Tag Archives: Shepard Fairey

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

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Greetings from Chicagoland. The other night, I went to my first local Grammy chapter event – something dubbed a “member celebration” (due to the fact that there are scores of Grammy nominees living in the area) and held in a ballroom at a local landmark – the Chicago Athletic Club on Michigan Ave. Having moved here from Portland and having participated on occasion in local events sponsored there by the Pacific NW chapter (based in Seattle, about 3 hours away), it was great to see an event so well-attended and easy-to-get-to at the same time. The highlight for me that evening was a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir, a group of young people from all over the city who, when assembled and lead by a talented director, lifted spirits with an impressive set. It would also be inspiring to be able to work with both this and other local professional organizations to promote the talents of people that contribute great designs to the music industry, so wish me luck in my efforts.

This month’s summary, which comes just a couple of weeks before this year’s Grammy Award festivities (and, as you’ll read, just shortly after the announcement of the winners of the “Best Art Vinyl Awards” for this year) will continue to impress you with the displays of creativity put forth by people working for clients in the music business and that the galleries, publishers, curators, etc. who support and promote these works will continue to do what they do and share what they do with the rest of us. There continue to be regular contributions about album cover art/artists in daily the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information you’ll read on a wide range of related topics.

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) Multi-Grammy-Award-winning photographer and Creative Director Hugh Brown, in addition to his impressive portfolio of album cover work created during stints at I.R.S. Records and Rhino Records before setting up his own shop – Hugh Brown Heavy Industries – has also been regularly-featured in museum and gallery shows throughout his career. As an artist “specializing in photography, print making, assemblage, and forgery”, his works include memorable portraits for a number of entertainment industry luminaries including Robert Downey Sr. & Jr., Chris Isaak, Mick Jones, Freddy Mutant, Jonathan Richman, Richard Thompson and Neil Young, among others.

Recently, the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, CA launched a 10-year retrospective show (“Looking Back: 10 Years of Photography from ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY”) featuring all of the photographers who have been on display during the various shows the gallery has staged since 2007 and, I’m excited to report, some of Hugh’s work is included, along with beautiful and impressive works from dozens of other noted shooters (it must be thrilling to have your works featured alongside icons of the photographic arts including Man Ray, Julian Wasser, Dennis Hopper and many others).

The show runs through the 11th of February, with more details available on the gallery’s site at – http://www.robertbermangallery.com/exhibitions/looking-back-10-years-of-photography-from-robert-berman-gallery

b) In advance of a new show launching at the Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles that will highlight the career of the photographer Chris Cuffaro (Chris Cuffaro: GREATEST HITS – 30 Years of Music Photography), the show’s sponsors will be staging a special event on Thursday, February 2, 2017, from 8:30 PM – 11:00 PM PST at the Gibson Brands location at 8801 W. Sunset in West Hollywood, CA (which some of us will remember as the former location of the best-known Tower Records store).

This music photography exhibition, auction and live music experience is being staged to benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that gives help to musicians who need assistance in dealing with many of Life’s struggles.

The fundraising auction will put a collection of stunning images of from Cuffaro’s portfolio of some of the music industry’s best-known acts including Ice Cube, Jane’s Addiction, George Michael, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slash, Gwen Stefani and dozens of other music legends. Cuffaro’s output has included a number of album images for clients including Bad English, Suicidal Tendencies, Megadeth and Burt Bacharach, among others. Music that night will be provided by performers including Givers & Takers, Josh Todd, Lauren Ruth Ward, Particle Kid, The Palms and others soon-to-be announced.

Tickets for this show begin at $30 and are available via the link – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chris-cuffaro-greatest-hits-30-years-of-music-photography-exhibition-auction-tickets-31015079939?

c) Just a reminder to you all regarding the soon-to-close “David Bowie by Duffy” exhibition at the Proud Gallery in London that began this past January 6th and runs thru February 5th. Bowie, who would have turned 70 on January 8th had he not left this mortal coil a year ago, was an often-photographed subject, but only a few photographers have produced images of the ever-changing artist that would be considered “iconic” – one of them being the late Brian Duffy, perhaps best-known for his photos used on the covers of classic Bowie records including Aladdin Sane, Lodger, Scary Monsters and others. According to the Gallery’s PR, the show will be “a celebration of the dynamic relationship between two of the century’s greatest artistic innovators. This exhibition of original prints signed by the late Brian Duffy is a moving insight into the minds of two exceptional creatives in partnership between 1972 – 1980. Duffy’s iconic images emphasize the longevity of Bowie’s distinctive persona and offer a poignant retrospective to one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times…”

https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

Alison Maloney, writing for The Sun, gives us a bit more to read about regarding this show, including a nice selection of images that will be part of what’s on display – https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2525673/unseen-david-bowie-photos-by-iconic-album-cover-photographer-go-on-show-to-mark-the-first-anniversary-of-his-death/

This show coincided with another significant Bowie-related event – a concert that was staged at the O2 Brixton Academy venue on January 8th (as well as other venues around the world, ending February 2nd with a show in Tokyo, Japan0 called “Celebrating David Bowie” and which featured an intro by Bowie chum Gary Oldman and a large cast of Bowie band alumni including Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew and many others in performance.  Highlights from the shows can be seen at http://celebratingdavidbowie.com/

d) 1976 Stillwater High School graduate Daniel Corrigan began his career as a professional photographer when he started taking photos for the Minnesota Daily, delivering photo coverage for the arts and entertainment section, with the famed First Avenue club on his list… He now works in several roles at First Avenue, including as an assistant to the facilities manager and a staff photographer.  You’ll recall that, back in October, I reported on the release of a new book that tapped into his 35+ year archive of great photos taken with music industry notables including Prince, Husker Du, Michael Jackson, U2 and many others. He collaborated with Josh Leventhal at the Minnesota Historical Society Press to produce both the book and the exhibition – Heyday: 35 Years Of Music In Minneapolis – now on display at the Mill City Museum (located at 704 S. Second St. in Minneapolis – http://www.millcitymuseum.org/heyday-exhibit) which includes a curated selection of the over 500 images included in the book, taken over the Corrigan’s career and including album cover shots for acts including Babes In Toyland, The Replacements, The Cows (Cunning Stunts – always loved that title), They Jayhawks and others.

