ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER, 2016
It’s the first of November, 2016, with the elections here in the U.S. taking place a week from today and, if you’re like me, we’re all probably suffering from election-related anxiety. Wouldn’t it be great to have some good, positive, uplifting news for a change (besides the possibility of a Cubs World Series win looming large – sorry if I’ve offended anyone in the Cleveland area, but we’ve had to wait 40 more years than you have for a World Series win!)? Well, with today’s summary of the most-recent news in the world of album cover artists and the wonderful products they’re creating for us fans and collectors of the genre, I believe that you’ll find enough inspiration to see you through whatever comes our way.
This month’s summary, while a little light with regards to sales/auction-related news, still provides us with ample proof that the people that make our favorite album imagery continue to contribute quite regularly to the news cycle, adding items of interest and fascination to the ongoing stream of articles, interviews, museum and gallery show information and the like on a wide range of related topics. Enjoy the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments:
1) Upcoming, recently-launched and just-closed show/exhibitions –
a) Sunday, October 30th marked the close of an exhibition of photo works by Toledo, OH-based shooter Harry Sandler. The show, titled “Harry Sandler: Images From a Photographic Journey,” had been on display for the past week in the Porter Gallery at the Toledo School for the Arts and included selections of Mr. Sandler’s 40+ year portfolio, including shots of rock stars both old (The Who, Peter Frampton, John Mellencamp, etc.) and new (Katy Perry and Queen with Adam Lambert filling the shoes of the late Freddie Mercury), and prints of these images were available for sale as part of a fund-raising effort that demonstrates his commitment to groups supporting the needs of military vets.
A military veteran himself, this show was one of several he’s done to benefit veteran’s causes, with the proceeds of this show benefiting Veterans Matter, the Toledo-based nonprofit housing military veterans in a dozen states. Sandler’s made a lot of friends over the years as he’s worked not only as a photographer but also as a tour manager and concert engineer, allowing him to tap into those resources from time to time to help raise both money and awareness of the causes he supports (for example, he enlisted Mr. Mellencamp to come and sign autographs at the exhibit’s launch party on October 21st).
Read more about this fine fellow in writer Tom Henry’s article on The Blade web site – http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2016/10/10/Rock-artist-wants-his-journey-to-assist-homeless-in-Toledo-area.html and also about the work done by the Toledo-based Veterans Matter charity by visiting their web site at http://veteransmatter.org/
b) While it was the intense concentration of classic rock acts that brought thousands of people to the California desert for two weekends in October, I’m hoping that festival-goers did find the time to tour the mega-sized rock and roll photo exhibition staged there. The Desert Trip Photo Expo put on display over 200 photographs from the portfolios of a who’s who of rock photographers – Michael Cooper, Elliott Landy, Bob Gruen, Jim Marshall and many others – and include well-known album cover and magazine shots featuring the six acts who headlined the four days of concerts – Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, The Who and Neil Young.
In this article posted by staffers on the Orange County Register web site – http://www.ocregister.com/articles/captures-732290-trip-music.html you will find some of the stories behind a selection of the images on display as told by the people who took them (for example, Bob Gruen tells us that Mick Jagger was at a 1982 concert by The Clash at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia because his daughter wanted to see the band (“C’mon, Dad…they’re great!”). More info on this exhibition, organized by the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery and presented in cooperation with Getty Images, at http://deserttrip.com/photoexp/ You’ll also find a nice video short featuring Henry Diltz talking about why being a rock photographer is such a great gig…
Finally, Paul Resnikoff shares his on-site experience, including several photos of the 36,000 square foot tent that housed the exhibit, in this posting on the Digital Music News site – http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/10/10/rock-n-roll-art-gallery-desert-trip/
c) I hate it when I’m late…a show recently closed that I just learned about but, even so, I am so impressed with the creativity shown by this artist that I wanted to make sure you had a chance to see his work. Rather than simply listening to his favorite albums, artist Peter Wilkins considered aspects of records – that they spin, that certain covers have unique color palettes, etc. – and set out to present each record in a way that shows us these elemental qualities in a way we’ve never seen them. He first experimented with the idea of capturing a photographic image of a spinning album cover but, unhappy with those first images, he decided to turn to computer technology to help him better-express the unique way he was seeing these records. The results of these efforts were put on display in a series of shows (including one that just ended at the Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada and new ones scheduled for viewing in other venues across Canada in 2017) that are sure to impress and amaze anyone who gets the chance to see these prints.
