Tag Archives: Reggae

Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary For The Month Of October, 2016

AlbumCoverHallofFame.com News Logo

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

 

It’s the first of November, 2016, with the elections here in the U.S. taking place a week from today and, if you’re like me, we’re all probably suffering from election-related anxiety. Wouldn’t it be great to have some good, positive, uplifting news for a change (besides the possibility of a Cubs World Series win looming large – sorry if I’ve offended anyone in the Cleveland area, but we’ve had to wait 40 more years than you have for a World Series win!)? Well, with today’s summary of the most-recent news in the world of album cover artists and the wonderful products they’re creating for us fans and collectors of the genre, I believe that you’ll find enough inspiration to see you through whatever comes our way.

This month’s summary, while a little light with regards to sales/auction-related news, still provides us with ample proof that the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to contribute quite regularly to the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:

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

a) Sunday, October 30th marked the close of an exhibition of photo works by Toledo, OH-based shooter Harry Sandler. The show, titled “Harry Sandler: Images From a Photographic Journey,” had been on display for the past week in the Porter Gallery at the Toledo School for the Arts and included selections of Mr. Sandler’s 40+ year portfolio, including shots of rock stars both old (The Who, Peter Frampton, John Mellencamp, etc.) and new (Katy Perry and Queen with Adam Lambert filling the shoes of the late Freddie Mercury), and prints of these images were available for sale as part of a fund-raising effort that demonstrates his commitment to groups supporting the needs of military vets.

A military veteran himself, this show was one of several he’s done to benefit veteran’s causes, with the proceeds of this show benefiting Veterans Matter, the Toledo-based nonprofit housing military veterans in a dozen states.  Sandler’s made a lot of friends over the years as he’s worked not only as a photographer but also as a tour manager and concert engineer, allowing him to tap into those resources from time to time to help raise both money and awareness of the causes he supports (for example, he enlisted Mr. Mellencamp to come and sign autographs at the exhibit’s launch party on October 21st).

Read more about this fine fellow in writer Tom Henry’s article on The Blade web site – http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2016/10/10/Rock-artist-wants-his-journey-to-assist-homeless-in-Toledo-area.html   and also about the work done by the Toledo-based Veterans Matter charity by visiting their web site at http://veteransmatter.org/

b) While it was the intense concentration of classic rock acts that brought thousands of people to the California desert for two weekends in October, I’m hoping that festival-goers did find the time to tour the mega-sized rock and roll photo exhibition staged there. The Desert Trip Photo Expo put on display over 200 photographs from the portfolios of a who’s who of rock photographers – Michael Cooper, Elliott Landy, Bob Gruen, Jim Marshall and many others – and include well-known album cover and magazine shots featuring the six acts who headlined the four days of concerts – Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, The Who and Neil Young.

In this article posted by staffers on the Orange County Register web site – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/captures-732290-trip-music.html  you will find some of the stories behind a selection of the images on display as told by the people who took them (for example, Bob Gruen tells us that Mick Jagger was at a 1982 concert by The Clash at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia because his daughter wanted to see the band (“C’mon, Dad…they’re great!”). More info on this exhibition, organized by the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery and presented in cooperation with Getty Images, at http://deserttrip.com/photoexp/   You’ll also find a nice video short featuring Henry Diltz talking about why being a rock photographer is such a great gig…

Finally, Paul Resnikoff shares his on-site experience, including several photos of the 36,000 square foot tent that housed the exhibit, in this posting on the Digital Music News site – http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/10/10/rock-n-roll-art-gallery-desert-trip/

c) I hate it when I’m late…a show recently closed that I just learned about but, even so, I am so impressed with the creativity shown by this artist that I wanted to make sure you had a chance to see his work. Rather than simply listening to his favorite albums, artist Peter Wilkins considered aspects of records – that they spin, that certain covers have unique color palettes, etc. – and set out to present each record in a way that shows us these elemental qualities in a way we’ve never seen them. He first experimented with the idea of capturing a photographic image of a spinning album cover but, unhappy with those first images, he decided to turn to computer technology to help him better-express the unique way he was seeing these records. The results of these efforts were put on display in a series of shows (including one that just ended at the Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada and new ones scheduled for viewing in other venues across Canada in 2017) that are sure to impress and amaze anyone who gets the chance to see these prints.

While Wilkins has created dozens of prints – including rock classics such as Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, Cream’s Disraeli Gears and newer works from acts including Florence & The Machine and Broken Social Scene – he’s also applied a similar approach to other subject material, such as wine, cityscapes, airports and “iconic Canadian chairs”, examples of which you can find on his web site – http://peter.wilkins.ws/

You can view an illustrated capsule summary of his most-recent show in reporter Joan Sullivan’s article on the topic on The Telegram (Canada) web site – http://www.thetelegram.com/Living/2016-09-12/article-4637137/Rock-%26rsquo%3Bn%26rsquo%3B-roll-and-take-cover/1  – which includes input from the artist about his inspirations and processes. I was a little bit impressed with myself for being able to identify several of the examples just by their colors and where they’re shown in the circular prints – give it a try, it’s fun!

d) Ben Marks recently published an article for Collector’s Weekly that I thought you all might enjoy as it highlights the many years of excellent album cover-focused work of the craftspeople at “the premier record jacket printing company in America” – that being the Stoughton Printing Company, located in City of Industry, CA. Stoughton has been printing and assembling record sleeves for clients in the music industry for over 50 years and, as part of this year’s Los Angeles Printers Fair that was held October 14th at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA, visitors were invited to tour a special exhibit titled “The Music of the Presses: The Vinyl Sleeves of the Stoughton Printing Company” which showcased, according to the show’s press, “a half-century of album covers, from the first printing of the album that introduced The Beatles to America, to the latest retro vinyls”, with every visitor getting a limited-run sleeve as a souvenir of their attendance.

Stoughton Printing Company’s head honcho, Jack Stoughton, Jr., was in attendance to take show visitors on a tour through the record cover-making process, making a stop at a display that showcases 50+ examples of the company’s work, including sleeves for top musical acts including The Beatles, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Carole King, Jack White and many, many others. Viewers were also able to see the entries for a juried competition called “The Art of the Album Design & Printing Competition” which included include designs by many of the printing industry’s most-respected practitioners of the craft.

You can read Ben’s article online via the link – http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/music-of-the-presses/  and see more of what’s on display during the exhibit’s run (which remains “on view for several months”) –  http://www.printmuseum.org/printersfair/general-information/

e) The Copper House Gallery – in Dublin, Ireland, just a few minutes West of St. Stephen’s Green – hosted a new show that opened October 13th (and ran one week, through October 20th) that wass called the “Fantasy 12 Exhibition” and which featured dozens of unique works created by a number of music industry artists, designers and record label staffers who responded to a simple question – “If you could release a record from any iconic artist (past or present), what would the cover look like?” This show was organized by This Greedy Pig (online art/music mag), record label Choice Cuts and the Hens Teeth Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and, in a special event, Irish Times writer Jim Carroll hosted an opening weekend ticketed discussion (Saturday, October 15th at Dublin hot spot The Sugar Club) which featured three people well-versed in the subject of music-related art/packaging – Paul Diddy, art director for NYC record label Luaka Bop; artist/editor Nick Gazin of Vice Magazine (who also created the much-heralded artwork for Run The Jewels) and the multi-talented Vlad Sepetov, whose “Yours Truly” collective has been responsible for a noted list of today’s top recording acts, including Kendrick Lamar and Vic Mensa.