Patty Dexter gives us an overview of the show in her article for the Eden Prairie News http://www.swnewsmedia.com/eden_prairie_news/news/entertainment/exhibit-highlights-minneapolis-music-history-in-photos/article_61b9f44b-87b5-5736-9b56-89790fe78757.html 

Bonus materials – fans of Corrigan’s work will enjoy watching some/all of an 8-part video interview with Daniel that was put together by the Minnesota Historical Society and is available via their Facebook page – begin at the beginning – https://www.facebook.com/minnesotahistoricalsociety/videos/10154570590455600/

e) Prog Rock and Fantasy Art fans on the other side of the globe were in for a treat the weekend that began on Thursday, January 19 when Roger Dean, the artist responsible for many of the best-known logos and album covers for bands such as YES, ASIA, Uriah Heep and Virgin Records, manned a display at the Singapore Contemporary Art Show. On display were over 20 different prints, including fan favorites such as Tales From Topographic Oceans (YES), Magician’s Birthday (Uriah Heep) and the several variations available in his Arches and Dragon’s Garden Over 90 artists and galleries were included in this show and, as a special treat, Roger hosted two demonstrations during which he painted and discussed how he creates his fantasy landscapes. A rare chance to watch and learn from a master!

More on this show and Mr. Dean’s presence there is available via the link – http://www.asiacontemporaryart.com/artists/artist/Roger_Dean/en/

f) Famed rock photographer Ethan Russell brought his travelling multi-media presentation and exhibition – “The Best Seat In The House” – to fans in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on Thursday night, January 26th with a show at The Studio (AKA The Studio at Hamilton Place). A man with a truly impressive resume, having provided us with memorable photos of top music acts including The Beatles (Let It Be and many intimate photos of John and Yoko), the Rolling Stones, The Who (including the iconic “pissing on the wall cover found on Who’s Next), The Doors, Linda Ronstadt and so many more, shares the stories behind the photos, with some 375 of them included in the presentation. Visitors were able to view a number of shots on display before the show and then, after the show, purchase prints to add to their own collections.

The show’s local producers – CORE Entertainment – provide us with an introduction to the man and his work and, via a link on their site, an interview with Russell produced by a local TV station – http://www.coreentertainment.ca/events/detail/ethan-russell

g) Throughout the history of commercial photography, photographers have used contact sheets (you know, those pages of thumbnail-sized prints made from the negatives created during a photo shoot) to be able to review a session’s work (alone, or with their clients) prior to making decisions about which images are going to be used or printed. In addition to their specific business purposes, these sheets are also a way for viewers to get an insight into how photographers strategize, experiment and ultimately select the “perfect” image for a job.

In a new exhibit that ran through January 28th at the Fahey/Klein Gallery on N. LaBrea Ave.  in Los Angeles simply titled CONTACT, organizers selected a series of important photos from the archives of an impressive list of image-makers and have put those prints alongside their contact sheets so viewers were able to get a better understanding of what went in to “the making of” each photo. Album art fans found a lot to look at in this group show, with the works of photographers including Joel Brodsky, Daniel Kramer, Herb Ritts and Norman Seeff putting on display images of illustrious musicians including Joan Baez, The Doors and Carly Simon, among others.

In addition, visitors found contact sheets that included shots taken during Lawrence Schiller’s time on the set with actress Marilyn Monroe and Julian Wasser’s memorable shot of the then-unclothed photographer Eve Babitz (who also has a nice portfolio of album cover shots) playing a game of chess with famed conceptual artist/chess aficionado Marcel Duchamp. According to an article posted recently on the Loeil De La Photographie site – http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/en/2017/01/04/article/159931923/contact-iconic-images-contact-sheets/

Also on display were works by noted photographers including Harry Benson, William Claxton, Arthur Elgort, Robert Jackson, Roxanne Lowit, Christopher Makos,  Steve Schapiro (shots of artist Andy Warhol and his entourage from Warhol’s Factory), Stephen Somerstein, Phil Stern and Bob Willoughby. More photos of the show can be found on the gallery’s site at  – http://www.faheykleingallery.com/photographers/various/installation/contact/contact_in_01.htm

h) There’s a new exhibition of rare psychedelic posters, album art, etc. – a “collection that highlights the ideas and culture of the 60’s and 70’s, which can still be related to today” – that is being hosted by the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery on the campus of the Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC. The show, which is titled “Psychedelic Posters: From The David Poppe Collection” is built around selections made from the personal archives of producer David Poppe, who also hosts a video show called “The Poppe Show”, which takes viewers behind the scenes of film and stage productions.