While Wilkins has created dozens of prints – including rock classics such as Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, Cream’s Disraeli Gears and newer works from acts including Florence & The Machine and Broken Social Scene – he’s also applied a similar approach to other subject material, such as wine, cityscapes, airports and “iconic Canadian chairs”, examples of which you can find on his web site – http://peter.wilkins.ws/
You can view an illustrated capsule summary of his most-recent show in reporter Joan Sullivan’s article on the topic on The Telegram (Canada) web site – http://www.thetelegram.com/Living/2016-09-12/article-4637137/Rock-%26rsquo%3Bn%26rsquo%3B-roll-and-take-cover/1 – which includes input from the artist about his inspirations and processes. I was a little bit impressed with myself for being able to identify several of the examples just by their colors and where they’re shown in the circular prints – give it a try, it’s fun!
d) Ben Marks recently published an article for Collector’s Weekly that I thought you all might enjoy as it highlights the many years of excellent album cover-focused work of the craftspeople at “the premier record jacket printing company in America” – that being the Stoughton Printing Company, located in City of Industry, CA. Stoughton has been printing and assembling record sleeves for clients in the music industry for over 50 years and, as part of this year’s Los Angeles Printers Fair that was held October 14th at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA, visitors were invited to tour a special exhibit titled “The Music of the Presses: The Vinyl Sleeves of the Stoughton Printing Company” which showcased, according to the show’s press, “a half-century of album covers, from the first printing of the album that introduced The Beatles to America, to the latest retro vinyls”, with every visitor getting a limited-run sleeve as a souvenir of their attendance.
Stoughton Printing Company’s head honcho, Jack Stoughton, Jr., was in attendance to take show visitors on a tour through the record cover-making process, making a stop at a display that showcases 50+ examples of the company’s work, including sleeves for top musical acts including The Beatles, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Carole King, Jack White and many, many others. Viewers were also able to see the entries for a juried competition called “The Art of the Album Design & Printing Competition” which included include designs by many of the printing industry’s most-respected practitioners of the craft.
You can read Ben’s article online via the link – http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/music-of-the-presses/ and see more of what’s on display during the exhibit’s run (which remains “on view for several months”) – http://www.printmuseum.org/printersfair/general-information/
e) The Copper House Gallery – in Dublin, Ireland, just a few minutes West of St. Stephen’s Green – hosted a new show that opened October 13th (and ran one week, through October 20th) that wass called the “Fantasy 12 Exhibition” and which featured dozens of unique works created by a number of music industry artists, designers and record label staffers who responded to a simple question – “If you could release a record from any iconic artist (past or present), what would the cover look like?” This show was organized by This Greedy Pig (online art/music mag), record label Choice Cuts and the Hens Teeth Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and, in a special event, Irish Times writer Jim Carroll hosted an opening weekend ticketed discussion (Saturday, October 15th at Dublin hot spot The Sugar Club) which featured three people well-versed in the subject of music-related art/packaging – Paul Diddy, art director for NYC record label Luaka Bop; artist/editor Nick Gazin of Vice Magazine (who also created the much-heralded artwork for Run The Jewels) and the multi-talented Vlad Sepetov, whose “Yours Truly” collective has been responsible for a noted list of today’s top recording acts, including Kendrick Lamar and Vic Mensa.
Show-related info can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1643345045980477/ and on the gallery’s site at http://www.thecopperhousegallery.com/exhibitions/66/overview/
f) There have been a number of fascinating events staged during the past year in the UK to celebrate Punk’s 40th Anniversary, with a recent one catching my eye that I felt compelled to share with you. As reported on recently by Michael Holland on the Southwark News (London, U.K.) site – http://www.southwarknews.co.uk/lifestyle/dont-punk-appreciate-punk-art/ members of a punk “supergroup” called the Bermondsey Joyriders organized a show geared towards letting punk musicians – particularly those who attended art school as part of their upbringing – show off their visual art talents, with this year’s crop of participants including Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Keith Levene of The Clash, Spizz of Spizz Energi, Luke Morgan of The Highliners, Nicky Tesco of Members, Ultravox’s John Taylor and others (over 30) contributing works to the showcase, all of which were available for sale.
