Tag Archives: Tupac

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Sales/Auctions –

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

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

4) New Print/Book Publishing –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Other articles of interest –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information can be found via the link at

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

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

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

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

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

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

kushabbeyrdnov2016v2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

Album Cover News Recap for November, 2015

It’s early December 2015 and, here in the Pacific NW, we’ve already been treated to the first blasts of Winter air – great skiing on Mt. Hood and sleeping-with-the-windows-open weather – with the last bits of Fall’s colors reminding us why we moved here. The craziness we all seem to suffer from at the end of the year has done nothing to stunt the flow of album art-related news, though, with the ACHOF news feed including many exhibitions, books and the like we reported on during the last 30 days. With stories featuring new interviews, features, book releases, gallery/museum shows and the first “best and worst” lists adding to the endless source of joy and inspiration 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 visit our site to complete your re-reading of these items of interest on this list by reading/viewing these items at your leisure…

Lots of interesting interviews this past month – both in print and on video – with album artists, rock photographers and others involved in the record packaging world, including art directors Gary Burden, John Van Hamersveld, Kosh, Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean fame) and Tupac’s designer Riskie; photographers Dan Corrigan, Dave Drebin and Brian Cooke, as well as artist/illustrator Tommie Phillips (AKA “Tommie Molecule”).

In the fine art book category, there was news of new and upcoming book releases from photographer Jay Blakesberg (about the Grateful Dead’s farewell shows), designer/illustrator James Marsh (on his work for Talk Talk), author David Hamsley (with a comprehensive book on Disco-era covers), a GWAR photo retrospective and Taschen’s extensive homage to “the father of album covers”, Alex Steinweiss.

World-wide, there were a large number of exhibitions and shows in museums and galleries built around rock-related imagery that premiered during November, with collections on display that show a broad range of album art and related imagery. You’ll read more about current and just-completed exhibits such as Beatle-daughter Mary McCartney’s show of both her/her mother’s family portraits, painter/professor Don Munson’s latest works, a show centered on the art made during So. California’s punk era, cartoonist Jamie Hewlett’s (of Gorillaz fame) latest works, musician/artist Andy Votel’s cassette mix-tape cover designs, White Zombie’s Sean Yseult’s highly-personal artwork and photo shows featuring the works of Dan Fong, Tony Mott, Ken Davidoff and Masayoshi Sukita.

Other interesting articles appeared on subjects including the many new examples of album art-inspired merchandise (something to keep in mind at Holiday time!), a profile of rock star clothier Manuel Cuevas, new record packages where music is delivered via chip-embedded picture cards, a look at the art of design house/record label Mondo, several items listing the “best” and “worst” covers in genres including heavy metal and hip-hop and a look at how photographer Jon Smith creates cover images based on high-speed shots of bullets penetrating various solid objects.

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!

One final noteWe’ve just completed this year’s annual nominating/final voting polls 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. You’ll now find the list of this year’s inductees on the ACHOF via this link – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/achof-class-of-2015-inductee-intro-page/ – where I’m sure you’ll find some of your favorite album art producers added to our growing list of honorees.

With all of the year-end distractions now upon us , I’m doing my part 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 – it’s my Holiday gift to you!  You can be sure that I’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). Enjoy your Holidays!

November 30th –  1) So, you’ve collected years of rock and roll memorabilia, photos and memories of rock music events and are looking for a way to share it all with the world at large? Of course, you could always do something silly – like launch a blog or web site – but, beginning on December 1st, the curators at The Smithsonian want you to share with other fans via a new site they’ve launched because, according to their press release, “we want rock’n’roll as seen through your eyes: at clubs, concerts, festivals, and beyond.” With one of the ultimate goals of this project being the publication of a book of crowd-sourced images (in the Fall of 2017), the new site (rockandroll.si.edu) will work to be ground central for amateur archivists from around the world. I hope to find out more about the details of this project and will share them with you soon but, in the meantime, you can learn more about how you can help our National Museum become one of the world’s most-complete storehouses of rock music imagery via the link – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-smithsonian-wants-you-to-hit-them-with-your-best-shot-300182334.html

2) Holiday time is the time where rock imagery fans scour the world trying to find never-before-sent gifts to their fellow collectors and, each year, I’m always impressed with some of the unique items I find and am able to share with you. While I’m working on a more-comprehensive article for later in the month, I did want to show you one example I found recently – a collection of cozy blankets and tapestries adorned with well-know album cover and rock portrait designs. Writing for Fast Company‘s design site, Joe Berkowitz introduces us to products sold by a company called society6 that include several well-known album covers nicely-rendered in fabric – you’ll find art for musical acts including Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, Primal Scream, Seal and many others. Lots to choose from, so if you’re stymied for an idea for something new and exciting, take a look – http://www.fastcocreate.com/3053856/wrap-yourself-up-in-music-with-blankets-patterned-after-your-favorite-album-covers#2

November 27th –  1) The talents of the accomplished graphic artist/album cover designer James Marsh are now available in gift-giving form via the new, just-released paperback version of the sold-out 2012 book called “The Spirit of Talk Talk. He kicked the book’s promo off a couple of days ago at a star-studded, musically-intriguing party (featuring The Spirit of Talk Talk Band) at the Clapham Grand in London and, based on the coverage of the event, a great time was had by all who attended. James’ newly-revised book adds pages of new content (artwork, interviews and more) and is a must-have for fans of the artist’s amazingly life-like (and yet surrealistic) illustrations. You can find out more about the book via the Spirit of Talk Talk site – http://spiritoftalktalk.com/ and see pics and video of the recent promo party at https://www.facebook.com/SpiritOfTalkTalk/?fref=photo

Congratulations, James – nice work!