Show-related info can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1643345045980477/ and on the gallery’s site at http://www.thecopperhousegallery.com/exhibitions/66/overview/

f) There have been a number of fascinating events staged during the past year in the UK to celebrate Punk’s 40th Anniversary, with a recent one catching my eye that I felt compelled to share with you. As reported on recently by Michael Holland on the Southwark News (London, U.K.) site – http://www.southwarknews.co.uk/lifestyle/dont-punk-appreciate-punk-art/ members of a punk “supergroup” called the Bermondsey Joyriders organized a show geared towards letting punk musicians – particularly those who attended art school as part of their upbringing – show off their visual art talents, with this year’s crop of participants including Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Keith Levene of The Clash, Spizz of Spizz Energi, Luke Morgan of The Highliners, Nicky Tesco of Members, Ultravox’s John Taylor and others (over 30) contributing works to the showcase, all of which were available for sale.

While the show ran only a few days (October 8th through the 10th at the Underdog Gallery on Crucifix Lane), it received a lot of coverage, including this video interview on ITV News, London, hosted by Nina Hossain and reporter Victoria Grimes, with Keith Levene from The Clash – http://www.theunderdog.london/single-post/2016/10/11/ITV-NEWS-reports-on-the-Punk-Rock-Roll-Show-at-The-Underdog   and photos on the gallery’s site provide ample evidence that a good time was had by all during all of the event’s festivities – http://www.theunderdog.london/single-post/2016/09/02/7th—10th-Oct-Punk-Rock-Roll-Art-Show

g) The nice folks at the Concert Poster Gallery were kind enough to send me/us a reminder for all East Coast rock/album art fans I want to make sure you’ve seen – hope you get the chance to visit the newly-launched staging of the hugely-popular exhibition – originally on display in both Los Angeles and San Francisco – built around the incredible cache of artwork – posters, handbills, photos and more – created over the years in support of the events put on by one of rock music’s most-successful promoters – the late Bill Graham. On display now through next January 16th at the National Museum of Jewish History in Philadelphia, Bill Graham & The Rock And Roll Revolution presents the stunning visuals that promoted and accompanied Graham’s events at the Winterland and Fillmore venues on both coasts, as well as the mega-events he was such a huge part of – Watkins Glen, Days On The Green, the US Festival, Live Aid and others for Amnesty International.

His efforts to promote his events brought us the talents of many who are now considered the most-influential artists of the era – Rick Griffin, Mouse and Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Lee Conklin and Wes Wilson – who all went on to produce a number of iconic album images for musical acts including the Grateful Dead, Santana, Steve Miller and many others. While his life included times both harrowing (his escape from Nazi-controlled Germany and France in 1939 ultimately brought him to his new home in the U.S.) and personally-fulfilling (his desire to be an actor brought him roles in films including Apocalypse Now, Bugsy and The Doors), his death in a helicopter crash in 1991 cut short the life of one of the music industry’s most-memorable impresarios. Now’s your chance to revisit an era via this impressive collection of memorabilia – why not catch a train and get on over to the museum while you can?

http://www.concertpostergallery.com/concertposters/bill-grahams-rock-and-roll-revolution-museum-exhibit-opens-in-philadelphia/

More info on the museum and this exhibition can be found at http://www.nmajh.org/BillGraham/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Minneapolis, MN Star Tribune reporter John Bream has posted an article which includes an interview with First Avenue’s (“Your Downtown Danceteria Since 1970” and a space familiar to anyone who has seen the film Purple Rain) man-of-many-hats (facilities manager, tour guide and official photographer) Daniel Corrigan on the occasion of the release of a new book that taps into his 35+ year archive of great photos taken with music industry notables including Prince, Husker Du, Michael Jackson, U2 and many others.

Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis” includes over 500 images taken over the years, including album cover shots for acts including Babes In Toyland, The Replacements, The Cows (Cunning Stunts – always loved that title), They Jayhawks and others. He worked with Josh Leventhal at the Minnesota Historical Society Press (who’ll be publishing the book, set to hit store shelves on November 1st) to choose just the right images from his huge archive and asked local writer/DJ Danny Sigelman (DJ Paper Sleeves) to contribute the intro essay. An exhibition of photos from the book will launch in mid-November at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, so fans of Mr. Corrigan’s work will have a great opportunity to see selections from this book on display in a proper setting.

http://www.startribune.com/starting-with-prince-first-avenue-photographer-chronicled-rise-of-twin-cities-music-scene/398894281/#1 

b) If you’re like me, it is easy to say that, of the images created for the packaging of most all of the various genres of music, hard rock/metal music, in all of its variations, tends to sport covers that are almost immediately identifiable as being of that genre (for a long time, this honor has been shared with rap/hip-hop covers, particularly of the “Pen & Pixel” variety). There’s a designer in the Bay Area named Sean Ross that seems to feel the same way but, as a creative type, he was curious as to what would happen if he applied the same design sense to the imagery created for another area of Popular Culture – that being technology, and the logos of some of the biggest names in the business.

If you click on over to read Owen Pritchard’s recent article on the It’s Nice That site on the topic, you’ll find a number of examples of “the visual language of disruption” as applied to logos for firms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Uber and many others. He then takes things a step farther by reimagining classic album covers and type – featuring notable imagery from acts including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC (among others) – to now represent products in the technology space. While I don’t see many of these companies deciding to adopt these designs in the real world, an Iron Maiden-influenced Snapchat logo would certainly shake up NerdWorld a bit, don’t you agree?

http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/heavy-metal-tech-branding-141016

c) To help commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of rapper Tupac Shakur, TIME Magazine writer Kenneth Bachor caught up with photographer Danny Clinch, the man that took what many consider to be the most-famous (and intimate) portrait of Shakur three years prior to Tupac’s untimely demise, and present a video interview during which Danny explains the circumstances that lead up to that memorable shoot, some of the details of what went in to staging/producing the image and how he felt that, after looking at the results of the session, his gut instincts told him that he had an image for the Ages.

ACHOF Inductee Clinch has produced scores of great photos for album covers for acts including the Afghan Whigs, Old Dirty Bastard and Simon & Garfunkel (quite the range!), so it’s a pleasure to be able to hear this tale directly from his mouth (and heart). http://time.com/4486307/tupac-shakur-photo/ 

d) While not technically an artist interview or in-depth profile, I believe that there’s enough interesting information given to us in Zoe Wilder’s article on the MerryJane.com site about ten artists currently producing a new breed of “psychedelic” art – including covers for a number of mainstream and indie musical acts in several genres – that a read is worth your time. Fans of artists such as Martin Sharp (Disraeli Gears for Cream), The Fool art collective (Evolution for The Hollies) and Victor Moscoso (Headhunters for Herbie Hancock) will find a lot to like in the works of Jen Stark, Sean Cormac and Ricardo Cavolo, who are among the 10 artists included in this overview. As a fan of “Flash-style” animations, I was particularly impressed with the music video artist Robert Wallace (AKA “Parallel Teeth”) created for New Zealand-based musical act Ladi6…

https://www.merryjane.com/culture/Psychedelic%20Artists%20You%20Should%20Know

e) Singer Solange Knowles (another talented Knowles sister!) discovered the works of young Spanish art director/photographer Carlota Guerrero on Instagram and, after working with her on a show at the Tate Modern museum in London, brought Carlota on to provide the imagery for her new album – A Seat At The Table – as well as the 112-page digital book that accompanies the new recording.

Billboard‘s Griselda Flores spoke with Ms. Guerrero and presents us with the artist’s telling of how two talented  you women collaborated on this project, each exploring their own sense of womanhood, the solidarity felt between two black women establishing their own identities in a fast-paced entertainment space and, quite interestingly, how the staff at their hotel reacted upon seeing a gold-painted woman in a cape approach the check-in desk after their photo/video shoot! –  http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/latin/7534279/solange-a-seat-at-the-table-photographer-art-director

f) Each month, the talented team at The Archivist’s Gallery in north London publish an informative article that showcases the work of one of today’s most-creative album art producers and, in addition to giving us some “making of” info from the featured artist, offer readers and collectors an opportunity to see more of that person’s work and, perhaps, buy an art print of one of those images. I was particularly intrigued by the beautiful surrealistic photography created by this month’s artist – Louis Lander Deacon – for his client Imagine Dragons for their 2012 recording titled Continued Silence. The band went on to earn numerous nominations and awards for their 2012 album Night Visions (including a Grammy in 2014 for “Best Rock Performance”) while Louis has continued to build up an impressive portfolio of work for clients in the music, fashion and portrait arenas.

