Tag Archives: Peter Blake

Album Cover Artist and Art News Summary and Preview for August/September, 2017

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this first day of September, 2017. Since we last spoke, there’s been both a major astronomical event (the 8/21 total solar eclipse) and a major – i.e., catastrophic – meteorological event (Hurricane Harvey) along with a very disturbing display in Virginia of how some folks here in the U.S. just can’t seem to bring themselves to fully share the advantages and opportunities afforded to us here so, when you look at how those events have impacted people in very real ways, I have to ask myself why I’m spending my time reporting on album art/artist-related news versus focusing my efforts on activities that might somehow change/improve the world and the lives of folks just trying to enjoy the little time we’re given here on Earth.

I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don’t.

I know that art and music can combine to make our lives better in so many ways, and I also know how much I appreciate the talents of the people who work to bring these bits of joy and beauty to us, so in spite of the fact that my writing and reporting will most-probably disappear into the Ether over time, the positive notes and responses I get from my readers continue to provide me with some incentive to continue on in this overall-trivial-but-sometimes-rewarding effort. However, if you want to REALLY do something that will help your fellow man in need in the best possible way, I would invite you to do as I’ve done and click on over to the American Red Cross site, where you can send a donation in support of those most in need right now – https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

I’m hoping that you were able to read the article I posted in mid-August about my visit to the Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution exhibition currently running at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, IL because, as you’ll see below, I’m adding some additional info and photos on the Baron Wolman photo event that took place there recently as well. I also had the chance to tour the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism extravaganza here right before it closed and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing an amazing collection of Stones-related memorabilia and artwork (e.g., comps, alt takes and bits and pieces from “the making of” album covers including Exile On Main Street, Tattoo You and many others – very cool).

This month I also received the exciting news that the ALEX Awards show (named for the Godfather of album packaging and design, the late Alex Steinweiss) – a packaging industry awards show that’s been on hiatus for a number of years now – is being resurrected and will become part of a new show/symposium dedicated to all things vinyl record called “Making Vinyl” set for early November (Nov. 6-7) at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, MI. Album cover creators will have the chance to submit examples of their recent work to a panel of esteemed judges (including well-respected designers and other music industry notables such as Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz, Stefan Bucher, Gail Marowitz, Sean Mosher Smith, Sylvia Reed and Julian Alexander) for their review beginning September 1st and I’ll be posting more information very soon, so keep your eyes peeled…Online submission forms can be found at http://makingvinyl.com/alex-awards/

With regards to my book project, I am happy to be able to report that I have been able to gather some great new content from several new sources, including the highly-lauded design and writing team of Spencer Drate and Juditz Salavetz and a guy responsible for creating the what many consider to be “the templates” for in-your-face rap music album cover art, Shawn Brauch of Pen & Pixel fame. Of course, this only means that the project is getting even bigger/more time-consuming, so I’ll just leave it at that for now and will let you all know when things move forward on the design/publishing front…

For now, I’m just happy to be able to deliver the details of what’s going on in the lives and careers of the designers, artists, photographers and others who continue to produce great visuals for clients in the music business along with previews of what’s going to be on display and available for sale at your favorite gallery or museum next month. In the summary and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts of your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite) album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in the daily news cycle, featuring fascinating and interesting stories on a wide range of related topics.

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

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

a)Earlier in August, I had the chance to tour the “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution” event at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, IL, with my full coverage (loaded with photos) posted on the ACHOF site at https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/achof-exhibition-tour-bill-graham-and-the-rock-roll-revolution/  As part of the ongoing series of events and other activities that the museum is putting on in support of their show, on Thursday, August 17th, they staged a special event that, as both a fan of rock and roll photography and a regular reader of Rolling Stone Magazine over the past 50 years (!!), was truly a special opportunity and something I just had to attend – a presentation by Baron Wolman, the magazine’s first photographer and a man who has captured scores of photos that have helped illustrate Rock’s “golden ages”.

