Tag Archives: Simon Robinson

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For December, 2017/January, 2018

ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER, 2017, WITH PREVIEWS FOR JANUARY, 2018.

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Wow – what a year. Who’d have thought that a guy my age could be so distracted by so many things on a day-to-day basis (world events, U.S. politics, the care and feeding of an elderly relative, etc.) and that those distractions would have postponed my ACHOF book project to the degree they have. I’m not trying to make excuses – I’ve also been guilty of a bit of laziness on nice days here in Chicagoland, where taking a nice long walk, stopping for a coffee or sitting in the gardens at the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette (just beautiful) proved to have a much stronger pull on me than staring at a computer screen all day – but I am resolving to get my Kickstarter project launching in the next month or so, and so I appreciate all of the patience that both my readers and those who’ve contributed to the book have shown while I work to put this together. In the meantime, I eagerly hope that we can all return someday to a time and place where compassion, kindness and respect for both the truth and our fellow human beings means more that counting “wins” and “losses” and seeing who has amassed more stuff, and so here’s wishing you all a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year 2018.

As we now enter the final weekend of 2017, I’d like to present to you (“and I thought that it wasn’t supposed to be about the presents…”) this month’s album cover artist news summary, one I think you’ll want to spend a few minutes perusing during your long Holiday weekend. The month of December was another busy one for news on this topic, delivering stockings full of articles I know you’ll want to read, unboxing new details about those actively producing impressive album cover art and packaging. In the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll learn more about the latest efforts – as found in exhibitions, via new books and products and featured in interviews in profiles and other related reporting – of some of the most-talented album cover art creators and promoters that I’ve found in my reviews of stories from sources (including me!) around the globe.

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

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

a) Just a reminder – There’s still time to see the show and vote for your favorite covers of the past year at the BEST ART VINYL: 12 YEARS ON 12 INCHES show currently on display (until January 20th) at the gallery at the Barnsley Civic (Barnsley, UK). The centerpiece of this display are the 50 nominated album covers for this annual award, with this year’s fifty nominated albums including releases from Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, Katy Perry, Lorde, Father John Misty,Squeeze and many others, along with examples from two local artists that were included in the list of 50 finalists: Kate Rusby, with her first-ever release on vinyl (design by Mat Lazenby, with a painting by David Baumforth) and Hannah Peel, whose album Mary Casio was recorded with a brass orchestra and whose record cover was designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, famous for his work on Blackstar, David Bowie’s final album.

The Gallery’s open from Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-5pm, and admission is free. For more information, please visit http://www.barnsleycivic.co.uk

b) And, as if by magic, designer/publisher/blogger Simon Robinson just published an article about his recent visit to the album cover art exhibition currently on display at The Civic Gallery in Barnsley, U.K. that I’d reported on in my most-recent news summary, so it is with Simon’s help that those of us not in the neighborhood can take a “virtual tour” through this display, done as part of the promotional effort for the Best Art Vinyl Awards competition now in full swing. I’d been in contact with the show’s curator, Jason White, with the hopes of bringing you a “walk-thru” of the display area, but now that Simon’s beat me to the punch, it’s only fair to point you to his site – https://st33.wordpress.com/ – where you can read his educated opinions about the entirety of the collection on display, which includes not only this year’s nominated covers but “best of” selections from the previous 11 years’ entries as well.

Thanks, Simon!

c) Curator/Author and die-hard record collector Antoine de Beaupre is bringing a selection from his epic Total Records album art show to San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery in a new show called Art & Vinyl: Artists & the Record Album from Picasso to the Present which opens on the 4th of January (2018) and runs through the third of March. On Thursday, January 4th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm PST, the gallery will be hosting an opening reception for this new show. Featuring examples of album art produced since the 1940s, the exhibit will treat visitors to (according to the gallery’s PR) “a staggering array of conceptual strategies, and sketch an idiosyncratic history of art from the mid-20th century to the present.”

Included in the show are works by artists including Josef Albers, Tauba Auerbach, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joseph Beuys, Sophie Calle, Jean Dubuffet, Marlene Dumas, Richard Hamilton, Yves Klein, Barbara Kruger, Sol LeWitt, Christian Marclay, Chris Ofili, Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol, among others (quite the cast, no?). Fans will be able to relive their visit with the help of a 464-page hardcover catalogue, available at the gallery or on its website (http://www.fraenkelgallery.com), and distributed internationally by D.A.P.

I’m hoping to get more information about this show and what’s on display to you soon but, in the meantime, I’d invite you to visit the gallery’s site at https://fraenkelgallery.com/exhibitions/art-vinyl for further details.

d) The show I just described in the previous item is a curated subset of the Total Records show, one that I’ve shared some details on with you in previous summaries. That show illustrates that, when a vinyl collector, a record store owner and a photo festival director get together to promote what they’re passionate about, only good things can happen, so I’d invite you to read Gemma Padley’s article about that original show in the British Journal of Photography, one that launched several years ago in Arles, France and is now running in Europe through March, 2018 in a new home – the Fundación Foto Colectania in Barcelona, Spain – where it continues to impress fans with its sheer scope – over 600 album images dating back from the earliest days of record sleeves and continuing through today. As I reported after the show’s initial launch in 2015 at Les Recontres d’Arles international photo exhibition, the team behind this show worked to put on display the broad range of photographic imagery that’s been used to create some truly-memorable record packages over the years. Works by Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdain, Linda McCartney, Ryan McGinley and many others are included, as is a display of fan-created “Sleevefaces” that combine album images with real people and places.

http://www.bjp-online.com/2017/11/total-records-pays-tribute-to-the-art-of-the-album-cover/

e) If you hurry, you can catch the last few days of another fine photo show in San Francisco that is running now through January 6th at the Harvey Milk Photo Center in downtown San Francisco. It’s a new solo show by photographer Jay Blakesberg called “Dark + Light: Jay Blakesberg’s Rock & Roll Photography, 1978 -2017” which puts on display highlights (over 120 images) from Jay’s impressive career, beginning with his shots taken as a teenager in New Jersey (and a huge Grateful Dead fan) through his more-recent pix of the band taken at their “Fare Thee Well” show in Chicago which marked their 50th anniversary as a band.

The show is co-curated with Photo Center’s director, Dave Christensen, with a nice intro and overview provided to us by The San Francisco Chronicle’s pop music critic, Aidin Vaziri, which you can read via the link – http://www.sfchronicle.com/entertainment/article/Rock-photographer-Jay-Blakesberg-gets-first-12333628.php

There are also additional photos on display at the McLaren Lodge, 501 Stanyan St., S.F., with more viewing info available at http://harveymilkphotocenter.org/exhibits/dark-light-rock-roll-photography-jay-blakesberg/

f) The Lucy Bell Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of rare and unseen images of the “Fab Four” from The Getty Images Archives. The exhibition, includes images of The Beatles that span from 1963 to 1970 featuring shots from famous photographers including David Redfern (the late photographer that started the Redfern Photo Agency that repped 400 music industry shooters before being sold to Getty Images in 2008), Chris Ware, Jim Grey and Stan Maegher, as well as from Popperfoto, one of the UK’s oldest and image libraries founded in 1934, specialising in creative UK-based retro imagery. On display now through the 20th of January at the gallery in East Sussex, U.K. –
http://lucy-bell.webflow.io/exhibition/quintessential-beatles

g) Another show that I’d mentioned to you before is still up and running in Copenhagen, Denmark, so If you find yourself in need of a day trip away from the city’s tourist attractions (I mean, do you really need another photo of you standing next to that mermaid?) sometime between now and March 25th, 2018, the My Music show at the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Ishøj, Denmark (SW of Copenhagen) looks as though it will provide you with a lot to see and experience. This is where (according to the Museum’s press info) “Pop music and art meet in a sensory explosion of music videos, video art, sculptures, paintings and installations. Rhythm and image merge in 22 works, inviting you to take part in a veritable bombardment of the mind and body… Experience compelling artworks and music videos in a major exhibition that speaks to the eyes and ears, vocal cords and sense of rhythm. Contemporary art meets pop music in a sensual explosion of music video, video art, sculpture, painting and installation.”

Artists from around the world have contributed to this display which features music by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Elton John, Madonna, Beck, Sia and a long list of artists who, I’m certain, are well-known in Scandinavia.
http://uk.arken.dk/exhibition/coming-up-my-music/

Just the videos I saw on the museum’s site lead me to think that there’s a lot going on in this part of the world that we’ve never had the chance to learn about – that’s what’s so wonderful about the Web.

h) ATTENTION ARTISTS and other creative-types looking to show off their album cover art skills – there’s still time to send in your submissions to The Oak Park Art League (Oak Park, IL) for their upcoming Artifact 33.3 show, organized to highlight the 70th anniversary of the release of the first modern LP cover in 1948, and yours truly (“Hey, that’s me”, as Bozo used to say) is honored to be included on the judging panel for this exciting new art show. As the show’s organizers put it, “The evolution of album cover art is as revolutionary as the music vinyl popularized, with iconic artists such as Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and others, merging the world of music with the visual arts, while catapulting musician identity and elevating jacket cover design to museum-worthy status. This 70th anniversary milestone and the renaissance of vinyl lends to this call for record cover art that express societal interests and global concerns – past, present and future. “

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

There will also be panel discussions about album art (I’ll be showing examples of some classic album cover fine art prints at one), so if you’d like to learn more about either participating as an artist or simply attending the show or panel talks, click on over to – https://www.oakparkartleague.org/artifact-33-3
To read more about the rules and to see who else is on the judging panel (some very impressive names from all areas of the music and art worlds, if you ask me), please visit –https://oakparkartleague.submittable.com/submit/96839/artifact-33-1-3

i) To kick off the new year in style – and to make up for the fact that I totally forgot to share these images earlier in 2017 after I’d toured the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism show during its stop here in Chicago – I’d like to include some of the photos I took of the many album cover art-related images that were on display, including original artworks by Andy Warhol (for Sticky Fingers and Jagger’s solo records), John Van Hamersveld (Exile On Main Street), Guy Pellaert (It’s Only Rock & Roll), John Pasche (Lips & Tongue, UK version) and Shepard Fairey (updated Lips & Tongue for 50th Anniversary use). It was great that they devoted so much space to album cover, poster and stage designs that were used during the band’s career, with quotes from Mick about the importance of these images and designs to their ongoing success…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(top to bottom – Lips & Tongue, 50th Anniversary editions, by Shepard Fairey; Lips & Tongue – original UK versions – by John Pasche; Exile On Main Street, designs by John Van Hamersveld and a selection of photos shot by Andy Warhol for the Sticky Fingers project)

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Ending the year with a bang, the folks at Cover Our Tracks notified me of their most-recent posting that I think you all should read – Lara Kristen Herndon’s interview/profile of the very-talented album cover illustrator and designer Lou Beach, the man responsible for a wide range of album covers for artists including Blink 182, The Carpenters, Madonna, Ray Manzarek, the Neville Brothers, David Sanborn, Weather Report, X and Weird Al Yankovic, to name just a few.