While the show ran only a few days (October 8th through the 10th at the Underdog Gallery on Crucifix Lane), it received a lot of coverage, including this video interview on ITV News, London, hosted by Nina Hossain and reporter Victoria Grimes, with Keith Levene from The Clash – http://www.theunderdog.london/single-post/2016/10/11/ITV-NEWS-reports-on-the-Punk-Rock-Roll-Show-at-The-Underdog and photos on the gallery’s site provide ample evidence that a good time was had by all during all of the event’s festivities – http://www.theunderdog.london/single-post/2016/09/02/7th—10th-Oct-Punk-Rock-Roll-Art-Show
g) The nice folks at the Concert Poster Gallery were kind enough to send me/us a reminder for all East Coast rock/album art fans I want to make sure you’ve seen – hope you get the chance to visit the newly-launched staging of the hugely-popular exhibition – originally on display in both Los Angeles and San Francisco – built around the incredible cache of artwork – posters, handbills, photos and more – created over the years in support of the events put on by one of rock music’s most-successful promoters – the late Bill Graham. On display now through next January 16th at the National Museum of Jewish History in Philadelphia, Bill Graham & The Rock And Roll Revolution presents the stunning visuals that promoted and accompanied Graham’s events at the Winterland and Fillmore venues on both coasts, as well as the mega-events he was such a huge part of – Watkins Glen, Days On The Green, the US Festival, Live Aid and others for Amnesty International.
His efforts to promote his events brought us the talents of many who are now considered the most-influential artists of the era – Rick Griffin, Mouse and Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Lee Conklin and Wes Wilson – who all went on to produce a number of iconic album images for musical acts including the Grateful Dead, Santana, Steve Miller and many others. While his life included times both harrowing (his escape from Nazi-controlled Germany and France in 1939 ultimately brought him to his new home in the U.S.) and personally-fulfilling (his desire to be an actor brought him roles in films including Apocalypse Now, Bugsy and The Doors), his death in a helicopter crash in 1991 cut short the life of one of the music industry’s most-memorable impresarios. Now’s your chance to revisit an era via this impressive collection of memorabilia – why not catch a train and get on over to the museum while you can?
More info on the museum and this exhibition can be found at http://www.nmajh.org/BillGraham/
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) Minneapolis, MN Star Tribune reporter John Bream has posted an article which includes an interview with First Avenue’s (“Your Downtown Danceteria Since 1970” and a space familiar to anyone who has seen the film Purple Rain) man-of-many-hats (facilities manager, tour guide and official photographer) Daniel Corrigan on the occasion of the release of a new book that taps into his 35+ year archive of great photos taken with music industry notables including Prince, Husker Du, Michael Jackson, U2 and many others.
“Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis” includes over 500 images taken over the years, including album cover shots for acts including Babes In Toyland, The Replacements, The Cows (Cunning Stunts – always loved that title), They Jayhawks and others. He worked with Josh Leventhal at the Minnesota Historical Society Press (who’ll be publishing the book, set to hit store shelves on November 1st) to choose just the right images from his huge archive and asked local writer/DJ Danny Sigelman (DJ Paper Sleeves) to contribute the intro essay. An exhibition of photos from the book will launch in mid-November at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, so fans of Mr. Corrigan’s work will have a great opportunity to see selections from this book on display in a proper setting.
b) If you’re like me, it is easy to say that, of the images created for the packaging of most all of the various genres of music, hard rock/metal music, in all of its variations, tends to sport covers that are almost immediately identifiable as being of that genre (for a long time, this honor has been shared with rap/hip-hop covers, particularly of the “Pen & Pixel” variety). There’s a designer in the Bay Area named Sean Ross that seems to feel the same way but, as a creative type, he was curious as to what would happen if he applied the same design sense to the imagery created for another area of Popular Culture – that being technology, and the logos of some of the biggest names in the business.
If you click on over to read Owen Pritchard’s recent article on the It’s Nice That site on the topic, you’ll find a number of examples of “the visual language of disruption” as applied to logos for firms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Uber and many others. He then takes things a step farther by reimagining classic album covers and type – featuring notable imagery from acts including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC (among others) – to now represent products in the technology space. While I don’t see many of these companies deciding to adopt these designs in the real world, an Iron Maiden-influenced Snapchat logo would certainly shake up NerdWorld a bit, don’t you agree?
c) To help commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of rapper Tupac Shakur, TIME Magazine writer Kenneth Bachor caught up with photographer Danny Clinch, the man that took what many consider to be the most-famous (and intimate) portrait of Shakur three years prior to Tupac’s untimely demise, and present a video interview during which Danny explains the circumstances that lead up to that memorable shoot, some of the details of what went in to staging/producing the image and how he felt that, after looking at the results of the session, his gut instincts told him that he had an image for the Ages.
