Tag Archives: Yoko Ono

Album Cover Artist And Art News Summary And Preview For April/May, 2018

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ALBUM COVER HALL OF FAME’S ALBUM COVER NEWS RECAP FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL, 2018, WITH PREVIEWS FOR MAY.

BY MIKE GOLDSTEIN, ALBUMCOVERHALLOFFAME.COM

I don’t know how the rest of the world is handling the changing of the seasons – or the lack thereof – but I’m really hoping that we see a regular Spring weather pattern here in the Chicago area soon (I really want to plant my herbs). Spending more time indoors has had one benefit, though – I’ve been able to research and gather a very nice selection of articles to fill each of the five regular sections included in my monthly news summary. Indeed, the information about the exhibitions, artist profiles, new books and prints, auctions and sales and other items of interest serves as an ongoing testament to the fact that music industry-related visual artistry continues to make fans and draw audiences world-wide.

On a personal note – while, at the moment, it seems as though the Kickstarter project I launched in support of my new book project will fall (far) short of its goal, I’m trying not to get too down about it and, in fact, am now quite energized to find a publisher or two who might be able to help me bring this book to album art/artist fans both here in the U.S. and to readers/fans overseas as well. There are still a few days before the KS project draws to a close, so if you are interested in reserving a copy of the limited-edition version of the book for your very own, I’d invite you to visit the project page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/232122114/unsung-heroes-stories-from-your-favorite-album-cov before May 8th.

As I mentioned previously, the last 30 days has given us a lot to look at in the area of album art and artistry and, in the summaries I’ve written and via the links provided, you’ll get the details from sources from around the world, including:  album art and rock photo shows in the U.S., the U.K. and Italy featuring works by and/or about David Bowie, photographers Charles Moriarity and Art Kane and John Lennon/Yoko Ono, among many others; profiles on album art-makers including creative director Craig Braun, photographers Frank Ockenfels and Gunnar Stahl and the designer/illustrator known as Sixmau; another intriguing podcast from GOLDMINE Magazine about an impressive line of portable record players; info on the upcoming NY-area art show booth hosted by printmaker Gary Lichtenstein featuring new works by former Def Jam Records creative guru Cey Adams; new books coming out by two noted photographers – long-time Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger and Astrid Kirchherr, who chronicled the early growth of a band called The Beatles – as well as a book of Amy Winehouse photos by the aforementioned Mr. Moriarity, plus my mini-review of John Foster’s recent book on album art/artists (titled ALBUM ART: NEW MUSIC GRAPHICS and, as always, a nice selection of articles on a wide range of topics such as the premiere of a new documentary film about famed Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita (perhaps best known for his enormously-influential folio of portraits of David Bowie), a new 35th anniversary DVD about the making of the album cover for Michael Jackson’s huge hit Thriller, a “best album cover art” listing that is actually fairly thought-provoking, a restaurant in Wisconsin that offers rock music-themed craft cocktails (with an LP-style menu to match), details on vinyl LP-inspired bathroom fixtures (!!) and much, much more.

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) To follow-up on last month’s details about the David Bowie Is show currently running at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, there’s a new article by Claire Voon on the HyperAllergic site that shows you just how far NYC-area promo teams are willing to go to deliver “All Bowie, All The Time” to his legions of fans – https://hyperallergic.com/438500/david-bowie-metrocards-spotify-mta/

You’ll read more about how NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) newly-released line of pre-paid fare cards (AKA “MetroCards”) that feature one of five (5) well-known DB images, with each one representing one of his best-known personas (Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust, etc.). Customers at the Broadway/Lafayette and Bleeker Street stations can step up to the special kiosks and try their luck on collecting one, two or all five of the specially-designed cards ($6.50 minimum for 2-rides) and also look around the station for several other Bowie-themed art displays, including silhouettes on the famed white tile walls, lyrics printed on stair risers and a very cool photo image that has been sliced into strips and laid in sequence along a number of cross-beams, allowing viewers standing at just the right angle to see the entire image at once.