From his rather right person/right place beginnings as an album cover maker for A&M Records (after careers as a custodian, forklift driver and punch press operator) through his more-recent turn as an author of the critically-acclaimed story book 420 Characters, Beach continues to impress design and art fans with his inventiveness, wit and “do what’s right for the moment” approach to art-making, so it’s nice to be able to read more about this interesting individual – in his own words – in this nicely-done interview article –
https://www.coverourtracks.com/single-post/2017/12/26/I-Work-in-Chaos-The-Art-of-Lou-Beach

b) ACHOF Sad News Alert – in case you missed my posting earlier in December, I had the sad duty to share the news with you about the passing of photographer/designer Bob Seidemann, who died at home in the Bay Area at the age of 75. Probably best-known for his controversial cover photo for the Blind Faith album in 1969, Bob also produced memorable cover images for Supertramp, Jackson Browne and others and gave us scores of other beautiful photos throughout his career.

Bob was married for nearly 35 years to accomplished make-up artist Belinda Bryant and had spent the last several years since retirement battling Parkinson’s Disease.

The world has just lost a great talent, but one that will live on via the great portfolio he left us. RIP Bob.

If you’d like to read his obit in the LA Times, you can follow the link – http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/miranda/la-me-bob-seidemann-20171209-htmlstory.html

c) Last July, I shared an introduction to an episode of the Art Dealer Show podcast (hosted by art dealer/publisher and owner of the Limelight Agency, Danny Stern) which featured Theron Kabrich, one of the owners of the San Francisco Art Exchange, a gallery that has long promoted the works of a number of well-known album cover image makers (the podcast launched in early 2016 and has introduced subscribers to a number of interesting and inspirational gallery owners in the two dozen episodes that have been released since that launch). Episodes 23 and 24 were released late in 2017, both built around an extended interview Danny did with Kabrich’s partner at the SFAE gallery, Jim Hartley. According to Stern, the gallery’s 30+ years of existence, beginning as “an active brokerage for blue chip art”, then promoting the works of noted illustrator Alberto Vargas before “a chance encounter with a music agent led them to representing the art of one of The Rolling Stones” (that being Ronnie Wood, who was represented by Stern’s agency after he’d spent time working as part of the SFAE team).

Since then, they’ve staged a number of massive and impressive shows and sales, achieving record sales numbers for the works of artists Roger Dean and Gerald Scarfe along with photographers Joel Brodsky, Neal Preston, Ethan Russell and many others. Part 1 of the interview (originally posted in October) is titled “How The Iranian Revolution Started A Storied Career In Art” –http://artdealer.show/jim-hartley-pt1/ – while the second half, posted right before the Holidays, is titled “Big Art Sales…Because Of and Despite Our Best Efforts” and can be reached via this link – http://artdealer.show/jim-hartley-pt-2/

Mix a hot rum punch, put on your headphones, and listen to two veterans of the music/art world share the gallery’s success story – you’ll all learn a lot if you listen….

d) By now, I’m sure you’ve all read my recent interview with the design power couple of Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz (click here – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/interview-with-designers-spencer-drate-and-judith-salavetz-talking-heads-fear-of-music-album-cover/ on the off chance that you haven’t read it yet…). While the interview focused on their work on the album cover for Talking Heads’ Fear Of Music record, their years of work has established them as icons in the design world, so when the folks from the professional design organization AIGA decided to profile several music industry art veterans in videos for their site, it only made sense that Spencer and Judith were included, along with Milton Glaser, Aaron Draplin and Lawrence Azerrad, who’s spear-heading the AIGA’s “Design + Music” educational initiative.

Drate & Salavetz share some interesting tidbits on a number of their album cover designs, including work for Joan Jett, Lou Reed, Ramones, Bon Jovi and others (for example, in addition to her art duties, Judith styled the boys’ hair and costumes for the cover shot for Bon Jovi’s 1984 self-titled debut record). The 5-minute interview segment is titled “It’s A Long Way To The Top” and puts on display the strong chemistry between these two designers, which certainly comes to bear in the work they do together.
https://youtu.be/dQ1Dpmdc4e4

e) Earlier this year, I’d written a bit about photographer Mark Weiss and his collaboration with a painter to produce some amazing artwork for the walls of a new rock music-themed restaurant in Orlando, FL. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Mark was also launching a new business built around selling art prints from both his own archive and that of several other well-regarded rock shooters as well. It’s called Rock Scene Auctions and what makes this effort a little bit unique is that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of these prints are donated to the Why Hunger organization, one that provides those in need with connections to local food suppliers. Goldmine Magazine editor Pat Prince interviewed Mark a few months back about the launch of his new gallery and the motivations behind it’s charitable component as part of Pat’s podcast (which also featured singer/photographer Graham Nash) – http://www.goldminemag.com/podcast/graham-nash-mark-weiss-guests-goldmine-magazine-podcast-episode-5 (the Weiss interview kicks in at about 13:10 into the stream) – and I think that it’s clear that rock photography fans have an exciting new place to look for beautiful additions to their collections.

f) Here’s an overview of a new album cover work that was created by a Rome-based designer named Chiara Tomati (of the cleverly-named Tomati Soup design house) for a musical act called Indian Wells – https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/where-the-world-ends-vinyl-cover-design-summarises-geographical-social-and-political-isolation/

While the article written by Laura Collinson for the Creative Boom site doesn’t really dig much into the artist, her processes or this particular collaboration (it does, however, have some very nice illustrations), clicking on the design firm’s Behance link (https://www.behance.net/tomati-soup) brings you to a page with more examples of Chiara’s digital graphics work.

g) Always looking around the globe for examples of impressive cover design talent brought me to an article on the It’s Nice That site (by Lucy Bourton, published this past summer) highlighting the talents of Amsterdam-based illustrator Stefan Glerum, someone who has drawn inspiration from the whole scope of science fiction-y designs for film, TV and print media – from Star Wars to Futurama (“It is important to me that the work has a bit of a cult feeling and not just be plain sci-fi geeky,” the artist is quoted as saying).

His designs have recently been featured on records from acts including Awanto 3 (Gargamel) and Bruxas (with both acts on the Dekmantel label), with other commercial illustration jobs he’s taken on include work for clients such as Netflix, Le Monde, Fast Company, Dwell, Pirelli, Adidas and Converse, just to name a few. He says that his drawing style “is like a melting pot of illustration heritage”, but I think that this is just another way of saying that he’s not tied down to one approach to creating great artwork for his clients…

Read more at http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/stefan-glerum-illustration-050717 and then visit his own site to see more examples – http://www.stefanglerum.com/

h) It’s Nice That was also kind enough to share some examples of album cover design and art from a young graphic designer and art director based in Paris named Francois Boulo (https://francoisboulo.com/). And while he might be, as the article’s title states, a bit “music obsessed” (he is, as it turns out, the art director for the French techno/house label Solide Records), it’s that obsession that helps drive his efforts to make the most-interesting and beautiful products for his music industry clients – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/francois-boulo-graphic-design-190917? Like me, I’m hoping that you will also get to learn a bit more about the emerging music and design scenes around the world, so off you go…

i) Would you like to learn about how Limerick, Ireland-based artist Ken Coleman got the gig doing the cover for Florida-based Morbid Angel’s recently-released record Kingdom’s Disdained? Well, you’ve come to the right place, for if you follow this link to Eric Fitzgerald’s article on the Limerick Post site – http://www.limerickpost.ie/2017/11/08/limerick-artist-ken-coleman-designs-album-sleeve-death-metal-legends-morbid-angel/ – you’ll find his interview with Mr. Coleman in which he explains why it’s important to never burn a bridge – even for a death metal fan – because you never know when people you’ve done good work for in the past will return to ask you to do so once again…

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Happy to announce that noted designer Vaughan Oliver hit and exceeded his fundraising goal on Kickstarter to produce a book on his work – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1993782747/vaughan-oliver-archive/description

With a partner, photographer Nigel Grierson, Oliver founded his own design firm called 23 Envelope and found a client in the popular independent UK record label 4AD, a spin-off label run by two Beggar’s Banquet employees named Peter Kent and Ivo Watts-Russell and home of acts including Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and Modern English from the UK and American indie bands including The Breeders, Pixies and Throwing Muses. After Grierson left in 1988, Oliver re-named the company v23 and continued to produce memorable 4AD sleeve designs through the late 1990s, working with a small slate of talented designers, illustrators and photographers including Marc Atkins, Chris Bigg, Terry Dowling, Simon Larbalestier, Timothy O’Donnel, Ian Pollock and others. Notable album cover credits include: Pixies – Come on Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa, Doolittle and Monkey Gone To Heaven; David Sylvian – Secrets of the Beehive; The Breeders – Pod and Safari; Psychedelic Furs – Until She Comes and World Outside; Lush – Spooky, For Love and Hypocrite; Throwing Muses – House Tornado and Counting Backwards and many others.

Vaughan Oliver’s work (according to his project text, “he’s the designer who never threw anything away”) is now archived at the University of Creative Arts’ Epsom campus (in the south of England, and where Oliver works as a visiting professor). Now, with the successful funding of his project – with 948 backers having pledged £91,642 (approx. $123,000) to help bring this project to life – there’s going to be a new book celebrating it. Working with a publisher called Unit Editions, Oliver will release this magnum opus in two volumes – Vaughan Oliver Archive – Materials and fragments- Book No. 1.0
(432 pages, in full color) and Vaughan Oliver Archive – Remnants and desires – Book No. 2.0, which will be a 160-page B&W bonus.

While it might be too late to take advantage of all of the bonus goodies that were made available to potential supporters during the campaign, the book will hopefully be available to the general public via the publisher’s web site soon after its initial release, with estimated delivery announced for May, 2018. Congratulations, Mr. Oliver, and to all those who supported this important project.

b) At the Entertainment Memorabilia auction hosted in London by the Bonham’s auction house this past December 13th, several album art-related items were put up for sale that would have made fans quite happy to add to their personal collections, including the following:

Lot 77 was a large-scale (34.25”w x 21.75”h, framed) print of Anton Corbijn’s photo for U2’s Joshua Tree album cover. One from a limited edition of 200 produced/signed/numbered by Corbijn, the item sold for approx. $1000.00, which was in the upper part of the range of the $800 – $1100 pre-auction estimate. Someone celebrated the 30th anniversary of the release of this breakout album by one of Ireland’s greatest exports with more than a pint of Guinness, that’s for sure…

Lot 132 – An out-take from the photo session staged by Michael Joseph to create the cover for Beggar’s Banquet from the Rolling Stones. This color print features the band members” in a bright Victorian-inspired styling at a session which took place at Sarum Chase, the former home of Victorian society painter Frank Owen Salisbury” and measures 19.5” x 23.5” mounted in its frame. With a pre-auction estimate in the range of $670.00 – $940.00, the photo sold to some lucky bidder for the bargain price of $420.00;

Lot 165 – A Klaus Voorman penned ink drawing (on an 8” square card) done in 2003 in the style of the artwork he created 50 years ago for The Beatles’ Revolver LP (pre-auction estimates from $1100 – $1600, selling for a mere $1277.00);

I’d originally reported on the item featured as Lot 199, which was a Martin Richardson-produced, limited-edition (200) lenticular print of David Bowie’s Hours cover (with original design done by the late Rex Ray based on a photo shot by Tim Bret Day of David Bowie #1 cradling the head of an obviously in distress David Bowie #2). The framed print was also autographed by David Bowie and had a pre-auction estimate of $2700 – $3300 but, at auction’s end, remained unsold.