2) In a newly-launched exhibition at NYC’s Gagosian Gallery (available for viewing from now until December 19th), you’ll find an impressive display of photographs that highlight the fact that talent can certainly be inherited. Viewers of “Linda McCartney|Mary McCartney – Mother Daughter” will find a selection of intimate family portraits – some never shown in public – as well as photos well-known to fans of Sir Paul and his family, such as Linda’s shot of her husband and then-baby Mary featured on the cover of the 1970 solo record McCartney. In Sue Williamson‘s interview article on the W Magazine website, you’ll learn more about how this exhibition came together and a bit about how young Ms. McCartney thought it would show how influential her mother’s talents as a photographer turned out to be – http://www.wmagazine.com/culture/art-and-design/2015/11/mary-mccartney-gagosian/photos/

3) While some music fans might be intimidated by the prospect of exploring the cultural themes of rap and hip-hop music, album art fans will be greatly-rewarded by a thorough exploration of the development of the genre’s visuals over the years, with many records serving as stunning examples of both visual artistry and social commentary. In an article written and compiled by Dominique Zonyee for The Boombox site titled “25 Striking Hip-Hop Album Covers That Will Make You Appreciate a Rapper’s Creative Side“, you’ll find a photo gallery showing off examples of memorable cover art for 20+ years of musical acts including Wu-Tang Clan, Geto Boys, Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, DMX, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake and many others. Some are cliche’, some are disturbing and some show an impressive degree of knowledge of the technical and historical influences that simply make for great art – enjoy – http://theboombox.com/25-hip-hop-album-covers-rappers-creative-side/

November 26th –  1) As I’m a fan of artists who’ve excelled in the two disciplines of cartoon animation and album cover art, on the rare occasion that one person achieves fame in BOTH arenas, I’m even more impressed. Such is the case with Jamie Hewlett, the guy responsible for Gorillaz – the “make believe” band that featured music videos (and album covers) built around band members that sprung from the crafty fingers of Mr. Hewlett and who achieved a great deal of success several years ago and whose last record (2010’s Plastic Beach) included the talents of Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg and singer Bobby Womack. While Gorillaz will be staging a comeback soon, Hewlett’s talent as a fine artist was the subject of an exhibition (titled “The Suggestionists”) that was on display through December 2nd at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Read more about the artist’s latest efforts in Holly Williams‘ recent interview article on The Independent (UK) site – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/jamie-hewlett-on-the-return-of-the-gorillaz-and-fine-art-saatchi-gallery-exhibition-a6733491.html

2) Fans of famed photographer Masayoshi Sukita – perhaps best-known for the photo he snapped of glam-rocker David Bowie in 1977 that was used on the cover of his Heroes LP (and re-purposed in 2013 on the cover of the singer’s popular record titled The Next Day) – can hoof it on over to the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC (until Nov. 30th, moving to the gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami the following week) to view a retrospective they’ve assembled titled “Sukita: David Bowie”. In this article on Time Magazine‘s site by Kenneth Bachor, you’ll read more about the artist and his 40+year relationship with the rocker who’s called Sukita “a brilliant artist” – see if you don’t agree… http://time.com/4117090/sukita-david-bowie-photos/

3) Colorado Public Radio’s reporting team of Michael D. Yoanna and Nathan Heffel has posted an audio interview with photographer Dan Fong, a shooter with a resume and portfolio that includes portraits of nearly every major musical act that toured through the Denver area in the 1960s-70s (The Who, Van Morrison, Tommy Bolin and others), a series of album cover images for The Doobie Brothers and, based on his further talents as a chef, cooking for a dinner party for The Rolling Stones. A new exhibition of Fong’s photos from the era are also now on display (titled Legends of Rock) from now through January 2nd at the Robert Anderson Gallery in Denver. Sharing the interview with Fong is security guru to the stars, Jerry McKim, who shares tales of his duty keeping fans from killing themselves and the bands that played the local venues – good times, for sure.

https://www.cpr.org/news/story/denvers-rock-heyday-through-eyes-photographer-and-security-man

November 24th –  1) One of the most-creative labels behind the resurgence in the sales of vinyl records is Austin, TX-based Mondo, founded by a saloon owner named Tim League who grew his business to include concerts, merchandise (both their own and from major licensors) and, ultimately, a record label that produces and distributes smartly-packaged music. Their specialty is custom-produced movie soundtrack albums, and the 50+ records they’ve released includes compilations from films such as Star Wars, Shaun of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy and many others. Their products have featured art work done by several highly-collected fine artists (including Olly Moss and Tyler Stout, among othes) and, in this recent article by Zack Ruskin on the Consequence of Sound site, you’ll learn more about the company’s past and plans for the future, straight from the principals – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/11/merch-madness-inside-the-world-of-mondo/

2) While 1969’s International Palm Beach Music & Arts Festival held at the area Speedway didn’t move the Pop Culture needle the same way that Woodstock did that year, the fact that key period bands such as The Byrds, Grand Funk Railroad, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones (as well as many others) played before the 50,000 or so ticket-holders over the three days of the festival gave local photographers such as Ken Davidoff a chance to capture memorable images of these bands for posterity. All these years later, Davidoff is now earning a living licensing shots from his portfolio – including images from the previously-mentioned shows – via his OldRockPhoto.com site and displayed a selection of them in a show that ran thru Nov. 30th at the Palm Beach County History Museum, 300 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL. You can learn more about the photographer and his career (including time spent with John Lennon) in Leslie Gray Streeter‘s recent article for the Palm Beach Post – http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/entertainment/arock-n-roll-backstage-pass-classic-rock-photos-by/npN3B/