Local news station WWAY has posted a brief intro to the show on their site – http://www.wwaytv3.com/2017/01/04/rare-psychedelic-posters-on-display-in-new-cfcc-exhibit/ and local fans can learn more about this display, which will be up until February 11th, via the gallery’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/CFCCs-Wilma-W-Daniels-Gallery-304162049742025/

Directions to the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery on the CFCC campus – http://cfcc.edu/danielsgallery/about/

Exhibition update – As it is my goal to be able to provide my readers with the most-complete info available on the items I highlight in this news summary, I felt like I’d let you down a little when I published some basic info on the art show now on display at the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery (on the campus of Cape Fear Community College) in Wilmington, NC that features selections from the private collection of David Poppe (it was all I could find at the time). Since then, I was able to get hold of Mr. Poppe and he sent me a link to a new article in the local pub called Encore Magazine that gives us much more about both Mr. Poppe and his collection. It turns out the David was employed years ago at a place in Tampa, FL called The Losers, a donut shop-turned-rock club that hosted many of the better-known travelling and local acts in the late 1960s-early 1970s (and who featured Lynyrd Skynyrd as their house band). Poppe befriended many of the acts that came to play and, over the years, built up a collection of over 400 rare posters (of which over 130 are on display in this show) crafted by the creme-de-la-creme of psychedelic artists of the era – Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, Joe Petagno and Wes Wilson, among others.

http://www.encorepub.com/vivid-nostalgia-the-poppe-collection-opens-with-rare-poster-art-from-60s-and-70s/

As I reported previously, Psychedelic Posters: From The David Poppe Collection will be up until February 11th, with more info available via the gallery’s Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/CFCCs-Wilma-W-Daniels-Gallery-304162049742025/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) When photographer Mike Searle was a young man back in the late 1970s, he had taken some photos of one of his favorite bands – The Jam – when they performed in concert and stuck them in a drawer, where they remained for many years while he finished his schooling and went on to start his career. Recently, he posted some of them on his blog and while he’s now a publisher of surfing-related books and magazines such as Carve and The Surf Cafe Cookbook, he’s very happy that the nice folks at Universal Music stumbled across his old photos as they then reached out to him to license them for a new Jam album package.

Writing for the Cornwall (UK) Live site, Lee Trewhela recently posted an article that documents this wonderful case of “never too late to be a rock photographer” wish fulfillment –

http://www.cornwalllive.com/cornwall-photographer-sees-dream-come-true-as-his-pictures-of-the-jam-are-used-on-new-album-cover/story-30050520-detail/story.html

b) I’d like to note the passing of a photographer of impeccable – yes, even Royal – credentials. Anthony Armstrong-Jones AKA Lord Snowdon, former husband of the U.K.’s Princess Margaret and a photographer with a portfolio that includes scores of portraits of A-list celebrities from all over the world, including entertainment celebrities such as Cher, Madonna, Prince, Queen (of course) as well as several album cover images for French pop star Serge Gainsbourg and British singer Shirley Bassey, died earlier this month at the age of 86.

Nathalie Atkinson’s article for The Globe and Mail site chronicles the details of a life well-lived – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/lord-snowdon-the-photographer-as-famous-as-hissubjects/article33623114/ and, to read something on a more-personal relationship between Snowdon and one of his appreciative subjects – Queen guitarist Brian May – Dave Lifton’s article on the Ultimate Classic Rock site – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/brian-may-queen-greatest-hits-lord-snowdon/ finds May retelling the story of the making of the album cover for the band’s best-selling records – their 1981 Greatest Hits release – which, in the end and because of Snowdon’s deft touch, produced a photo of the band “with all of us looking quite decent”.

c) Alternative Press video interview with Mike Cortada – APTV’s Orlando-based correspondent Tori Kravitz recently posted a video interview with designer Mike Cortada, principal of MCHC Design (http://www.mikechardcore.com/) and a much-requested artist with a number of clients in the hardcore metal music scene. Recent clients include musical acts such as A Day To Remember, Pierce The Veil, Misfits, Wonder Years and Fall Out Boy, as well as many companies looking for leading edge illustration talent for their logos and advertising imagery. When you look at the designer’s portfolio, you’ll find a wide variety of styles and techniques used, so it’s nice to be able to hear more about Mike’s inspirations and how he goes about collaborating with this clients – http://www.altpress.com/aptv/video/mike_cortada_talks_designing_the_scenes_biggest_album_covers

One suggestion from an old-time video producer to the APTV team – please do something to better-mic your reporters and your interviewees. A couple of lavaliere mics will go far in reducing the echo… 😉

d) Continuing on with coverage of the first anniversary of art/music/fashion trend-setter David Bowie’s death last year at the age of 69, ArtDaily writer Shaun Tandon recently posted an interview with award-winning sax player Donny McCaslin regarding his collaboration with Bowie on what would turn out to be his final album, Blackstar. While their friendship and musical partnership lasted less than a year, the impact has been profound on the experimental musician, who went on to include an unused song from the Blackstar sessions on his own recent release titled Beyond Now. http://artdaily.com/news/92822/Year-on–Bowie-remembered-as-engaging-until-end .

One final note on the topic – I think that you’ll enjoy Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s recent article for Creative Review regarding Grammy-nominated designer Jonathan Barnbrook’s “easter eggs” for the Blackstar album – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/secrets-of-david-bowie-blackstar/  Daniel shares that he’d bought the record when it was released a year ago and put it away, seal un-broken, music un-listened to, until opening it for this article, and what he discovered (beyond the music) serves as a nice analog to most art-lovers’ thoughts about Bowie’s more-than-skin-deep contributions to the art world throughout his career.

e) Owatonna, Minnesota is quite proud of the recent achievements of one of its graduates – artist/art director Eric Carlson – as is evidenced in this article by Ryan Anderson on the local Owatonna People’s Press site – http://www.southernminn.com/owatonna_peoples_press/arts_and_entertainment/article_5d0aff7d-c52c-5412-97dd-e27ca3afb718.html – regarding Carlson’s Grammy nomination for “Best Album Package” for the work he produced for Bon Iver’s latest record, titled 22, A Million.