See the results for the other 150+ items that were featured in this auction – including a knit cap owned by Bob Marley and worn in the “Is This Love” music video (sold for over $20K), several drawings by John Lennon ($10K+ up to $30K) and a 1970s drum kit with “shark-motif” bass drum skins from Motorhead drummer “Philthy Animal” Taylor (going to a new home for a mere $25,000.00) via the link – http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24241/#/aa0=1&w0=results&aj0=lot_number_asc&m0=0

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) Two noted academics and authors who’ve shared a 20 year creative partnership – the University of London’s Janet Borgerson and Rochester Institute of Technology communications professor Jonathan Schroeder – have recently release a new book titled Designed for Hi-Fi Living: The Vinyl LP in Midcentury America that explores how album cover art from the 1950s served to reflect the design trends of that era and using examples of this artwork to chronicle the aspirations and realities of America’s consumer culture after World War II’s austerity.

The 440-page illustrated book ($34.95 from the MIT Press) includes a discussion of over 150 record covers from the era and offers, according to the publisher’s site, “a fascinating glimpse into the postwar imagination, the first part, ‘Home,’ explores how the American home entered the frontlines of cold war debates and became an entertainment zone—a place to play music, mix drinks, and impress guests with displays of good taste. The second part, ‘Away,’ considers albums featuring music, pictures, and tourist information that prepared Americans for the jet age as well as the space race.”

In two posts on the MIT Press blog, the authors introduce themselves, their project and a small selection of the covers that are included in their book. Start with – https://mitpress.mit.edu/blog/designed-hi-fi-living-how-it-all-started and then complete the overview with https://mitpress.mit.edu/blog/recovering-and-discovering-album-cover-artists-and-photographers , which talks more about the people who dreamed these images up and brought them to a fascinated buying public. You can look at the book, which made several “Best of 2017” book lists, on the publisher’s site at https://www.designedforhifiliving.com/

5) Other articles of interest –

a) With only those living underground in preparation for a nuclear holocaust unaware of the recent premiere of the latest installment of the Star Wars saga, I’d be silly not to also ride the crest of Lukemania and share an article with you that involves the combination of famous album covers with famous characters from the movie. As you’ll read in Morgan Shanahan’s recent posting on the BuzzFeed site – https://www.buzzfeed.com/morganshanahan/this-artist-mashed-up-classic-album-covers-with-star-wars-ch? – a London-based graphic artist by the name of Stephen Lear (http://www.whythelongplayface.com/index.html) has taken some time away from his busy work schedule to produce and share a series of expertly-crafted remakes of records from musical acts such as Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Taylor Swift (even the cast album from the hit show Hamilton!) that now feature the likenesses of Star Wars stars including Han Solo, Emporer Palpatine, Princess Leia and many others (I’m particularly fond of the artist’s simple-yet-elegant take on Dark Side of the Moon which he calls “Dark Side of That’s No Moon”).

Stephen has also taken one extra step and is making several of his designs available for purchase on t-shirts – https://www.redbubble.com/people/whythelpface/shop?SSAID=314743 – priced rather strangely at $27.22 (am I missing a Star Wars reference here, or is it simply the conversion from pounds to dollars?). In any case, it’s another fine example of how icons from different media can cross-pollinate to create something fun and desirable for us fans always looking for something that only we fully understand…

b) Ralph Steadman doing Hip Hop album covers? An 81-year-old Welsh cartoonist/illustrator might seem like a strange pick to do the cover art for a new album coming out from two mid-20’s hip-hop stars (rapper Travis Scott and Migos member Quavo) – that being the often-teased joint production titled Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. While the pair has a long list of music industry successes – having collaborated on projects with top names such as Nicki Minaj, Miguel, Pharrell and 21 Savage, to name several – it seems that a mysterious shared experience at an unnamed studio ultimately led to this collaboration.

GONZO artist, designer and writer Steadman’s portfolio of work includes art done for printed classics including Alice In Wonderland, Animal Farm and Treasure Island, other print pubs including the Daily Telegraph, the New York Times, Punch and Rolling Stone magazine (as well as album covers for Ambrosia, The Who and Frank Zappa), but he’s perhaps best-known worldwide for his collaboration with famed journalist/bon-vivant Hunter S. Thompson on the 1972 book titled Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, with Steadman’s stark illustrations the perfect accompaniments to Thompson’s graphic, no-holds-barred story about two men’s drug-fueled tour through America’s Sin City. The recipient of many honors for his work, 2017 found him inducted into the prestigious Society Of Illustrators Hall of Fame – https://www.societyillustrators.org/ralph-steadman

Fans of Steadman’s art are in luck soon as a retrospective exhibition (originally curated by the Cartoon Museum in London) will be heading out to showings in the U.S., the first in Washington DC at American University College of Arts & Sciences beginning mid-June, 2018 and then in Spring of 2019 at Cal State Fullerton’s Nicholas & Lee Bergovich Art Gallery.

Read more about this new album art collaboration in Hot New Hip Hop’s recent article on the subject – https://www.hotnewhiphop.com/travis-scott-and-quavo-tap-legendary-artist-ralph-steadman-for-album-cover-art-news.41168.html and to see more of Steadman’s amazing archives, click on over to his site at http://www.ralphsteadman.com/

c) What would the internet be without “unboxing” videos, clips of people harming themselves while attempting really stupid stunts and, of course, kittens? Since it’s year’s end and I’m allowed some artistic license in the selection of articles to include in a year-end summary, it’s my duty to introduce you to artist Alfra Martini, whose Tumblr – The Kitten Covershttp://thekittencovers.tumblr.com/ – has for the past several years (off my radar and Google search alerts list, it seems) shared scores of kitteny album cover art parodies (“legendary albums from a world dominated by kittens”, as I read in this article on the My Modern Met site – https://mymodernmet.com/kitten-covers/ ) featuring images based on the covers of such renowned musical acts as David Bowie, Madonna, Billy Joel, Ramones and many others. etc.

Martini – who is a musician, runs a record label, sells vintage posters and freelances as a designer – was interviewed back in 2012 about her site’s beginnings – https://humorinamerica.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/the-sound-and-the-furry-an-interview-with-alfra-martini-creator-of-the-kitten-covers/#more-1581
Black Sabbath Purranoid! Isn’t that precious?

d) If you’re looking for something unique for post-Holiday gift-giving, I received several promo emails prior to the Holidays from people who suggested that they had “just the right thing” for the album cover/rock art lover on your shopping list and, after reviewing their offers, I had to agree.

Still available to collectors from now until January 18th is a special sale offered by famed photographer/photojournalist Elliott Landy, the man responsible for some of the most-memorable photos of the original Woodstock Art & Music Festival and album covers for Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and The Band, among others. While the sale’s still on, you can purchase a print from his collection at a 25% discount from the regular price AND, when you do, Elliott will throw in a copy of his book Woodstock Vision at no extra charge (use promo code 25off at checkout). All this plus free shipping make it a really nice way to add some beauty to anyone’s fine art collection – http://elliottlandy.com/product-category/eshop/

e) To follow-up a special posting I did during the month of December for a chance to bid on and win a special VIP package for the upcoming 60th Annual Grammy Awards show in New York City. If you’ve ever wanted to go and attend this show in the grandest of style, this was your chance as the package includes (as described on the auction site):
* Two (2) Platinum level tickets to the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Platinum level tickets are reserved for celebrities, sponsors and VIP guests and are not available to the general public. The show will take place on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in NYC.
* Two (2) GRAMMY Celebration party passes following the Telecast. You and your guest can enjoy one of the best parties in town. Hosted by The Recording Academy®, the GRAMMY Celebration Party is known to have the city’s finest cuisine and exciting musical entertainment!
* Hotel accommodations for three nights (Fri. Jan. 26, Sat. Jan. 27 & Sun. Jan. 28, 2018) at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel.
* Official, limited-edition GRAMMY merchandise for two (2)

When the bidding dust had settled, someone took home this package with a winning bid of $15,100, with the proceeds being used to fund Music Cares initiatives and programs at the Grammy Museum. Congratulations to the winner, and be sure to take a look at the other Grammy-related auctions that will be taking place before and after the late January festivities – http://stores.ebay.com/grammycharities/

f) To recap the nominations for the upcoming 60th annual Grammy Awards that were announced this past Nov. 28th prior to the telecast later in January, and noting that the nominees in the Packaging Categories include several ACHOF nominees/inductees (including Gail Marowitz, who was just inducted this year in the Art Director category – congratulations, Gail!), you’ll find that there are a number of new names on this year’s list, so I’ll do my best to work to bring you an update about just who these talented people are and where you might have seen their work in the past.

The Nominees for “Best Recording Package” are:

El Orisha De La Rosa by Magin Diaz – Claudio Roncoli & Cactus Taller, art directors (Noname Records)

Mura Masa by Mura Masa – Alex Crossan & Matt De Jong, art directors (Downtown/Interscope Records)

Pure Comedy (Deluxe Edition) by Father John Misty – Sasha Barr, Ed Steed & Josh Tillman, art directors (Sub Pop Records)

Sleep Well Beast by The National – Elyanna Blaser-Gould, Luke Hayman & Andrea Trabucco-Campos, art directors (4AD Records)

Solid State by Jonathan Coulton – Gail Marowitz, art director (Super Ego Records)

The Nominees for “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package” are:

Bobo Yeye: Belle Epoque In Upper Volta (Various Artists) – Tim Breen, art director (Numero Group)

Lovely Creatures: The Best Of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (1984 – 2014) by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Tom Hingston, art director (Mute/BMG Records)

May 1977: Get Shown The Light by the Grateful Dead – Masaki Koike, art director (Rhino Records)

The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition (Various Artists) – Lawrence Azerrad, Timothy Daly & David Pescovitz, art directors (Ozma Records)

Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares (Various Artists) – Tim Breen, Benjamin Marra & Ken Shipley, art directors (Numero Group)

And while we don’t really cover this aspect of album packaging on the ACHOF site, we do want to extend our congratulations to the following nominees in the “Best Album Notes” category:

Arthur Q. Smith: The Trouble With The Truth (Various Artists) – Wayne Bledsoe & Bradley Reeves, album notes writers

Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition (Various Artists) – Ted Olson, album notes writer

The Complete Piano Works Of Scott Joplin by Richard Dowling – Bryan S. Wright, album notes writer

Edouard-Léon Scott De Martinville, Inventor Of Sound Recording: A Bicentennial Tribute (Various Artists) – David Giovannoni, album notes writer

Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings by Otis Redding – Lynell George, album notes writer

Washington Phillips And His Manzarene Dreams by Washington Phillips – Michael Corcoran, album notes writer

Congratulations once again to all of this year’s nominees. The winners in these categories will be announced at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony that will take place at 3PM EST in The Theater At Madison Square Garden on January 28th, 2018, before that evening’s Grammy Awards Live Telecast. I’ll have a lot more information for you about the people nominated this year soon, so watch your “In” box for further notices.

g) I also received a note from “Rockdoc” Richard Forrest about my recent interview article featuring Spencer Drate (he liked it, he liked it!) and, as I’m always curious about who it is that visits the ACHOF site, I clicked through his link to find that, for some odd reason, I’ve been missing out on the blog he maintains in which he talks about his own collection of album cover art and what’s included (as well as what’s not yet included that he’s hoping to obtain at some point – a sickness all collectors suffer from in some form, no?). He recently has published two articles about the fantastic array of record covers that were produced by Pop Art icon Andy Warhol throughout his career – a subject he is so passionate about that he’s been involved in museum shows of these works over the years.