3) One of the best-known Elvis records – titled 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong – featured Elvis in a custom-designed gold lame suit created by famed clothing designer Manuel Cuevas, who also supplied iconic clothing for Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the stars featured in over 100 films and TV shows. Still tailoring-away in his eighties, in this interview article by Freunde von Freunden for The Creators Project, you’ll learn all about the designer’s time spent as a youngster studying from the great Nudie and then stepping out on his own to help design important aspects of many a star’s public and on-screen personnas – http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/meet-the-man-who-made-elvis-signature-gold-suit

Any guy who has helped cement our fondest remembrances of Raquel Welch and Marilyn Monroe is a friend of mine…

November 23rd –  1) Very nice article on one of the world’s best-known and prolific album cover artists – Kosh, the man responsible for cover images you love including Hotel California for the Eagles, Abbey Road for The Beatles, Who’s Next for The Who and many, many others. I wrote a while back about the fact that Kosh is now selling a line of prints that include some very well-done “mash-ups” of some of his famous works – how about “Abbey Hotel”, where the Fab Four are now crossing the street in front of the iconic So. CA. hotel (!!). In writer Laura Huntt Foti’s feature on the Best Classic Bands site, the designer gives us some delightful tidbits on the stories behind several of his images, available via the link at http://bestclassicbands.com/kosh-creates-unforgettable-lp-covers-11-17-15/

2) Designer/photographer Brian Cooke has contributed a number of memorable images for fans of rock and roll since starting in the business in the 1960s. Since then, working as both an in-house producer for Island Records and as a freelancer doing work for other labels including Chrysalis and Virgin Records (where he produced over 150 sleeve images), Cooke has worked to introduce us to many now-classic acts in the worlds of rock, punk, New Wave and beyond, including Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music, Steve Winwood/Traffic, Robert Palmer, the Sex Pistols, Mott The Hoople and many more. Writer Sharon Dale, reporting for The Yorkshire Post, talks to Cooke about his career and his two recent efforts – a blog and a retail web store – to share highlights of his experiences (his “adventures”) with fans world-wide – http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/yorkshire-living/arts/art/sleeve-notes-my-adventures-in-rock-n-roll-1-7561323

3) The packaging and distribution of retail music products continues to evolve with the times and technology, as you’ll see in this recent article by Brooke Roberts-Islam in the Huffington Post about musician Beatie Wolfe and how she’s chosen to sell her music product to fans – via a specially-produced deck of cards that include NFC technology that allows properly-app’d smart-phones to instantly play her songs, accompanied with lyrics, artwork and other proprietary content. It’s a pretty cool combination of digital and physical, I think you’ll agree – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/brooke-robertsislam/beatie-wolfe_b_8503290.html

Has anyone actually seen or played with anything like this? Please share, if you have…

November 20th –  1) If you find yourself anywhere near Napa, CA, you owe it to yourself to drive on over to the gallery at sparkling wine maker Mumm Napa to see a showing of photos, taken by Jim Marshall and curated by both Carlos Santana and the folks at the San Francisco Art Exchange gallery. According to the press release for “Jim Marshall Seen Through The Eyes Of Carlos Santana”, the show serves to both allow the winery to introduce their new, limited-release sparkler called “Santana Savor” and for the award-winning guitarist “to show Jim Marshall’s genius as a photographer, a chronicler of history and portraitist of no equal.” The two first met in 1965 when a mutual friend of theirs introduced them and asked Jim to shoot some publicity photos of what was then known as the Santana Blues Band, and their friendship endures to this day (even after Jim’s death in 2010). The show runs through May of next year, and details can be found via the link – https://www.mummnapa.com/visitmummnapa/events/jim-marshall-seen-through-the-eyes-of-carlos-santana

2) Designer Gary Burden‘s work in the album art field is legendary, so it’s nice to be able to learn a bit more about “the making of” his “10 Most-Memorable Album Covers” in this recent article/photo gallery put together by Melody Lau on the CBC Music blog – http://music.cbc.ca/#!/blogs/2015/11/From-Neil-Young-to-Joni-Mitchell-artist-Gary-Burden-on-10-of-his-most-famous-album-covers   If you’re in Toronto anytime between now and next February, you can also tour a new gallery show of Burden’s (and his wife, Jenice Heo’s) creative output called The Neil Young Series on display at the STRUCK Contemporary gallery on Adelaide Street East. The display includes a number of new mixed-media works the duo recently produced that attempt to express their feelings about the musician and his music. You’ll recall that Burden created the album cover for Young’s 1970 album titled After The Gold Rush, as well as those for On The Beach and several CSN&Y albums, including Deja Vu and 4-Way Street. 