The evening’s opening discussion was lead by Jason Marck, a local radio personality, who provided the photographer’s introduction and an occasional question during Wolman’s hour-long slide presentation. Even though Baron was suffering a bit from a sore throat caused by the after-effects of recent throat surgery, it did little to curb his enthusiasm to share some of the stories behind a nice selection of his best-known photographs and more info on his own personal story, including his early career as a photographer in the military (BTW, the first photo he sold was of the Berlin Wall while stationed in Germany) and, after returning to the States and landing in the San Francisco Bay area, his introductions to both Jann Wenner at the fledgling Rolling Stone publication and rock impresario Bill Graham, the man who provided Wolman with nearly un-fettered access to his venues and the acts that played there (including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Bob Dylan & The Band, Santana and, of course, the Grateful Dead).

With influences including the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, it was Wolman’s own keen eye and keen interest in all of the goings on behind the scenes of the events and personalities he covered (his fascination with 1960s-era “groupies” was shared later in a critically-acclaimed photo book of his on the subject) that keeps music/art fans yearning to add selections from Wolman’s fine art print portfolio to their own collections. There were number of those fans in the audience that night, and they streamed out after the final Q&A session to both meet the photographer at the book-signing table and, perhaps, grab a photo or two with their hero. The museum was offering those in attendance the opportunity to take home, as a bonus for joining/extending their memberships, a specially-created book featuring items from the Graham exhibition and I’m quite certain that a number of those books went home with their new owners featuring the signature of the man of the hour, the talented Mr. Wolman.

Just as a reminder, the Bill Graham exhibition is on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum through November 12th, with more information available via the link – https://www.ilholocaustmuseum.org/billgraham/

b) Are YOU Experienced? Until you’ve seen the trippy photos taken by Karl Ferris for the cover of the Jimi Hendrix Experience record by that name up close and personal, you can’t really say that you are. Remember friends, this was way before computer-aided design and graphics, so in order to achieve the psychedelic final image, analog tools – fish eye lenses, infra-red film, etc. – had to be masterfully employed and, as you were able to see at two recent shows at the Morrison Hotel Galleries in NYC and Los Angeles (8/23 in NYC, 8/24 in LA), those now-50-year-old pix still grab you and blow your mind.

Karl also shot the photos used on the covers for two more Hendrix records – AXIS: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland (replacing the image found on the UK version that Jimi really despised) and Hendrix once told Karl that he did with his camera what Jimi tried to do with his guitar, so how’s that for evidence of a good client relationship?

The photos featured in the Karl Ferris Psychedelic Experience were part of a larger show celebrating 50 years of mind-expanding imagery, including fine art works by Gered Mankowitz, Amalie Rothschild, Henry Diltz and several others –
https://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/blog/5BfROu/Celebrating-iARE-YOU-EXPERIENCEDi

I also found a 2nd article, on Art Daily site, that gives readers a bit more of the background of these shows – http://artdaily.com/news/98318/Morrison-Hotel-Gallery-celebrates-the-era-of-psychedelia-with-an-exhibition-and-sale

The full show is up in the NYC gallery through September 6th, so if you’re in the area and have some ‘shrooms handy, experience the whole thing before it disappears in a puff of pink smoke…

c) Also on display from now through September 7th at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles is a 30th anniversary exhibition of images taken by photographer Chris Cuffaro – well-known to album cover fans for his contributions to the packaging of records by acts including Bad English, Suicidal Tendencies, Bush, Nick Cave and many others – taken during the making of a music video for a single by a band called Martini Ranch that was directed by the not-yet-quite-so-popular film-maker James Cameron.

Martini Ranch was a short-lived, semi-serious side project built around the talents of several musicians (including some members of bands such as DEVO, Frank Zappa’s band and film composer Mark Isham), and some people from the movie business, including the late actor Bill Paxton, who’d go on to star in a number of popular films. They released one album – 1988’s Holy Cow, which featured quirky cover art by the acclaimed artist Lou Beach – and to make the video for the song “Reach”, the group brought in a bunch of friendlies from the music and film world, including Judge Reinhold, Paul Reiser and Cameron’s soon-to-be-wife, fellow director Kathryn Bigelow.