In this most-recent article, Richard shares the fact that he’s collected nearly 92% of the record covers that Warhol was somehow involved with – from the early Jazz covers from the 1950s through to the covers done for musical acts including the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Prince and others, where we see the “Warhol-style” photographs turned into some truly memorable album art images. Can anyone help him in his efforts to complete his collection? That’s where you come in, friends – https://recordart.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/my-collection-of-andy-warhols-record-cover-art-is-this-as-far-as-i-can-go/

h) Back up in Section 4, I told you about two university professors who recently released a book on mid-Century American LP art so, in keeping with this month’s “learn more here” leanings, I’d like to point you to another article in which a professor at the prestigious Syracuse University talks about the things he sees while walking through the school’s huge (65,000 record) vinyl collection. In this recent posting on the University’s blog, College of Arts and Sciences music history professor Theo Cateforis, author of Are We Not New Wave? Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, explains that “You can tell a lot about a recording’s sounds by the art portraying it—and yet, sometimes the cover doesn’t take on meaning until you’ve dropped the needle into the groove, forever melding the visual and aural elements in your mind.” ACHOF fans can all attest to the fact that we have, at one point or another, purchased a record because the cover pulled us in, or at least gave us the impression that if we liked one particular style of music – let’s say, heavy metal – and we saw a record with Satan and robots and fire and crumpled buildings, even if it was filed in the jazz section, we’d figure that this was a record by a metal band, so I think the professor’s got something here… https://www.syracuse.edu/stories/album-cover-art-belfer-archive/

i) When local photographer/gallery owner Lyle Waisman sent me this link to an article he’d seen on the Medium.com written by author and brand marketing guru David Deal about the packaging for a record that’s sold over 50 million copies world wide – that being Pink Floyd’s 1973 classic Dark Side of the Moon – I knew that I’d enjoy the insights of someone who understands just how important the visuals are in selling any product. What I found (and what you’ll find) is a well-thought-out story of how all of the parts of this amazing package – the music, the artwork, etc. – came into being, resulting from the close collaboration between the band and designer Storm Thorgerson (and his team at Hipgnosis) and still to this day drives discussions amongst fans about “what does it all mean?” – https://medium.com/@davidjdeal/pink-floyds-the-dark-side-of-the-moon-how-an-album-cover-became-an-icon-e95bae0bdc32

Included in the article is a link to an interview with the late Thorgerson about “the making of” this cover, and it’s a treat to hear more of the story straight from the source.

If you’d like to see a bit of what Lyle is up to these days, click on over to either/both his commercial photography portfolio site – http://www.concertscenes.com/index.php or to his new gallery site at https://icongallery.com/

j) This is the time of year that many like to – or tend to – reminisce about times in their lives when things were done better/a bit differently than they are today, with one of the most-obvious topics for us old geezers (like me!) being about when your record collection told folks a little (or a lot) about who you were. In this article on the Hamptons.com site by contributor T.J. Clemente, the author thinks back to when turntables had three speeds, when you stood in line to purchase the new record by The Doors ($3.99 vs. what kids stand in line to buy these days…a $999 iPhone X) and how many of us still use album cover art to mark the signposts of a Boomer’s life to this point – http://www.hamptons.com/Community/Sixty-Something/24106/Sixty-Something-When-Your-Vinyl-Record.html

k) Best & Worst Album Covers of 2017 update – Each December for the past 5 years, I’ve presented you all with a summary and analysis of the articles touting the “Best” and “Worst” in album cover design. This year, however, it seems as though most of the regular presenters of these lists are withholding their opinions, with only two major media sources – Loudwire (hard rock magazine) and Paste Magazine providing their readers with their take on the state of the market in album cover design, so I leave it to you to review what’s been posted to see if you agree or disagree with their findings – http://loudwire.com/25-metal-album-covers-2017/
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/12/the-40-best-album-covers-of-2017.html

One thing’s for certain – there were many artists this past year (Snoop Dogg comes to mind) that chose to express their views about the current state of the world both in their music and the images that package and promote their products, keeping the question whether album covers reflect or promote societal/cultural trends at the forefront of our ongoing discussions…

l) To end the year on a charitable note, you might recall that, several months back, I gave you some details on a special series of Rolls Royce Motorcars that featured unique design motifs, including several based on album artwork. One of those automobiles – a Wraith featuring design cues and imagery taken from The Who’s Tommy – was auctioned off to raise money for Roger Daltry’s favorite charity (the Teenage Cancer Trust ) and was taken home for a song (was it “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” – hopefully not “Smash The Mirror”), with a winning bid/donation of £208,000, or about $270,000.
https://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/rogert-daltrey-s-one-off-rolls-royce-wraith-inspired-by-music-hits-the-auction-block-ar177437.html

And while some questioned whether the fact that this one-of-a-kind car was sold too cheaply – with stock Wraiths selling for slightly more than $300K – when you consider the fact that all of the proceeds were donated to a charity that makes great things happen for kids with cancer, a lot of people ended up feeling good about this special fund-raising effort.

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

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

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

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

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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Album Cover News Summary For August, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With a portfolio that includes not only album cover imagery but (both alone and working with his talented brother Martyn) stage designs, architecture, calendars and a wide variety of merchandise, Dean’s work continues to impress and astound fans with its ability to take you to the farthest reaches of your imagination. You’ll find works in many media, including several models of designs he’s done for living spaces you can only dream you’d be able to live in. An article on the Isle of Man web site provides an intro – http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/80357/islands-and-bridges-the-art-of-roger-dean  while additional details are available on the museum’s site – http://www.manxnationalheritage.im/whats-on/detail/islands-and-bridges-the-art-of-roger-dean/

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Sales/Auctions –

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

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

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

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Other articles of interest –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved.

Album Cover News Summary for July, 2016

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

It’s the first day of August, 2016. What’s new, you might ask. Well, assuming that you’re not outdoors (too much sun) or aren’t taking shelter from freak storms (or from the gusts of hot air emanating from your TV sets these days), I’m thinking that you’re enjoying the summer overall and are sharing your love of whatever drives your passions with your friends and family. All of us lovers of album cover imagery are a bit of a family, wouldn’t you agree (albeit a sometimes-dysfunctional one, with yours truly as your “arty” Uncle Mike (and NOT your Wicked Uncle Ernie – apologies to all un-wicked Ernies).

In this month’s summary – continuing on in the new and much-appreciated “less talk, more info” format – the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to impress us fans, critics and other observers of the art form with their collective output, contributing to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, info on museum and gallery shows and the like on a wide range of related topics:

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

a) While the extremely-well-attended Ramones-centered art/memorabilia show at the Queens Museum may have closed this past weekend (July 31st), the kind folks at local public TV network WLIW/Channel 13 have posted a 7 minute video presentation on their Metrofocus web site – http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2016/07/ramones-exhibit-rocks-queens/ – that includes a brief tour through the show, where you’ll see photos by George DuBose, Roberta Bayley and others (including various iterations of Arturo Vega’s iconic presidential seal-like logo for the band) along with interviews with Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh, Johnny’s widow Linda, the band’s former tour manager Monte Melnick and the exhibition’s curator, Marc Miller, a fellow with a long history of producing punk-based art/music shows. Hey ho, if you can’t go, watch the video…

b) Up for a brief run (mid-July through July 30th) at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery on the campus of Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY was an album art show featuring over 1000 record covers on loan from local collectors and the archives of the school’s own radio station (WUSB).

ON THE RECORD: ALBUM COVER ART was presented in conjunction with the Stony Brook Film Festival at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, a venue that has also hosted performances by many of the musical acts (including local talent such as Bob Dylan, Blue Oyster Cult, Cyndi Lauper, Lou Reed and others) whose record albums are on display in this show.

One of the people that curated the exhibition – Karen Levitov, the gallery’s Director – was kind enough to share some additional background info, exhibit details and some photos of the display with me, which I’ll now share with you – “Last summer we had a Vintage Film Poster show during the Film Festival that got a terrific response, so we wanted something just as fun and appealing this summer. Our campus radio station, WUSB 90.1 FM was relocating and packing up its vinyl archive, so we decided to collaborate with them to put this show together. The gallery has a playlist of songs from the albums in the gallery and a documentary video on album cover art…We have over 1000 albums:  811 album covers on the walls and in display cases, plus over 200 playable vinyl records in our listening lounge and children’s area.

Album cover artists represented in the show include famous graphic designers, photographers and artists including Andy Warhol, Shusei Nagaoka, Robert Rauschenberg, Damien Hirst, Brian Duffy, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley, Banksy and many more. Rare and unique albums include The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today with the original cover known as the “butcher cover”; The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request (with its 3D cover); John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Virgins nude cover and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers cover by Andy Warhol  – with a real zipper!”

The festivities were kicked off with a special Q&A session with one of the founding members of Blue Oyster Cult, drummer Albert Bouchard, so if you missed the show, you can still learn more about it on the gallery’s site at http://zuccairegallery.stonybrook.edu/2016/07/on-the-record-album-cover-art/   

c) London’s Somerset House gallery is hosting an exhibition of art – both well-known and newly-created just for this show – inspired by the films of director Stanley Kubrick (from now until August 24th, sponsored by Canon). Included in the show’s display catalog are several works and work-related materials produced by airbrush artist Philip Castle, creator of memorable imagery for album covers and promotional efforts for artists including David Bowie, Pulp, Sir Paul McCartney, Metronomy and The Cars (see the item in Section 2, below, regarding a profile on the artist and his work). More info on the show is available online at http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/daydreaming-with-stanley-kubrick

d) In late 1950s – early 1960s London, three upstart young photographers – Brian Duffy, David Bailey and Terence Donovan – were on hand to both document and participate first hand in the rapidly-modernizing changes in the fashion and entertainment scenes. In addition to capturing memorable portraits of stars who arose from within the scene – actors, designers, artists and musicians (you’ll recall Duffy’s shots of David Bowie, including the famous cover for his Aladdin Sane LP, along with Bailey’s psychedelic cover image for the Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup), it was arguably Donovan who presented the broadest portfolio of artistically-crafted photos (and, later on, videos), including some that served to help launch the careers of his subjects.

While Bailey and Duffy have had a number of books and museum/gallery shows chronicling their careers, it wasn’t until now that Donovan’s contributions have been given the honor of a major retrospective. Now running at the Photographers’ Gallery in London is a show presented in association with camera manufacturer Ricoh (running through September 25th) titled Terence Donovan: Speed of Light that will include, in addition to a stunning collection of photos, a nice collection of related materials, including contact sheets, notes, diaries, sketchbooks and many previously-unseen items.