Carlson continued his education in Minnesota, attending art school in Minneapolis and integrating himself in the local art/music scene (he’s also a working musician) before leaving five years ago to seek new opportunities in The Big Apple, where he lives and works currently. A mutual friend introduced Carlson to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and the two had discussed working together some day, but it wasn’t until the 22, A Million project presented itself that they were able to collaborate on what would become a Grammy-nominated cover project.

You can read more about Eric and the story of his life – from a family that promoted creativity through his schooling and earlier accomplishments to his more-recent successes (including comments from his mother Catherine!) via the link.

f) The things that news reporters have to put up with sometimes…having done hundreds of interviews myself, I know that sometimes a subject doesn’t have a lot to say or, for whatever reason, isn’t pleased with being asked about this or that. While I know that, throughout the course of an artist’s career, he or she may be asked the same questions over and over again – particularly, when they’ve created an image that’s become quite famous – I’d hope that, after a while, a subject would realize that newer generations might want to gain a better understanding about his/her work and, once they’ve granted permission for an interview, would be able to deliver replies that serve to enlighten and/or entertain.

Noted photographer David Bailey, now in his late 70s, has lived a life that includes details that could only come via an association with the biggest names in the entertainment business – he’s dated top fashion models; Mick Jagger served as his best man at his wedding to French movie star Catherine Deneuve, etc. – but as you’ll see when you read through Elizabeth Howcroft’s recent interview article posted on the Varsity (U.K.) web site, the shooter best-known to album art fans for the pictures he took that were used on the covers of records including Goats Head Soup and Get Yer Ya-Yas Out for the Stones, The Way We Were for Barbra Streisand and others for Cat Stevens, Procol Harum, Marianne Faithful and others seems rather two-faced in his answers regarding the value of his work by first saying “I don’t like photography. I’m not interested…anyone can be a fucking photographer!” and then following up with a statement where he agrees with Leonardo Da Vinci’s statement noting the artistry in painting and extends it to photography (…is photography art? Of course it’s fucking art”).

Whatever you take away from this interview (personally, I was happy to see that the reporter came through the effort relatively unscathed), you will certainly find it an intriguing look into the psyche of someone who has experienced and then processed a life quite apart from what most mere mortals are exposed to. https://www.varsity.co.uk/culture/11647

g) A 2X Grammy nominee for “Best Album Package”, photographer Elliot Gilbert shares his insights about his efforts that have resulted in scores of images that have graced a number of your favorite records in this recently-posted interview conducted by Loring Kemp for her Cover Our Tracks site – http://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2017/01/09/Elliot-Gilbert-on-his-work-with-The-Cars-Tom-Waits-Van-Halen-and-The-Motels

During this in-depth discussion, Gilbert talks about his first forays into the world of commercial photography (he was such a fan of those shooting for the ad industry that he spent untold sums of money on magazines each month just to be inspired by their work) and, with great detail, his efforts in creating the memorable cover and package images for records including The Cars’ 1978 debut record (w/famed CBS Art Director Ron Coro), Van Halen and Van Halen II, The Motels, Look Out For #1 for the Brothers Johnson  and Tom Waits’ 1978 release Blue Valentine, which also featured then-girlfriend Rickie Lee Jones on the back cover.

As always, Loring does a great job in pulling out the most-interesting details from her subjects, so enjoy the interview – you’re sure to learn something new.

h) There will be a new show staged soon – tentatively titled “Trevor Key’s Top 40” and organized as part of the Hull City of Culture celebrations – that will be based on selections made from the archives of the late designer Trevor Key by designer Scott King and stylist Lesley Dilcock (along with photographer Toby McFarlan Pond, who had served as Key’s assistant). I first read details about this show on work of the talented Mr. Key (who died in 1994 from a brain tumor) in an article written by Patrick Burgoyne for the Creative Review site that also features quotes from designers and former Key collaborators and fellow artists including Peter Saville, Brian Cook and Wolfgang Tillmans.

https://www.creativereview.co.uk/trevor-key-archive/

You’ll also be able to watch a short video of their exploration through the late Key’s archives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37pgycx6hiw   during which King and Pond discuss Key’s influence on their respective careers and the unearthing of some of the production elements used to create one of Key’s best-known works – the cover for Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells LP. Further digging finds other one-of-a-kind items used to create a number of other iconic images from his catalog of cover work for clients including the Sex Pistols (for which his design goal for a record released after the band’s break-up was to discourage sales – very punk, no?) and New Order. One written design brief they uncovered talks about Key (working with designer Jamie Reid) hoping to come up with a design template incorporating a swastika that would be used on as many music products as possible in order to illustrate “the oppressive nature of the music industry” (again, as punk as can be).

Show info – https://www.hull2017.co.uk/whatson/events/trevor-keys-top-40/  We’ll share more info on the dates/locations of this show once it becomes available…

i) In a recent article on the Artsy.com web site by Nora Landes titled “These Photographers Captured Blondie, Joan Jett, and the Women of Punk”, the author assembles samples of the works of several photographers who “saw it all” as they worked to show that “punk rock had a look. In the punk scene of the 1970s and ’80s, both onstage and off, style was just as important as which bands you went to see. Attitude was the greatest accessory. Amid the sea of leather jackets and tight pants, the punk aesthetic was captured by daring photographers along for the ride.”

Featured in this collection are details and sample images from photographers including Brad Elterman (Joan Jett & The Blackhawks), Ray Stevenson (Souxsie & The Banshees), Chris Stein (Debbie Harry & Blondie) and Jim Jocoy (Exene Cervenka from X), who each documented the similarities and unique aspects of the styles and attitudes on display in the punk scenes in the U.S. and the U.K..The original “nasty women”, perhaps?