I think you’ll enjoy this look at the work of a rising star in the album art world – http://thearchivistsgallery.com/aotm/

g) It is the hope of all bands that, as its been proven by the long-term value of the iconic logos/cover images of bands such as AC/DC, KISS, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, the investments they make in these visuals will continue to pay off for years – even long after the original players have ceased to produce new music (or, in the case of LA-area ska/reggae/punk act Sublime, our subject today, after the band’s singer/guitarist died of a heroin overdose). While most of us remember the cover of the band’s third and last studio album – the multi-platinum record simply titled Sublime and featuring a photo of the late Brad Nowell’s tattoo of the band’s name across his back – it is artist Opie Ortiz’s crying sun logo, which consists of several images, including a mushroom, the devil, a pocket knife, some skeletal items, a genie and a worm – that lives on in various incarnations of merchandise created with the help and approval of the band’s management and Nowell’s widow, Troy Holmes.

In this article by the Orange County Register’s Josh Chesler, you’ll meet the players in this enterprise, learn more about ongoing plans to bring this folk art masterpiece to the masses, talk to the artist (Mr. Ortiz) who created the original design “using nail polish and Krazy Glue” and, finally, with some of the fans for which this art serves as an ever-present reminder of their fanship.

http://www.ocweekly.com/arts/the-story-of-sublimes-iconic-sun-logo-and-how-its-rising-into-the-mainstream-7374609

h) Aspiring young art student Garfield Larmond had expanded his artistic tool box to include a camera (with which he could film his friends) and after moving as a teen from New York to Atlanta, GA, one day saw a Tweet from a local musician who announced that he would be filming a music video and inviting the public to attend. Bringing along his camera, he shot some “behind the scenes” footage which that artist’s label liked, and that simple reassurance gave him the motivation to apply his talents to work for other local musical acts and other clients. A freelance job to produce product shots and short videos for a clothing line run by rapper Young Thug’s fiancée provided an introduction to the musician and, ultimately, the opportunity to provide the cover image for Mr. Thug’s hugely-popular 2016 mixtape-turned-record titled Jeffrey and a series of intimate portraits of the artist that have garnered much critical acclaim. Writer Justin Davis, in a recent article found on The Hundreds site, shares an interview with the photographer – now known as GLP – where you can learn more about the details of his career, his ongoing relationship with the talented Young Thug and how the two worked together to create a cover image that is VERY different than those most of us are used to seeing on rap album covers….

https://thehundreds.com/blog/glp-young-thug-interview-jeffery-cover/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Heritage Auctions has just posted the details of their upcoming (November 12th) Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction, and fans of album art will find a nice selection of items that should be of interest, including autographed album covers from The Police, Prince, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and others; costumes worn by The Cars’ Ric Ocasek and singer Linda Ronstadt for their cover photos; RIAA and UK Gold Record award presentations for records by Elton John, Robert Plant, Tina Turner and more, and several different versions of the notorious and much-desired “Butcher Cover” for the “Yesterday & Today” LP by The Beatles, with opening bids beginning at $750 for a “third state” version and $5,000 for a “first state” version.

https://entertainment.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?N=53+4294941297+794+793+792&Ntk=SI_Titles-Desc&Nty=1&Ntt=album+cover&limitTo=4294941297&ic4=KeywordSearch-A-K-Y-071316

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) Combining aspects of two popular album cover-based sites – Pop Spots (locating the places where original album cover photos were taken) and Sleeveface (where you find people “obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion”, as described on the Sleeveface site) – photographer Alex Bartsch has worked to locate sites in London where a batch of notable reggae album cover photos from the late 1960s through the late 1980s were taken and then create new photos of those covers integrated in new shots of those locations.

For his new book project titled Covers: Retracing Reggae Record Sleeves in London, Bartsch has selected over 40 of these new creations and shares the stories behind how he located and recreated each cover. In order to get his book published, he’s set up a Kickstarter program where he’ll first produce 200 limited-edition, signed copies of his book and, depending on your level of support, backers can also get bonus items such as photo postcards, signed art prints and, for a pledge of 500 GBP or more, he’ll even take you on a bike tour of London, stopping at several of the spots where these new works were created.

Daily Mail writer Mark Duell gives us an intro to the project at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3870008/Back-reggae-roots-Photographer-recreates-classic-vinyl-covers-original-London-locations.html

while those of you who might want to grab one of the first copies of the book (scheduled to be shipped in June, 2017) can find out more via this link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1060504029/covers-retracing-reggae-record-sleeves-in-london

b) Daniel Corrigan’s book “Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis” is released on November 1st (see article in Section 2, above). There is a nice photo album on the Star Tribune site that includes descriptions of 18 of the photos that will be on display, so take a moment to tab on through – http://www.startribune.com/starting-with-prince-first-avenue-photographer-chronicled-rise-of-twin-cities-music-scene/398894281/#1

c) Former Billboard Magazine Editor-in-Chief Adam White and Motown Records President Barney Ales have teamed up to create a just-published new book (400 pages, with over 1000 pictures) that, according to White, serves to tell the whole story behind the rise and success of Motown Records, with a special focus on the people behind the scenes without whom, he claims, “the music wouldn’t have been played and the bills wouldn’t have been paid”. In Motown: The Sound of Young America (with a forward by producer extraordinaire Andrew Loog Oldham), you’ll find, according to Thames & Thames, the book’s publisher, the “first official visual history of the label, new research, a dazzling array of images, and unprecedented access to the archives of the makers and stars of Motown lend new insight to the legend. In addition to extensive specially commissioned photography of treasures extracted from the Motown archives, as well as the personal collections of Barney Ales and Motown stars..” Interviews featured in the book include ones with Motown founder Berry Gordy and several of the label’s best-known acts, including Smokey Robinson and original Supreme Mary Wilson, among others.

The label also focused a lot of resources on the visuals of their acts which introduced audiences world-wide to the colors, textures, hair styles and dance moves that helped make kids of all colors and backgrounds fans of “the Motown Sound”.

http://www.thamesandhudsonusa.com/books/motown-the-sound-of-young-america-hardcover

Via this link to the Fox 2 Detroit web site – http://www.fox2detroit.com/good-day/204681762-story – you can also watch a 6-minute interview with White and Barney Ales’ son Brett as they discuss the book and share some of the stories found inside.

d) Bowie fans, take note – I just received a note from the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX letting me know that they now carry a range of David Bowie photo prints – including the famous Aladdin Sane, Lodger and Scary Monsters cover images – produced by the estate of the late photographer Brian Duffy. These new open edition prints (stamped by the Duffy Archive) are available in one size only (19.75″ square overall; 10.5″ square image size) are a very affordable way (at $300 each) to own these famous photos, so click on over to the Modern Rocks site to see what’s available – http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/duffy-archive/

e) You will recall an article from the not-too-distant past talking about the upcoming release of a revised edition of author/art expert Ramon Martos Garcia’s wonderful book on heavy metal album covers titled “And Justice For Art“. Well, our patience has been rewarded – the book is done and available for sale in a limited-edition version that delivers a lot of value for the money. The book was published by Dark Canvas, with more details and links available in a recent article on the KNAC.com site by Larry Petro (AKA “News Monkey”) – http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=21711

Ramon is a dedicated and knowledgeable writer with a true passion for his subject – hope you’ll check out his book and, if so inspired, make one your own.