The Telegraph‘s Robin Muir gives us a preview of the show, along with some background on the photographer whose subjects have included everyone from Twiggy to Yassir Arafat.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/photography/what-to-see/terence-donovan-the-man-who-launched-a-thousand-stars/

Find out more about the show at the gallery’s site – http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/terence-donovan-speed-of-light-2

On a related note, being published immediately after this show closes is a new book of Donovan’s most-beautiful portraits titled, quite appropriately, Terence Donovan Portraits. The book’s authored by Philippe Garner, a Director and International Head of Photographs and of 20th Century Decorative Art & Design at the Christie’s  auction house. Released this month in Europe (and due to hit the streets in the U.S. on September 27th), the 176-page book is being published by Damiani, with more details available on the company’s web site – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

e) Just a reminder that the “Fine Art of Rock” exhibition – featuring the album cover works of Ernie Cefalu, Joe Garnett, Ingrid Haenke, Drew Struzan and the other talented artists that made up the roster of famed album art design studio Pacific Eye & Ear – launched in July at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum for a run that will continue there through November 20th. On display will be original illustrations, paintings and working materials created for records by bands including Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly, The Doors, Aerosmith, Grand Funk Railroad and many others. There’s a nice preview article by writer Bob Mehr that’s been posted on The Commercial Appeal: Memphis that also includes comments by Ernie – http://www.commercialappeal.com/entertainment/music/features/the-fine-art-of-rock-pays-tribute-to-album-cover-images-at-memphis-rock-n-soul-museum-376179b5-0e8b–386706541.html and for more info about the venue, click on over to their web site at http://memphisrocknsoul.org/

On a related note – The folks at the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum recently alerted me about a selection of photos posted on the Facebook page of classic rock aficionado John Gable taken during his visit to the Fine Art of Rock exhibition currently on display at the museum, so if you’d like to take a brief tour of some of the notable album art on display there, click on over to John’s gallery at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10206818128717266&set=pcb.10206818132277355&type=3&theater

f) Designer/blogger extraordinaire Simon Robinson recently posted an article on his ST33 site that introduces readers to a new exhibition which launched on the 14th of July that includes a display of over 500 album covers created for musical acts of the Jewish faith – in a wide variety of musical styles – that is currently on display at the Jewish Museum in London, UK. According to the museum’s site, the show – titled “Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl” (gotta love the name, no?) celebrates “the history of Jewish inventors, musicians, composers, music producers and songwriters.”

In addition to being able to view examples of early phonographs and gramophone (which, by the way, was invented and patented, along with the first phonograph record, in 1887 by Emil Berliner, a German-Jewish immigrant to the USA), visitors can track the growth of recorded music through the 20th Century to the present, “from Jewish folk music to Yiddish theatre songs, from Broadway musicals to rock‘n’roll via the rebels of punk and psychedelic rock. Hear personal stories from artists, musicians and collectors. Explore the art of the record sleeve and enjoy a display of 500 records including iconic sleeves from Amy Winehouse, the Ramones, Bob Dylan, and Barbara Streisand.” The show runs through October 16th.

Read Simon’s intro to this interesting, historic display on his site at https://st33.wordpress.com/

More info on the show is also available on the museum’s site at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/jukebox

g) Billboard Magazine contributor Gail Mitchell just posted an intro article about the newest exhibition that just launched at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles that should be a treat for Beatles fans. This show, curated by the Grammy Museum and Fab Four Exhibits, has been entertaining audiences all across the US since it opened up in NYC in 2014 (setting attendance records wherever it stopped), has now “come home” to the LA-based museum and will be appearing there through September 5th.

According to the museum’s press, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” brings us back to the early ‘60s when rock & roll was re-energized–some say saved–by four lads from Liverpool. The exhibit covers the period from early 1964 through mid-1966—the years Beatlemania ran rampant in America. During this time the band affected nearly every aspect of pop culture, including fashion, art, advertising, media, and, of course, music. On display are many Beatles-related pop culture artifacts from the period, as well as correspondence, instruments, posters, photographs, interviews, interactive displays, and an oral history booth in which visitors can leave their own impressions of The Beatles. Screenings and a series of talks reveal the continuing impact of the Beatles.”

Based on the show’s description and photos, there will be a lot of items on display that will be of interest to record art fans. Related events include one that vinyl lovers will have enjoyed – a specially-produced “Record Theater” event on July 18th which featured the music from the band’s 1966 release Revolver – the record featuring Klaus Voorman’s fantastic psychedelic ink drawing on the cover.

To read Gail’s article online, click on over to the Billboard site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7431018/beatles-exhibit-grammy-museum

and, for more information on the show and all the related screenings, discussions and events, visit the museum site at

http://www.grammymuseum.org/exhibits/traveling-exhibits/ladies-and-gentlementhe-beatles

h) As part of the kick off festivities surrounding the “Chunk of Punk” photo exhibition which launched July 8th at the High Street Gallery at the Uncorked Wine Bar in Akron, OH (featuring the works of Jill Furmanovsky, album cover contributor extra-ordinaire), the Akron Art Museum hosted a special talk about the local rock music scene that featured both Ms. Furmanovsky and local music legend Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Chunk of Punk was part of Punk Week in Akron, which celebrates the genre via a series of events including concerts, film screenings and related displays of artistry. More on this event can be found on the Museum’s web site at

https://akronartmuseum.org/calendar/artist-talk-jill-furmanovsky-with-chrissie-hynde/10486

Up-to-the-minute updates of this exhibitions can be found on the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/22HighStreetGallery/

i) The Panopticon Gallery in Boston, MA has a new group photography show running now through September 13th that they’re calling Music To Our Ears and which features a fine collection of photographs – portraits, concert photography, etc. – by a dozen respected shooters including Charlie Sawyer, Roger Farrington, Marc Lacatell, Rowland Scherman and others, as well as shots from Ron Pownall, the man responsible for album package shots for a number of renowned musical acts including Joe Perry, Rick Derringer, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rainbow and many others.

According to the gallery’s site, the exhibition will also include “some music posters courtesy of our friends at the International Poster Gallery and some new guitars by Booches Custom Guitars.”

Prior to the launching of this event, Pownall was interviewed by Jody Feinberg for the Abington Wicked Local web site – http://abington.wickedlocal.com/entertainment/20160610/rock-n-roll-photography-on-display-at-cohasset-arts-event    There, you’ll learn about highlights from Ron’s career, including a photo taken in 1976 capturing the then 19-year-old Charlie Baker – now the Governor of Massachusetts – at an Aerosmith concert in Providence…

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) 20 years ago, a young photographer named Jonathan Mannion was hired by Rocafella Records to shoot a photo for the cover of the debut record (titled Reasonable Doubt) by a rapper named Shawn Carter who was looking for someone who’d present him to new audiences as someone who’d already established himself as the best in his profession. Shawn Carter went on to become music mogul Jay-Z and, as part of the festivities held to celebrate the record’s 20th anniversary, Mannion’s intimate photos from that session were presented in a “pop-up” exhibition called, quite reasonably, “PROPHECY”. A total of 22 images were shown at the private event – Vibe‘s Josias Valdez was on the guest list, talked to Mannion about how everything came together then and what’s next in this nicely-crafted illustrated interview – http://www.vibe.com/2016/07/jonathan-mannion-interview/

Just received an email from Mr. Mannion in which he details some of the latest things he’s been working on, including album covers for 2 Chains (College Grove), Dj Khaled (Major Key) and Gucci Mane (GUWOP). He’s also just teamed with  retailer PINTRILL to release a series of pins based on album art images Mannion’s done for Jay-Z, including some that celebrate the anniversary of their working together on Reasonable Doubthttp://www.pintrill.com/products/mannion-pin-pack?variant=21301575300

b) Houston-based artist Kevin Peterson received a call from someone on April Fool’s Day saying that they wanted to use a painting of his on the upcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers’ record The Getaway. Of course he thought it was a joke…that was, until he was assured that front man Anthony Keidis had seen the work – an ultra-realistic painting titled “Coalition II” of a young girl strolling down a graffiti-marked street along with a bear, a raccoon, a fox and a black bird – and felt that it would perfectly-represent (according to Patrick Flanary’s interview with Peterson recently posted on the Billboard.com web site – http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7408793/red-hot-chili-peppers-album-cover-choice) “the strength that it takes growing up in the world today, those traumas that it takes to get through it, and to survive and thrive.” Like Keidis, Peterson is a recovering drug user himself who found a new beginning in the Arts, so there’s some poetic justice in how the two found each other for this project.

c) After meeting artist Andy Warhol in the late 1950s while he worked as a waiter in a NYC restaurant (to supplement his starving artist career at the time), the two formed a tight bond that ultimately led to both a romantic and creative relationship that would last 10 years and out of which would spring “The Factory”, a place where strange and wonderful things took place. That person – Billy Name (originally, William Linich, Jr. ), one of the last few of the original cast of characters who called The Factory home, died recently at the age of 76.

While he spent the rest of his life post-Factory as a poet, Name’s photographs were included on the famous packaging for The Velvet Underground and Nico (the band’s  Warhol-produced debut album, as well as their self-titled third record, where he’s also a character who knows right from wrong (“…But, Billy said, both those words are dead”) in the group’s  song from that record called “That’s the Story of My Life”.

You can read Name’s obituary in The Guardian via the link – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/18/billy-name-andy-warhol-factory-photographer-dies-76

d) Man Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James – best-known for his 2015 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings – is featured in a recent interview with Jason Parham on TheFader.com site in which he recounts his earlier career as Creative Director (and album art producer) for top-selling Jamaican musician/recording artist Sean Paul. The two attended the same college in Jamaica before meeting professionally via Sean Paul’s manager in 1999 (while James worked as an independent writer/designer for commercial clients) to collaborate on the musician’s Stage One record. In the interview, you’ll learn more about James’ influences (Bjork and Pen & Pixel – quite the range!) and some additional details on several of the other covers he created for his famed fellow alum –

http://www.thefader.com/2016/07/12/sean-paul-album-covers-marlon-james

e) See item in Section 4 about a recent interview in The Guardian with acclaimed artist/musician Klaus Voorman’s regarding his just-released graphic novel about his time with The Beatles.

f) Interesting profile of artist Philip Castle in a recent posting on The Guardian‘s site by reporter Jonathan Jones. Album art fans will recall Castle’s contribution to the cover art featuring Brian Duffy’s memorable photo of David Bowie found on the Aladdin Sane LP (Castle created the silver teardrop found on Bowie’s shoulder, while film poster fans will recall his campy artwork crafted for Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks. While both of those efforts earned Castle many fans in the entertainment world, it was his artwork for Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 futuristic crime masterpiece A Clockwork Orange – now included in a show at London’s Somerset House gallery called “Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick” – that cemented his place in Pop Culture history. Kubrick’s very hands-on, detail-oriented work ethic had him send Castle art and sculptures used in the film for use in his prep for the poster work (leaving him with great souvenirs!), and Castle would go on to work with Kubrick again on the art for his celebrated war feature Full Metal Jacket. Read all the details via the link at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/07/stanley-kubrick-and-me-designing-clockwork-orange-poster

For some additional insight into this artist and, in particular, his album cover artwork, you might also want to spend a few minutes watching this 2011 video interview with London-based photographer Steve Mepsted posted on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbEAb2HoLVc

g) Another “local boy done good” feature was recently posted on the Somerset Live (UK) site that reminds us of the great talent of fantasy artist Rodney Matthews, who recently licensed one of his works for use on the cover of the latest compilation record by the Rolling Stones (Another Time, Another Place II). Matthews’ art has been featured on scores of books, posters and a number of album covers, including those for Asia, Hawkwind, Barclay James Harvest, Nazareth, The Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep and Rick Wakeman, but in this case, it was an image he’d done 40+ years ago while working for the famed Big O poster house – one that had caught the eyes of the Stones’ production team and, miraculously, ended up being used – without Matthews’ consent – on a U.S. tour poster for the band that the new record’s publisher requested be used on the recent release – this time, with credit and, I’m assuming, some compensation. Good work always wins out in the end…

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/8203-paulton-artist-designsthe-rolling-stones-album-cover/story-29453182-detail/story.html

h) When two collaborators in music both hold degrees from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, you’d have to think that they’d be looking for just the right images to grace the covers of their records and, in the case of the band Quilt and co-founding members Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski, you’d be right! For the cover of their 2016 release Plaza, after they came upon an image of a 1992 illustration by the late artist Ken Price (who also provided the cover art for The Paperhead’s 2014 release titled Africa Avenue) and realized that the artwork would be perfect for their upcoming record, they contacted the artist’s estate (managed by his son Jackson), made an impassioned plea for a license, and were rewarded with the permission they sought.