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-these-photographers-captured-blondie-joan-jett-women-punk

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Just received an email from the team at Backstage Auctions regarding their efforts to kick off the new year with a sale of merchandise left unsold from recent auctions and, looking over the listings, I’ve found a number of album art-related items that the collectors in the audience might want to take a look at, including a) several production proof prints of artist Mark Ryden’s fantastic album art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 hit record Dangerous; b) a set of production proof prints for the LP, CD and cassette versions of Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, featuring the multi-bedded cover art created by Storm Thorgerson and Colin Elgie; c) a collection of various LP cover proofs for Bruce Springsteen records including Born In The USA and Tunnel of Love and other original art pieces featuring works for musical acts including Aerosmith, Metallica, Van Halen and others. You can find out more about these and the many other items available via the link at http://www.backstageauctions.com/catalog/original-artwork/st/0/32/

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) The folks at the U.K.’s Flood Gallery have just announced that they’re taking pre-orders on a new book that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles album with what has become one of the most-praised (and copied/recreated/spoofed) cover images of all time – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The 176 page hardback book, titled Sgt. Pepper At Fifty, was authored by Bill DeMain, Gillian Garr and a man responsible for another one of rock music’s best-known covers – Mike McInnerney, creator of the gatefold cover for The Who’s Tommy – presents Peter Blake and Jann Haworth’s mind-bending collage by looking at several aspects of the image’s creation and ongoing legacy in the worlds of music and Pop Culture.

Scheduled for release on the 15th of May this year, fans can reserve their own copies on the Flood Gallery site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/products/the-beatles-sgt-pepper-at-fifty?variant=37416861959 and for another example of the impact that image continues to have on the world of design, I’d invite you to read about Sir Peter Blake’s latest iteration in the article found below in Section 5.

b) Writing for the Hyperallergic site, reporter Megan N. Liberty takes us on a deep dive of a book built around the travelling Total Records album art show (currently on display through April 23rd in Berlin, Germany at the C/O Gallery there) – http://hyperallergic.com/347107/a-spin-through-the-history-of-photographic-album-covers/

The book, edited by Antoine de Beaupré and published recently by Aperture, is one I’ve been eager to see as I’m told that it promotes what we’ve been saying here at the ACHOF all along – i.e., that the works created to illustrate and promote record packages should be treated with the same respect and deference as all works of fine art due to the way that they combine (at least, the good ones do) the best aspects of the fields of design, photography, historical writing and impact marketing. And while she states that “the record is an obsolete medium” (when, in fact, the sales of vinyl continue to grow impressively each year), she goes on to say that, in today’s image-happy environment, where everyone is carrying and using a camera, a well-crafted image can still take your breath away…

The Total Records album art exhibition – featuring 500+ of the most-impactful record covers produced over the past 50+ years – continues on in Berlin, with more info available to fans via the gallery’s site (in English) at http://www.co-berlin.org/en/total-records

c) When, at the age of 35, you’ve already amassed a portfolio of work that is so impressive that it can serve as the basis of an art book, you know that you’re working at a level a notch or two higher than your peers. Now that publisher Floating World Comics has published a new book based on the career (thus far) of Lexington, KY-based artist/designer Robert Beatty, whose imaginative digital artwork for clients in the music business and publishing world including Tame Impala, Neon Indian, Real Estate, the New York Times and The Wire has both amazed fans and left many of them asking “just how did he do that” (to which he has, in some cases, provide them with tutorials on how to manipulate images in Photoshop in order to achieve something similar in their own work)?

Titled Floodgate Companion, the 112-page book shows us many more examples of his creative output and gives us some of the stories behind these efforts. In a recently-published overview of this new publication, The Washington Post’s Aaron Leitko, you’ll see several examples of Beatty’s mind-boggling work, including the cover for Oczy Mlody, the most-recent release by psychedelic rockers The Flaming Lips, whose frontman Wayne Coyne had discovered Robert’s work on Instagram and just had to have it for his own (little did he know that Beatty had already done scores of record covers!).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/all-of-the-best-new-psychedelic-album-covers-are-made-by-the-same-guy/2017/01/19/fa489522-d76d-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?

To take a look behind the scenes at Beatty at work in his favorite place (at home in Kentucky), you can watch this “Pitchfork Unsung” video from Octorber, 2015 – http://pitchfork.com/tv/50-pitchfork-unsung/1562-pitchfork-presents-unsung-robert-beatty/

d) The prolific album cover art book author/editor Julius Wiedermann of the Taschen publishing house has recently announced the details of a new book coming out next month titled Art Record Covers that, according to the press announcement, “showcases an alphabetized collection of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today. Highlighting the relationship between image-making and music production, the anthology presents 500 covers and records by visual artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha and many more.”

The new book was assembled by “contemporary art and visual culture historian, writer and artist” Francesco Spampinato who, in addition to be an art professor at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, has authored two other recent books on design, including 2015’s Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists, published in 2015 by Onomatopee (Eindhoven, NL).

While I’m working to get a more-detailed look at the book and its contents put together for you soon (Julius has been kind enough to work with me on a special feature for the ACHOF that you’ll see soon), I’d invite you to read reporter Rebecca Fullylove’s recently-posted article on the It’s Nice That site for a bit of a preview on what should be a thoroughly-comprehensive (at 448 pages!) look at, as the publisher puts it,  explores how modernism, pop art, conceptual art, postmodernism and contemporary art have all informed the art of album visuals over the years.”  http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/taschen-art-record-covers-040117?

