ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER.
BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM
Greetings once more to you all – hope that you’ve all had a good time this Summer, however you chose to occupy your time. Even though my work on updating the bio section of the ACHOF site continues slowly but surely, I’m still happy to announce that there’s been a fair amount of album art/artist-related news to review – more interviews, profiles, news about new books and prints, etc. – and as you’ve seen in my previous news summaries, if you simply read the summaries I’ve written and click the links provided, you’ll be able to find out more about the details from sources from around the world on items featuring many of the world’s most-talented album art creators.
I am also pleased to announce that the second part of the two-part article I wrote about album cover art, artists and album art production has been added to the Illustration History web site – https://www.illustrationhistory.org/essays/design-and-illustration-in-the-record-business
Titled Design and Illustration by the “Early Influencers” working in the Record Business, this new article was designed to allow you to meet some of the most-notable purveyors of note-worthy and memorable album packaging and read what they have shared about what they do, why they do it, and what the future holds for this unique craft. To remind you, the Illustration History site is a project of the esteemed Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA) and serves as an educational resource for fans, students and teachers of the fine arts of illustration and design. It’s been an honor to be able to share some of my research and writing on a subject – album cover art – that features so many great examples of work by the talented people who’ve contributed to the visual side of the modern music business, so once again I’d like to thank curator Jesse Kowalski for this opportunity and hope that you’ll spend some time reading both articles and then digging through the site’s impressive archives as well..
In addition, I’ll soon be adding another article to the ACHOF site titled “Album Art and Packaging Trends Timeline and Overview” that seeks to answer, decade-by-decade, beginning in the 1940s up to the present, this important question for those of us interested in the history of album cover art “what was it exactly that the products produced during each decade or era have shown us about Pop Culture and the status of record music promotion at that time?” The article will first be posted on the ACHOF site, with announcements made via social media, and I do hope that you’ll take the time to read, absorb and comment.
Several of you may recall from last month’s summary that I was asked (one of a number of music packaging gurus) to serve as a judge for the upcoming (early October) Making Vinyl Packaging Awards extravaganza that will be a keystone event at this year’s Making Vinyl conference in Detroit. The first round of judging has been completed and, from an impressive number (nearly 250!) of entries in all of the categories, the finalists have just been announced, with the list available for your viewing pleasure at – https://makingvinyl.com/making-vinyl-packaging-awards-announces-finalists-in-12-categories/
I gotta tell you, folks…I really had no idea that there was so much creativity and ingenuity (and, by the looks of some of the packages, resources) being put to task to create new retail packaging for recorded music products until I spent some time – nearly 3 full days! – looking at each of the entries before posting my opinions. What was more interesting to me was to learn more about the people working on these projects, with a nice balance seen between entries submitted by major labels working with “household name” designers/art directors/photographers and the impressive output from people/teams I’ve never had the pleasure to meet before. While I can’t release any of the details now, you can rest assured that I will be introducing myself to some of these new (at least to me) names ASAP and will be sharing the fruits of those efforts with you when I can.
The winning entries – that is, those picked from the aforementioned list of finalists – will be selected by a panel of esteemed judges at the NYC offices of the AIGA design organization and awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony that will be held at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit on the evening of October 1st. You will, of course, find more information on the winners immediately thereafter here on the ACHOF site and, with any luck, will be able to read an interview or two with some of the winners ASAP after.
As always, I ask that you please share this info with everyone you know who are fans of great album cover-related talent and, of course, your comments and feedback are quite welcome.
1) UPCOMING, RECENTLY-LAUNCHED/CURRENTLY RUNNING AND JUST-CLOSED SHOW/EXHIBITIONS –
a) I’m happy to announce that my friends at the U.K.-based art publisher/art gallery Hypergallery are taking a road trip to Berlin, Germany to stage, along with album cover design great Aubrey Powell, a survey exhibition that will “explore and unpack the significant influence of the Hipgnosis design studio through an unprecedented display of images from the Hipgnosis catalogue.” The show – titled Daring To Dream – is scheduled as part of the European Month of Photography (EMOP) 2018 event and is being co-curated by Emily Smeaton and John Colton, under the watchful eye of Mr. Powell.