ACHOF Inductee Clinch has produced scores of great photos for album covers for acts including the Afghan Whigs, Old Dirty Bastard and Simon & Garfunkel (quite the range!), so it’s a pleasure to be able to hear this tale directly from his mouth (and heart). http://time.com/4486307/tupac-shakur-photo/
d) While not technically an artist interview or in-depth profile, I believe that there’s enough interesting information given to us in Zoe Wilder’s article on the MerryJane.com site about ten artists currently producing a new breed of “psychedelic” art – including covers for a number of mainstream and indie musical acts in several genres – that a read is worth your time. Fans of artists such as Martin Sharp (Disraeli Gears for Cream), The Fool art collective (Evolution for The Hollies) and Victor Moscoso (Headhunters for Herbie Hancock) will find a lot to like in the works of Jen Stark, Sean Cormac and Ricardo Cavolo, who are among the 10 artists included in this overview. As a fan of “Flash-style” animations, I was particularly impressed with the music video artist Robert Wallace (AKA “Parallel Teeth”) created for New Zealand-based musical act Ladi6…
e) Singer Solange Knowles (another talented Knowles sister!) discovered the works of young Spanish art director/photographer Carlota Guerrero on Instagram and, after working with her on a show at the Tate Modern museum in London, brought Carlota on to provide the imagery for her new album – A Seat At The Table – as well as the 112-page digital book that accompanies the new recording.
Billboard‘s Griselda Flores spoke with Ms. Guerrero and presents us with the artist’s telling of how two talented you women collaborated on this project, each exploring their own sense of womanhood, the solidarity felt between two black women establishing their own identities in a fast-paced entertainment space and, quite interestingly, how the staff at their hotel reacted upon seeing a gold-painted woman in a cape approach the check-in desk after their photo/video shoot! – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/latin/7534279/solange-a-seat-at-the-table-photographer-art-director
f) Each month, the talented team at The Archivist’s Gallery in north London publish an informative article that showcases the work of one of today’s most-creative album art producers and, in addition to giving us some “making of” info from the featured artist, offer readers and collectors an opportunity to see more of that person’s work and, perhaps, buy an art print of one of those images. I was particularly intrigued by the beautiful surrealistic photography created by this month’s artist – Louis Lander Deacon – for his client Imagine Dragons for their 2012 recording titled Continued Silence. The band went on to earn numerous nominations and awards for their 2012 album Night Visions (including a Grammy in 2014 for “Best Rock Performance”) while Louis has continued to build up an impressive portfolio of work for clients in the music, fashion and portrait arenas.
I think you’ll enjoy this look at the work of a rising star in the album art world – http://thearchivistsgallery.com/aotm/
g) It is the hope of all bands that, as its been proven by the long-term value of the iconic logos/cover images of bands such as AC/DC, KISS, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, the investments they make in these visuals will continue to pay off for years – even long after the original players have ceased to produce new music (or, in the case of LA-area ska/reggae/punk act Sublime, our subject today, after the band’s singer/guitarist died of a heroin overdose). While most of us remember the cover of the band’s third and last studio album – the multi-platinum record simply titled Sublime and featuring a photo of the late Brad Nowell’s tattoo of the band’s name across his back – it is artist Opie Ortiz’s crying sun logo, which consists of several images, including a mushroom, the devil, a pocket knife, some skeletal items, a genie and a worm – that lives on in various incarnations of merchandise created with the help and approval of the band’s management and Nowell’s widow, Troy Holmes.
In this article by the Orange County Register’s Josh Chesler, you’ll meet the players in this enterprise, learn more about ongoing plans to bring this folk art masterpiece to the masses, talk to the artist (Mr. Ortiz) who created the original design “using nail polish and Krazy Glue” and, finally, with some of the fans for which this art serves as an ever-present reminder of their fanship.
h) Aspiring young art student Garfield Larmond had expanded his artistic tool box to include a camera (with which he could film his friends) and after moving as a teen from New York to Atlanta, GA, one day saw a Tweet from a local musician who announced that he would be filming a music video and inviting the public to attend. Bringing along his camera, he shot some “behind the scenes” footage which that artist’s label liked, and that simple reassurance gave him the motivation to apply his talents to work for other local musical acts and other clients. A freelance job to produce product shots and short videos for a clothing line run by rapper Young Thug’s fiancée provided an introduction to the musician and, ultimately, the opportunity to provide the cover image for Mr. Thug’s hugely-popular 2016 mixtape-turned-record titled Jeffrey and a series of intimate portraits of the artist that have garnered much critical acclaim. Writer Justin Davis, in a recent article found on The Hundreds site, shares an interview with the photographer – now known as GLP – where you can learn more about the details of his career, his ongoing relationship with the talented Young Thug and how the two worked together to create a cover image that is VERY different than those most of us are used to seeing on rap album covers….