Pre-orders are now being solicited on the Taschen site – https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/music/all/03430/facts.art_record_covers.htm

e) When Arthur Kanofsky was young, he was fascinated with fairy tales, fantasy illustrations and, as a Boy Scout in his Bronx troupe, reptiles (earning himself a Reptile Study merit badge!). Hoping to become a world-famous artist when he grew up, he took the first step in preparation for this career when he enrolled in NY’s Cooper Union College but, a year into his studies, he was drafted into the Army, bringing his talents to a special unit  – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops AKA “The Ghost Army”. These artistically-trained troops were sent in to areas where they created the illusion of the presence of actual Army units, fooling the enemy into thinking that they were out-manned/gunned via inflatable tanks, artillery, sound effects and dummy battalions. After his deployment, he returned to the U.S. and worked briefly in the theater before returning to his studies in art, design and photography at Cooper Union and graduating with honors in 1950. With his experience and impressive talents clear to prospective employers, Arthur (now Kane) accepted a position as the art director for Seventeen Magazine becoming, at age 26, one of the youngest holding this position at a major publication.

With his highly-unique talents and experiences combining to give Kane exceptional conceptual/compositional skill set, Kane became a must-have photographer for all of the best-known photo journals and magazines of his time, with his works appearing in the U.S. in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Look, McCall’s and others and overseas in the Italian versions of Bazaar and Vogue, Amica, Stern, German Vogue and Zeit. His subjects included celebrities in the fields of music (Bob Dylan, Cream, Aretha Franklin, Jefferson Airplane, Jim Morrison, Sonny & Cher, The Who and Frank Zappa), art (Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and Cy Twombly) and photo illustrations for a wide range of subjects, from the concentration of talent in Harlem, NY illustrated in his famous 1958 portrait titled Jazz to the struggle for civil rights down South as well as the plight of wounded war vets and many other aspects of the politics and cultural changes that were taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.

Austin, TX-based Modern Rocks gallery has just released a new collection of Art Kane photos for sale to collectors, with some of your favorite album cover images (such as those for The Who’s The Kids Are Alright and Jim Morrison’s An American Prayer) included in the mix. Although Kane died in 1995, his son Jonathan has made sure that his legacy lives on via the careful curation of his father’s archive and the release of limited edition, fully-authenticated prints of these beautiful photographs.

http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/art-kane-photographer

5) Other articles of interest –

a) “Those were the days, my friend” – ah, yes, remember when those with all of the money and power and connections all worked together to create something new and exciting for the buying public? Back in April of 1969, when the Rolling Stones were beginning to organize the team that would work on the record that would ultimately become their April, 1971 release Sticky Fingers – the one that would incorporate the first use of the “Lips & Tongue” logo that would become their core graphical element for years to come – Mick Jagger sent artist Andy Warhol a note that established the terms of the relationship that would produce what would become one of the best-known album cover images of all time.

As you’ll read when you click on over to writer Nathan Giannini’s recent article for the Yahoo! Music site, Jagger gave Warhol (who’d later do a pair of very Warhol-like cover images for the band’s Love You Live LP and a later solo record for the singer as well), Jagger basically told Warhol that he could do whatever he pleased and charge whatever he wanted just as long as he remembered that anything “more complex than just pages or fold-out” would most-probably be delayed in production. As we all know by now, Warhol responded by producing a design incorporating multiple layers, a die cut cover and a zipper that could damage nearby packages, sending sleeve design/manufacturing company head Craig Braun and his team (hey, Ernie!) into a scramble to build a package that would work better (these travails have been retold in several sometimes-conflicting interviews with the parties involved, including one I did several years ago – http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/07/uncovered-interview-part-2-rolling-stones-lips-logo-by-ernie-cefalu.html

Let’s not even get started on who in fact was the actual model used in the final photo…

https://www.yahoo.com/music/mick-jagger-letter-to-andy-warhol-sticky-fingers-album-153922769.html

Bonus content – Exhibition producer Raj Prem has put together a new display of rarely-seen photos of the Rolling Stones taken by photographer Peter Webb during his 1971 shoot for the band’s Sticky Fingers release. “Lost” (i.e., buried during a move) for 40 years and then re-discovered, this presentation – Sticky Fingers: The Lost Sessions – Photographs by Peter Webb can be viewed on (and prints purchased from) the San Francisco Art Exchange’s web site at http://www.sfae.com/index.php?pg=400120

b) Not long ago, I reported on a series of stamps issued by the Isle of Man Post Office built around the album cover images of artist Roger Dean (which will soon also be the subject of an interview I’ll publish with one of the stamp series’ creators), showing off another example of an enlightened government agency paying tribute to the talents of one of its better-known citizens. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the death of David Bowie, I’d like to share some information (in the form of two articles) about an upcoming collection of stamps that will be released in mid-March by the U.K.’s Royal Mail that commemorate both the musician and his deep catalog of artistically-created album cover images.

With record covers such as those created for Aladdin Sane, Hunk Dory, Heroes and, most-recently, Blackstar serving to mark milestones along the timeline of the always-changing artist’s career trajectory, the postal service will be producing a set of 10 stamps that include those covers (and others) as well as several photos taken during the Ziggy Stardust and Serious Moonlight tours. Reporting for Linn’s Stamp News, writer Denise McCarty gives us an intro to the series from a philatelist’s viewpoint (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence!) – http://www.linns.com/news/world-stamps-postal-history/2017/january/david-bowie-royal-mail-commemorative-stamp-set.html#

while over on the Artnet.com site (https://news.artnet.com/art-world/david-bowie-stamps-royal-mail-831404?), Brian Boucher notes that while several other bands have been honored with U.K. postage stamps (the latest being Pink Floyd), this is the first time that a solo act has been so honored.

