability to see the results of cover art projects by designers (and for musical acts) that most of us weren’t aware of. One such example is the works that graphic designer Supichan Rojvanich has done for a number of top recording acts in Thailand. As you’ll read in the article by writer Pimchanok Phungbun Na Ayudhya (wow!) on the Bangkok Post web site, Thai acts have not – until recently – spent a great deal of energy/resources to create memorable album cover visuals, but with Rojvanich and others leading the way, clients from all aspects of the local music business – from rock and dance bands to a Buddhist prayer group – are now getting their first taste of successful “branding” (I can only imagine how decadent the record release parties must be) –
http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/music/716032/it-more-than-an-album-cover

3) With a party at the MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles recently, rap artist Rihanna showed fans and the media some of the interesting artwork by artist Roy Nachum that will be used to package her upcoming album, titled Anti. Based on the designs that were shown, which feature (according to Frazier Tharpe, reporting for the Complex/Style site) “a young girl with a crown superimposed over her face and poetry composed in braille (by poet Chloe Mitchell) covering the canvas…it was explained that it’s inspired by Rih’s first day of daycare.” Nachum seems to have a lot of fans in the music world – there’s a painting of his titled “The Clown” hanging in Jay-Z’s NYC office – and Tharpe helps us get to know the Jerusalem-born artist a bit better in the rest of his article, reachable via this link – http://www.complex.com/style/2015/10/roy-nachum-rihanna-album-cover-artist

October 8th, part 2 – 1) “Pop Spots” author/locator of all things album cover Bob Egan recently hosted a video for Rolling Stone Magazine that featured photographer Daniel Kramer giving us a look into “the making of” the iconic shot featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home LP. The story helps to provide a lead-in to the release of the upcoming compilation, The Cutting Edge 1965–1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, which contains session recordings from the album. There will be two more similar videos that give album art/”making of” back-stories for two other Dylan recordings from the same time period – Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde – so stay tuned for more opportunities to get a peek behind the scenes during the production of some of Dylan’s most-compelling records – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/see-how-bob-dylans-iconic-bringing-it-all-back-home-cover-was-made-20150929

2) The work of long-time (former) Factory Records album art guru Peter Saville can be found on the most-recent release by seminal synth-rock band New Order. The band’s ninth studio record – titled Music Complete – is reviewed by Anwen Crawford in the “Pop Music” section of the 10/5 issue of New Yorker magazine. According to Crawford, “Saville’s designs for the band, using grids, color blocks, and stock photos, resemble advertising for a company that does not exist. Just as the members of New Order have tended to be subsumed by the group as a whole, the visual style creates a dislocation between the band and its audience.”
Someday, I’ll try and figure out just what “critic-speak” means in layman’s terms, but it is comforting to know that there is still an appreciation for the value of long-standing relationships between designers and their music-industry clients – http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/05/late-style

3) What starts out as a riff by a writer about a musical act’s rather-mundane approach to album cover art (embellishing a stock photo with some bling) turns in to a rather-detailed lament about how album art used to be an essential element in building bridges between musical acts and their fans and, at least for me, it’s refreshing to hear this from writers covering today’s “money/brand is everything” music business. While I don’t know anything about the author (“Yoh”, AKA Yotoshop AKA @Yoh31), I would invite all you (us) old-timers to read his/her article on the Complex Music/DJ Booth site and then share your own thoughts on the subject – http://www.djbooth.net/index/news/entry/2015-09-30-album-art-meme
Also – can someone help with a more-detailed definition of the word “meme” than I seem to be able to find?