250,000 total cards were printed, but with 5 million+ subway riders using the service every day, they’ll probably be snapped up rather quickly. I’ve already found sets of all five cards being offered on eBay for approx. $150.00!

The Bowie archive-sanctioned, Victoria & Albert Museum-organized David Bowie Is show has now moved on to what looks to be its final exhibition space – the Brooklyn Museum in New York – where the impressive display of costumes (over 60 of them), music, videos, photo and graphic imagery, Bowie’s own paintings and ephemera from his own collection – over 400 items in total – will be available for viewing by fans thru July 15th – https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/davidbowieis

b) Irish photographer Charles Moriarity was first introduced to singer Amy Winehouse in London in 2003 while she was looking for – and not finding – “just the right shot” for the cover for her debut album Frank. They stopped for a bottle of white wine and spent some time wandering the streets of the city, getting to know each other a bit better. The two hit it off nicely and, ultimately, found a pub on Princeton Street and a chum with a couple of cute dogs, both which served as the backdrops to what would end up being that cover shot (they also rendezvoused again in New York City while she continued recording in order to get some additional shots for the rest of the album package. Over the course of the next several years, while Winehouse worked hard on recording and touring, Charles would stay in close touch until he made the decision to move from London back to his native Ireland several years later, after which they lost touch.

While we all know that the story doesn’t end well for Ms. Winehouse (Charles admits that he was shocked when he saw her obvious decline in the press coverage she received throughout the remainder of her short-but-glorious career), Moriarity had rebuffed some of the more-exploitative offers he received to use these early photos commercially in the immediate aftermath of her death in 2011 but more recently, after the National Portrait Gallery asked that one of his photos be added to their permanent collection and a meeting with Asif Kapdia, the director of the acclaimed 2015 documentary about Winehouse (Amy), he decided that the world would benefit from the opportunity to see a collection of these images, with the results being a photo exhibition in Dublin featuring a collection of 25 early shots by Charles Moriarity – http://chq.ie/amy-winehouse-photo-exhibition-comes-to-chq/

along with a book (Before Frank) that shows, in 50+ photographs, the transformation from a young girl (recording Frank at the age of 19) to a world-renowned recording artist. The hardbound book’s 144 pages contain an introduction by Dazed Arts and Culture editor Ashleigh Kane, a foreword by Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia (director of Amy) along with an interview with Charles Moriarty by acclaimed author Martin Belk.

Irish Mirror contributor Demelza De-Burka has penned an article/profile that intros this show, the corresponding book  and shares some of the details about the relationship between the two young artists  – https://www.irishmirror.ie/showbiz/irish-showbiz/irish-photographer-who-close-friends-12386226

­­c) When Arthur Kanofsky was young, he was fascinated with fairy tales, fantasy illustrations and, as a Boy Scout in his Bronx troupe, reptiles (earning himself a Reptile Study merit badge!). Hoping to become a world-famous artist when he grew up, he took the first step in preparation for this career when he enrolled in NY’s Cooper Union College but, a year into his studies, he was drafted into the Army, bringing his talents to a special unit – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops AKA “The Ghost Army”. These artistically-trained troops were sent in to areas where they created the illusion of the presence of actual Army units, fooling the enemy into thinking that they were out-manned/gunned via inflatable tanks, artillery, sound effects and dummy battalions. After his deployment, he returned to the U.S. and worked briefly in the theater before returning to his studies in art, design and photography at Cooper Union and graduating with honors in 1950.

With his experience and impressive talents clear to prospective employers, Arthur (now Kane) accepted a position as the art director for Seventeen Magazine becoming, at age 26, one of the youngest holding this position at a major publication. With his highly-unique talents and experiences combining to give Kane exceptional conceptual/compositional skill set, over the years Kane became a must-have photographer for all of the best-known photo journals and magazines of his time, with his works appearing in the U.S. in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Look, McCall’s and others and overseas in the Italian versions of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Amica, Stern, German Vogue and Zeit. His subjects included celebrities in the fields of music (Bob Dylan, Cream, Aretha Franklin, Jefferson Airplane, Jim Morrison, Sonny & Cher, The Who and Frank Zappa), art (Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and Cy Twombly) and photo illustrations for a wide range of subjects, from the struggle for civil rights down South to the plight of wounded war vets and many articles on the politics and cultural changes taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.