Alongside the standard-issue collector’s packages, this issue will feature several limited edition David Bowie souvenirs, including a special “David Bowie Album Art Fan Sheet” – a 24-image sheet that, in addition to the six covers included in the new stamp series, adds 18 others, from his earliest records to his last (in an edition of 10,000 sheets) and a framed, limited-edition (950 numbered copies) giclee print of the Heroes album cover with a post-marked stamp set into the mat. Pre-orders are being taken now on the Royal Mail site. More details can be found at http://www.royalmail.com/davidbowiestamps?iid=PEVU_MGProjectDJ_DD_05

c) An upscale London hotel – the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, a place that has played host to hundreds of celebrities, recently hired collage artist Sir Peter Blake to create a Sgt. Pepper’s-inspired collage to cover its façade while going through a major renovation. Using the hotel chain’s fan-shaped logo as a design cue, Sir Peter created a new collage – titled “Our Fans” and captioned with a sign reading “Still Open To All Our Fans” – using the images of 99 of the chain’s better-known past guests, including actors Morgan Freeman, Sigourney Weaver, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren, musicians including Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (only seems fitting) and many other notables from the fields of fashion, food, design and more. Standing next to Mr. Freeman (and two down from Dame Edna) is Sir Peter himself – very Hitchcockian, I must say.

According to reporting done for the ArtDaily.com site – http://artdaily.com/news/93235/Sir-Peter-Blake-creates-bespoke-collage-for-Mandarin-Oriental-Hyde-Park – the artist noted that, while similar in style to his best-known album cover, “this artwork was very different to my usual way of working”, he said. “A collage is very time consuming and laborious, but this was more a matter of arranging the figures and making them work together – making sure no one had a cut-off shoulder or missing legs – that’s the skill of it. It was an amazing project to work on. Hopefully, people passing by will try to spot celebrities they recognize,” he added.

Still active at 83, Sir Peter is currently developing several new projects, including his contributions to a series of murals that will be installed outside the Turnham Green tube station in West London that celebrate the performers who appeared in the 1950s at the nearby (and now-demolished) Chiswick Empire Theatre.

d) Most record art fans know that many of their favorite cover photos were taken in real-life locations, and some of them (think the crosswalk in front of Abbey Road/EMI Studios in London) have become tourist magnets. In Bill Wiatrak’s article for Houstonia Magazine, you’ll find a list of album cover spots slightly less-travelled, such as the rocks that make up Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, where the Hipgnosis team let loose a troop of naked toddlers for the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy. Any true cover fan with a lot of time/inspiration/money will want to use this list as a reference for a whirlwind tour of well-known cover spots – https://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2016/12/20/10-places-to-recreate-your-favorite-rock-n-roll-album-covers

Of course, if you do go ahead and take this tour, please let me know as I’d love to interview you for our site….

e) Photographer Nick Knight is well-known to album cover fans for a career of well-known cover shots for top musical acts including Bjork, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Lady Gaga and many others. He’s also a go-to shooter for celebrity portraits, with one of his better-known subjects being England’s Royal Family. In this recent posting in The Guardian (U.K.), you’ll now have a chance to see some previously unreleased shots taken from a portrait session with Queen Elizabeth II and her son (the other Prince, but not nearly as talented) which were originally commissioned by Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Q’s 90th year – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/18/queens-90th-birthday-marked-by-fashion-and-rock-photographer

At least this Queen and Prince are still alive and in original form…

f) Throughout history, album covers and album cover artists have often times expressed the political views of either/both the artists and their music industry clientele. Artists such as Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols) and Kosh (John Lennon/Yoko Ono’s “War Is Over”) have created iconic anti-establishment images and, in light of today’s somewhat-controversial inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, artist Shepard Fairey, who produced the renowned “Hope” poster for Barak Obama’s campaign as well as album covers for Led Zeppelin, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty and others, has created (along with several others) a series of protest posters that look to convey messages of strength, dignity and equal rights for all.

The “We The People” series – done in Fairey’s trademark style – was commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation and funded by a wildly-successful Kickstarter campaign. The posters feature images of some of the minorities – Muslims, Hipsanics, Native Americans, etc. – who were on the receiving end of some of Mr. Trumps campaign rhetoric and include tag lines such as “We The People – Are Greater Than Fear” and “We The People – Defend Dignity”. The images were inserted as full-page advertisements in local Washington, D.C. publications so that people either attending or protesting near the inauguration ceremonies were able to display them at will (protesters carrying traditional picket signs were banned from the area).

You can also download the posters from the organization’s web site (http://theamplifierfoundation.org/wtp_wmw_highresart/) and use them however you see fit. Amah-Rose Abrams just posted an article on the Artnet.com site with more details on the project – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/shepard-fairey-releases-we-the-people-series-824468?

This effort answers one of the questions I always pose to artists during my interviews with them – “Does art reflect or influence what’s current in Popular Culture?” In this case, a little of both…

g) While the customization tools made available to potential customers on the sites of many companies that offer made-to-order products were created to promote and simplify the process of buying these products, there are many examples of creative types using these tools to both practice and promote their skills to a broad audience. One recent example can be found on the Instagram site of a Bristol, UK-based designer/shoe fan Sam Brandt, where you’ll find images of the designs he created on the Nike site that show his deep appreciation of the color schemes and tag lines found on a number of well-known rap/hip-hop records.