October 7th – 1) Happy to announce the launch of a new retail site by award-winning (inc. 3 Grammy Awards) album cover designer Kosh, the guy responsible for at least ONE BILLION of your favorite album cover images (OK, I may have exaggerated a bit, but it’s a LOT of them). What’s even more impressive about the designer’s latest efforts is that they include a number of impressive re-interpretations and “mash-ups” of some of his better-known covers. I’m particularly taken by one titled Abbey Hotel, a work that combines aspects of both The Eagles’ Hotel California with The Beatles’ Abbey Road (in real life, traffic would have to stop until the Fab Four reached the other side of the cross-walk).
The new line of limited-edition prints were premiered at a recent display at the Delicious Vinyl Records store in Los Angeles, with Kosh’s designs for clients including Linda Ronstadt, ELO, John Lennon, Humble Pie, The Who and others nicely represented. If you are a fan of great album packaging, be sure to click on over to the new site and take a tour – http://www.koshdesign.com/ 
Via this link, you’ll also find several video interviews with the man behind the magic – http://www.koshdesign.com/about

2) Recently, in a special article on “The Cut” section of the New York Magazine site, photographer/lover-of-life Eve Babitz (the talent behind well-regarded photographs for Buffalo Springfield, Black Oak Arkansas and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel) gets a chance to share some of her early escapades as “A 70s It Girl”, friend and lover to some of the Los Angeles entertainment scenes most-important people (including Jim Morrison of The Doors). Some of you will recall Julian Wasser’s startling (at the time – 1963) photo of a naked Ms. Babitz sitting across from Marcel Duchamp while playing a game of chess in a gallery of the Pasadena Art Museum, but it was her talents as writer and photographer that helped her produce articles about her life and “the scene” that have continued to impress readers with their ability to bring us closer to a sphere of personalities that were beyond our purview… http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/09/sex-life-of-a-70s-it-girl.html

October 5th – 1) Happy to report on this nice review in the New York Times of the NYC premiere of Roddy Bogawa’s film about famed album cover design guru Storm Thorgerson. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/movies/review-taken-by-storm-about-the-mind-behind-a-design.html
You might recall my interview a few years back with Roddy (in 2 parts) while he was in the midst of making this film, during which he spoke about Storm & his partners at the design firm Hipgnosis, as well as his take on a wide range of music/art topics, so it was great to read about both the warm reception his film is getting and why Taken By Storm serves to remind both music/art fans and creators of album cover imagery that creativity is the expression of great ideas and not simply the application of algorithms and filters. I’d invite you to all to read the initial interview with this talented film-maker via the link – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2011/06/interview-with-roddy-bogawa-on-the-documentary-film-taken-by-storm.html

2) Baltimore, MD is the home of an intriguing museum – the American Visionary Art Museum, or AVAM – dedicated to the presentation of art created by self-taught individuals ” whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself”. They’ve been at this for 20 years now and, as part of their anniversary celebration (titled “The Big Hope Show”), they’re presenting the works of psychedelic rock bandleader Wayne Coyne (of The Flaming Lips), whose newest installation, titled “Kings Mouth”, is Coyne’s ultimate expression of a near-death experience he suffered while working as a cashier at a fast food restaurant years ago. Coyne also created the cover art for the band’s 2014 Beatles tribute record With A Little Help From My Fwends, and you can read more about this show (which is running until next September) and some of the other participating artists on the museum’s promo page at –
http://www.avam.org/exhibitions/big-hope-show.shtml

3) Designer Leif Podhasky has been quite busy lately, creating intriguing cover art designs for clients including Tame Impala, The Vines, Kells, Of Monsters & Men and others, but outside the music business, he’s hooked up with top Scotch Whisky distillery Ballantine’s to create a series of limited-edition bottles that “will be a must have for whisky and art connoisseurs alike,” according to Peter Moore, global brand director of Ballantine’s. The three special products will begin shipping world-wide later this month, but art fans can sign up now for a chance to win a set of limited-edition prints of the trio of designs featured on the packaging via a contest run by the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/competition/4534/Win-a-set-of-three-framed-artworks-from-Ballantine-s-Artist-Series Writing for The Spirits Business web site, Amy Hopkins gives us more of the details behind the artist and his inspirations for these colorful designs – http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2015/09/ballantines-unveils-artist-series-whisky-bottles/

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.