Having developed his skills as a playwright, songwriter and videographer, Kane was able to offer his advertising and commercial clients a broad range of services including, as we now know, photos for album covers by many of the music industry’s best-known acts. Examples of his album cover credits include – Johnny Winter – White, Hot & Blue; Jim Morrison – An American Prayer; The Who – The Kids Are Alright, The BBC Sessions and Greatest Hits; Judas Priest – Point of Entry; Gloria Gaynor – I Am Gloria Gaynor and I Am What I Am and Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The Royal Albert Hall Concert. Beginning in 1989, Kane led a series of week-long summer photography workshops featuring a number of his notable peers at his studios in Cape May, New Jersey, which he continued hosting until his death in 1995.

His works were honored many times during his career, with major awards including the “Photographer of the Year” Award in 1964 from the American Society of Magazine Photographers, the “Page One Award” in 1966 from the Newspaper Guild of America, the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Medal for Distinguished Achievement awarded by Cooper-Union in 1967 as well as medals and awards from the Art Directors Clubs in Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. His works were also included in a number of museum and gallery shows around the world, with the last one on display back in 2015 at the Palazzo Santa Margherita in Modena, Italy – a retrospective show titled Art Kane, Visionary. This year, beginning May 3rd, a somewhat-abridged version of that show, curated by the Wall of Sound Gallery’s Guido Harari, brings examples of Kane’s great works back to Italy (in Turin, at the Spazio Don Chisciotte tthrough July 14th as part of the FO.TO.” Festival (see more at https://www.fotografi-a-torino.it/art-kane-visionary – it’s in Italian, of course).

According to Mr. Harari, he’ll have 40 iconic images, “including all of Kane’s rock portraits – those of The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison, Cream, Johnny Winter, Aretha Franklin, Sonny & Chér and the historic ‘Harlem 1958’, considered quite likely the most significant image in jazz history. All the photographs on show and more are featured in the catalogue published by Wall Of Sound Gallery.”

d) Down in Austin, TX, the team at the Modern Rocks Gallery kicked off a new show called “The Art of the Contact Sheet” with an opening reception on Friday, April 27th that featured examples of this unique photo art print format from rock photographers such as legendary Columbia Records photographer, Don Hunstein and the photographer responsible for the iconic Aladdin Sane album cover for David Bowie, Brian Duffy. Other leading music photographers included in the show are Barrie Wentzell, Alec Byrne, Tracy Anne Hart, Alan Messer, Allan Ballard, Matt Anker, David Corio and more.

Featuring large-format (several sizes, from A2 to A0) contact sheets from photo shoots of musical acts such as AC/DC, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Nirvana, Ramones, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Frank Zappa and several others, the prints show several of the artists at different times during their careers and often include alternative shots where their true personalities shine through. I’m particularly fond of Don Hunstein’s shots of a young Bob Dylan, shot in 1963, mugging for the camera, with his best work and world-wide recognition just ahead of him. I’m sure you’ll all find something that resonates with you so, if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the gallery sometime between now and the show’s close on August 31st  and say “hello” to Steven (the owner) or, if you can’t attend in person, be sure to look at what’s available on the gallery’s site at https://www.modernrocksgallery.com/contact-sheet-prints

e) Here’s a reminder for folks of the designer persuasion – in last month’s summary, I’d reported on an exhibition/competition currently being managed by noted album cover designers/authors Spencer Drate, Judith Salavetz and Sylvia Reed that’s looking for submissions. According to the info I rec’d from Mr. Drate, the curators are asking designers everywhere to send in their best examples of well-designed record packaging for consideration, with entries due no later than June 1, 2018 to be eligible for consideration for this show.