When you visit the site at https://www.instagram.com/hoekon/  you’ll find shoes that will certainly kick off conversations with fans of acts like MF Doom, J Dilla, Dr. Dre (gotta love the “Deeez Nuuts” text on the cuffs), Ghostface Killah and many others. Not sure if I’m ready to replace by Black Sabbath-themed Chuck Taylors but, if I was, I’d like to think I’d find some inspiration in Sam’s work.

h) Forward-thinking multi-media publishers are continuing to show us their ongoing attempts to give consumers products that put their best creative ideas front and center. Such is the case with the U.K.-based publisher Four Corners Books, who teamed with art director John Morgan (of John Morgan Studio) and tattoo artist/illustrator Liam Sparkes to come up with the impressive packaging for a record of music to accompany their latest release – a new version of the classic Jules Verne tale 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. The music is by Jonny Trunk of Trunk Records, with the project allowing the composer to create soundscapes for ” the only book I could think of that would allow me to make some underwatery music” and create an album cover with just the right matching sailory imagery.

Creative Boom’s Laura Collinson communicated with members of the team that put together this inspired package, available via the link at – http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/20000-leagues-under-the-sea-beautifully-illustrated-record-sleeve-inspired-by-the-creatures-of-the-deep/

i) With sponsorship and merchandising having such important roles in the money-making aspects of a musical act’s career these days, if you’re a lesser-known act, you focus on t-shirts and custom-branded jump drives with MP3 files on them, whereas if you’re Roger Daltry, lead singer for The Who, you team up with British motorcar maker Rolls-Royce to come up with band music and image-inspired design motifs for hand built automobiles(!!)

According to this recent article posted on the News18.com site (CNN‘s partner in India), “the collaboration is the first of nine ‘duets’ that Rolls-Royce is planning with legendary British music stars (created under the name “Inspired By Music”, a project that launched in 2015( that it hopes will be music to collectors’ ears.” Of course, Daltry is undertaking the two design projects (the second, working in conjunction with artist Mike McInnerney, best-known for his mystical cover art for The Who’s rock opera Tommy) on behalf of his much-loved charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust, who’ll be the recipient of a percentage of the sales from these two very unique and collectable cars.

Very eager to see a customized Rolls-Royce Wraith (which are priced beginning at a tad over $350,000) with a bulls-eye on it. Hope it doesn’t end up being a target ;-(

http://www.news18.com/news/auto/rolls-royce-wraith-to-rock-and-roll-with-roger-daltrey-1324939.html

The complete press release from Rolls-Royce on this project is available via the large and exquisitely detailed link at https://www.press.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/rolls-royce-motor-cars-pressclub/article/detail/T0266692EN/rolls-royce-and-roger-daltrey-celebrate-the-who’s-legacy-in-support-of-the-teenage-cancer-trust?language=en

Special announcement –

On January 5th, at the Hari Hotel in London, the “Best Art Vinyl 2016” Award Winners were announced. The results were based on the work of a nomination panel of 10 art and design experts, as well as the thousands of votes cast by music fans worldwide, and the winners were selected from the 50 record covers nominated late last year.

Top prize goes to Matthew Cooper for his work on Everything You’ve Come To Expect for the Last Shadow Puppets. Second prize was awarded to Jonathan Barnbrook for his package for the final David Bowie album Blackstar, while Jonathan Zawada received the third-most votes for his work on the Mark Pritchard album Under the Sun. The full list of the 50 nominated designs, along with details on the previous winners, is available for your review on the Best Art Vinyl site at http://www.artvinyl.com .

A window display of the nominated and winning art will be up at the Hari Hotel until the end of March, 2017.

Writer Miriam Harris has posted an article with details on the event on the Digital Arts Online site – http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/illustration/best-album-art-2016-see-winners-of-best-art-vinyl-awards/

Congratulations to the winners – your work continues to inspire and impress us all!

Just a reminder – the Grammy Awards for “Best Recording Package” will be handed out at a special pre-telecast ceremony – called the “Premiere Ceremony” – at 3:30PM EST on the 12th of February, with the winner for this (and the other packaging Grammy Awards) reported here ASAP they’re announced. To remind you of the nominated art directors in the category this year, here are the details –

  • Ciarra Pardo & Rihanna for Anti (Deluxe Edition), performed by Rihanna
  • Jonathan Barnbrook for Blackstar, performed by David Bowie
  • Andrew Savage for Human Performance, performed by Parquet Courts
  • Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds for Sunset Motel, performed by Reckless Kelly
  • Eric Timothy Carlson for 22, A Million, performed by Bon Iver

Album Cover Hall of Fame All Points Bulletin –

Greetings to you all. Earlier this month, I received a request from photographer Brian Griffin for help in locating a copy of a record that he shot the cover for and, as I know that many of you have impressive collections going back many years, I thought that I’d ask you all for your help in this effort.

The record was a 1978 release by Peter Hamill titled “If I Could“. The particular image Brian’s looking for was used on a Canadian release on the Charisma Label (1211-200) – design was by the late, great Barney Bubbles and the photo, of course, was by Mr. Griffin.

He’s looking to either get a 300DPI scan of the cover or, if need be, find a copy of the record so that he can get the cover scanned himself.

If you can help in any way, please contact me either via Facebook or via email at curator@albumcoverhalloffame.com

Here’s a link to the item on the Discogs.com site – https://www.discogs.com/Peter-Hammill-If-I-Could/release/3837669

Thanks to you all for your help – let the hunt commence!

R.I.P. John Wetton – “One thing is sure…that time will tell” that you gave us all a lot of pleasure.

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

Album Cover News 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:

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Album Cover News Recap – January, 2015

Album Cover News Recap – January, 2015

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Pelletier, for Alter Ego by Le Paysagiste;

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

Guy Dutrisac for Perles et paraboles by YAO;

Marc Girouard for Papillon by Gabrielle Goulet, and

Christian Pelletier for Silence Radio by En bref

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to new additions as they’re released.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations to the winners!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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