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Record and consignment shop owners partially-attribute the rise of vinyl LP sales to the fact that folks “just like the album cover art”, an article posted by Danbury, CT-based News-Times writer Chris Bosak stated recently. While those of us who grew up with vinyl are not all that surprised to learn this, the fact that a 70+ year-old method of delivering music to fans is still appealing – particularly to those young folks who’ve grown up with digital music-capable devices attached to their hands and heads – is cause for a bit of reflection. From the late 1980s through the early 2000s, music products sold in either smaller physical formats (CD, DVD, etc.) or without physical packaging at all (MP3s and more-current digital formats, playable on computers, music players and mobile phones) sounded what seemed to be a death knoll for analog albums, but it seems that young people with an inquisitive streak and “audiophiles” who appreciate the seemed sonic advantages of uncompressed music have both worked together to re-kindle interest in the format, bringing much joy to those involved in the manufacturing, packaging and selling of vinyl music products, from records to turntables to $100/ft. speaker cables (!!). All those interviewed for this article made note of the fact that great album covers – and digging through stacks of records – were still very much part of the mystique.

http://www.newstimes.com/business/article/Vinyl-resurgence-boosts-independent-record-stores-9516228.php

b) Although this isn’t an album cover-related item (although, they did give us many great covers during their time in the limelight), the fact that the city council in Forest Hills, Queens, New York is honoring the Ramones by renaming the street in front of the entrance to Forest Hills High School (AKA the “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, located at the intersection of 67th Avenue and 110th Street and the alma mater of members of the band as well as Burt Bacharach, Simon & Garfunkel and guitarist Leslie West) “The Ramones Way” should be of great interest to music fans world-wide. The new street sign was installed on a nearby lamppost, with the honor being bestowed during a ceremony held on Sunday, October 30th. In attendance was Mickey Leigh (Joey Ramone’s brother), former band manager Danny Fields and their former tour manager, Monte Melnick. Gallery 98’s Marc H. Miller also participated in the ceremonies, and the exhibit he co-curated (Hey! Ho! Let’s Go! Ramones and the Birth of Punk) continues draw crowds to the Grammy Museum in LA, where it remains on display through February 28th.

Read more on the band’s web site – http://www.ramones.com/street-in-front-of-forest-hills-high-to-be-renamed-ramones-way-on-october-23/ and, if you’ve got an hour to kill, you can watch a video of the ceremony, including an introduction by the delightful (and “varry, varry, New Yawky”) City Council member Karen Koslowitz, who represents the 29th District that includes Forest Hills.

c) In 1996, the EMI record label turned to long-time Pink Floyd album cover designer Storm Thorgerson to come up with a promo image for an upcoming re-release of several of the band’s best-known records (AKA, their Back Catalog). Working with photographer Tony May, designer Finlay Cowan and top-tier body painter Phyllis Cohen, the team produced an image that went on to become one of the band’s most-popular poster images – one called simply Pink Floyd’s Back Catalogue. The image of six of the group’s record covers deftly painted on the backs of six young female models seated on the edge of a swimming pool was the first of several done over the years, with the later ones done to show off the breadth of Thorgerson’s studio’s album cover archive, including covers for acts including Black Sabbath, The Cranberries, Peter Gabriel and many more.

More recently, South Bay (LA/Long Beach-area) body painter Paul Roustan drew upon his inspiration from these previous works to create his own take on the subject, with each of the six models painted to represent an iconic image of the area’s history and culture. Calling his work Painted Ladies of the South Bay, he shot the models (all natives of the area) in two locations – at historic Hermosa Beach pier and on the nearby Strand Wall – and the effort has served to introduce new fans to his award-winning (1st place “North American Body Paint Champion” at the North American Body Paint Championships) work, with his latest book, titled Roustan Body Paint, which includes over 200 photos and several handy tutorials in case you want to try this on your own, winning 1st Place – Best Photography Book – at the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Awards. Read more at http://www.easyreadernews.com/136358/artist-paul-roustan-creates-south-bay-take-pink-floyd-album-cover-body-painting/    and, to see more of his work and his book, click on over to http://www.roustanbodypaint.com/book

d) Yes, he’s an amazingly-talented singer/songwriter but, in some circles, he’s almost as well-known for his contributions to the art of photo taking and printing, and for that he’s going to be feted several times over the next month or so…In addition to his career as a solo artist and member of bands including the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Graham Nash has been the co-owner of a company called Nash Editions, a place where seriously-picky photographers go to have their fine art prints produced to their exacting specifications. Over the years, Nash and his team have derived several new technologies and printing processes that have upped the quality of photo printing (particularly, in digital photo printing) to the level where those who had sworn off the notion of having their images produced for collectors on digital printing machines can now rely on certain companies to execute their print orders with great integrity and stunning image quality.

For these efforts, Nash was lauded at events including the October 23rd 2016 Lucie Awards Gala (the “Oscars” for photography) and the annual induction ceremonies for the International Photography Hall of Fame, which took place in St. Louis, MO on October 28th. It’s that museum’s 50th anniversary, and Nash was inducted alongside other famed image-makers including photographer Annie Leibovitz and film-maker Ken Burns.

You can read more about Nash’s Double Exposure Award from the Lucie Foundation via this link – http://www.lucies.org/honorees/graham-nash/   and  about the IPHF’s 50th Anniversary award event at http://iphf.org/events/hall-fame-induction-50th-anniversary-celebration/

Nash’s portrait at the IPHF will live alongside those of previous inductees which include photographers Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank and Edward Weston (actually, he’s right after Eadweard Muybridge and right before Beamont Newhall – pretty significant neighbors, no?) and other technologists including George Eastman, Steve Jobs, John & Thomas Knoll (inventors of Photoshop) and Victor Hasselblad. Congratulations, Mr. Nash, for making both our ears and our eyes very happy and proving, once and for all, you’re more than just a Simple Man.

e) Looking for something crafty to do with your duplicate/triplicate album covers? Join the “upcycling” revolution and turn your favorite old cardboard sleeves into a useful and unique folder. Based on what I know about your collections, you’ll be the only one showing up to work with folders sporting Lee Conklin’s “Santana Lion” or Barry Godber’s screaming-face King Crimson image – certain to spark conversations with your friends and co-workers.

To follow up a previous “How To” article (about making a folder out of an old album cover – http://craftingagreenworld.com/2016/10/03/how-to-make-a-folder/ – the folks at Crafting A Green World have published an article that will allow us to expand our portfolios of album cover-derived products to now include bookmarks, Christmas Tree ornaments, greeting cards and more. There’s even plans for a hand-held fan! If you’re like me and have several covers we’ve kept long after the records have become unplayable, then “12 Ways To Reuse An Album Cover” will serve as inspiration for you to grab a hobby knife, some glue and get started in time for Holiday gift-giving.

http://craftingagreenworld.com/2016/10/14/ways-to-reuse-an-album-cover/

 

Not only is it easy and fun, you get to play with an X-Acto Knife and Duct Tape, too (surely you have these items from your last kidnapping project – I know that I do)!

f) 12-inch “big sleeves”, “Mondo vinyl” packages and other alternative methods of giving fans and collectors a way to show off their favorite media packages – it seems clear that there are a number of media production/promotion companies these days that are turning back to a tried and true method of delivering content and art/accessories in ways that will entice fans to spend real money to own them. While many in the music and general entertainment industries continue to rail against digital products and how they’ve effected their bottom lines, others – some small upstarts along with some of the biggest names in the business – have looked for new opportunities to both build strong bonds with fans and get them to reach deep into their pockets to pay for specially-made, often limited-edition media products.