After the initial competition is over and the best entries selected, the curators will be teaming up with the folks at NYC’s One Space Art Gallery to put up a show (actual dates TBD) that will be called For The Record: The Vinyl Cover Show 2018, the latest in a series of such shows the curators have staged over the years, including a well-received show that took place at The One Club back in 1995 called the “Special CD Packaging Show” (which featured over 100 examples of album art on display) and another show that was held in May, 2004 at the sadly-closed CBGB Gallery built in support of the release of their Rock Posters of the 90s books and which included 250+ posters sourced from 50 different designers.  It’s quite clear that this team has been working hard for years to promote the talents of the artists working in the music business with their fans and collectors of these works.

More details about this show and the folks behind it can be found on their Facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/spencer.drate/posts/10156195245043288

Of course, I’m hoping to be able to share more info on the winners of this competition and the gallery show as it becomes available.

f) While its opening is still a few weeks away, I am still excited to report the news of a new John/Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool in Liverpool, UK that will include a lot for those of us who’ve always appreciated that pair’s contributions to the world of music-related art. Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is one large part of the city’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as “European Capital of Culture” and will, according to the Museum’s PR, have visitors “taking a chronological journey… the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 December 1980.”

On display during the shows run, which begins on May 18th and will stay up for nearly a year (through April 22nd, 2019), are many items of original art created by the pair (individually and together) such as Yoko’s Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting, Painting to Hammer A Nail and Apple: Acorn Peace, War Is Over and others, along with a selection of hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including those to songs including “In My Life”, ”Give Peace a Chance”, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and “Woman”. There will also be a music room where visitors can listen to the couple’s music and review all of the album art that we remember and love. You can learn more about this tantalizing show on the museum’s web site at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/doublefantasy while those with a bit of patience for poorly spaced and punctuated overview articles can read more on one found recently on the Music-News.com site – http://www.music-news.com/news/UK/111842/John-and-Yoko-s-story-in-their-own-words-at-Museum-of-Liverpool

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/exhibitions/double-fantasy/

2) Artist interviews/profile articles –

a) Craig Braun, a man with some pretty-impressive album cover credits including packages for Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper and, working with Andy Warhol and a talented design team, brought us both the famous “banana cover” for the Velvet Underground & Nico’s debut record and Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones in 1971, is featured in a multi-page spread in the March issue (Issue #12) of Long Live Vinyl (U.K) magazine. In this interview with writer Teri Saccone, Craig takes us through some of the details of his storied career, including his start in the record business in Chicago (go Cubs!) in the early 1960s to the formation of one of the best-known vinyl record packaging companies (Album Graphics, Inc., or AGI) and on to his partnership with designer Tom Wilkes in 1973 to form the design firm Wilkes & Braun, Inc. where, in addition to being awarded a number of illustrious album cover art commissions, the pair were awarded a Grammy Award in 1974 for “Best Recording Package” for their designs for the London Symphony Orchestra’s 1973 recording of the orchestral stage version of The Who’s Tommy.

After earning a reputation as a somewhat “over-the-top” creative director (i.e., one not afraid to spend his client’s money on one-of-a-kind packaging ideas), Braun’s success found him enjoying both the good and the bad of a “rock-star lifestyle” before moving on to “corporate jobs” at several large record labels in the 1980s. After the recorded music business began to take a hatchet to packaging budgets, Craig chose – at the age of 55 – to pursue another passion of his – acting. He spent years studying his craft with legendary acting coach, Milton Katselas, in his master class and, in 2010, Craig was named a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio. He has since appeared in many films (inc. Great Expectations in 1998, Flawless in 1999 and Swordfish in 2001) and TV shows including Law & Order, Cold Case, E.R. and Gone. Returning to his design roots for a special occasion in 2017, Craig was enlisted to emcee the rejuvenated Alex Awards ceremony at the “Making Vinyl” trade show.