3) Andy Votel is truly a multi-talented guy – artist, musician, producer, record label owner – and so it seems natural that he’d apply his gifts to music-and-art-related projects for himself and his stablemates. A true indie at heart, he’s also decided to “buck the system” and, rather than create new music/art for more-traditional retail distribution, Andy has decided to offer fans a series of cassette mixtapes that sport the artist’s colorful cover imagery. Working with the Manchester (U.K.)-based gallery Electrik, you’ll be able (through December 3rd) to see an exhibition of his latest works that include “tape covers – ranging from Bollywood horror themes to Tokyo pop via music made entirely on home made instruments.” Writing for TheQuietus site, John Doran has posted an interview with Votel during which he discusses his anti-establishment approach to delivering music and art via a medium most consider being from a bygone era – http://thequietus.com/articles/19215-andy-votel-turn-on-tape-in-tab-out-exhibition-preview

November 19th –  1) Here’s a great interview article with a great interview article subject – graphic artist John Van Hamersveld, a guy that has so many impressive credits that it’s difficult to begin to summarize them. The Endless Summer poster? That’s him. The Fatburger logo? John again. The covers for Magical Mystery Tour, Exile On Main Street and Hotter Than Hell for KISS, along with posters, prints and, most-recently, a huge, classic Japanese art-inspired mural in Hermosa Beach, CA – all show this artist’s impact on Pop Culture over the past 50 years – so it’s with great pleasure that I point you towards writer Thomas Harlander‘s article as it appeared recently on the Los Angeles Magazine site – http://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/the-artist-behind-the-endless-summer-poster-on-his-work-then-and-now/   Surfers world-wide owe JVH an eternal debt of gratitude!

2) While the cover collage for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s and the photo of the same band’s members crossing the street featured on the cover of Abbey Road must surely be the most-copied frameworks for spoof covers, the folks behind seminal British rock band Queen – in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the release of Queen II and “Bohemian Rhapsody” – have worked to raise money for the BBC’s “Children In Need” charity by sponsoring a contest where fans were able to stop by a spot in London where a recreation of Wayne’s World‘s 1978 AMC Pacer was set up so that participants could record a re-make of the band’s classic tune. In addition, a number of U.K. rock stars participated in another fund-raiser, posing to re-create Mick Rock’s famous “floating head” photo that ultimately served as both the cover for the record and the basis for the memorable music video for the song. Writer Duncan Lindsay, on the Metro U.K. web site – has just posted a quiz that asks you to identify the substitutes in a series of these photo re-creations – I hope that you did better than I did on this (I really need to bone up on my UK pop stars!) – http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/11/quiz-can-you-name-these-stars-who-have-recreated-the-queen-bohemian-rhapsody-pose-5495218/

3) The Boston Globe‘s Mark Feeney recently posted his review on the newly-launched show at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford (running now through January 24) featuring over 100 works by both Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe that explore their takes on sexual identity and gender. Titled “Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls,” the show consists of “mostly photographs, but also silkscreens, books, album covers, and several videos..(that) range in date from 1973 to 1988, a year after Warhol’s death — and a year before Mapplethorpe’s.” You’ll recall one such example in Mapplethorpe’s 1975 photo of Patti Smith, used on the cover of her record titled Horses, showing Ms. Smith posed in a man’s suit, but many other lesser-known but equally-impactful images are on hand to exemplify the many ways these two artists sought to address the topic. More info via the link – https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2015/11/12/warhol-and-mapplethorpe-hartford/cPeQAHuF65XLucOIv35R6M/story.html

November 18th –  1) Some of you may recall the “Featured Fan Portfolio” feature that I did late last year with photographer/writer David Hamsley regarding gatefold record covers. At the time, David was getting materials together for a book about disco records (with a special focus on the visuals that helped create the era’s unforgettable look and feel), and I’m happy to announce that he’s published his book – titled To Disco, With Love: The Records That Defined An Era (it began shipping on Nov. 24th) – and that it was selected by Amazon.com to be included in their “Editor’s Picks for Unique and Unusual Gift Books” section this Holiday Season. http://www.amazon.com/To-Disco-Love-Records-Defined/dp/1250068452

Congratulations, David! Here’s to a successful, Quiana and thumping bass-filled Holiday sales season! If you’d like to revisit my interview with the author, just follow the link –  https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/featured-fan-portfolio-david-hamsleys-favorite-gatefold-covers/

2) One of the best-known music industry shooters from “Down Under” is Tony Mott who, for over 30 years, has provided us fans with many memorable images of bands for both record packages (Concrete Blonde, Icehouse, Sarah McLachlan and others) and news features in major entertainment pubs. With over 30,000 photos published over the years, I can only imagine the difficulty curators faced when trying to pick just a few to feature in a new exhibition titled What A Life! (running now through next February 6th) in the Mitchell & Dixson Galleries at the State Library/New South Wales in Sydney. Writing for the ABC Arts site, Edwina Storie interviews Mr. Mott, who tracks his career from his first big break (a photo of The Divinyls’ lead singer Chrissy Amphlett) through to sessions with Johnny Rotten, the Rolling Stones and Midnight Oil. Read the interview at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-11/tony-mott-reflects-on-the-golden-age-of-music-photography/6931716 and learn more about the exhibition at  http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/exhibitions/2015/what_a_life/

3) Album Artist on The Late Show! How cool is that? Shepard Fairey, the graphic artist best-known for his Andre The Giant “OBEY” graffiti and his Obama “HOPE” poster, also sports a long list of album art credits, including covers for Led Zeppelin, Stone Temple Pilots, Bad Brains and many others. Earlier this week, Fairey appeared with host Stephen Colbert to promote his new book and talk about his past and future plans and his willingness to die (or, at least, go to jail) for his art. Here’s a link to the clip of his appearance on the CBS/Late Show web site – http://www.cbs.com/shows/the-late-show-with-stephen-colbert/video/330F4113-B7DD-ADFC-BDAD-13BA13743D68/shepard-fairey-talks-hope-obey-art/