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) Heritage Auctions has just posted the details of their upcoming (November 12th) Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction, and fans of album art will find a nice selection of items that should be of interest, including autographed album covers from The Police, Prince, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and others; costumes worn by The Cars’ Ric Ocasek and singer Linda Ronstadt for their cover photos; RIAA and UK Gold Record award presentations for records by Elton John, Robert Plant, Tina Turner and more, and several different versions of the notorious and much-desired “Butcher Cover” for the “Yesterday & Today” LP by The Beatles, with opening bids beginning at $750 for a “third state” version and $5,000 for a “first state” version.
4) New Print/Book Publishing –
a) Combining aspects of two popular album cover-based sites – Pop Spots (locating the places where original album cover photos were taken) and Sleeveface (where you find people “obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion”, as described on the Sleeveface site) – photographer Alex Bartsch has worked to locate sites in London where a batch of notable reggae album cover photos from the late 1960s through the late 1980s were taken and then create new photos of those covers integrated in new shots of those locations.
For his new book project titled Covers: Retracing Reggae Record Sleeves in London, Bartsch has selected over 40 of these new creations and shares the stories behind how he located and recreated each cover. In order to get his book published, he’s set up a Kickstarter program where he’ll first produce 200 limited-edition, signed copies of his book and, depending on your level of support, backers can also get bonus items such as photo postcards, signed art prints and, for a pledge of 500 GBP or more, he’ll even take you on a bike tour of London, stopping at several of the spots where these new works were created.
Daily Mail writer Mark Duell gives us an intro to the project at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3870008/Back-reggae-roots-Photographer-recreates-classic-vinyl-covers-original-London-locations.html
while those of you who might want to grab one of the first copies of the book (scheduled to be shipped in June, 2017) can find out more via this link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1060504029/covers-retracing-reggae-record-sleeves-in-london
b) Daniel Corrigan’s book “Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis” is released on November 1st (see article in Section 2, above). There is a nice photo album on the Star Tribune site that includes descriptions of 18 of the photos that will be on display, so take a moment to tab on through – http://www.startribune.com/starting-with-prince-first-avenue-photographer-chronicled-rise-of-twin-cities-music-scene/398894281/#1
c) Former Billboard Magazine Editor-in-Chief Adam White and Motown Records President Barney Ales have teamed up to create a just-published new book (400 pages, with over 1000 pictures) that, according to White, serves to tell the whole story behind the rise and success of Motown Records, with a special focus on the people behind the scenes without whom, he claims, “the music wouldn’t have been played and the bills wouldn’t have been paid”. In Motown: The Sound of Young America (with a forward by producer extraordinaire Andrew Loog Oldham), you’ll find, according to Thames & Thames, the book’s publisher, the “first official visual history of the label, new research, a dazzling array of images, and unprecedented access to the archives of the makers and stars of Motown lend new insight to the legend. In addition to extensive specially commissioned photography of treasures extracted from the Motown archives, as well as the personal collections of Barney Ales and Motown stars..” Interviews featured in the book include ones with Motown founder Berry Gordy and several of the label’s best-known acts, including Smokey Robinson and original Supreme Mary Wilson, among others.
The label also focused a lot of resources on the visuals of their acts which introduced audiences world-wide to the colors, textures, hair styles and dance moves that helped make kids of all colors and backgrounds fans of “the Motown Sound”.
Via this link to the Fox 2 Detroit web site – http://www.fox2detroit.com/good-day/204681762-story – you can also watch a 6-minute interview with White and Barney Ales’ son Brett as they discuss the book and share some of the stories found inside.
d) Bowie fans, take note – I just received a note from the Modern Rocks Gallery in Austin, TX letting me know that they now carry a range of David Bowie photo prints – including the famous Aladdin Sane, Lodger and Scary Monsters cover images – produced by the estate of the late photographer Brian Duffy. These new open edition prints (stamped by the Duffy Archive) are available in one size only (19.75″ square overall; 10.5″ square image size) are a very affordable way (at $300 each) to own these famous photos, so click on over to the Modern Rocks site to see what’s available – http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/duffy-archive/
e) You will recall an article from the not-too-distant past talking about the upcoming release of a revised edition of author/art expert Ramon Martos Garcia’s wonderful book on heavy metal album covers titled “And Justice For Art“. Well, our patience has been rewarded – the book is done and available for sale in a limited-edition version that delivers a lot of value for the money. The book was published by Dark Canvas, with more details and links available in a recent article on the KNAC.com site by Larry Petro (AKA “News Monkey”) – http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=21711
Ramon is a dedicated and knowledgeable writer with a true passion for his subject – hope you’ll check out his book and, if so inspired, make one your own.