While you can’t yet read the article online, I did find that the publication has also had several album art-related articles in the past, including 2 posts in their Essential Covers section (http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/classic-album/essential-covers/) where you’ll see career-spanning summaries on Roger Dean and Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal and in their “The Story Behind The Sleeves” archives, you’ll find postings on covers for Alice Cooper, Bjork, Miles Davis and the Mothers of Invention – http://www.longlivevinyl.net/category/story-behind-sleeve/

For more information on this artist, please visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0105733/

b) Keeping his passion for photography mostly to himself while growing up in a suburb of Niagrara Falls, NY, young Frank Ockenfels’ talents weren’t truly discovered until his senior year in high school, when he was asked to shoot the scores of photos needed for his high school yearbook. In 1978, he moved down to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts there, whereupon he met a fellow student named Jodi Peckman. Jodi got a job working at Rolling Stone Magazine and asked her friend to help her with projects here and there, once being sent to photograph Buster Poindexter at a New Year’s Eve performance. After graduation, he worked as an assistant to photographer Joshua Greene (famed celebrity photographer Milton Greene’s son) and at other related jobs until his “big break” came in 1988, when Rolling Stone selected a photo he’d taken of singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman to run full-page in the magazine. Her new album was a hit and, as a result, others wanted to hire the guy who’d taken the best-known picture of the new star, which began a string of commissions to capture the images of many of the world’s best-known celebrities that continues to this day. Ockenfels is perhaps best-known to rock music fans for his portfolio of images taken of the late David Bowie from 1989 to 2006, including album cover/package shots for records including Earthling, Reality and Hours…

The School of Visual Arts is particularly proud of the achievements of many of its alumni, illustrated here by this recent article and intro video found on the school’s site and corresponding to the inclusion of a number of Ockenfels shots in the David Bowie Is exhibition currently on display in Brooklyn, NY. Just goes to prove that both a good education and strong social networks  can work together to bring talented people great opportunities (I sound like a school recruiter, don’t I?) – http://www.sva.edu/features/sva-features-alumnus-and-photographer-frank-ockenfels-3-strikes-with-light-video

c) While fans and journalists alike are working hard to figure out which drug reference – “Kidz on Drugs,” “King Overdose” or “Kill Our Demonz” – is the true meaning behind rapper J. Cole’s new album titled KOD, album art fans have a new artist to focus their attention on – 22-year-old Detroit artist Kamau Haroon, a.k.a. Sixmau. He’d just completed work for rapper Childish Manor when he was commissioned to come up with a memorable cover image for this recently-released new record and, as J’na Jefferson describes it in this recent posting on the VIBE web site – https://www.vibe.com/2018/04/sixmau-j-cole-album-artwork/, delivering a painting that depicts “a glassy-eyed Cole is featured wearing a crown. Children smoking, drinking lean, snorting coke and dropping acid are seen beneath his elegant robe, and two eerie skulls are pictured above them.”

The artist was happy to explain a bit about himself, his career and some of the inspirations and direction he received in this collaboration between two musically and visually-inclined talents, and you can see more of his work on his own site at https://www.sixmau.com/ (note – the home page features an image which reminded me of one you’d see after your computer had been hijacked, but fear not…).

d) With newer hip-hop acts showing more and more creativity when it comes to their related visuals, I was intrigued by this recent profile of 25-year-old hip-hop/fashion photographer Gunnar Stahl on the Coveteur.com site – http://coveteur.com/2018/03/15/gunner-stahl-hip-hop-photographer-profile/ as his portfolio now has been enhanced by the addition of  two newer album covers for Playboi Carti and Rae Sremmrud (both on Interscope). Writer Jodi Taylor spent some time recently in Atlanta with the young photographer, who’d she’d met late in 2017 when he’d just returned from a working trip to Tokyo and was getting ready to jet down to Miami for his next assignment and, after a whirlwind three months of work, had just returned from Los Angeles and had a lot of info to share about his rocket-propelled career these days.

According to the article, drastic circumstances had the self-taught photographer discovering and then settling on the use of film cameras, with Stahl describing it this way – “’I was doing digital, but then my camera broke,’ he explains. ‘I just had no other choice but to use film.’ Film is now what he is known for, with a quick scroll through his IG presenting you with film portraits of pretty much every rapper. You’ll see the likes of A$AP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott, Skepta, and even Jaden Smith all within one quick glance.”