November 17th –  1) After his singing partner Jan Berry was badly injured in a car crash back in 1966, Dean Torrence continued to work on a new record and, at the same time, reached back to his earlier training as a graphic artist to start his own design studio – Kittyhawk Graphics – to make sure that the album art featured on his own records was to his satisfaction. He soon offered his services to other music industry friends and clients (including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Chicago) and, in 1973, he won a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover for his work on Pollution (the record/band, not the environment). While he’s not doing album covers any more, Torrence still performs on occasion and, as you’ll read in this recent interview with Frank Mastropolo on the Rock Cellar Magazine site, you’ll learn more about his career, the trail that lead from do-wop music to “the California Sound” and his relationship with friend/competitor Brian Wilson – http://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/2015/11/06/dean-torrence-interview-jan-and-dean-beach-boys-brian-wilson-jan-berry/

2) Happy to share Bruce Jenkins’ recent article on the Vinyl Connection site about the re-release of one of rock music’s most-intriguing (and perfectly round) album packages – that of the Small Faces’ 1968 release Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. So much art in a fascinating package, with artwork by keyboardist Ian Mclagan’s art school chums Pete Brown and Nick Tweddell. Now, if they could only figure out how to stop the package from rolling off the shelf.. http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/11/17/multi-colour-of-the-rainbold/

3) Now on display (thru 12/31) at the Sacred Gallery in New York City is an exhibition by another musician-turned-fine-artist Sean Yseult, best-known for her time spent as the bassist for the popular metal band White Zombie. Trained as a graphic artist at the Parsons School of Design in NYC (where she met and then befriended Rob Zombie), since the band’s first break-up in 1998 Sean has worked hard to develop her career as a fine artist, crafting critically-acclaimed mixed media works which have been on display in galleries in the U.S. and Europe. This new show – titled Sean Yseult: Retrospective – includes a variety of works from various times during her career as an artist, including items from a 2004 show centered on her love of her adopted home of New Orleans and three newer collections – SEX & DEATH & ROCKNROLL (2012), MISSISSIPPI MERMAIDS (2013) and her most-recent show SOIRÉE D’EVOLUTION: TABLEAUX VIVANTS ET NATURE MORTES. You can learn more about the artist and her new show on the gallery’s site, via the link – http://www.sacredgallerynyc.com/now-exhibit-sean-yseult-retrospective

November 16th –  1) While not exactly album cover art-related, I did feel as though I could share this brief intro to the graphic artist who created an image that, like so many great examples of well-considered graphics, will certainly stand the test of time. A 32-year-old French artist living in London named Jean Jullien is responsible for the peace-symbol-turned-Eiffel Tower image that has circulated world-wide since it appeared shortly after Friday’s mind-numbing terror attack in Paris, and you can learn a little more about him and the graphic he created – based on an anti-nuclear war emblem that originated in the 1950s – in this AFP article found on the ArtDaily site – http://artdaily.com/news/82919/-Peace-for-Paris–symbol-by-32-year-old-French-graphic-artist-Jean-Jullien-goes-viral

2) Photographer Dan Corrigan‘s 30+-year portfolio of music clients in the Minneapolis, MN area includes a number of well-known album covers, including the shot featured on the package for The Replacements’ 1984 release Let It Be (along with others for a wide range of acts including The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, The Proclaimers…even comedian Lewis Black!). In the latest installment of the Pitchfork TV series titled Pitchfork Unsung which, as you might figure, focuses on folks working in the music business who don’t receive all of the recognition they might deserve (what a concept!), you’ll meet Dan and watch as he takes you through the highlights of his career, including his efforts to keep alive one venerable local nightclub – First Avenue – so that future generations can enjoy the vibe there as much as he has over the years…http://pitchfork.com/news/61941-photographer-dan-corrigan-the-replacements-let-it-be-featured-in-pitchforktvs-pitchfork-unsung/

3) Part of the team that produced the Grammy-nominated cover for jazz-rock hit-makers Chicago (for Chicago VI), Donald E. Munson was the subject of an exhibit that ran through November 28th at the Storr’s Library in Longmeadow, MA as part of their 2nd annual Local Artist Spotlight. “Evolution: Don Munson – Fifty Years of Painting” is sponsored by the town’s Cultural Council, with the exhibit including 50 examples of Munson’s work from 1965 to the present. Munson has worked in a number of roles in the arts during his illustrious career, including time as an award-winning Art Director at Random House and a professor at Westfield State University and continues to paint while operating his Red Stair Studio from his home in Longmeadow. You can see more of Munson’s colorful work and learn more about him in this illustrated interview by Christine White on the MassLive.com site –  http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2015/11/longmeadow_artist_donald_munson_marks_five_decades_of_life_on_canvas.html

November 13th – 1) High-speed photography has produced some fascinating images over the years, so it only makes sense that it would find its way into album cover imagery and, in this recent article/interview with former chemist-turned-photographer Jon Smith (written by Mark Ambrogi for the Current In Fishers site), you’ll learn more about his transition from corporate scientist to producer of pictures of frozen destruction for media clients, including popular party band Umphrey’s McGee, who featured one of Jon’s photos on the cover of their recent record titled The London Session: A Day At Abbey Road Studios – http://currentinfishers.com/aiming-for-art-fishers-photographer-jon-smith-turns-exploding-light-bulbs-into-creative-displays/