In an article published the other day by Ben Travis of the Evening Standard, you’ll get to see and learn more about some of the long-standing efforts (box sets, colored vinyl, etc.) and many of the newer ones, including Disney’s newly-released “Big Sleeve” packages for six of their most-popular films (Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, Star Wars, etc.) that deliver DVDs sheathed in 12-inch LP-sized sleeves that also include bonus items (photos, prints, booklets, etc.).  Some feature updated graphics, while others reprise designs from the past, but all give consumers something to show their friends during their next visit to their respective media rooms.

http://www.standard.co.uk/stayingin/disney-s-vinylsized-big-sleeve-editions-and-the-special-formats-all-pop-culture-junkies-should-own-a3366551.html

g) I continue to be impressed and amazed with the amount of great album art being produced in markets all over the world, with one site from Australia – ToneDeaf.com – regularly presenting articles about record packages being produced for musical acts that may not be familiar to music fans outside their local markets. One example is this article by Tyler Jenke titled “15 TIMES RECORD PACKAGING GOT COOL, CREATIVE AND WEIRD” in which you’ll see a number of examples of artwork and special packaging (including one that includes a full-on board game!) that, for the most part, represent the exception and not the norm these days. It seems clear that there are a number of artists that have figured out the value of great packaging and visuals and have committed significant resources to these efforts, so while you might not love all you see, you can’t help but be impressed by the sincerity of their efforts..

http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/487987/cool-creative-weird-record-packaging.htm

h) On Friday, October 14th at the Society of Illustrators/Museum of Illustration located at 128 East 63rd Street (just East of Park Ave.) beginning at 6:30PM EST – noted author Steven Heller moderated a panel discussion titled “Can Art Affect Social Change?”, and which featured award-winning artist/illustrator Anita Kunz and a group of influential illustrators (Barry Blitt, Nora Krug and Peter Kuper) as well as music producer Hal Willner, each of whom has produced works that “focus on current issues and strive to affect social and political change.” You might recall from an early posting here that the Museum recently hosted (through October 22nd) an exhibition of works by noted illustrator and cultural satirist Ralph Steadman and so this panel, which included folks who’ve all been influenced by Steadman’s “Gonzo” style, should all be very qualified to add color and substance to the topic at hand.

Both Kunz and Blitt have contributed their talents to clients in the music space, and Willner, who has established himself as a producer of many “tribute” concerts, events and records (as well as the music for all of the sketch pieces on SNL since the early 1980s), was happy to share his unique perspectives on how the visual and musical arts can both reflect and impact audiences with their power and messaging.

More information can be found via the link at

https://www.societyillustrators.org/events/can-art-affect-social-change

i) Now, here’s an “album art/packaging is dying/dead” article with a twist! While the smaller 5″ square canvas reserved for the images used on CD covers did somewhat stifle the visual impact of art created for the format, the jewel case did in fact offer designers an opportunity “to go deep” – i.e., to craft multi-page booklets in which they could include multiple images, lyric pages and other items of interest. To do this with LPs required the creation of either specialized (mostly gatefold) packages or, more often, a box in which to hold the records and the booklets made to give fans “extra value”. As with any addition to a retail package, most buyers would only invest a limited amount of time digging through the extras, but those that did would typically come away with a slightly-better understanding and appreciation of the artist and his/her/their music.

I’m not quite sure just how old DJ Booth writer Yoh is (I’m assuming that he’s quite a bit younger than I am), but I have to think that his lament about “the slow death of the album booklet” – with its appreciation of more-recent packages (i.e., those released within the past 10 years or so) such as Kanye West’s George Condo art-filled package for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, with its collection of striking black and white photos taken by French shooter Denis Rouvre – focuses mostly on how the author feels that digital “booklets” and linked web sites lack the personal (read “physical”) value found in the printed materials that accompany a CD. How quaint.

http://djbooth.net/news/entry/2016-09-21-the-slow-death-of-the-album-booklet

j) A day late, perhaps, but still a topic worth exploring – of course, yesterday was Halloween, a night where we’re expected to honor and experience all things horrible and frightening (no, I’m not talking about our upcoming election again). Over the years – particularly in certain sub-genres of the heavy metal music world – a fair number of scary/disturbing/disgusting album cover images have been put on display to entice fans to explore the music packaged inside, so it only seems fitting that a yearly capsule summary of the most-memorable of these covers becomes the subject of an article. This year’s best summary comes to us from writer Matthew Wilkening in a posting for the UltimateClassicRock site titled “Rock’s 30 Scariest Album Covers”, in which you’ll find examples from your favorite metal music masters (Black Sabbath/Ozzy/Dio, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, etc.) as well as some classic designs that routinely show up on “everyone’s favorite sick sleeves” listings, including Barry Godber’s ultimate screaming face for King Crimson and Funkadelic’s truly-disturbing Maggot Brain. Click thru the list slowly, making sure to relish the artistry on display, all the while telling yourself “it’s only an album cover”… http://ultimateclassicrock.com/scary-album-covers/

Bonus content – Just wanted to share a photo of an advert in a recent edition of Portland Monthly magazine that, I think you’ll agree, shows just how deeply that certain influential album cover designs (like that for Abbey Road, by The Beatles) have been integrated into our collective consciences…Here’s an ad by a rug/carpet dealer in Portland, OR named Kush regarding their upcoming move from one location to a new one in town. I wonder if anyone will be analyzing the ad for all its symbolism – is the little dog on staff, or the embodiment of the soul of a long-dead area carpet weaver?

kushabbeyrdnov2016v2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2014

Album Cover News Recap – September, 2014

by Mike Goldstein, Curator/Editor – AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Fall is finally here and, although your Curator out of the office early in the month, the flow of album cover-related news stories continued unabated. The news was dominated by several classic rock-related events, including the opening of the David Bowie Is exhibition at the MCA in Chicago, the over-sized release of U2’s latest album and the preview of Pink Floyd’s first new record in over 20 years, which features cover art from a soon-to-be-well-known new artist. Of course, there were also a number of stories posted about various aspects of the world of album art – “best ofs”, “rejected covers” – even a photo-story about “hidden images” found in famous record covers (very mysterious and cool at the same time).

There was good news on the self-funded book publishing front, with several artists/photographers raising enough money to be able to produce and publish books of their work for fans eager to own them (which only gave me more incentive to consider doing this myself!). You’ll also read about several exhibitions using albums/album art as a central theme for their designs, proving to cover art fans that album art – particularly vinyl record art – continues to serve as a cornerstone reference for Pop Culture fans.

In preparation for this year’s ACHOF voting efforts, many new biographies have been added to the site this past month so that, by the end of November, our voting panel (as well as our fans) will be well-prepared to select this year’s inductees into the ACHOF Class of 2014. I’m proud to announce that we’ve added several new voters to the panel, including writers, gallerists and film-makers from the U.S., U.K., Australia and Italy, which helps illustrate that there are fans and experts on the subject all over the world now part of the ACHOF effort.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on stories you might have missed while enjoying your late-Summer vacations, getting the kids back to school, etc.. We’re working every day to continue our efforts to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site.

September 30 – Album covers can be so inspiring and mysterious….