The show will run from September 30th thru the 28th of October, staged in a courtyard located on the 1st floor of Bergmannstr. 5, 10961 in Berlin, with an opening party scheduled at that location on the evening of September 29th, beginning at 7PM local time. Mr. Powell will be on hand that evening – along with members of a local opera company – and will be signing copies of his own retrospective book of Hipgnosis-generated album art called Vinyl.Album.Cover.Art which was recently published in Germany by Edel Books. More info can be found on the Hypergallery web site at https://www.hypergallery.com/event-hipgnosis-in-berlin/
I’m eagerly awaiting to see photos from the show/opening night event and will point you to those when they’re available.
b) For those of you who weren’t able to attend the Bill Graham-centered art/memorabilia show (BILL GRAHAM AND THE ROCK & ROLL REVOLUTION) that toured last year, you’re being given a reprive of sorts with the staging of the Summer of Love poster show at the Andaz Gallery/Hotel in Hollywood, CA, put on in cooperation with the Grammy Museum and featuring 17 original posters from the 1960s by noted visual psychedelic artists including Wes Wilson, Bonnie MacLean (AKA Mrs. Bill Graham), Jim Blashfield, Greg Irons and Stanley Mouse.
If you’d like to read my exhibition recap from the Bill Graham show as it was staged here in the Chicago area last year, click on over to https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/achof-exhibition-tour-bill-graham-and-the-rock-roll-revolution/
c) There’s a show taking place in London in mid-September that, if I understand what it is that I’m reading, looks to introduce show-goers to several new formats of visuals that might be accompanying and augmenting recorded (and live) music as time goes on. Based on work done by musician/artist Beatie Wolfe and cohorts at Nokia Bell Labs, you’ll be given the chance to see/listen/experience works including (as they’re described in this article by Oisin Lunny on the Forbes.com site) “the world’s first live 360˚ Augmented Reality (AR) stream combining live, 360˚ stereoscopic video and real-time AR visuals” that will “create a modern ‘Fantasia-like’ live streamed album experience.” A short video documentary is also there to better-explain what it is that Ms. Wolfe and her chums have created.
The show at the Victoria & Albert Museum – titled “The Art of Music in the Digital Age: a series of world-first designs” – runs from September 15th through September 23rd in the Prince Consort Gallery on Level 3 and will, in addition to the Raw Space Chamber described above, put on display such must-be-seen-to-be-understood items as “a theatre in the palm of your hand, an album as a deck of cards and wearable record ‘jacket’” designed by former D. Bowie tailor Mr. Fish, among other equally-innovative items.
The entire effort is delivered as part of the London Design Festival, with more information available at https://www.londondesignfestival.com/event/beatie-wolfe-art-music-digital-age-series-world-first-designs and additional details on the V&A site at https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/bJR1B3Ng/ldf-2018-the-art-of-music-in-the-digital-age-a-series-of-world-first-designs If any of you do attend and can share what you’ve seen with the rest of us, it’d be greatly appreciated as we are all curious as to where the future of music-related visuals is headed.
2) Artist interviews/profile articles –
a) NYC Radio show host Zach Martin just posted links to Parts 1 & 2 of his Big Fat American Rock Show! interview with NYC-based album design gurus Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz, well known to album art fans for their award-winning work for Talking Heads, Lou Reed, Bon Jovi, Ramones and many others. The stories they share in Part 1 of how the two worked both alone and together to produce a huge portfolio of commercial work for their clients in the music business over the past 40+ years will make your head spin, so make yourself a dirty olive martini, place yourself in your favorite comfy chair and enjoy the ride – https://youtu.be/4LAwoiNtjy4
In Part 2, Spencer shares the details of who his favorite band is (and why) and how he and Judith seem to do their best work “when everything flows” – https://youtu.be/g144AXr4S_g
On a related note – for both this article and the one you’ll read on the upcoming Making Vinyl trade show – Mr. Drate and Holly Stephey will be hosting an online interview with Mr. Larry Jaffee, the producer of the event and the Packaging Awards show that will be taking place during that event. The live event takes place Friday, August 31st at 5PM EST and you can catch it online at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redvelvetmedia/2018/08/31/larry-jaffee-making-vinyl
You won’t meet anyone with more passion about the resurgence of the vinyl record and the importance of album cover art, so I hope you’ll take the time to listen to this interview.