In Katherine Turman’s recent article for The Village Voice, you’ll meet these two talented young people and learn more about their ongoing efforts to “stitch together music and visual art”, much to the pleasure of their fans – http://www.villagevoice.com/music/perfect-cover-for-their-latest-album-quilt-stitch-together-music-and-visual-art-8768833

i) The works of legendary hip-hop photo specialist Ernie Paniccioli were featured recently in a rather-cool new project launched in Edmonton, Canada called the “Knowledge is Pow Wow” (which according to the project’s site, “will explore religious pluralism and social justice through inclusive conversation and creative expression …young adults from Edmonton’s downtown communities will hear from leaders representing Indigenous, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim faiths and culture.”). Paniccioli, a Cree Native American who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, got his start in photography in the streets of his neighborhood, capturing images of the graffiti culture that reigned in the 1970s. His images got him a lot of attention, particularly from the artists in the emerging hip-hop/rap music scenes there and he was asked by a number of the soon-to-be-stars of the time – Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and many others – to provide them with shots for their album packages and promotions.

For an interview with Ernie done prior to the exhibition that was posted recently on the CBC News web site, click on over to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/famed-cree-hip-hop-photographer-s-work-on-display-in-edmonton-1.3652907

j) One of the design groups most-responsible for the over-the-top, bling-filled covers found on many of the rap genre’s best-known acts of the 1990s – 2000s was a Houston-based firm called Pen & Pixel, founded by two brothers (Aaron and Shaun Brauch) and whose work was featured on three-quarters of a billion albums, including 38 gold and 12 platinum-selling discs. The firm grew quickly and expanded their client list to include mainstream musical acts including Cher, Destiny’s Child, Lyle Lovett, Chris Rock and ZZ Top only to become victims of the many changes that rocked the music business, with the brothers leaving to start other careers – Aaron as a serial entrepreneur and business development consultant while Shaun continued on as an executive/creative director for several creative services companies.

New York Times contributor Will Stephenson recently posted a “Letter Of Recommendation” article that chronicles the firm’s rise and fall and how their designs established – at least for a while – the design guide for the proper proportions of cars, jewelry, money and scantily-clad women that should appear on any self-respecting rapper’s latest release.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-pen-pixel.html?

k) Not sure how I missed this when it aired a couple of months back, but Rene Montagne of NPR Radio’s “Morning Edition” did a very nice interview with one of the best-known artists to work in the Bay Area since the mid-1960s – that being, Wes Wilson, the guy credited with crafting the trippy, balloon-y fonts that became a mainstay of gig poster designs from that era (he’s also applied his talents to album art of the day, most-notably on the cover for Cream’s Disraeli Gears LP). Samples of Wilson’s posters were included in the grand re-opening exhibitions staged when the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art threw open its doors after a major renovation and there are more examples of his work in the museum’s permanent collection – https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Wes_Wilson

Listen to Wilson as he recalls how and why he got into the field, what motivated and shaped his work and how he hoped that his works would show, during the time when the war in Vietnam was raging, that “things are going to get better”. http://www.npr.org/2016/05/13/477900499/psychedelic-font-how-wes-wilson-turned-hippie-era-turmoil-into-art?

l) One of the most-impressive gallery collections of rock music-related fine art prints I’ve had the pleasure of seeing was on display at the San Francisco Art Exchange and, during my last visit, I had the pleasure of meeting the staff there, including the co-owner, Theron Kabrich. For those who haven’t seen the gallery’s collection (available online on their site at www.sfae.com), you’ll find editioned prints by many of the masters of album cover imagery, including designers Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson and photographers Joel Brodsky, Elliott Landy, Gered Mankowitz, Mick Rock and others – usually presented in collections that will appeal to lovers of the imagery of rock’s foremost musical acts.

In his most-recent “Art Dealer Show” audio interview/podcast, art world veteran Danny Stern (who got his first gallery job at SFAE) talks to his mentor Kabrich about his start in the business – having transitioned from a career in the fields of psychology and mental health to his career in the art world after, according to his site bio ” he had traveled throughout Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Nepal and India, collecting art and objects along the way. This set a new chapter in motion from a career in clinical psychology to one as a fine art dealer.” Today, along with his co-owner Jim Hartley, Kabrich presents his gallery’s clients with fine examples of the works of the people that have produced many of the world’s best-known images from the world of Popular Culture, so it’s a rare opportunity to be able to listen to him discuss a whole range of topics with his learned cohort.

The 67-minute-long podcast is available via streaming/download, etc. – http://artdealer.show/004-theron-kabrich/

m) Ask six designers about their favorite/most-inspirational album cover designs and, of course, you get six completely-different stories, but in this recent article on The Guardian (UK) site built around interviews by Kathryn Bromwich, Imogen Carter and Katie Forster, I was particularly-intrigued by the appearance of several “classic” record covers in the answers proffered by some of these young-but-talented design pros. Included in the list of influential designs are covers by bands such as Sparks (their 1975 record Indiscreet is a favorite of Bedwyr Williams), The Human League (Inspiration, their 1979 record which profoundly impressed Julie Verhoeven) and Pink Floyd, whose 1969 record Ummagumma suggests the compositions of the Dutch Masters to Alice Anderson.

Always interesting to learn more about what goes on in the heads of today’s most-creative designers, I think…

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jun/26/art-on-your-sleeve-artists-album-covers-juergen-teller-lynette-yiadom-boakye

n) Orange County, CA has produced a staggering number of talented people who’ve left their marks on the entertainment business – Steve Martin, Bob Deal (AKA Mick Mars) of Motley Crew and Gwen Stefani are just a few we can mention – but few have contributed as influential and long-lasting an item as the logo design created by Westminster High School graduate Gerard Huerta – that being the AC/DC lettering and logo that has graced the covers, sleeves, t-shirts, tattoos, posters and other memorabilia purchased by millions of fans since its introduction in 1976. Huerta began his career at CBS Records in New York designing album covers and creating letterforms for Boston (see the article on this cover later on in this posting), AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Stephen Stills and Foreigner. He started Gerard Huerta Design in 1976 and has been drawing custom letters and logos ever since.

OC Register staff writer Peter Larsen recently posted a profile on the ever-busy artist at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/huerta-720158-westminster-lettering.html

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gerard several years back about his work on that iconic logo and so I invite you to take a gander at that article on my old archive site –

http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2007/07/cover-story—a.html

o) Record covers have always reflected the fashions of the day, so leave it to the writers from Vogue Magazine to track down and interview a person that many of us classic album art fans know, but only from the waist down to his knees! Of course, I’m talking about Corey Grant Tippin – make-up artist, model, actor and Andy Warhol muse/chum, whose mid-section was featured prominently on the un-zippable album cover created for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers record, released in 1971.

In this article by Laird Borrelli-Persson that serves to introduce the relationship between Tippin and famed 70s illustrator Antonio Lopez (whose works are the subject of a new show on display at the new El Museo del Barrio “Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion”), the interviewer questions Tippin about Lopez, his career as an in-demand make-up artist and working with Warhol and the team that created the acclaimed and controversial record cover –

http://www.vogue.com/13448063/corey-grant-tippin-interview-antonio-lopez-andy-warhol-sticky-fingers/

p) Writer Vikki Tobak’s new interview series for the Mass Appeal web site launches with an interview with one of the best-known photographers who has covered emerging music scenes over the past several decades – Janette Beckman. Ms. Beckman’s credits in the album art world include cover shots for The Police (Outlandos D’Amour, Reggatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta and Every Breath You Take: The Singles); Squeeze (Six Of One); Gang Starr (No More Mr. Nice Guy); Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (On The Strength) and Salt-n-Pepa’s A Salt With A Deadly Pepa and Push It, among others, as well as the subject of this recent interview – an iconic image taken of British rapper Slick Rick during a Def Jam press shoot in NYC for The Great Adventures of Slick Rick album in 1989.

The interview dives into “the making of” this and other shots from her career and provides camera nerds with the details of the equipment she employed to make the magic happen – http://massappeal.com/contact-high-the-stories-behind-hip-hops-most-iconic-photographs/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) St. Paul’s Gallery, one of the premiere publishers/galleries that specialize in album cover art prints, just informed me of a sale they’re running in conjunction of the recent opening of the world-traveling “Bowie Is” exhibition at the MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna – in Spain (see http://davidbowieis.it/en/ for more details). From now until this Friday, August 5th, the nice people at St. Paul’s are offering a 10% discount (via the promo code LIDNI231 entered at check-out) on any of the fine Bowie-related art prints they have available, including prints (some of which have copies also on display as part of the Bowie Is show, organized by the V&A Museum) by acclaimed artists/photographers such as John Rowlands, Celia Philo & Philip Castle, Terry Pastor and others. Some of the prints were co-signed by Mr. Bowie prior to his sad death this past January, making them all the more collectible. To see the entire offering (prints, limited-edition books, posters, sculpture, etc.), follow the link to the gallery’s site – http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=264&numRecordPosition=1

b) The team at Gotta Have It Rock & Roll auction house have just released a summary of the prices paid for items that were included their recently-held auction, with bidding closed on Saturday, July 30th. Fans of unique, album art-related items will find several examples of items that found new homes with collectors who participated in the “Rock and Pop Culture Auction – July 2016” event, including several groups of photos of the late artist formerly known as Prince (each of the three sets sold for a mere $100) and an abstract painting done by singer Alanis Morissette, which sold for $5363, well above the $4000 top pre-auction estimate.