Given free rein to shoot the entire cast and crew while this video was being made, you’ll get to see a lot of people having a lot of fun for two days out at the Veluzat Motion Picture Ranch in Saugus, California.
https://www.mrmusichead.com/events/2017/8/30/chris-cuffaro-greatest-hits-martini-ranch

d) With the voting for this year’s Best Art Vinyl Awards almost upon us (beginning in November, with the winners announced next January), in anticipation of the presentation of this year’s nominees and subsequent voting, the folks behind this annual event will be staging presentations of recent winners and nominees in three locations in Europe (is the U.K. still “Europe” – please explain) all starting with the letter “B” – Barnsley (UK), Bologna (Italy) and Budapest (Hungary) later this year. Best Art Vinyl: 12 Years on 12 Inches will put the works of many talented album cover artists on display, including last year’s winner – illustrator/designer Matthew Cooper’s cover for The Last Shadow Puppets’ long-awaited 2nd album Everything You’ve Come to Expect.
The writers at Digital Arts Online provide us with a preview of the upcoming displays and voting –
http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/illustration/best-album-art-2017-nominees-past-winners-of-best-art-vinyl-awards-be-exhibited/

e) Now on display at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly, the EMP) in Seattle is a photo exhibition of 65 images selected by British shooter Mick Rock from the over 5000 he took of David Bowie from March 1972 to November of 1973 as he morphed into his Ziggy Stardust personality and helped establish the bona fides of the “glam rock” movement. Gillian G. Gaar’s coverage of the show, as featured in Goldmine Magazinehttp://www.goldminemag.com/articles/photographer-mick-rock-exhibits-bowie – provides us with a good intro to this long-lasting relationship between rock star and his friend/artist Rock, with more info on the details of the show available on the MOPOP site at https://www.mopop.org/exhibits/current-exhibits/bowie-by-mick-rock/
Later on in this summary, in Section 5, you’ll also find a related article about the premiere of the documentary film about Rock…

f) Genesis Publication’s Genesis House Gallery will be hosting a very special reception on September 9th featuring famed Beatles designer/bassist Klaus Voorman as they honor the release of his brand new collage created to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band’s seminal record, Revolver.
According to the gallery’s press release, “We will have an installation of Klaus’s latest work, the Revolver 50 collage series, alongside his earlier Hamburg Days prints and other artworks. The occasion also marks 50 years since Klaus won the Grammy Award for the Revolver album design, so we will be joined by some special guests to celebrate this achievement, and hope you will be able to join us.” I’d love to, of course, but there’s some water in the way…
http://www.genesis-publications.com/revolver-50-the-collage-series-by-klaus-voormann/default.htm?

g) Now I know that I’m getting old – 40 years, really? Yes, friends, it’s been 40 years since we first had our terminals fizzed by Manchester-area punkers The Buzzcocks and our eyes burned to cinders by Malcolm Garrett’s subversive designs for the band (remember the cover for the single “Orgasm Addict” with the iron-headed reclining nude?). Garrett went on to design memorable covers for musical acts including Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, Duran Duran and many others, and has shared his love of design with clients (via his in-demand agency, IMAGES & Co.) and students of design via his participation in industry events, showcases and committees such as the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Committee, the Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) Executive Committee, the i-Design interactive media conference held at the London Design Festival and as co-curator of the annual Design Manchester festival.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of the first designs for the influential band, Garrett will be leading a presentation/discussion at this year’s Design Manchester event, described here on the festival’s web site – http://designmcr.com/events/fizzing-at-the-terminals-malcolm-garretts-buzzcocks-designs-1977-2017 and, if you’re in the area, something I’d invite you to sign up for…

What really makes me wonder is that you can buy t-shirt with these early and then-controversial designs at Wal-Mart now…OMG!

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) While artist Sir Peter Blake, one of the UK’s best-known talents, might be most-recognized for his work on the cover for what’s often considered one of the best album covers ever created – the collage found on the package for 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles – it doesn’t take a lot of work to see that that cover was just one of a huge portfolio of images he’s created over the 85 years he’s been on the planet. His paintings and other works have long been considered amongst the very best in the fine art world but, as you’ll see in this nicely-written profile by Abigail Cain found recently on the Artsy.com site, interviews and conversations about and with the artist inevitably hearken back to his work for The Beatles.
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-beatles-helped-british-artist-perfect-work-pop-art