You can find more examples of Smith’s work – including the UM record cover, on his site – http://wideeyedilluminations.com/portfolio/umphreys-mcgee-album/

2) Early prog rock fans will remember the mid-60s ensemble The Syn, which featured a pre-YES Chris Squire and Peter Banks and drummer-turned-rock-photographer Martyn Adelman (among others). Although the band broke up in the late 60s, some of the key players reunited in 2004 and have continued to record and perform. A fan of their early music – Denver, CO-area graphic artist Tommie Phillips (AKA Tommie Molecule), was looking to interview the band for a fan-zine he produced at the time called The Lost Chord and, during their correspondence, band-members were so impressed with the drawings Tommie shared with them that they asked him to design and illustrate the cover for their upcoming release titled The Syn: Live Rosfest, which he happily and ably did. In this article by writer Oakland L. Childers for Westword magazine, you’ll meet Phillips and learn more about his past (including stints as a photo-retoucher and pre-press artist for a local newspaper), his entry into the album art world and his desire to help keep great album cover imagery alive (here, here!) – http://www.westword.com/music/tommie-phillips-creates-album-art-from-the-heart-for-the-syn-7308758

3) Oh, and it makes me wonder…why do so many musical acts accept less-than-good artwork for the covers of their albums? You wouldn’t think that this would be the case – particularly in the graphics-heavy world of Metal Music – but as you’ll see in Joe DeVita‘s recent article on the Loudwire site titled “50 Awful Metal Album Covers”, it seems to have been a pretty-regular occurrence throughout modern metal music history. It’s a painful-but-fascinating read/viewing (where “the hits keep on coming”). Enjoy (?) – http://loudwire.com/awful-metal-album-covers/Metalucifer’s Heavy Metal Chainsaw and Heavy Metal Drill made me snort my soda through my nose (not a very metal thing to do – I know)…

November 12th – 1) Elliott Landy‘s photos have graced the covers of records by The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and others, but the scope of his career has also included (among other things) stints as a photo-journalist covering the anti-war movement in the 1960s and an event photographer at the Woodstock Arts & Music Festival. On Wednesday, November 18th at the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center in mid-town Manhattan (NYC), Mr. Landy was on hand to present a career retrospective titled “An Evening with 60’s Rock Legend Photographer, Elliott Landy” that will include a number of images of some of the era’s top music talent at home and in performance. Although the event time has passed, you can still see and learn more when you click on over to the event’s promo page at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-60s-rock-legend-photographer-elliott-landy-59-tickets-18937067278

In case you were wondering, Elliott was a 1959 CUNY graduate…

2) Moving from New York in the 60s to New York in the 1970s, fans of the work of photographer Allan Tannenbaum can click on over to the Mr. Musichead site to see a special “artist of the month” feature on his work that includes a nice photo album and an interview (by Ellice Ruiz) with the esteemed shooter himself. With a career as a photographer that began in the 1960s and included subjects such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Debbie Harry & Blondie, jazz great Charles Mingus, the Bee Gees and many others, he’s established himself as one of the top portrait photographers in the city, but it was his post 9-11 photo show (which he took to galleries in France and Italy) that cemented his place in the pantheon of NYC-based photojournalists, IMHO… Portfolio at http://mrmusichead.com/portfolio-items/allan-tannenbaum/, with the interview at http://mrmusichead.com/featured-artist-allan-tannenbaum/

November 11th –  1) Ghostly International began 16 years ago as an indie record label, and while the successful expansion of Sam Valenti IV’s brand into other leading-edge lifestyle products might have caused some companies to lose focus on the ideals that brought them to market, Ghostly continues to put creativity front and center in the packaging of their music products. In Ben Sisario’s recent article for the New York Times, you’ll have a chance to learn more about Valenti and his company and see some of the unique ways that they’re offering customers limited-edition music and related products, including art prints of Michael Cina’s album art paintings and a 60-pound marble record box – “a D.J.’s standard-issue record crate re-imagined as an ancient ruin”. Cool. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/30/business/media/ghostly-transcends-its-record-label-roots-to-sell-an-ethos.html

2) It’s “Record Sleeves of the Month” time again – Rachael Steven, writing for the U.K.’s Creative Review, shows us examples of the latest in album cover packaging, with art featured this month for records by Santigold (artist as shrink-wrapped merchandise, with photo by Haruhiku Kawaguchi), Co La (type samples as album art), Joanna Newsom (landscape in a fish tank) and many others. Olga Bell’s latest is particularly-impressive: a limited-run package with a holographic package and marbleized vinyl disc by Alex Trochut – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/record-sleeves-of-the-month/

3) There’s a new writer who has just posted an interesting album cover article on The 405 site titled “Album Cover Dissection” (don’t worry – no album covers were harmed in the making of this article). Sam Quinton gives us a summary of recent record cover images that he (she?) has found intriguing, including those for musical acts such as Battles, Adele, Empress Of and others. Of course, the so-spooky-you’ve-gotta-look cover for a new release by FKA twigs – whose 2014 release titled LP1 was last year’s most-talked-about album cover – looks as though it will be a feature on this year’s list as well… http://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/monthly-column-about-artwork-144