Collectors seemed to be holding on tight to their purses/wallets as many items went unsold, including a set of photo proofs/negatives done for records by Steven Van Zant, artwork for Journey’s Time 3 box set (autographed by singer Steve Perry), a pair of photos offered up by the estate of Herb Worthington that were used on covers for Fleetwood Mac and Lita Ford (although, a Worthington-owned RIAA Platinum LP plaque for Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna did sell for $587, near the top of the estimated value range) and an art board featuring a 16 x 20″ Neal Preston photo shot for the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Live 75 – 85 record album. If you’d like to see more of the results, click on over to https://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/Category/Artwork-206.html   Congratulations to all who found something nice to add to their personal collections.

c) Lovers of the artwork of the late Rick Griffin were in for a treat this past month with the announcement of a special auction of his works hosted by the Psychedelic Art Exchange. Griffin, who created the now-famous artwork for the cover of the Grateful Dead’s trippy 1969 album AOXOMOXOA, along with covers for musical acts including Kerry Livgren, Cold Blood, MAN, The Packards, Darrell Mansfield and others, was also a celebrated poster artist, creating hundreds of designs for acts playing at Bay-area venues. In the late 1960s, Griffin teamed up with several other celebrated local artists, including Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson to start an agency specializing in psychedelic posters called Berkeley Bonaparte and, in the list of over 100 posters that were included in this auction, you’d have found wonderful examples of this work, along with images he created for his other loves, such as surfing, comic books and religion.

Take a look at what curator Glen Trosch has put together for you to look at in this month’s new auction and, if you’re so inclined, add to your collections, via the link – http://auctions.concertpostergallery.com

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

a) There’s a new Klaus Voorman book (a graphic novel) that tells the story of his relationship with The Beatles beginning with his first encounter with the group in 1960 in a Hamburg, Germany bar. Birth of an Icon: Revolver 50 includes the story about his Grammy-winning illustrations done for the cover of Revolver for The Beatles. In a recent interview with Robin Stummer for The Guardian web site, Voorman shares some of his recollections (“I created the Revolver cover. It was on the third floor of a house, in a little attic apartment, it was in the kitchen. Parliament Hill, Hampstead. I was staying there. I went back there recently, the building is exactly the same.”) which remain quite vivid even after all these years.

Trained as both a graphic artist and a musician, Voormann and his girlfriend, the photographer Astrid Kirchherr, met the band early in their career (the Pete Best/Stu Sutcliffe days) and inspired their looks at the time (black clothes, leathers and low-cut bangs). Astrid spent hours shooting the band (some of her best-known shots were used on the album packages for the band and several solo LPs, including George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music and John Lennon’s Signature Box compilation). Voormann went on to spend much of the 60s and 70s alternating stints on the pop and rock circuit, playing bass with Manfred Mann, George Harrison and John Lennon – including on Lennon’s Imagine – with his work in graphic design and fine art. Did covers for the Bee Gees (Bee Gees 1st and Idea, more for Beatles-related projects (inc. 1995’s Anthology compilation and Ringo’s Ringo), his own 2009 solo album A Sideman’s Journey (featuring guest appearances by former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Yusuf Islam, Jim Keltner, Joe Walsh and others) and, more recently, a quite-Revolver-like illustration for the cover of Japanese rockers Glay’s 2014 release titled Music Life.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jul/23/beatles-revolver-cover-klaus-voormann

Book info on Voorman’s site (set for an early August release) – http://www.voormann.com/shop/birth_of_an_icon_revolver_50

b) The works of one of the “Early Influencers” of record album artwork – artist David Stone Martin – have always intrigued fans of album art with their simple-yet-compelling lines and colors – just ask any fan of the many (over 400!) covers he created for records by acts including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and others who appeared on the several labels headed by the great jazz promoter Norman Granz (Asch, Clef and others) during the 1940s-50s. While some of the covers have been available previously as fine art prints, there’s a new, much-larger collection that’s being offered at the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX that comes from publisher Audioframe as the result of their pain-staking efforts to restore vintage plates and recreate the excitement of the original designs. Each print is hand-numbered and is stamped by DSM’s archive. There are 4 sizes available, in editions from 200 for the 14″ square prints, offered at $380, to just 25 prints in the huge 44″ square versions, priced at $1995. To see the entire collection, visit the Modern Rocks site at http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/buy-david-stone-martin-prints/

c) Tom Sheehan’s photos have been featured on hundreds of album covers and packages throughout the years (inc. those for the Flamin’ Groovies, Ian Dury, Aztec Camera, The Charlatans UK and others), but it is his photos of Robert Smith and his mates in The Cure – taken beginning in 1982 while he worked as the principal photographer for Melody Maker magazine – that are probably his best-known works, so it’s exciting to see a hand-picked selection of them taken over a 23-year period (thru 2005) compiled and offered in a soon-to-be-published new book. In Between Days. The Cure in photographs 1982 – 2005 is scheduled to be released this coming November in two beautiful editions – the Deluxe (2500 copies) and the Super Deluxe (just 700 copies) – each with 240 pages of photos and text, with the Super Deluxe version including a signed COA, a deluxe slipcover and an envelope containing three 5×7″ photos, suitable for framing. The Price for the Deluxe version is £48.00, while the Super Deluxe is available for £70.00, with pre-orders now being accepted on The Flood Gallery’s site at http://www.thefloodgallery.com/collections/the-cure-in-between-days?

d) The late Nirvana guitarist/songwriter Kurt Cobain showed a love for the visual arts by contributing album images for his band’s In Utero and Incesticide records, some of which will be on display as part of the recently-announced touring show of his art, organized by his family and Jampol Artist Management – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/kurt-cobain-art-exhibition-522386. Kurt’s visual arts genes live on in the artwork now being produced by his only child, the now 23-year-old Frances Bean Cobain, who has begun offering prints of her humorous-but-slightly-macabre artwork via the Depop online art store (https://www.depop.com/en-us/space_witch666). Ranging in price from $150 to $400 per print, the nine different images include, according to this recent article on the ArtNet site by Sarah Cascone, several works that were included in her first series released back in 2010 and illustrate that the young Ms. Cobain shares some of her Dad’s slightly-strange, dark humor…learn more via the link – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/frances-bean-cobain-art-for-sale-355262

e) Another reason to have braved the crowds at last month’s Comic-Con in San Diego is presented in this article by Ethan Anderton on the Slashfilm.com site about two sets of limited-edition items – one set of special-edition vinyl recordings and another set of related album cover art prints – featuring your favorite characters from one of last year’s most-successful animated films – Pixar Animation’s Inside Out. While supplies lasted at the show, festival goers were able to purchase 7″ vinyl copies of music taken from Michael Giacchino’s score for the film (not previously released on vinyl) that will be produced by specialty supplier Mondo in small batches (2500 copies in each) that feature both colored discs and artwork focused on one of the movie’s main characters (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Riley). Also at the show, the first group of limited-edition (200 each out of 420 total per image) 18″ x 24″ prints of the albums’ different covers (done by the Toronto, Canada-based Phantom City Creative team, the same group that produced the stunning album art for Mondo’s soundtrack album for the Hannibal film soundtrack) were offered up by the folks at Cyclops Print Works, with the rest being made available by the publisher after the show.

To see all of the aforementioned art that’s available, link on over to the Slashfilm article now – http://www.slashfilm.com/inside-out-vinyl/

Visit the Cyclops Print Works site to get your own copy of one or more of these new collectibles – https://www.cyclopsprintworks.com/

You’ll find another Mondo-based article down in Section 5 that I’m sure you’ll enjoy as well…

f) Please see the article in Section 1 of this recap about the new book coming out featuring portrait photos by the great Terence Donovan – https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/579

g) Photographer Drew Carolan, well-known for his compelling album cover photos featuring musical acts including Ziggy Marley, Eric B. & Rakim, Living Colour and many others, shared with me some information about a book he’s going to release this fall that should be of great interest to fans of the early 80s music scene as it transitioned from punk to the more hardcore styles. Over a two year period – from 1983 to 1985 – Drew set up shop near famed rock club CBGBs in the Bowery section of New York City to document – in an effort called the “Matinee Project” – the people who participated in the scene and attended the hardcore/metalcore events that were held nearby. Partnering with Radio Raheem Records (home of bands including Agnostic Front, Charred Remains, The Androids and other hardcore stalwarts), the deluxe hardcover book – titled Matinee: All Ages – On The Bowery NYC 1983 – 1985 is sure to please fans and those interested in seeing shots from this most-fascinating musical/pop culture era. Several years ago, Carolan created a video that highlights the time he spent creating this series which should serve as a great intro to his project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jN46nf0nl0

To sign up for updates on the availability of this book, please visit http://www.radioraheemrecords.com/matineebook

h) While not easily falling in to this category’s basics (i.e., new prints, books and other arty collectibles), this item is of enough import that I felt it should be mentioned as it does involve collectibles of another type – i.e., postage stamps. On July 7th, the U.K.’s Royal Mail released a series of stamps that feature images connected to one of the nation’s best-known treasures, that being the rock band Pink Floyd. The collection of 10 different images gracing the new stamps include several of the band’s iconic album covers including early releases such as The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and Animals, up to the group’s final 2014 release The Endless River. Four additional stamps feature photos of the band performing live on tour, including shots from concerts at London’s UFO Club in 1966, the Dark Side of the Moon tour in 1973, 1981’s The Wall tour and 1994’s The Division Bell tour.

Besides the stamps, there are a number of related items that are being promoted by the mail service, including souvenir sheets and presentation packs, framed collections, two cover collections, including one commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of group founder Syd Barrett and a special numbered limited-edition item called a “Moon Maxi Sheet” that presents 10 of the Dark Side of the Moon stamps on top of a 9 x 7 replica of the renowned prismatic cover art.

As you might imagine, there has been a fair amount of coverage about this new collection, so if you’d like to learn more, click on over to this article on the BBC site – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-36382247

or another example on the Belfast Telegraph site at http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/music/news/pink-floyd-stamps-to-feature-innovative-album-covers-34747737.html

To see and buy these new items, pop on over to the Royal Mail site at http://www.royalmail.com/pinkfloydstamps

i) Comic book publisher Storm Entertainment has released a new comic novel that presents the life and times of the late artist Prince. Titled Tribute: Prince and penned by writer Michael L. Frizell, the comic book features artwork by Ernesto Lovera and Vincenzo Sansone. Lovera has previous credits doing artwork for tribute comics on other famous subjects, including Britain’s Royal Family, pin-up model Bettie Page and an earlier (2013) book on Prince titled Fame, while Sansone has done work on books about John Wayne and Pope Francis. Writer Frizell’s past comic book work covers famous figures in popular culture, politics and music, including books on Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Nancy Reagan, Bono, Miley Cyrus, The Osbournes, Jerry Garcia and Amy Winehouse. Over the years, Storm Entertainment, formerly known as Blue Water Comics, has released a number of tribute comic book biographies, including ones on David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and many others.

Rolling Stone Magazine contributor Althea Legaspi provides us with additional details and comments from the creators of this 24-page tribute to another artist who has left this planet way too soon –  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tribute-prince-new-comic-book-released-20160609#

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Some of you might recall a posting some time back about a new “Floating Record” turntable I’d bought via a Kickstarter project in support of a Chicago company called Grammovox. As a Grammovox owner/supporter, I’ve been the recipient of a regular email newsletter in which they share info on new products (including a retro-style Bluetooth speaker) and on vinyl record products that, when mounted to be played on the vertically-oriented turntable, look extra cool – picture discs, colored vinyl and, in the case I’m sharing with you today, a series of records made by an artist named Curtis Godino that are filled with various liquids. Very lava-lamp visuals, you’d have to figure. Two notable commissions for Godino include “blood-filled” records for clients including Waxwork Records’ Friday The 13th soundtrack and Mondo’s soundtrack for the blood-drenched film ALIENS.