Today’s young artists have, fortunately, taken the time to look at and learn from Blake’s long list of important works of art, so he seems content to know that he’ll be remembered not just for the work that he and his team (artist Jann Haworth and photographer Michael Cooper) were given the amazingly meager sum of £200 (not including flowers and wax/cutout figures) to create…

b) Writing for VICE, Clara Mokri interviews photographer Brad Elterman as he looks back on his career as a young rock photographer via the discovery and purchase (thanks, eBay!) of a trove of long-lost photos taken early on in his career. Parlaying the sale of his candid shots of David Bowie to Creem Magazine back in the early 1970s into a career that’s brought us scores of great photos of rockers such as Joan Jett, Peter Frampton, Talking Heads, KISS, The Who (and shots that have been included in packages for AC/DC. Alice Cooper and the Eagles) and others, Brad shares the story about how his archive was lost-then-found and the emotions he feels taking a long look at his work all these years later.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/zmepp8/this-teen-took-candid-photos-of-the-70s-biggest-rock-stars

c) You all know Ron Pownall’s work – covers for albums by Ted Nugent, Boston, Aerosmith, Molly Hatchet and dozens more – but how often do you get a chance to take a tour through an accomplished photographer’s studio? Luckily, reporter Emily Cassell was able to snag such a tour, sharing it with us on the Scout Somerville (MA) website – http://scoutsomerville.com/ron-pownall/

Beginning his photo career as a young shooter for the Chicago Tribune newspaper in the late 1960s, he went from covering protests of the Vietnam War to concert events at local venues and, when he relocated from the Windy City to Boston in the early 1970s, his abilities brought him assignments to document the visits of bands including Boston, Queen and others and it was “off to the races”…

d) On NZ’s Stuff Entertainment site, Mike Alexander delivers a profile of Barry Beswick and his Indium Design company, perhaps best-known for his dozens of covers (the last 37 of them, as a matter of fact) created for the seemingly-never-ending series of top hits packages known as “Now That’s What I Call Music.”
https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/95241857/now-thats-what-i-call-album-artwork
Now, that’s what you call a GREAT commission!

e) Parlaying his love of music – exemplified by his collection of bootleg recordings – and his desire to improve the visuals usually associated with those illicit products into a career as an illustrator for the Trademark of Quality label and then, later on for legit label Rhino Records (where he designed their mascot/logo), cartoonist William Stout would then go on to greater fame as a designer of movie posters, film and TV productions and, more recently, a series of music-related books/graphic novels.
And he had me at Little Annie Fanny
Fans should take the time to read Joshua Stone’s profile of the prolific and talented illustrator in a recent issue of Bleeding Coolhttps://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/07/22/william-stout-career-envy/

f) As he’s going to be a speaker at the upcoming 2017 AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, MN (October 12-14), the folks behind the event have just posted an interview with artist Michael Cina, someone who is no stranger to us album art fans as he’s credited with dozens of designs for Pop, Rock and Electronic acts including Jacaszek, Matrixxman, Shigeto, Arthur Beatrice and many others – http://designconference.aiga.org/#!/article/michael-cina-discusses-his-career-journey

As both a freelancer and, since 2010, the principal at Cina Associates, Michael has done work – design, art direction, typography and web work – for a who’s who of happy clients including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Disney, Fox Sports, RedBull and many others.

Looking through the list of speakers lined up for this conference, I also wanted you to know that two other well-regarded album art designers – Pentagram’s Paula Scher and Draplin Design Co’s Aaron Draplin (go, Portland!) – will be on hand to share their innermost thoughts and feelings about design with an audience thirsting for their knowledge…

3) Sales/Auctions –

Nothing exciting to report at this point….

4) New Print/Book RELEASES –

a) Rock N Roll Cultural Historian and Fandom Expert Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike (@JenOtterBickerd) has a new book out (September 1st in the UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Vinyl-Matters-Manifesto-Musicians/dp/185149863X) that looks to be required reading for anyone who is a lover of recorded music delivered on vinyl records (an ever-growing population of you, it seems!) and it includes, as I’ve heard from Jen, a fair amount of content that should be of interest specifically to us album art fans as well.

The book’s titled Why Vinyl Matters: A Manifesto From Musicians and Fans and, according to the accompanying press info, it is “a bold declaration of love for pre-digital music technology – part history, part future forecasting, part nostalgia and all celebration. A collection of more than 25 interviews, all illustrated with photos, sidebars, quotes, album covers, outtakes and much more” and includes discussions with musicians Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Henry Rollins (Black Flag and his own band), Mike Ness (Social Distortion), Steve Hackett (Genesis) and many others, along with several with top album cover designers including Peter Saville, Steve Park and Alison Fielding.