5) Other articles of interest –
a) Record and consignment shop owners partially-attribute the rise of vinyl LP sales to the fact that folks “just like the album cover art”, an article posted by Danbury, CT-based News-Times writer Chris Bosak stated recently. While those of us who grew up with vinyl are not all that surprised to learn this, the fact that a 70+ year-old method of delivering music to fans is still appealing – particularly to those young folks who’ve grown up with digital music-capable devices attached to their hands and heads – is cause for a bit of reflection. From the late 1980s through the early 2000s, music products sold in either smaller physical formats (CD, DVD, etc.) or without physical packaging at all (MP3s and more-current digital formats, playable on computers, music players and mobile phones) sounded what seemed to be a death knoll for analog albums, but it seems that young people with an inquisitive streak and “audiophiles” who appreciate the seemed sonic advantages of uncompressed music have both worked together to re-kindle interest in the format, bringing much joy to those involved in the manufacturing, packaging and selling of vinyl music products, from records to turntables to $100/ft. speaker cables (!!). All those interviewed for this article made note of the fact that great album covers – and digging through stacks of records – were still very much part of the mystique.
b) Although this isn’t an album cover-related item (although, they did give us many great covers during their time in the limelight), the fact that the city council in Forest Hills, Queens, New York is honoring the Ramones by renaming the street in front of the entrance to Forest Hills High School (AKA the “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, located at the intersection of 67th Avenue and 110th Street and the alma mater of members of the band as well as Burt Bacharach, Simon & Garfunkel and guitarist Leslie West) “The Ramones Way” should be of great interest to music fans world-wide. The new street sign was installed on a nearby lamppost, with the honor being bestowed during a ceremony held on Sunday, October 30th. In attendance was Mickey Leigh (Joey Ramone’s brother), former band manager Danny Fields and their former tour manager, Monte Melnick. Gallery 98’s Marc H. Miller also participated in the ceremonies, and the exhibit he co-curated (Hey! Ho! Let’s Go! Ramones and the Birth of Punk) continues draw crowds to the Grammy Museum in LA, where it remains on display through February 28th.
Read more on the band’s web site – http://www.ramones.com/street-in-front-of-forest-hills-high-to-be-renamed-ramones-way-on-october-23/ and, if you’ve got an hour to kill, you can watch a video of the ceremony, including an introduction by the delightful (and “varry, varry, New Yawky”) City Council member Karen Koslowitz, who represents the 29th District that includes Forest Hills.
c) In 1996, the EMI record label turned to long-time Pink Floyd album cover designer Storm Thorgerson to come up with a promo image for an upcoming re-release of several of the band’s best-known records (AKA, their Back Catalog). Working with photographer Tony May, designer Finlay Cowan and top-tier body painter Phyllis Cohen, the team produced an image that went on to become one of the band’s most-popular poster images – one called simply Pink Floyd’s Back Catalogue. The image of six of the group’s record covers deftly painted on the backs of six young female models seated on the edge of a swimming pool was the first of several done over the years, with the later ones done to show off the breadth of Thorgerson’s studio’s album cover archive, including covers for acts including Black Sabbath, The Cranberries, Peter Gabriel and many more.
More recently, South Bay (LA/Long Beach-area) body painter Paul Roustan drew upon his inspiration from these previous works to create his own take on the subject, with each of the six models painted to represent an iconic image of the area’s history and culture. Calling his work Painted Ladies of the South Bay, he shot the models (all natives of the area) in two locations – at historic Hermosa Beach pier and on the nearby Strand Wall – and the effort has served to introduce new fans to his award-winning (1st place “North American Body Paint Champion” at the North American Body Paint Championships) work, with his latest book, titled Roustan Body Paint, which includes over 200 photos and several handy tutorials in case you want to try this on your own, winning 1st Place – Best Photography Book – at the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Awards. Read more at http://www.easyreadernews.com/136358/artist-paul-roustan-creates-south-bay-take-pink-floyd-album-cover-body-painting/ and, to see more of his work and his book, click on over to http://www.roustanbodypaint.com/book
d) Yes, he’s an amazingly-talented singer/songwriter but, in some circles, he’s almost as well-known for his contributions to the art of photo taking and printing, and for that he’s going to be feted several times over the next month or so…In addition to his career as a solo artist and member of bands including the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Graham Nash has been the co-owner of a company called Nash Editions, a place where seriously-picky photographers go to have their fine art prints produced to their exacting specifications. Over the years, Nash and his team have derived several new technologies and printing processes that have upped the quality of photo printing (particularly, in digital photo printing) to the level where those who had sworn off the notion of having their images produced for collectors on digital printing machines can now rely on certain companies to execute their print orders with great integrity and stunning image quality.