1) Writer Lucy Dayman’s recent article on the ToneDeaf site presents 13 examples of “hidden images” or messages found on classic rock album covers of acts ranging from Black Sabbath to Frank Zappa. While I’ve been aware of several of them – the little Klaus Voorman image in George Harrison’s hair on the cover of Revolver by The Beatles, for example – most of them were news to me. I was particularly impressed with the drug reference buried on the cover of Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats and the optical illusion featured on The Black Lips’ 200 Million Thousand – freaky, man! Spend a little time on this slide show and, of course, if you’re aware of any other fine examples of this art, please share it here with your friends. http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/419684/13-hidden-images-classic-album-covers.htm#1

2) I’m often asked to share info on “my favorite album cover” with others and, while of course this is impossible for me to answer, when I do run across a discussion of the subject by others in the album cover art world, I’m more than happy to share that with ACHOF fans. Today’s example is from an article on the Design Week web site, featuring the opinions of a number of established and up-and-coming designers, art directors and others involved in the making of today’s album cover imagery. Of course, there are mentions of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc., but there are a few that I hadn’t seen before and am now glad that I have. Take a look and see if you agree –http://www.designweek.co.uk/voxpop/whats-your-favourite-record-cover-art-of-all-time/3039133.article

September 29 – It’s U2 Monday (is it Monday for you, too?):

1) For those fans that intend on purchasing a physical copy of U2’s latest record (titled Songs of Innocence – I could have sworn that it was called “Now, Where Did That Come From?”) when it is released in mid-October – the band has released the album cover image which features a shot by photographer Glen Luchford featuring drummer Larry Mullen hugging his son Aaron Elvis. Fans of the band will recall that two of their earlier releases – Boy and War – both featured the image of the son of Bono’s friend Guggi Rowen, so they say that they chose another youthful subject in order to illustrate the band’s efforts to reach back into their youth in a search for inspiration for material for their new record. The writers for Ireland’s RTE site provide more details in this article –http://www.rte.ie/ten/news/2014/0926/648174-u2-to-release-new-songs-larry-cuddles-naked-bloke/ 

2) As you might figure, the controversial record has encouraged a number of people to express their feelings about the music (and how it was somewhat forced upon them), so it only makes sense that they’ve also taken to doing something creative with the father-hugging-son imagery that is featured on the record’s cover. One good example of this (actually, almost 30 good examples) are on display on Diffuser.FM’s site in a photo essay they call “Rejected U2 Album Covers” – take a look – http://diffuser.fm/rejected-u2-album-covers/

September 26

1) You don’t often find the opportunity to bid on items from the personal archives of a famous album cover photographer, so I’m particularly interested in following the bidding on the dozens of photos that will be put up for sale this weekend in Backstage Auction’s offering of works from Ian Wright. Wright’s photos of the “who’s who” in musical talent in London in the 1960s – The Beatles, Hendrix, the Stones, Bowie, etc. – have been featured in countless articles, exhibitions and, of course, album covers, and a collection of these images is in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Author Peter Lindblad’s interview of Mr. Wright is a really good read, diving into his relationships with his subjects and providing details on several of his most-memorable photo sessions. Well worth the read, whether you’re looking to add to your knowledge or your collection (or both) –http://backstageauctions.blogspot.com/2014/09/ian-wright-is-ready-for-his-close-up.html 

Update – The auction ends on Sunday, October 5th, so there’s still a few days to bid on any/all of the items in this auction. One thing that I didn’t mention in the original article was that the purchasers of most of the Ian Wright works in this auction not only receive a print, but they also get the negatives and the rights to the images themselves, making them valuable investments. Starting bids are in the $500 – $1000 range….

2) Album cover artwork often includes images that reflect the musical act’s politics or world view in general, so it was nice to see this recent article by the folks at Music Times about “5 Album Covers That Use Famous Photos”, featuring records by The Roots, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against The Machine and two bands I was unfamiliar with – Anthony & The Johnsons (I Am A Bird Now) and the Lovely Bad Things (The Late Great Whatever). Many of these images, on their own, might be a bit disturbing (e.g., a photo former “Warhol Superstar” Candy Darling on her deathbed), but that only makes them more memorable and, in most cases, appropriate for this particular use. For extra credit/consideration, I’d like to also include several of the Dead Kennedys’ records, such as Frankenchrist (with its Shriners in mini-cars cover) and Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, which features a photo of several police cars on fire, shot during the White Night riots that took place in San Francisco in 1979 after the sentencing of the man that killed Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk. Anyone else care to add to the list?
http://www.musictimes.com/articles/10624/20140922/5-album-covers-that-use-famous-photos-the-roots-led-zeppelin-and-more.htm

September 25 –

1) More coverage of the Bowie exhibition in Chicago – Sun Times Media writer Jeff Elbel put together a nice overview of “iconic” David Bowie album covers, including bits on The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs and Low. In the “runner up” positions, he added The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust… and The Next Day. While he did include some information about several of the people who’d created these works of art, much was left out which, of course, your Curator must quickly add for the entire story to be told:
a) Hunky Dory – art direction by George Underwood;
b) Low – art direction by Kevin Cann, who was also responsible for the liner notes and designs for several of Bowie’s records. He also authored the critically-acclaimed 2010 Bowie bio book (say that fast 3 times!) Any Day Now. Cann had gone to art school with Brian Eno and met Bowie via that connection.
c) Ziggy Stardust – design/art direction by Terry Pastor;
d) The Next Day – the original photo used as the basis of this controversial design was the one Masayoshi Sukita had taken for Bowie’s 1977 record Heroes. Designer Jonathan Barnbrook, who was also responsible for the covers for Bowie’s Heathen and Reality releases, adapted this well-known photo for the new record.
e) The Man Who Sold The World – a collaboration between designers Wit Hamburg and Keef.
Now you know “the rest of the story”….
http://entertainment.suntimes.com/entertainment-news/david-bowie-found-album-cover-inspiration-myriad-sources/

2) The album cover paintings – both originals and his re-interpretations of classic LP covers – of designer/artist Howie Green were on display in an exhibition that began on September 28th at the Massbay Community College in Wellesly Hills, MA titled (appropriately) “The Album Cover Paintings of Howie Green”. The show kicked off with a reception there from noon – 3PM and all were invited. More info on this show is available on the artist’s site at http://www.hgd.com/gallery/howie_green_events.htm

Update – per Howie’s Facebook page, this event was quite the success, with many collectors going home with new Howie Green prints to present proudly on their walls.

September 24 –

1) The cover art for Pink Floyd’s first album in over 20 years – titled The Endless River, and due out in November – has been released. The work, done by a young digital artist from Egypt named Ahmed Emad Eldin, was proposed by Aubrey Powell, part of the famed Hipgnosis team (led by the late Storm Thorgerson) who were responsible for the band’s best-known covers, after examples of his work were seen online. Once the designs were finalized, examples of the finished cover have been put on display prominently in major cities throughout the world, including a 25-foot cube installed in the South Bank area of London. The Independent‘s Adam Sherwin interviewed the lucky and talented young artist for this article, which you can review via the link at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/the-endless-river-pink-floyd-unveil-cover-art-for-their-first-new-album-in-20-years-9749012.html

2) And now for something completely different – a new touring exhibition has been launched featuring examples of “DIY”/punk record cover artwork, with the first show on the tour now up in London. Titled For The Record, the show features examples of the design work by many of the best-known designers in the genre, including Malcolm Garrett, Julian House, Central Station Design, Barney Bubbles and many others. Conceived and organized by designer Steve Rowland of MadeLab Studio, the display will be put on in a variety of “pop-up” locations, with the schedule of events and list of participating artists/record labels available on the show’s site at http://www.fortherecordproject.co.uk/ Based on the samples I’ve seen, this is a must-see for fans of classic indie record design.

September 23 –

Today is opening day for the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and, based on the reports I’ve seen on the show, this is a must-see for fans of music-related art and design. A subset of the show that ran recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, this show features over 400 items that help illustrate Mr. Bowie’s impact on popular culture – costumes (Ziggy Stardust, Scary Monsters, etc.), album art, lyric sheets, music videos, stage props, etc.. It is presented in chronological order, allowing fans to view the progression of the man from street mime to accomplished and influential musician, actor and design icon. The show runs through January 4, 2015 – more info and a list of related events is available via the museum’s site – http://www2.mcachicago.org/exhibition/david-bowie-is/
There’s even a show hotline available – 312-397-4068 – if you’d like to hear more via phone….