Researching for this posting led me to find another interview and video profile of this in-demand shooter, which you can read and watch via the link at – http://www.thefader.com/2016/09/20/gunner-stahl-documentary-video-interview  More about his latest projects can be found on his blog at http://www.blog.gunnerstahl.us/

3) Sales/Auctions –

a) Last I heard from the folks at the famed Gary Lichtenstein Editions print house/gallery in New Jersey, they were hosting a gallery show late last year built around the ground-breaking hip-hop photography of Janette Beckman (“Legends of Hip-Hop”). Now, in a promo email I just received, I’ve learned that they’re going to be manning a booth at the upcoming Art New York fair (May 3 – 6 at the Pier 94 exhibition hall in NYC) and will have some new works by artist Cey Adams, who us album art fans know and love for his previous work as the creative director for Def Jam Records during their mid-late 1980s heydays, bringing us memorable covers for musical acts including Mary J Bilge, Notorious B.I.G, Faith Evans, Ice Cube, R Kelly and, most-notably, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.

Since that time, Adams has gone on to work independently on a string of projects for clients on both coasts of the U.S. Included in this work were campaigns for Coca-Cola, HBO, Ervin “Magic” Johnson and Nike, NY-area radio stations Hot 97 and WBLS and, working with curators and designers at the Experience Music Project/Museum in Seattle, Adams brought meaningful designs to the hip-hop-centric  displays there. Additionally, he’s produced logos for Dave Chapelle’s popular The Chapelle Show, more album covers, stage designs, tour merchandise and more for a wide range of clients including Adidas, Burton Snowboards, Comedy Central, Eminem, Foo Fighters, Don Henley, Moet & Chandon,  Stevie Nicks and Roca Wear. Later this year, you’ll find Mr. Adams’ talents on display again in a special box set to be released by Smithsonian Records – the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap – which will feature both his packaging design and a special poster he created just for this set.

In 2008, Harper Collins Design published a book co-authored by Adams and Bill Adler, Def Jam’s former Director of Publicity, titled DEFINITION: The Art & Design of Hip-Hop that presented a comprehensive look at “hip-hop as a visual phenomenon. In 2011, Adams and Adler paired again, this time for Rizzoli, to produce Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label, a retrospective of Def Jam’s design output over the label’s first 25 years.

The photos of Cey’s new works look quite nice, but I’d invite anyone in the NYC area to head on over to the show and see them in person – https://www.artnyfair.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=10&tabindex=9&dealerID=36906

Last minute update – I’ve just learned that Cey Adams will be in the Gary Lichtenstein Editions booth at the upcoming Art New York Fair this Saturday, May 5th, 3pm-4pm to talk about his new work and sign copies of his new catalog of work. Gary Lichtenstein Editions – Booth ANY-107 at Art New York, Pier 94 Exhibition space, NYC.

b) An auction to raise funds for the Benefit Shop Foundation in Mt. Kisco, NY took place this past April 18th that featured large-format (6ft. square!) album cover artwork from noted artist Joe Taylor – http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/6071-choice-artworks-abound-at-benefit-shop-april-18 and, as a follow-up, I’m pleased to report that the item raised $2,000 – nearly 2X the pre-auction estimate!

The Texas-born Taylor is perhaps best-known for the mega-scale promo billboards he created to promote new releases inside Tower Records stores in the 1970s and 1980s. What made this particular auction item even more rare and unique was that Taylor took the large masonite boards he used on each project and painted them over after they were used with new artwork, so this huge re-creation of Buckwheat Zydeco’s Hey Joe LP is a rare remnant of his work, indeed (Taylor has also written a book, Art & Music, that shares the stories behind his billboard artwork).