For these efforts, Nash was lauded at events including the October 23rd 2016 Lucie Awards Gala (the “Oscars” for photography) and the annual induction ceremonies for the International Photography Hall of Fame, which took place in St. Louis, MO on October 28th. It’s that museum’s 50th anniversary, and Nash was inducted alongside other famed image-makers including photographer Annie Leibovitz and film-maker Ken Burns.
You can read more about Nash’s Double Exposure Award from the Lucie Foundation via this link – http://www.lucies.org/honorees/graham-nash/ and about the IPHF’s 50th Anniversary award event at http://iphf.org/events/hall-fame-induction-50th-anniversary-celebration/
Nash’s portrait at the IPHF will live alongside those of previous inductees which include photographers Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank and Edward Weston (actually, he’s right after Eadweard Muybridge and right before Beamont Newhall – pretty significant neighbors, no?) and other technologists including George Eastman, Steve Jobs, John & Thomas Knoll (inventors of Photoshop) and Victor Hasselblad. Congratulations, Mr. Nash, for making both our ears and our eyes very happy and proving, once and for all, you’re more than just a Simple Man.
e) Looking for something crafty to do with your duplicate/triplicate album covers? Join the “upcycling” revolution and turn your favorite old cardboard sleeves into a useful and unique folder. Based on what I know about your collections, you’ll be the only one showing up to work with folders sporting Lee Conklin’s “Santana Lion” or Barry Godber’s screaming-face King Crimson image – certain to spark conversations with your friends and co-workers.
To follow up a previous “How To” article (about making a folder out of an old album cover – http://craftingagreenworld.com/2016/10/03/how-to-make-a-folder/ – the folks at Crafting A Green World have published an article that will allow us to expand our portfolios of album cover-derived products to now include bookmarks, Christmas Tree ornaments, greeting cards and more. There’s even plans for a hand-held fan! If you’re like me and have several covers we’ve kept long after the records have become unplayable, then “12 Ways To Reuse An Album Cover” will serve as inspiration for you to grab a hobby knife, some glue and get started in time for Holiday gift-giving.
Not only is it easy and fun, you get to play with an X-Acto Knife and Duct Tape, too (surely you have these items from your last kidnapping project – I know that I do)!
f) 12-inch “big sleeves”, “Mondo vinyl” packages and other alternative methods of giving fans and collectors a way to show off their favorite media packages – it seems clear that there are a number of media production/promotion companies these days that are turning back to a tried and true method of delivering content and art/accessories in ways that will entice fans to spend real money to own them. While many in the music and general entertainment industries continue to rail against digital products and how they’ve effected their bottom lines, others – some small upstarts along with some of the biggest names in the business – have looked for new opportunities to both build strong bonds with fans and get them to reach deep into their pockets to pay for specially-made, often limited-edition media products.
In an article published the other day by Ben Travis of the Evening Standard, you’ll get to see and learn more about some of the long-standing efforts (box sets, colored vinyl, etc.) and many of the newer ones, including Disney’s newly-released “Big Sleeve” packages for six of their most-popular films (Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, Star Wars, etc.) that deliver DVDs sheathed in 12-inch LP-sized sleeves that also include bonus items (photos, prints, booklets, etc.). Some feature updated graphics, while others reprise designs from the past, but all give consumers something to show their friends during their next visit to their respective media rooms.
g) I continue to be impressed and amazed with the amount of great album art being produced in markets all over the world, with one site from Australia – ToneDeaf.com – regularly presenting articles about record packages being produced for musical acts that may not be familiar to music fans outside their local markets. One example is this article by Tyler Jenke titled “15 TIMES RECORD PACKAGING GOT COOL, CREATIVE AND WEIRD” in which you’ll see a number of examples of artwork and special packaging (including one that includes a full-on board game!) that, for the most part, represent the exception and not the norm these days. It seems clear that there are a number of artists that have figured out the value of great packaging and visuals and have committed significant resources to these efforts, so while you might not love all you see, you can’t help but be impressed by the sincerity of their efforts..