On a related note – one of the photographers who, from the years 1972 thru 1980, was an important contributor to Bowie’s public image via his shots of the Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Scary Monster, Lodger and “Thin White Duke” personnas the artist adopted – was the late Brian Duffy, and I’m pleased to report that the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery will soon be launching an exhibition/sale of prints of a number of images taken during those five photo sessions. The show, titled Bowie|Duffy: Five Sessions, opens this Saturday, Sept. 27th with a reception at the gallery. A selection of photos from the show – which runs through November 1 – is available for viewing on the gallery’s site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400088

September 22 –

1) Photographer/album cover designer/film-maker Anton Corbijn, best-known to record cover fans for his covers for U2, has been given the “Best International Literary Adaptation” award from the Frankfurt Book Fair for his recent thriller A Most Wanted Man, which was based on a John LeCarre novel of the same name. The film stars, among others, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe and focuses on the many intricacies of “the global war on terror”. It only seems proper that the man that directed the music videos for Depeche Mode’s “Strangelove” and “Barrel of a Gun” should have created such a compelling film – more about this award is available on this announcement on the BookTrade web site – http://www.booktrade.info/index.php/showarticle/55878

2) Saw this item listed in a current Artnet auction and thought you might want to see it as well – Mr. Brainwash – the graffiti artist best-known for the excellent 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary on the world-wide graffiti scene (Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, Banksy, etc.) and his promotion of the art form in the fine art world (as well as the cover for Madonna’s 2009 hit single “Celebration”) – has a work that depicts this week’s birthday boy, Bruce Springsteen, who turns 65, made from broken CDs and vinyl records. Projected to sell in the $25-35K range, the work is one in a series of portraits the French artist has created over the past several years, including ones of Jim Morrison and KISS. To read more about this unique work, head on over to the item’s page on the Artnet site –http://www.artnet.com/auctions/artists/mr-brainwash/bruce-springsteen

Update – bidders in the September 23rd auction for this print did not bid enough to meet the Reserve set for the item, so if you’re interested in this print, you can contact the specialist responsible for the sale of this work – Gracie Mansion – at her office in NYC at (212) 497-9700 Ext. 494 494.

September 19 –

1) The folks at the Grammy organization just released an interview they recorded at the Lollapalooza event in Chicago with graphic artist Shepard Fairey, who was there to curate an art exhibit and talk about his recent “Sound + Vision” collaboration with DJ Z-Trip. During the interview, Fairey – best known for his Andre The Giant and Obama/Hope images, but also a prolific album art designer, having created designs for Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Billy Idol and many others – talks about the sources of his design inspirations, which range from Russian Constructivist/Propaganda posters to the works of Warhol, Rauschenberg, Jamie Reid and Winston Smith (he was also a fan of Hipgnosis/Thorgerson and Stanley Donwood, who has done memorable covers for Radiohead). A thoughtful interview with a very talented screen-print artist – https://www.grammypro.com/professional-development/video/grammy-pro-interview-shepard-fairey

2) This week included the release of a record collection in a very cool package – Def Jam Records’ Def Jam 30 box sets, which are limited-edition/numbered packages – either CD or vinyl – that come in a box that looks remarkably like a turntable/dust cover combination. Designed by a team that includes Darkness Bros. Inc.’s Dawud West (who used to be creative director at the label), Andy Proctor, Sharon Lamb and Tai Linzie, the boxes also include booklets featuring a comprehensive liner notes essay by NYU Prof. Dan Charnas and additional photography and “memorabilia”, along with a limited-edition Def Jam 30 logo t-shirt (along with the music, of course!). More details are available on the DJ site via the link – http://www.defjam.com/dj30-box-set-sept/

September 18 – Two interesting items for lovers of great design –

1) There’s a new book coming out on October 1st that should be of interest to album art fans. Titled Fifty Years of Illustration (published by Lawrence King, UK) and written by two experts in the field – Lawrence Zeegen (Dean of the School of Design at the London College of Communication) and Caroline Roberts (journalist and founder of Grafik magazine) – the book’s focus on contemporary illustration, of course, includes many works by people who’ve created memorable album covers, such as Klaus Voorman (The Beatles’ Revolver), Ian Wright (T.I.’s Paper Trail), David Larkham/Ian Beck (Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), Gerald Scarfe (Pink Floyd’s The Wall), Shepard Fairey (Led Zeppelin’s Mothership) and many others (over 700 illustrations!).

There’s a corresponding exhibition running at the London College of Communication from now thru September 21st as part of the London Design Festival, but if you’d like to learn and see a bit more about the book/show, link on over to this article on The Guardian (UK) web site –http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/sep/15/chewbacca-barack-50-years-illustration

2) Design buffs have always swooned over the work of Porsche’s design team, so this new pop-up display in downtown NYC – done as a “modern record store” featuring custom-designed media players that play music and videos inspired by the automaker’s products, delivered on 12″ platters with stylized record covers. In addition to the unique audio experiences, visitors to the store can slide on a pair of headphone to enjoy themed programs that elicit the excitement of a drive in the big city, racing, or a drive in the country, all while viewing video projected on a shiny (I’m assuming) 911 Carrera 4s Coupe (quite the screen, no?). The display, on W 14th St in the Meatpacking district, runs now through October 5th. Read more – and see a photo gallery – on David Pinter’s article on the PSFK.com web site – http://www.psfk.com/2014/09/porsche-popup-sound-store-nyc.html

September 17 –

1) Fans of album cover art now have a new place to visit when they have a craving to add to their fine art collections. Continuing in his father’s tradition (the family was involved in one of the first record art publishing businesses back in the early 1990s), Theodore S. has launched the Hazyrock.com site, where you’ll find an impressive range of album art prints – many signed by either/both the artist that created the image and/or members of the featured musical act – along with DVDs, CD, concert memorabilia, limited-edition toys and other items any music fan would be happy to receive (with the Holidays not too far off, it is always nice to have your resources lined up for your gift-giving needs). Hope that you’ll take a look and tell your friends (I will add this to the ACHOF list of Buying/Selling Resources today, too.). Of particular note to me was the limited-edition DEVO “Energy Dome Throbblehead” – very cool. http://hazyrock.com/ 

2) Received a note yesterday from a writer who’d posted an article I thought you might be interested in. While not specifically album art-related, as a former gallery owner and art preservationist, I feel that it is my duty to provide collectors with this sort of info – the article gives you an overview of how to best store your vinyl record collections. If you’re like me, you have some/all of your collection in boxes in your basement/attic/self-storage unit and, while that may be (in some cases) better than leaving them on a hot radiator, if you want your collection to remain playable for the foreseeable future, you should heed the info you’ll find on Stephanie Hyland’s posting on the Storage.com site –http://blog.storage.com/storage/store-vinyl-record-collection/

September 16 –

1) While most music art fans are familiar with the photos and illustrations that serve as the basis of their favorite album cover designs, there’s also been a lot of time taken during these projects to consider the logo designs and letter (AKA “typography”) and, in many cases, this work proves to be just as memorable. One recent example can be found in the work of the inter-continental design team (one’s in Norway, while one’s in Minnesota) named Non-Format in a recent design – based on a custom typeface – they did for musician Amy Kohn’s latest release, titled PlexiLusso. Their resulting work seems totally appropriate as packaging for new music by Ms. Kohn, an accordion player whose work spans jazz, avante-garde, pop and classical and who has played with Norah Jones, Phil Collins and Dianne Reeves. More about this can be found in Margaret Rhodes’ article on the Wired Magazine site – http://www.wired.com/2014/09/custom-typeface-isnt-perfectly-legible-thats-point/