An academic, writer and historian now based in the U.K. and who has written several other books on the topics of music and Pop Culture (Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture (2016), The Secular Religion of Fandom: Pop Culture Pilgrim (2015) and 2014’s Fandom, Image and Authenticity (Pop Music, Culture and Identity), Jennifer “remains enthralled by vinyl, and has embarked on a journey to share her passion – and the passion of like-minded stars – with the world.”

Bonus Content – I asked Jen if she’d be willing to share some quotes from the album cover artists with me (and you) and she was kind enough to provide the following:
“I have Peter Saville and Steve Park. Peter has done TONS AND TONS of covers and Steve is most famous for Prince’s Graffiti Bridge (he was Prince’s creative director for years, and a super cool dude too)! Oh, and Alison Fielding, who does all of the creative for Beggars Banquet! “

Just as a teaser, here’s a quote she sent from her interview with Peter Saville – “There is no problem associated with a record cover other than the principle artist liking it. It doesn’t matter: what is on a record cover does not matter. Unlike any other form of packaging or communication. Nobody has NOT bought a record they wanted because they did not like the cover. They may sometimes be influenced to buy a record that they are indecisive about because they like the cover. But if there is a song, a track – something you like – you have never not bought it because of the cover. So, therefore, it does not really matter. But one thing does matter. The principle artist. Because if Bryan, Brett, Madonna, George is not happy – then the release is delayed. And it has got to happen quickly. It is always late. It is always left to the last minute; there are always last minute changes… It always goes to the wire. And at the 11th hour, management, record companies, cave in and say, ‘You know, we don’t fucking care. Just get it approved.’ And the person it has to be approved by is the principle ego. That is how it works.”

b) Back in June/July, I told you about a show featuring photographer Markus Klinko’s beautiful shots of the late David Bowie (“Bowie Unseen”, on display as part of the HeadOn Photo Festival in Sydney, Australia), but I’m now happy to report that those of us stranded here in the U.S. now have a place to find (and buy) many of the same photos featured in that exhibition – Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX. If you follow the link – https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/markus-klinko-photographer – you’ll get a chance to see what’s available, including Klinko’s cover shots for Heathen – the record where Bowie works with Klinko to craft a photo where the subject (Bowie) is quite obviously blind.

c) Going back a bit – i.e., to the beginning – of Mr. Bowie’s career, you’ll learn that it was Gerald Fearnley, brother of Dek Fearnley (one of Bowie’s bandmates at the time), who shot the cover photo used for Bowie’s debut album in 1967 (David Bowie). Digging into that archive, Mr. Fearnley has now put together a new book of those photos also titled Bowie Unseen (?), published by ACC Editions – https://www.accpublishinggroup.com/uk/store/pv/9781851498642/bowie-unseen/gerald-fearnley/

After capturing the eye of the folks at CNN Style, you can now see a bit more about this new book and what’s included – http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/31/arts/unseen-david-bowie-portraits/index.html

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Flying saucer-leaning music lovers will have a lot to celebrate soon when, on Friday, September 29th, a very special 40th anniversary vinyl picture disc package (featuring Kosh’s original artwork) of ELO’s 2-LP set Out of The Blue is being released by Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings. Two LPs = four different designs, and, for the approx. $35 they’ll pay, customers will also receive the music in digital download form – https://www.legacyrecordings.com/2017/07/27/legacy-recordings-release-first-time-ever-picture-disc-edition-elos-blue/

Pre-orders now being accepted – https://store-us.jefflynneselo.com/products/out-of-the-blue-picture-disc-2lp

Believe me now, sweet is the night – even if I’m standing in the rain in the summer and lightning – that this package arrives on my doorstep…

b) Later on in this month’s summary, you’ll read my rant about “best of/worst of” lists (I don’t particularly like them) but, from time to time, someone will come up with a novel take on the topic and, although it disturbs me to my very core, I’ll pass it on to you, my readers. Recently, Dan Caffrey and the staffers of the Consequence of Sound site put their heads together to come up with a somewhat different approach to a “Top 50” listing – the 50 “most outrageous” album covers ever made –
https://consequenceofsound.net/2017/07/the-50-most-outrageous-album-covers/