h) On Friday, October 14th at the Society of Illustrators/Museum of Illustration located at 128 East 63rd Street (just East of Park Ave.) beginning at 6:30PM EST – noted author Steven Heller moderated a panel discussion titled “Can Art Affect Social Change?”, and which featured award-winning artist/illustrator Anita Kunz and a group of influential illustrators (Barry Blitt, Nora Krug and Peter Kuper) as well as music producer Hal Willner, each of whom has produced works that “focus on current issues and strive to affect social and political change.” You might recall from an early posting here that the Museum recently hosted (through October 22nd) an exhibition of works by noted illustrator and cultural satirist Ralph Steadman and so this panel, which included folks who’ve all been influenced by Steadman’s “Gonzo” style, should all be very qualified to add color and substance to the topic at hand.
Both Kunz and Blitt have contributed their talents to clients in the music space, and Willner, who has established himself as a producer of many “tribute” concerts, events and records (as well as the music for all of the sketch pieces on SNL since the early 1980s), was happy to share his unique perspectives on how the visual and musical arts can both reflect and impact audiences with their power and messaging.
More information can be found via the link at
i) Now, here’s an “album art/packaging is dying/dead” article with a twist! While the smaller 5″ square canvas reserved for the images used on CD covers did somewhat stifle the visual impact of art created for the format, the jewel case did in fact offer designers an opportunity “to go deep” – i.e., to craft multi-page booklets in which they could include multiple images, lyric pages and other items of interest. To do this with LPs required the creation of either specialized (mostly gatefold) packages or, more often, a box in which to hold the records and the booklets made to give fans “extra value”. As with any addition to a retail package, most buyers would only invest a limited amount of time digging through the extras, but those that did would typically come away with a slightly-better understanding and appreciation of the artist and his/her/their music.
I’m not quite sure just how old DJ Booth writer Yoh is (I’m assuming that he’s quite a bit younger than I am), but I have to think that his lament about “the slow death of the album booklet” – with its appreciation of more-recent packages (i.e., those released within the past 10 years or so) such as Kanye West’s George Condo art-filled package for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, with its collection of striking black and white photos taken by French shooter Denis Rouvre – focuses mostly on how the author feels that digital “booklets” and linked web sites lack the personal (read “physical”) value found in the printed materials that accompany a CD. How quaint.
j) A day late, perhaps, but still a topic worth exploring – of course, yesterday was Halloween, a night where we’re expected to honor and experience all things horrible and frightening (no, I’m not talking about our upcoming election again). Over the years – particularly in certain sub-genres of the heavy metal music world – a fair number of scary/disturbing/disgusting album cover images have been put on display to entice fans to explore the music packaged inside, so it only seems fitting that a yearly capsule summary of the most-memorable of these covers becomes the subject of an article. This year’s best summary comes to us from writer Matthew Wilkening in a posting for the UltimateClassicRock site titled “Rock’s 30 Scariest Album Covers”, in which you’ll find examples from your favorite metal music masters (Black Sabbath/Ozzy/Dio, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, etc.) as well as some classic designs that routinely show up on “everyone’s favorite sick sleeves” listings, including Barry Godber’s ultimate screaming face for King Crimson and Funkadelic’s truly-disturbing Maggot Brain. Click thru the list slowly, making sure to relish the artistry on display, all the while telling yourself “it’s only an album cover”… http://ultimateclassicrock.com/scary-album-covers/
Bonus content – Just wanted to share a photo of an advert in a recent edition of Portland Monthly magazine that, I think you’ll agree, shows just how deeply that certain influential album cover designs (like that for Abbey Road, by The Beatles) have been integrated into our collective consciences…Here’s an ad by a rug/carpet dealer in Portland, OR named Kush regarding their upcoming move from one location to a new one in town. I wonder if anyone will be analyzing the ad for all its symbolism – is the little dog on staff, or the embodiment of the soul of a long-dead area carpet weaver?
That’s all for now – look for updates every week (typically, on a Friday) on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another summary for you.
All text Copyright 2016 Mike Goldstein and AlbumCoverHallofFame.com – All Rights Reserved. All of trade names mentioned in these summaries are the properties of their respective owners and are used for reference only.