b) While Madonna may have been making headlines recently for both celebrating her 60th birthday and enduring some music industry flack after delivering a not-so-well-received tribute to the recently-departed Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Award ceremonies, one thorough read of this recent amply-illustrated FOTO Story interview article with photographer Kevin Mazur reminds you of just how much she’s influenced Pop Culture since launching her career as a singer/dancer in the early 1980s in the clubs surrounding New York City. Having met Ms. Ciccone while he was himself a young lad from Long Island (he’s 57 now), Kevin has been on hand to document the Material Girl’s meteoric rise, being on-hand to shoot scores of her concerts (beginning with 1985’s Virgin tour) and producing a huge portfolio of work we’ve all seen in magazines, books and web sites over the years. He’s also produced album cover shots for top musical acts including Bob Dylan, Elton John and U2, but in this article, the focus is on just how much fun he’s had being on hand and moving from gaga-eyed fanboy to long-time friend of someone who has impressed us all with her talent, dedication and fearless approach to success in a really tough business – https://foto.gettyimages.com/celebrity/musicians/madonna-in-motion/
c) NYC-area music art fans might want to quickly click on over to the Eventbrite site (via the link at the end of this notice) to register for what’s sure to be a sold-out event at the Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003) this coming October 19th (from 7-8PM EDT) featuring Metallica’s drummer (and famed fine art collector) Lars Ulrich talking photography with the Brooklyn-based photo duo Herring & Herring (the team behind the album cover imagery for the band’s hit 2016 release Hardwired…To Self Destruct) about how artists like themselves collaborate to create great art.
Herring & Herring consists of Dimitri Scheblanov (who is himself a 2005 graduate of The Cooper Union’s School Of Art) and Jesper Carlsen (who was schooled at the Art Academy on the Danish island of Funen, graduating in 2006) and has worked with Metallica – serving as creative directors, photographers and music video directors – since 2014. In addition to their corporate work – with celebrity clients including musicians Ozzy Osbourne, Beyonce and Questlove, film stars Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and Billy Bob Thorton, TV personalities Fred Armisen, Oprah Winfrey and Andy Cohen and sports celebs Derek Jeter and Abby Wambach (among many others) – the partners also produce and publish the highly-praised image-only photo magazine also titled Herring & Herring (available on newsstands everywhere).
Ulrich will be taking a short break from the band’s tour in support of this album, which kicks off September 2nd with a show in Madison, WI.
Event info/registration at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/photography-duo-herring-herring-talk-with-metallicas-lars-ulrich-tickets-49040489424?aff=MetallicaFanClub The event is free and open to the public, although the promoters warn that pre-registration doesn’t guarantee a seat, so get there early!
Article on the Blabbermouth site – http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/metallicas-lars-ulrich-to-talk-with-photography-duo-herring-herring-at-new-york-city-event/
d) We’ve all had to consider, at some point in our lives, just what the proper “work/life balance” would be in order for us to continue to enjoy both aspects of our day-to-day existences. For some of us, the choices were quite simple, being dictated by the status of our health or of our continued relationships with friends and loved ones. For others, it’s when they’ve noticed “something missing” from the enjoyment of their day-to-day activities, whether at work or at home. For Grammy-winning designer Stephan Sagmeister, as you’ll read in this recent article (and audio interview) by Ayse Burcell on the Salon.com web site, he noticed that “once I started to allow for repetition in the work, there was just less excitement.” What did he do to get his life back in balance? Well, he did something we all wish we could do – he took a year-long sabbatical. To do this, he had to overcome fears of “being forgotten” and/or being seen as “unprofessional” but, once he did, you’ll see that it was time well-spent. I’d suggest taking a break from your own hectic schedules to read and listen to this compelling interview via the link at https://www.salon.com/2018/08/27/the-case-for-taking-a-sabbatical-why-grammy-winning-designer-stefan-sagmeister-took-a-break/
3) Sales/Auctions –
a) Being touted as the “most-metal” of all memorabilia auctions, the estate of the late singer Ronnie James Dio is soon to offer a nice selection of Dio-owned property at Julien’s auction house that includes original album cover paintings, artwork, costumes and much more – http://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2018/ronnie-dio/index.html
Slated for two days in mid-September at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC (September 15th and 16th), the event (titled PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF RONNIE JAMES DIO) includes well over 600 items and will showcase both “normal” personal effects (his little league baseball jersey, autographed baseballs and jerseys signed by his favorite pro sports players, etc.) and those things he aggregated during his multi-decade career as the lead singer for Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his own band, Dio. Album art collectors will have the opportunity to bid on:
– The Last In Line original cover painting (est $20-30K) opening bid $10K – The original acrylic and collage painting executed by Barry Jackson and used as the cover art for the Dio album The Last in Line (Warner Bros., 1984). Framed, 26 1/2 by 45 1/2 inches; Sight, 18 by 37 inches
– Sacred Heart original cover painting (est $20-30K) opening bid $10K – The original acrylic and collage painting executed by artist Robert Florczak and used as the cover art for the Dio’s 1985 Warner Bros. Records album Sacred Heart, signed by Florczak in the lower left. Framed, it’s sized at 25 1/4 by 25 1/4 inches;
– Dream Evil original artwork (est $2-4K) opening bid $1K – The original acrylic on canvas board painting done by Steve Huston and used as the cover art for the 1987 Dio album Dream Evil (on Vertigo), signed in pencil in the lower right by Huston. This was the last album to feature “Murray” on the cover. Unframed, it measures 27 by 40 inches;
– A trio of Alan Aldridge items from Dio’s personal collection – opening bid $150 – A signed print of the cover art for The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics, a copy of the book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast and an LP copy of the album of the same name. That 1975 album was produced by Roger Glover of the band Deep Purple and featured Dio in the role of “Froggy”. Framed, it measures 24 by 32 1/4 inches
4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –
a) Fans of the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia know that he considered himself as (as he’s been quoted) “an artist who played music” and that he expressed himself via a paintbrush with just as much passion as he did via his playing and song-writing. In the early 1980s, he began to study the visual arts much more seriously and, from that point until the end of his life, he dedicated himself to drawing, painting and creating images on his computers.
Recently, Jerry’s ex-wife Manasha Garcia and his daughter Keelin Garcia teamed up to create “a mission-based company inspired by musician and artist, Jerry Garcia” that’s called “Jerry Garcia Music Arts” and, as part of this music/fine art company’s launch – and to honor what would have been Jerry’s 76th birthday in August – they’ve released what they’re calling a “thematic pairing of art and music”, meaning that they’ve created both a new fine art print of a JG watercolor titled “Ripple” and have released a newly-remastered live version of the Garcia/Hunter-penned song of the same name on streaming music services including iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Napster, MediaNet, VerveLife, Tidal, Gracenote, Shazam and 7Digital..
The print – an unframed, museum-quality giclee piece printed on Hanhnemuhle Bamboo 290 gsm paper and offered in an unsigned edition of 500 – is sized 11”w x 15”h, priced at a very-affordable $130.00 and comes with a certificate of authenticity and is available from Terrapin Stationers in their Terrapin Gallery
A portion of proceeds from these sales support ocean conservation (Mr. Garcia was a strong proponent of saving the coral reefs and even shared these beliefs as he testified before a conservation committee for the State of Hawaii in 1990), with more details about the company and its mission available on their web site at – https://www.jerrygarciamusicarts.com/fine-art.html
b) New clothing and wall art designs featuring album cover-inspired imagery by “speed painting “ master Stephen Fishwick was introduced by art/marketing agency Get Down Art at the MAGIC Las Vegas event at the Mandalay Bay Hotel this past August 13 – 15, with these images and products looking to extend the popularity of several well-known album cover designs to a younger demographic via the fashion brands and trends they’ve shown they appreciate. For example, Pink Floyd’s memorable Dark Side of the Moon cover image, as reworked by Mr. Fishwick, shows the iconic diamond on a paint-splattered background, while the new version of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” image shows Mr. Young bravely facing a very colorful electrical storm. The company is offering these designs and many others printed on t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts for both men and women, along with poster prints on canvas and other household items. Now your kids can wear their own unique iterations of their parents’ favorite album art and, in doing so, inter-generational love and understanding will finally be achieved – https://getdownart.com/collections/icons-collection
5) Other articles of interest –
a) This month’s collection of Sound and Vision articles – which provide in-depth details of the stories behind some of your favorite album art – offered to us by Eben Bensen and the nice people at Juxtapoz Magazine includes quite the range of music/art of both recent and historical vintages. Managing Editor Eben Bensen has stayed true to his promise to give us a new story every week, with the most-recent articles summarized below:
– Michael Trevithick’s Magritte-inspired (well, at least to me) artwork on the cover of the late Nick Drake’s third and final studio release – 1972’s Pink Moon – replaced the photograph originally taken for the project, which showed the musician in declining health – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-nick-drake-s-pink-moon-cover-by-michael-trevithick/
– Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 indie release In The Aeroplane Over The Sea was viewed by music critics as a “game-changer” – an album based on the life of Dutch Holocaust victim Anne Frank – with its artwork the result of a collaboration between songwriter Jeff Magnum and album cover designer Chris Bilheimer and based on the artwork found on a turn-of-the-century travel postcard – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-neutral-milk-hotel-s-in-the-aeroplane-over-the-sea/
– In 2009, the Portland, OR (yeah, baby)-based experimental rock band called Portugal The Man released its fourth studio album The Satanic Satanist, which featured a very trippy cover crafted by the band’s own lead singer, John Gourley, who combined photos with watercolors to create the image – https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-portugal-the-man-s-the-satanic-satanist-cover-by-john-gourley/
– What is that thing jumping over the hurdle in Joan Ludwig’s photo featured on the cover of Beck’s 1996 hit record Odelay? A floor mop? A batch of ramen noodles? The answer is available via the link at https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/music/sound-and-vision-beck-s-odelay-cover-photography-by-joan-ludwig/
b) Now you can help two young-but-experienced artists in Portland, OR (yeah, baby!) launch a new “multi-disciplinary creative studio” via your support of their Indiegogo campaign and, as a reward, receive a limited-edition print and music compilation created just for this fund-raising effort. Over the past 13 years, composer/musician/sound designer Courtland Urbano and award-winning illustrator Anthony M. Benedetto worked on and off together on projects, but after Urbano moved to Portland to join the Humble Beast label roster, Anthony followed in 2014 to join the team as Creative Director. They both realized that, as a team, they could offer external clients a whole slew of services, so they decided to strike out on their own and launch a new agency they’re calling Nova Nimbus, with Anthony currently working out of Court’s garage.
Help Anthony get out of the garage into a proper office with your pledge of support and, with a commitment as little as $75, you’ll get a print of a work Benedetto created to show off both the natural beauty of their Pacific NW location and his respect for great mid-Century graphic design called Modern Romanticism. Urbano adds music to the package with a download of a 19-cut collection of tracks he’s produced over the years, with both testifying to the fact that they love to listen to his soundscapes while they work, so you ought to, too.
The program runs for about another month, with details available at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nova-nimbus-a-multi-disciplinary-creative-studio/x/18934317?#/
c) Using album cover art to find out the identity of one of the art world’s most-mysterious creators – is Robin Gunningham the real “Banksy”? Those bidding on a work of art printed on the sleeve insert for an early 1990s Bristol-based ska band sure hope he is! Artnet.com’s Henri Nuendorf provides us with the details, and happy value-hunting – https://news.artnet.com/art-world/early-banksy-auction-1329194
d) Orlando Sentinel reporter David Whitley provides “a public service” for us in his article “All Great Album Covers lead back to Abbey Road” by providing us with a “10 Greatest Album Covers of All Time list” (what, again?) based on his contention that “everybody can be an expert” (this is why I stay away from these lists) – http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/audience/david-whitley/os-ae-album-covers-david-whitley-0808-story.html His email is provided at the end of the article, so feel free to respond.
e) Don’t they know that it’s just not safe out there? Several times each year, someone takes it upon his/herself to present a list of the “worst” record covers of all time and, each time, I share a link to this list with the hope that enough of you are outraged to the point of expressing yourself somehow on the author’s site. And while I will be the last one to promote any form of censorship, I would ask that folks look deep inside themselves before releasing “best/worst of all time” lists like this one. Yes, there’s been some horrible/disturbing/nonsensical album art used to package recorded music over the past 70+ years (just as there’s been a lot of “bad” music packaged and offered for sale), but the subject has really been beaten to death and is usually built around the same content, which just makes it boring. Please don’t click on this link. I’m asking you nicely…
f) Now, after the last entry, here’s one for the “Looking Forward” folder – Is this the “future” of album covers? Rapper/style icon (and very funny talk show guest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s9joL_AGfo ) Nicki Minaj uses artificial intelligence/virtual reality to bring fans up close-and-personal with her and her album art for her new record Queen – https://mobile-ar.reality.news/news/snapchat-strikes-familiar-chord-with-shoppable-ar-lens-for-nicki-minajs-new-album-0186464/
That’s all for now – stay tuned and be on the lookout for timely news alerts on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back early next month with another monthly summary for you.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images included in this article are Copyright 2018 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.