According to the article, rather than focusing on the good or the bad, the writers “simplified the criteria: It should be something that makes you scratch your head and say, ‘Huh?’” The article also begins with a warning – “Some of these you won’t be able to ‘unsee,’ so proceed with caution” and, after paging through several of them (starting off with Queen’s disturbing cover for The Miracle in which the band members’ faces are grafted together to make one quite-large head), it’s probably a warning well-heeded (although some of the selections are merely from the psychedelic era and, therefore, just images you can trip on)…

c) Lots of Bowie and Mick Rock this issue, no? Take an interesting and iconoclastic photographer/partier and introduce him to several rock & rollers eager to test out their new-found fame and wealth (and mix in examples of said photographer’s famous imagery and voila!, you have the beginnings of an interesting documentary film. Now available for viewing is the new Mick Rock bio-pic – Shot! – and The Guardian (UK)’s film reviewer Leslie Felperin provides us with a first look at it – https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/21/shot-the-psycho-spiritual-mantra-of-rock-review-mick-rock-photography

d) I’m very happy to have been able to tour through Takashi Murakami’s latest show (The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, on now through September 24th at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Chicago) because, while I might not be Kanye’s biggest fan, I do appreciate his selection of Murakami as his album cover artist back in 2008 for his Graduation record and it was fun to see the original cover art included in the show.

In a recent posting on the Uproxx.com site, reporter Corbin Reiff shared a scoop that hints at the possibility that another Kanye friend/collaborator – Kid Kudi – might be looking for a Murakami-designed cover for his new project.
love fest – http://uproxx.com/realtalk/kanye-west-graduation-bear-kid-cudi-japan-new-album-speculation/

e) Any serious student of the album cover arts knows and appreciates the impact that the team from the Hipgnosis design studio has had since they began applying their talents to packages for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Black Sabbath and scores of others since the late 1960s. And while I might not be so willing as to declare all great album art as either being “before Hipgnosis” or “after Hipgnosis” (let’s see – Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s, Disraeli Gears, Are You Experienced?, etc. all came before…) as writer Nick DeRiso has stated in an article called “32 Weird Facts About Hipgnosis’ Most Famous Rock Album Covers,” I do want to reward the guy for doing a bit of research and then presenting these fun facts in a highly-entertaining fashion. Did YOU know that the cover for Pink Floyd’s Saucer Full of Secrets was made with 13 layers of imagery (pre-Photoshop, mind you) and that this cover project was only the second time in EMI’s history that they allowed the work to be contributed by an outside agency (the first being Peter Blake’s work for the aforementioned Sgt. Pepper’s cover)? Well, neither did I – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/hipgnosis-album-covers/

f) Haters gotta hate hate hate – While some of us worry that album cover design is often over-looked and under-appreciated in today’s fast-paced, digitally-distributed world, when you’re a mega-star like Taylor Swift and you tease your fanbase with album art for your upcoming release (titled Reputation) that reminds some people of that decoupage project you did at Summer Camp in 7th grade, you have to expect that some folks aren’t going to respond positively (as detailed recently in Brian Koerber’s article on the Mashable site) – http://mashable.com/2017/08/23/taylor-swift-album-cover-graphic-design/
Perhaps she should call up her buddy Kanye and get a meeting with Murakami?

g) With the national pastime for “connected” folks seemingly now being freely telling the world just how much you hate someone/something, it only makes sense that some writers feel that it is their duty to share their until-now-repressed feelings with their readership, so why not highlight what are, according to reporter Joseph Earp on the Tonedeaf.com site, the “worst album covers of all time”?

Why do people do these articles? While no one was killed in the making of these images, it seems as though they did upset his little tummy.
http://tonedeaf.com.au/7-worst-album-covers-of-all-time/

Stop with the “worst of all time” lists, everyone, OK?

