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

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Sales/Auctions –

Nothing exciting to report at this point….

4) New Print/Book RELEASES –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Other articles of interest –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

Greetings once again to you all on this first day of August, 2017. I’m hoping that you’ve been able to enjoy some of the sunny Summer weather, wherever you are, and that part of your free time was spent visiting your favorite gallery or museum to see what’s on display there (and to take advantage of the air conditioning typically found there). As for me, I recently had the chance to tour two shows right here in Chicagoland that contained strong album art components (Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, which debuted on July 16th at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism extravaganza, which concluded its run at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall B on July 30th) and I’ll be posting summaries – complete with photos – of those visits in the next week or so, so keep your eyes peeled…

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

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

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduation Cover Painting (2009)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Sales/Auctions –

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

4) New Print/Book RELEASES –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clear off your bookshelves – KISS is coming….

5) Other articles of interest –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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Album Cover Art and Artist News Summary for the Month of December 2016

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

So, we’re done with 2016 – let us all heave a sigh of relief. What a year.

While I typically have a lot to say in these intros, I find myself somewhat shell-shocked and, therefore, at a loss for words, so I suppose that, rather than ramble on meaninglessly, I should simply relate what’s new and exciting in the world of album cover artistry. Whenever I’m in a funk, I trek on over to my favorite art museum and find something to inspire. Several days ago, my wife and I set out on a trip to the fabled Chicago Art Institute and, on the way, stopped at the impressive Chicago Cultural Center (a must-see for classic Chicago architecture fans) and, much to my surprise, found an excellent show of the works of Harlem-based abstract expressionist painter Norman Lewis on display (PROCESSION: The Art of Norman Lewis is on display until January 8th – https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/norman_lewis.html). Music – particularly, jazz – influenced a number of Lewis’ works (his brother Sol was a musician), and although he never did an album cover (at least, not to my knowing), it was uplifting to see such creativity and imagination on display that drew inspiration from the local music scene. And while Lewis didn’t garner the art world fame that many of his other WPA-era contemporaries did (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, etc.), I am glad to have been able to discover his talents at this point in my life – it made me smile again.

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Album Cover Art And Artist News Summary For The Month Of September, 2016

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER ART AND ARTIST NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2016

It’s the beginning of October, 2016, with the Fall season in full force here in Chicago – leaves changing colors, the humidity taking a back seat to crisp evening temps and, for those of us new (again) to the area, the famously-frigid Winter weather looming in front of us, with only the thoughts of a hot deep-dish pizza making the prospects tolerable. If you’re either a hearty soul or someone living in warmer climes, I hope that all you’re thinking about right now is a) “how will I survive this Election season?” (don’t forget to VOTE!) and b) “what the heck is going on in the album art/artist world these day, to which I’d like to propose that you now spend a few minutes catching up on your album cover art/artist-related news which, as you all know by now, you’ll find summarized in both my weekly and monthly recaps.

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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 March, 2016

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap for the month of March, 2016

It’s April Fool’s Day 2016 and, while you’d think that this day would be celebrated as a national holiday, what with most of us here in the U.S. being bombarded with news of the mystery theater performances being given by those actors in our electoral process. However, back in the music/art world (the real world?), news about the people that produce the art and product packaging for our favorite musical acts continues to be published on a regular basis,  with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, lectures, book/art releases and other such activities we reported on during the past month. Regular readers of our news feed have enjoyed stories on the many interviews, features, artist profiles, new gallery/museum shows and other similar items that took place in March, but for those who weren’t able to check in every day, I’ll spend a few moments now to give you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be your responsibility to visit our site to complete your viewing   of these items of interest by reading and (re)viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interview articles this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including designers Cedric Hervet (Daft Punk), and Stefan Sagmeister, who maintains an ever-expanding Instagram account featuring examples of fine album design; sculptor David Altmejd, photographers Dennis Morris, Gered Mankowitz, Phil Nicholls and a group who attempt to explain how best to hire a rock photographer; collage creator Clay Rossner and music producer Ben Vaughan, who custom-crafted a Spotify playlist to accompany a museum show on Pop Art.

Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for January, 2016

Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap for the month of January, 2016

It’s early February 2016 and, while we here in the Pacific NW continue to endure a mostly-dreary Winter season (sun lamps are hot sellers here), we must consider ourselves lucky considering the bashing that many other areas of the country have been getting. And, while the circus sideshow we call “politics” continues to grab much of our attention these days, your Curator (hey, that’s me!) has been fortunate enough to tour art exhibitions in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and here in Portland, where the 2016 Print Fair was held this past weekend at the Portland Art Museum – lots of great art was seen and appreciated – yes, there is an art world beyond Album Cover-land!

My travels did, of course, slightly reduce the number of days I was able to share the latest album art-related news with you (and, even with a Leap Day added, this will occur again naturally in February), but the steady stream of album art-related news remained unabated, with the ACHOF news feed showcasing the many exhibitions, books and other such activities we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories on the interviews, features, profiles, gallery/museum shows and annual  “best and worst” lists adding to the impressive number  of exciting and inspiring articles you found in our news feed, I’ll now spend just a few paragraphs giving you a summary of these highlights and updates. After that,  it’ll be up to you  to visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure… Continue reading

Album Cover News Recap for October, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

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

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

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

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

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

We’re going into the annual voting season for the ACHOF and, as part of that effort, I’ve added  several new biographies to the Artist Bios section on the ACHOF site during the month. With our next class set to be inducted before the Holidays this year, I’m working to include as many as possible for consideration in this effort. With all of the year-end distractions soon upon us , I’m going to do what I can to help you in your efforts to catch up on recent news you may have missed but,  as I repeat (incessantly, I know) every month, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work every day (except weekends) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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