2) This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Arcade Fire’s Funeral record and, to mark that milestone, Billboard‘s Chris Payne tracked down the artist who created the memorable cover imagery (along with a mural placed strategically in Brooklyn, NY), the talented Tracy Maurice, to find out more about “the making of” this work. The story is somewhat reminiscent of the early NYC music/art scene, with opportunities for folks floating in the same social circles to work together and, hopefully, share in each others’ successes. To read this interview with the Juno Award-winning designer, just follow the link – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6251421/funeral-arcade-fire-album-art-tracy-maurice-neon-bible-win-butler

September 15

1) Sunday would have been Amy Winehouse’s 31st birthday, so it was nice to see news of the unveiling of a work of art – a bronze statue, created by Scott Eaton – that was commissioned by her father, Mitch, who attended the ceremony held at the Stables Market in London along with other members of her immediate family. The statue shows the late singer in a memorable pose, complete with red rose in her hair and Star of David necklace proudly on display. This tribute joins the growing roster of rock star tributes – Hendrix (Seattle), Freddie Mercury (Switzerland), Phil Lynott (Dublin), Bon Scott (Australia) and many others that continue to draw fans from all over the world. More details in this story by Saba Hamedy on the LA Times web site – http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-amy-winehouse-sculpture-unveiled-20140914-story.html

2) A photo of Bruce Springsteen’s legendary 1974 performance at the Harvard Square Theater in Boston will be auctioned off this month to raise money for the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. The photo is part of an exhibition of photos by Barry Schneier that is currently on display at the University’s Pollack Gallery thru Sept. 30 – details regarding the auction will be announced soon. More info on this show/auction is available via Chris Jordan’s article on the Asbury Press web site at http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/music/2014/09/11/bruce-springsteen-photo-auction-benefits-collection/15487347/

September 12

1) Happy to report on a new album cover history article series – the folks on The Pier web site – “your No. 1 online destination for good times, great music and up to date news from the Reggae-Rock community” – have published the first article in a series titled “Album & Cover Art History” in which they provide some of the details behind the making of some of your favorite record covers. This first episode includes an interesting mix of covers from musical acts including The Clash, No Doubt, Bad Brains and several others. The writers say that it’s their plan on releasing a follow-up article in late October, so why not get started now and let them know if there are any covers you’d like to know more about – http://www.thepier.org/the-pier-album-cover-art-history-vol-1/

2) The records released by one of glam rock’s early pioneers – T. Rex – always featured interesting and memorable album cover art, so fans of the band will be happy to see it preserved and enhanced in the upcoming (Nov. 3, in time for holiday gift-giving) release of a set titled T. Rex: The Vinyl Collection. 2 versions of the 8-record set, which includes LPs beginning with the group’s first post-Tyrannosaurus Rex record (1971’s T. Rex) up through their 1977 Dandy In The Underworld record, released shortly before Marc Bolan’s tragic death by car crash in September of that year.

Box sets on black vinyl will be generally available thru most music retailers, while those looking for something truly unique can buy one of 500 colored vinyl collector’s edition packages directly from the publisher. There will also be a related, 10-CD set titled T. Rex: The Albums Collection released at the same time for those not vinylly-inclined. More details on this are provided in this article on the Vintage Vinyl News site – http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/2014/09/t-rex-first-eight-albums-being.html?m=1

September 11 –

1) Photographer Merri Cyr, well-known for her portraits of luminaries in various aspects of the entertainment business, is perhaps best known for her photos of the late singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley. When Buckley asked her to photograph him and detail his life on tour (as well as shooting the album cover image) – in support of his record titled Grace, she took full advantage of the opportunity, creating a fascinating portfolio of images that are now on display in an exhibition titled “20 Years of Grace” at the Blender Gallery in Sydney, Australia. Many never-before-seen images are included in the show, and Buckley fans can also see more (over 300 more) of Cyr’s intimate photos in her book, A Wished-For Song, Portrait of Jeff Buckley, that’s also available. More on this exhibit, which runs now through September 20th, is included in this recent article by Cindy Tran on the Daily Mail/Australia site at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2743040/He-blew-mind-Photographer-reveals-story-intimate-pictures-Aussie-music-legend-Jeff-Buckley.html

2) Fans of heavy metal music and art can now help fund a project to create a new book dedicated to the display of all that is dark, loud, lurid and fascinating. In support of a new Indiegogo.com project posted by writer and artist Ramon Martos, you can be one of just 300 lucky people who will be able to own a limited-edition, signed book titled …And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers. Having worked several years to secure the rights to the 400+ images that will be included in the finished product, your contributions, according to the author’s pitch, “would make a tremendous difference in the outcome of this project, that—according to Morbid Angel’s front man, David Vincent (who wrote the foreword)—has all the potential to become “a historical document about the importance of Metal album covers.”
Although the campaign has already reached its first goal, there’s still time to secure one of the first run copies, so buzz on over to the project’s page and grab one before they’re gone – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-print-and-justice-for-art

Update – as of October 1, I’m pleased to note that this project has raised over $14,000, well over its $8,310 goal, so supporters will be getting this new book when it is published. With the Indiegogo project still having a month to go, I’m suspecting that there will be a number of other supporters coming, giving the author plenty of resources to create the best version possible of this new book. Congratulations!

September 10 –

1) Not willing to let Nicki Minaj steal all of the limelight with a nearly-naked album cover photo, classic British act Status Quo released a teaser for their soon-to-be-released record (an acoustic set titled Aquostic (Stripped Bare)) that shows two original members of the veteran rock band standing in the nude, with their naughty bits shielded only by strategically-placed guitars. While certainly a bold move by the boogie-woogie band, I don’t think that it will draw the same attention and public outcry as more-recent extremely-revealing covers, as it is doubtful that anyone will be fantasizing about the well-over-60 bodies on display (still quite trim, though). More on this in this article on Ireland’s Independent web site – http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-news/status-quo-get-naked-for-new-album-cover-photographed-by-bryan-adams-30551637.html

September 9 –

1) Artist/Designer David Larkham – best known to ACHOF fans as the talent behind most of Elton John’s album graphics – sent me a link to a video he’s produced showing him in the process of creating one of a series of large-scale painted portraits of the Rolling Stones. The video, which gives us a look into the painstaking detail of David’s depiction of Bill Wyman, is set to the music of Wyman’s 1981 hit single, “(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star”. I am always intrigued by what it takes to make great art, and so I’m glad that David saw fit to give us this insight into his latest project – take a look and share it with your friends –http://youtu.be/ToXYb3MXQYI

2) Writer Joey DeGroot of the MusicTimes site has assembled seven examples of unusual record packages that have been released over the years in an article that is a testament to the creativity – and commitment to album packaging as an art form – that has been on display from time to time over the years. Most I’d seen and admired before – Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, Public Image Ltd’s Metal Box, etc – while I wasn’t aware of some of the more-recent examples shown of packages by The Flaming Lips (limited-edition skulls), Street Dogs (a playable package) and, most-amusingly, the Ultimate Box Set by The Residents, which comes packaged in its own refrigerator (!!) for a princely price. Gotta love ’em – http://www.musictimes.com/articles/9712/20140905/7-artists-who-released-music-in-bizarre-packaging-led-zeppelin-the-flaming-lips-and-more.htm

September 8 –

Back from Alaska and happy to announce that the ACHOF site has been added as a resource (under the heading “Other Resources”) to the National Recording Preservation Board of the U.S. Library of Congress. This list includes links to a number of sites/organizations that are there to help inform anyone interested in both the history of recorded music and in preserving the legacy of the people and places that have contributed to recorded music’s rich history.

I’m very proud to see that album cover imagery has been included as part of this effort and look forward to adding more to it as time goes on. If you’re interested in learning more about the NRPB and see what they have to offer (it’s a treasure-trove of info), please follow the link – http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-OTHERRESOURCES.html

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