November 10th –  1) Nineteen years ago, artist Ronald “Riskie” Brent was trying to build a reputation in his Compton, CA neighborhood for the artwork he sold on t-shirts at a local flea market/swap meet, while at the same time selling drugs on his block just to get by. Rap record producer Suge Knight (who lived nearby) had brought Tupac Shakur and a crew to the area to make a music video and, waiting patiently, Riskie stepped forward to show his work to his neighbor, who was so impressed that, ultimately, he was offered a job at Death Row Records and ended up creating the album art for Tupac’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, the record that was finished and released 2 months after the rapper was murdered. In this story by Michael Namikas on the HipHopDX siteRiskie shares more of the details of his career as one of rap’s best-known graphic artists –  http://hiphopdx.com/interviews/id.2807/title.makaveli-riskie-a-conversation-with-death-row-graphic-artist-ronald-riskie-brent 

2) I wrote not long ago about a new gallery/photo publisher (House of Roulx) I’d found whose chosen mix of subjects and artists (including images from both photographer George DuBose’s archive and that of the late magician Harry Houdini) certainly qualifies them as an important player in the rock fine art photo-selling world, but in this recent interview with the company’s founders – brothers Trevor and Jared Gendron – done by Shawn Setaro for Forbes Magazine, you’ll learn more about their backgrounds (one is a former record label/distributor art director while the other is a successful memorabilia collector and reseller) and how they came to represent the archive of a late photographer who shot the final live performance of singer Janis Joplin – http://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnsetaro/2015/11/03/house-of-roulx-from-hip-hop-to-houdini/

November 9th –  1) The exploits of – and mythology behind – “the world’s only openly-extraterrestrial” art/thrash-metal music collective known as GWAR – are the subjects of both a new book on the topic and an illustrated feature in the December 2015 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine. The book – titled Let There Be GWAR and put together by the duo of Bob Gorman and Roger Gastman, featuring a forward by Kurt Loder and published by Gingko Press – was reviewed by Pitchfork.com‘s Shawna Kenney in September as “a high-end tribute for a band known for spewing fake bodily fluids from effigies like OJ Simpson, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Justin Bieber, just to name a few. The text mixes oral history and narrative from the band’s early art collective days through Grammy nominations, tabloid TV appearances, an ACLU-backed lawsuit, the deaths of members Cory Smoot and Dave Brockie, the Gwar-B-Ques and beyond…” Juxtapoz’s in-depth feature will focus on the band’s visual history, so if you’re a fan (or an adoring slave) of all things “bloody and grotesque”, click on over to the preview at http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/issue-preview-december-2015-with-gwar

2) Following up on their earlier efforts in which they used Google Maps/Street View to find and display the actual locations of several well-known rap/hip-hop record covers, the team at Mass Appeal (per this recent article by Tasia Princejust released Part 2 of their series, showing fans of acts both “classic” and new – including Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kool Moe Dee, Fabolous, T.I. and others – exactly where the cover images were taken. You’ll travel to Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit and several locations in the NYC area (sounds like the basis of a “bucket list” tour for fans of the subject, no?). http://massappeal.com/iconic-hip-hop-albums-in-google-maps-street-view-part-2/?view-all=1

3) As I’ve been doing research for my new book and collecting the comments of a number of creative/production people working in the music business, I have to admit that I have heard a fair amount of exasperation from folks who don’t feel that consumers of media these days can differentiate between the works produced by trained professionals and those done by amateurs with their phone cameras. A recent example of this frustration can be found in this interview with the very talented (and in-demand) photographer David Drebin posted by Shinan Govani on The Toronto Star site where he admits that, these days, he’s embarrassed to let folks know that he’s a photographer because “everybody is a photographer these days”. A graduate of the Parsons/New School in NYC and with his works selling for sizable sums in major gallery shows, I know that there is an appreciation of his work but, in this selfie-driven society, it’s hard not to agree that its harder to get people to stop and appreciate artistry of any type these days – http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2015/11/01/photographer-david-drebin-clicks-dont-like-on-the-selfie-epidemic.html

November 6th –  1) It’s time to let your opinions be known about who’ll be the cream of the latest crop of album covers…Our chums at Art Vinyl have posted the nominees for this year’s “Best Art Vinyl” voting, and in this nice introductory article by Rachael Steven on the Creative Review site, you’ll learn more about a number of the fascinating works that were created for this past year’s hottest music – https://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/november/art-vinyls-record-sleeves-of-the-year/  Once you’ve had a chance to look through the 50 nominated covers, click on over to the Voting Page on the Art Vinyl site to select the three you’d like to support for the title of “Best Art Vinyl 2015” – http://www.artvinyl.com/vote/  Winners will be announced in early January and will be featured in a multi-city art show. Best of luck to all the nominees – nice work!

2) Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting/interviewing several album cover artists whose principal clients are bands from “the Dark Side” of the music business – that is, metal music makers in all sub-categories (heavy, Nordic, death, thrash, speed, etc.). As you may know, some of these bands prefer to include cover art that many of you might consider to be anywhere from “gory” to “disgusting” but, as it has been shown throughout the centuries, many “fine artists” have decided to focus on the topics that have resulted in works that are just as disturbing (to illustrate my contention, I invite you to check out some of the works done by masters such as Goya, William Blake, Francis Bacon and, everyone’s favorite, Hieronymus Bosch).Writing for Diffuser.fmJames Stafford has dug deep into the album art archives to share with us his “31 Most Disturbing (Non-Heavy Metal) Album Covers Ever”, opening up the investigation about the reasons why any musical act chooses to catch your eye with imagery that is meant to disturb – http://diffuser.fm/most-disturbing-album-covers/