Grammovox staffers recently interviewed the Brooklyn, NY-based artist about the wide range of liquid disc projects – for both musical and fine art clients – for their blog titled The Reverb, which you can reach via the link at https://www.gramovox.com/blogs/posts/interview-with-curtis-godino?

b) Today’s second story about record releases with interesting delivery options shows us a new album titled Ecume on the AntiVJ label by Belgian record producer Thomas Vaquie’, who collaborated with the appropriately-named (for an album package designer) artist Yannick Jacquet (!!) to create a sleeve made of concrete cast resin that’s been inscribed with 3D representations of the waveforms of some of the album’s music. Writing for the Stoneyroads.com dance music web site, Joseph Smith gives us an overview of the limited-edition (25 sets) offering – priced at €90 (not including shipping!) – http://stoneyroads.com/2016/07/artist-creates-concrete-record-sleeve-for-album

c) Levi’s 505C jeans – whether you know it or not – have been featured on two of rock’s most-iconic album covers – Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones and the debut record by NY punk legends Ramones, and with retro styling having a bit of a comeback, the clothing company has decided to re-issue this series in order to fulfill the desires of punkers and Factory-wannabes of all ages to dress as their heroes did.

http://www.gq.com/story/levis-505c-new-style-archives-denim-jeans

d) R.I.P. cartoonist and illustrator Jack Davis, one of the founding editors of Mad Magazine, who died Wednesday at the age of 91. Over his long career, Davis gave us memorable images for a variety of book, magazine and commercial advertising clients (e.g., he designed the original bug that screamed “RAID!” on the bug spray commercials), but besides his great cartoons for Mad, I remember him best for his poster for the 1963 film (then DVD) It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World and his album cover for Johnny Cash’s 1966 record Everybody Loves A Nut.

His colleagues at Mad posted a tribute to him that gives you a nice retrospective of his career – http://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2016/07/27/mad-remembers-jack-davis-artist

Truly a great – sad to see him go.

e) Being that we find ourselves – both here in the U.S. and abroad – in the midst of a fair amount of political news-making (elections, party overthrows, military coups, etc.), we’d be disappointed if somebody didn’t use the opportunity to create a series of album cover-influenced images featuring a selection of those folks making the headlines. Well, no reason to be disappointed – the team of reporter Graeme Demianyk and picture editor Tahira Mirza of the U.K. edition of the Huffington Post have crafted a selection of 10 covers that insert politicians including former PM David Cameron, past London mayor Boris Johnson and ex-Labour Party leader Ed Miliband into familiar album art scenes from musical acts including the Beach Boys, Sting, Johnny Cash and Madonna, among others. The creators’ reasoning for this work was stated quite simply – “Sometimes politicians look like they’d rather have been in a band. We’ve tried to make it happen”. I wonder if any of the politicians featured in the grouping would have rather been in the theater? I could definitely see Nigel Farage playing Aaron Burr on a poster for Hamilton http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/album-covers-politicians_uk_57754d63e4b0b9c0dc08ce37

f) They keep trying to get away with this crap…blame it on the “if it’s on the Internet, it must be free” approach to art/photo license management…Photographer Glen Craig, whose portraits and performance photos of many of rock music’s best-known acts (Rolling Stones, James Brown, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and many, many others) have been seen in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and books over the years and, along the way, he’s had special relationships with many of the musical acts he’s taken photos of. Blues guitarist B.B. King was one of those acts, with Craig’s photos of the “King of the Blues” gracing the covers and inside pages of top music magazines of the day including Cashbox, Hullaballoo, Guitar Player, Downbeat and others, so you know that it was a pretty well-known fact that the two were connected.

This seems to have escaped the fact of those responsible for putting together the cover art for several more-recent Universal Music releases of performances by Mr. King, including 2012’s Ladies & Gentlemen…Mr. B.B. King, whose cover shot is one from Mr. Craig’s archives and was not licensed for this use. Not too happy to have found this out by happenstance, Mr. Craig recently sued the label and Mr. King’s estate to recoup royalties he should have earned from a proper license, with the details of the lawsuit and its outcome still pending. The folks on the TMZ.com site recently posted a startling expose of this atrocity, which you can review via the link at http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/11/b-b-king-universal-music-sued-album-photos/   (right next to the link to the article titled “Gigi Hadid’s HUGE Breasts Spill Out…WOW!). Love them TMZers, don’t you?

g) And I thought that I held grudges for too-long a time…It seems that, back in 2013, a spat was ignited between singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens and Jehnny Beth of the UK-based punk band The Savages after Stevens posted a critique of the typography that The Savages used on their Silence Yourself debut record. While the band didn’t respond at the time (Stevens did say that he liked the music), Jehnny showed us that the wound remained deeply ingrained in her psyche when she asked the radio jock she was being interviewed by to not play a Stevens song during the show because “…he wrote a quite funny blog post about how much he hated our album cover.” Stereogum’s James Rettig gives us the details in this recent posting – http://www.stereogum.com/1886227/savages-jehnny-beth-responds-to-sufjan-stevens-critique-of-their-album-cover/news/ All I can say, in the vernacular common for an earlier time, is “take a lude, dude”…

h) If you have a story or personal recollection about the late artist/illustrator Richard Amsel (well known for his film poster and album cover work), the guy that is making a documentary film about the artist is looking for your help. As part of his effort to gather materials for his film, Adam McDaniel was at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con gathering, camera in hand, ready to capture your stories for posterity. In particular, he was looking for other artists who might have worked with Amsel sometime during his career, so if you missed each other during your trip to this huge pop culture extravaganza and have a story you’d like to share, please contact Adam via email at cinemalad5@aol.com. For more information on this film project, please visit their site at http://cinemalad5.wix.com/richardamselmovie

i) While not an article on album cover art per se, I did discover an article about a new book that’ll be hitting the shelves later this year that covers and highlights the work of people – illustrators, graphic designers and industrial designers who, according to a quote from the book’s author,” in many ways, have been left out of design history.” Sound familiar?

The new book, titled The Art of Atari, was written by Tim Lapetino, executive director of the Museum of Video Game Art (playmova.org) and, according to writer Colin Campbell’s recent article for the Polygon web site, “celebrates the packaging and games that were part and parcel of the late-1970s and early-1980s era of console gaming.” Reading through this article, there were many parallels between the perceived roles that designers played in this burgeoning industry – creating eye-catching packaging, marketing materials, advertising, etc. – while in the shadows of the “stars” of the genre (i.e., the video game programmers) with their counterparts in the music business, who typically are the record label execs, band managers and the musical acts themselves that I am pleased to find out that there are others like me (and you, my readers) who have realized just how important it is to provide greater visibility and praise for the “unsung heroes” of these entertainment areas.  I hope to reach out to Tim to find out more about his work and his new online museum but, in the meantime, I hope you’ll take a look at this preview – http://www.polygon.com/features/2016/7/4/12083190/inside-the-art-of-atari

j) In the annals of rock music album art history, few band logos/images have been more memorable than Boston’s Spaceship Guitar, the Roger Huyssen-produced illustration (featuring Gerard Huerta’s lettering) which was found on the cover of the band’s 1976 debut record and which went on to sell over 25 million copies world-wide, becoming the second best-selling debut record of all time.

This year, for their 40th Anniversary tour, the group asked the folks at Seattle-based design/animation shop Straightface Studios to expand upon that original design to create an impressive 3-D animation that provides the backdrop to the band’s live concert production. The two-month project produced thousands of hi-res frames used to create the video, with the awe-inspiring results available for viewing as part of writer Kurt Schlosser’s recent article on the Geek Wire site – http://www.geekwire.com/2016/boston-concert-seattle-straightface/

I have more than a feeling that you’ll like what you see (sorry, I just had to do it).

k) We’re often inspired by the images we find on the covers of our favorite record albums, but this is the first time that I’ve read an article where a noted design/innovation consultant has been able to extract the DNA from classic album cover art and apply it to the exploration of how effective teams of people work together to innovate in the workplace (wow – I haven’t written a sentence like that since leaving the Corporate world 10 years ago, and it still stings a bit…).

In this recent article in the Huffington Post by Geoff Tuff (who heads up the Doblin group within Deloitte) titled “Innovation Lessons from the Dark Side“, the author describes how, after deep deliberation, the Hipgnosis-designed cover art for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon presented to him “a reflection on how innovation teams can serve as a prism to play two essential roles for their business: dispersion and re-composition.” By “dispersion”, Tuff means feeding a core business in on one side of a prism and having it come out – through the application of a number of innovative ideas – refracted into a myriad of colorful results. “Re-composition” hopes that truly-capable teams are able to look at the many different ways innovation takes place in the “outside world” and then focus on what’s best for their own efforts going forward.

We’ve all noticed that the titles of the songs on the album – “Time”, “Us & Them”, “Money” and others – all relate quite clearly to

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoff-tuff/innovation-lessons-from-t_b_10364740.html

l) The things some artists will do in order to achieve just the “right” look for their album cover photo! While I typically will not send my readers to gossip sites, this recent article on the Perez Hilton site includes a video of heart-throb Nick Jonas standing still while a sheet of glass is broken over his head, with the results captured via high-speed photography and used on the cover of his latest release titled Last Year Was Complicated. Photography by Yu Tsai, with design and art direction by Kyle Goen (AKA Kyledidthis), the guy responsible for recent album covers for pop artists including Babyface, Ariana Grande, Kid CuDi and Erykah Badu. I’m impressed that Kyle was able to convince the musician (and his management) that this was the best way to produce this image – it harkens back to the days (prior to computer graphics) when art directors had to use their imaginations and available resources to create images like this one…

http://perezhilton.com/2016-06-08-nick-jonas-album-cover-art-last-year-was-complicated-broken-glass-head#

m) Attention all album packaging designers – it’s that time of year again to submit your entries to the annual A Design Awards international design competition. If you’re unfamiliar with these awards, here’s a little more of an intro as provided by the organization’s PR folks – “The A’ Design Award & Competition has been established to promote and recognize the best design works in all countries and in all creative disciplines. The primary aim of the A’ Design Award & Competition is to create a global awareness and understanding for good design practices and principles by highlighting the best designs in all countries and in all industrial fields. The ultimate aim of the A’ Design Awards is to push designers, companies and brands worldwide to create superior products and projects that benefit the society.

The A’ Design Award & Competition has a philanthropic goal to advance society by pushing the frontiers of science, design, creativity and technology forward by creating incentives for innovators to come up with better ideas. The A’ Design Competition aims to create incentives that ignite and reward creativity, original ideas and concept generation in all industrial sectors.”

To those of you who work for clients in the music/entertainment industries, there’s an award category called “GRAPHICS AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN AWARD” that focuses on marketing/promo design – posters, flyers, logos, consumer/trade ads, etc. – with more details on that category available via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/graphicsandadvertisingdesign.html

Packaging designers can find out the details of submissions in the “PACKAGING DESIGN” award category via this link – https://competition.adesignaward.com/competitions/packagingdesign.html

Regular submissions will be accepted until September 15th, with the actual judging/award announcements coming out next April, so watch this space for any updates and for information on the winners in these categories. Best of luck to all who enter!

That’s all for now – look for updates every week (usually on Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month (after the move to our new home near Chicago!) with another summary for you.

All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved.

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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