Bonus – With Pen & Pixel’s design for Big Bear’s Doin’ Thangs leading the list (with the author commenting “it is without a doubt one of the most hideous things I have seen in the last few years”), I felt that I should get designer Shawn Brauch’s take on this award. Based on his reply, this is obviously not the first time he’s been dissed by the press but, like any controversial artist, he takes it in stride – “Mike – Oh that one is RICH! LOL! Got to love the artwork, even when it’s criticized, they still love to hate it. The great thing is, when the ‘critics’ start to take a long detailed look at the craftsmanship…they always applaud that aspect…what more can we say? LOL! I’ve read past posts about have God-awful the artwork was, in the same sentence touting the number of records sold with the same artwork…like there is no correlation between the two. I’m laughing my A** off!”

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

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

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

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

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

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

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

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

Once again, I urge you to please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduation Cover Painting (2009)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Sales/Auctions –

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

4) New Print/Book RELEASES –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clear off your bookshelves – KISS is coming….

5) Other articles of interest –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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Album Cover News Recap for May, 2016

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

It’s the first day of June, 2016 and perhaps you’re just noticing and saying to yourself  “you know, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a monthly summary on the Album Cover Hall of Fame site”. Well, in truth, it has been a while – yours truly was away from the office for a period of a couple of weeks in late April/early May and, unbelievably for an American, I chose NOT to work through my trip and, instead, chose to relax (“how dare you!”). At the same time, I decided to modify both the form and frequency of my album cover news summaries, the result of which you’ve seen the past few weeks and hope that you’ve enjoyed. Rather than daily missives, you’re getting a summary once a week (on Fridays, with the occasional timely updates inserted as needed), with each week’s news broken into several categories (the human mind loves to categorize, so I’m just giving you a head start in that effort). With this month’s summary, I am going to introduce a format chance that more closely follows the weekly updates, with news stories divided up into those same categories, making it easier for you to focus on the topics that might be more interesting to you than others. I am hoping that these changes increase your enjoyment of the monthly summaries – of course, if you have any concerns or suggestions, I do hope that you’ll contact me (curator@albumcoverhalloffame.com) and let me know how I might better deliver the ongoing supply of album art/artist-related content I’m dedicated to providing you on an ongoing basis.

So much has happened since we last chatted – even with the media circus that dominates our daily news feeds (#1 – “It hurts when I watch this.” #2 – “So don’t watch this!”), the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to draw interest from fans and the press, so there’s been an ongoing stream of articles, interviews and the like on a wide range of related topics:

Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for December, 2015

Album Cover Hall of Fame’S Album Cover News Recap for December, 2015

It’s early January 2016 here in the Pacific NW and, I don’t know about you all, but I could surely use some sunshine, having been treated to the first extended stretches of Winter weather, making for great skiing in the nearby mountains while creating a ghost-like pallor on our skin. On the plus side, we (i.e., the city of Portland, OR) were recently rated #1 best food city in a major East Coast publication, so life here’s not all that bad.

Our collective recuperations from the past Holiday season and the Winter blahs have done little to stem the tide of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, books and other such activities we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories on the interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and annual  “best and worst” lists adding to the endless sources of excitement and inspiration found in our news feed, 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 visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including designers Vaughan Oliver, Sir Peter Blake, Brian Cannon and others and photographers Gary Heery and Anton Corbijn who, most interestingly, is taking a leave from the music industry to focus on topics of his own interest. Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have any of you gone down this same path?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations to the winners!

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite – Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life

Yours?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Album Cover Fan Collection – Hypergallery Director Rob Smeaton

This Featured Fan Collection comes to the ACHOF from Rob Smeaton, partner in the U.K.’s Hypergallery (www.hypergallery.com) . Hypergallery is based in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, England and, according to their web site, aims to “celebrate seven decades of fantastic sleeve design and promote the growing renown for album cover art.” As both a gallery and a print publisher, Rob and his team look to give record sleeve artists the opportunity and freedom to re-explore their original artwork, producing beautiful new prints that give art lovers the chance to build a collection of artworks and collectables from a unique genre.

I met Rob during a visit of his to Portland a couple of years back and found that he and I also both shared a background in multi-media production and technology. In fact, Rob is also Managing Director of a company called Signals, Ltd., which, since 1991 has helped its clients with excellent work on a wide variety of web and digital media project assignments. After meeting him (and, happily, selling him a print for his own collection!), I knew that he’d be able to impress album cover art fans with a tour through his collection and, based on what I received from him, he has come through with a splendid selection. And so, without further delay, let’s turn things over to Rob – enjoy the journey!

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