3) Lastly – it seems that every year we get to see examples of album art that aren’t wholly original. Some are parodies, some homages and, in the case detailed in David Renshaw’s recent article on the NME.com site, some seem to be the results of either laziness or obliviousness…In the article, you’ll read about the upset that Coldplay has caused the members of a band called Bring Me The Horizon simply because the album artwork they’re going to feature on their newest release looks an awful lot like the artwork that BMTH featured on their 2013 release titled Sempiternal. I’m guessing that there will be some modification to Coldplay’s promo materials before the new record (titled A Head Full of Dreams) is released this month – http://www.nme.com/news/bring-me-the-horizon/89392

November 5th –  1) Many of us have fond memories of the simply-but-colorfully-drawn, trippy 2-D original animation featured in the original 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine. With today’s often over-the-top, computer-generated 3-D visuals that dominate film screens, you had to think that, at some point, some fan with the talent and the wherewithal ultimately had to show us what the film might have looked like if the today’s advanced animation tools were available back then. Enter famed comic book illustrator Alex Ross, well-known in that arena for his super-realistic renderings of characters including Batman, Superman, The Avengers and many others. Back in July, with the approval of the Beatles’ organization, he released several illustrations featuring re-done scenes from Yellow Submarine and, just recently (as you’ll see in this interview with Robin Burks on the Tech Times site), he’s expanded his Fab Four-related catalog to include some amazingly-realistic, limited-edition portraits of each of the band’s members. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/100645/20151029/interview-artist-alex-ross-discusses-drawing-the-beatles.htm 

WWABHD? (“what would Al Brodax have done”?)

2) Fans in the Huntington Beach, CA area had until the 22nd of November to visit the Rainwater Gallery on Main Street to walk through an exhibit of punk music-inspired artwork from the likes of Winston Smith, John Bilhooley and several others titled “AnARTchy” (“I am an AnARTchist”). The punk scene was very active in So. California, with bands including T.S.O.L., Black Flag and many others inciting intense moshing in clubs all along the coastline, so the hosting of such a display of art, posters, photos and other memorabilia in a Surf City gallery only makes sense. Read more about the show in Brittany Woolsey’s feature on it in the Los Angeles Times – http://www.latimes.com/socal/hb-independent/entertainment/tn-hbi-et-1029-anartchy-20151029-story.html and check out the gallery’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/RainwaterGallery/ for details of the several related events they held during the show’s run.

3) “The Grateful Dead are dead, and they’re grateful” John Belushi once said…but are they REALLY dead? I think not, and even though the title of photographer Jay Blakesberg’s upcoming book on the band’s farewell tour – Fare The Well: Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of The Grateful Dead (published by Rock Out Books), hitting the bookshelves on December 1st – might indicate the band’s demise, their art and merchandising (and roylaties) will thrive forever or, as Gary Lambert writes in an essay from the book, “… after fifty years, it can’t be denied that the Dead’s art became a tradition unto itself…” Read more about it on the Grateful Web site – http://www.gratefulweb.com/articles/fare-thee-well-celebrating-50th-anniversary-grateful-dead

November 4th –   2X Annie Leibovitz and 1X Alex Steinweiss – not a bad day!

1.1) On November 3rd, the now-being-remodeled San Francisco Museum of Modern Art bestowed its inaugural “Contemporary Vision Award” upon photographer extraordinaire Annie Leibovitz for, as they state, ” the extraordinary achievements of global leaders—creators, innovators and change-makers—whose work foregrounds contemporary art as a vital and meaningful part of public life.” One look at her memorable album cover photos for Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Peter Tosh, Tony Bennett and others brings great truth to that description, no? While originally from Connecticut, Ms. Leibovitz received her schooling at the the San Francisco Art Institute and went to work in 1970 as a photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine. https://www.sfmoma.org/press/release/inaugural-sfmoma-contemporary-vision-award-to-hono/

Here’s a link to a photo from that night’s event, tweeted by a staffer at the Style section of the San Francisco Chronicle –
https://twitter.com/SFC_Style/status/661765970604658688

1.2) Leibovitz also announced that she’ll be bringing a gallery show based on her successful photo project titled Women to 10 countries, beginning in London in January, 2016 and subsequently moving around the world with shows in Tokyo, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, New York, and Zurich. This project began years ago with the prompting of her then-partner Susan Sontag, became a popular photo book in 1999 and, since, has expanded to include portraits of many notable women, with recent examples including Amy Schumer, Venus & Serena Williams and Caitlyn Jenner (you’ll recall Annie’s first photos of Ms. Jenner for Vanity Fair magazine earlier this past summer). Writing for the ArtNet Daily site, Amah-Rose Abrams gives us more of the details –
https://news.artnet.com/people/annie-leibovitz-reveals-new-women-subjects-349697

2) Anya Tchoupakov from The Creators Project recently posted an overview of a new book by the Taschen publishing house – collected and edited by art directors Kevin Reagan (formerly with Geffen Records) and Steven Heller (formerly with The New York Times) – that provides album art fans with a comprehensive look at the life and work of the man considered to be “the father of the album cover”, Alex Steinweiss. Appropriately titled Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, the 550+ page book includes hundreds of images made by the man that, 75 years ago, convinced a skeptical employer – Columbia Records – to consider the idea that an attractively-packaged record would appeal to consumers and, therefore, increase the likelihood that they’d buy it (what a concept!). Steinweiss would then go on to establish the “standards” regarding imagery, type-styles, etc., that would soon be copied and employed by record labels globally. Anyone interested in the history of this art form should both read this article and then add this book to their collection – http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/the-father-of-album-covers

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.

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