Since leaving the art/advertising world a number of years ago, Taylor has spent his time as Owner/Operator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum – a museum that presents the Earth’s history from a Creationist perspective – in Crosbyton, TX (near Lubbock). He has also put up a display at the museum of the remaining album art paintings he retained ownership of – http://mtblanco.com/2016/03/joe-taylors-album-art/

I’m sure that the winning bidder will soon be the envy of all his/her/their friends…

4) New Print/Book/Product RELEASES –

a) During his 15-year career as a photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine, Mark Seliger contributed countless images to the publication, including over 125 cover shots. He’d then expand his portfolio to include work as a popular director of music videos, directing shorts for Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz, Willie Nelson and others. In the area of album cover art, he’d contribute memorable cover images for records by Tony Bennett, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Ice-T, Lenny Kravitz, Paul McCartney, Britney Spears and many others.

In 2002, Mark left Rolling Stone to take on assignments for magazines within the Conde’ Nast publishing group, shooting photos for GQ, Italian Vogue and Vanity Fair while also taking on commercial assignments for Miramax, MTV Networks, Sony and Universal Pictures. His specialty is creating stunning, large-scale prints using a high-end photographic printing process called “platinum palladium printing”, similar to the technique used by artistically-inclined photographers such as Edward S. Curtis, Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz. To note his artistic output, throughout his career Seliger has been bestowed with many awards for his photographs, including the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards from the Society of Publication Designers in 2001 and 2004.

With such an illustrious background, it’s with great joy that I’d like to report that there is a new book coming out May 1st by Abrams Books that’s simply titled Mark Seliger Photographs. The 256-page publication features 173 illustrations, with portraits of celebrities including David Byrne, Kurt Cobain, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jay-Z , Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen and Emma Stone, along with some great, never-before-seen examples of works taken during his travels throughout the world. There’s an interview of Seliger done by writer/director Judd Apatow during which Marc shares the stories behind some of his best-known shots, so it seems sure that there’s as much interesting to read as there is to see.

http://www.abramsbooks.com/product/mark-seliger-photographs_9781419726613/

b) While you’ve already read my intro article about photography Charles Moriarity’s new photo exhibition in Dublin, Ireland built around a selection of the photos found in his new book about the late Amy Winehouse (Before Frank), I took a look at his site and, in addition to more info on the book, there’s a nice 4-minute+ video intro on the site that gives you a somewhat-more-intimate look into the interactions between these two rising young artists – https://beforefrank.com/ The book’s set to be released this May.

c) Last month, I purchased my own copy of John Foster’s latest book on album cover design and designers – Album Art: New Music Graphics – the details of which I’d shared with you in last month’s news summary. As I said, what makes this book all the more interesting is that it’s been compiled and authored by an award-winning, working designer, with Foster serving as the principal of the MD-based design firm Bad People Good Things and in possession of a portfolio of notable album art credits. He’s also written a number of other design-oriented books included titles such as New Masters of Poster Design (Volumes 1 and 2), Paper and Ink Workshop and 1,000 Indie Posters, among others, and is an in-demand speaker at design industry conferences, so you know he knows his material through and through.

Now that I’ve had a chance to go through the book myself, I did want to let you know that, in addition to all of the nice images used to illustrate the book and interviews with several well-regarded designers I’ve covered over time here at the ACHOF (including Art Chantry, Stefan Sagmeister and Spencer Drate/Judith Salavetz, among others), there are portfolios of work and details of a world-spanning list of designers I’ve never seen before that serve to make this book very different from the many books we’ve seen on the subject in the past. For example, from Denmark, you’ll see cover images created by Jacob Jensen and Hvass & Hannibal for acts (new acts, to me) such as Prins Thomas and Efterklang; from Germany, designers Feld and SchultzSchultz and their work for Ben Lukas Boysen and Daniel Stefanik and, from Australia, Daniel Oorloff, whose crafted photo-collage-based covers for Lucid and Sam Setton, among others.

The 320 page book was being released in the UK on March 8th by the noted Thames and Hudson Ltd publishing house (I got mine via Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Album-Art-New-Music-Graphics/dp/0500294151/ref=sr_1_1? ) , and if you’d like to see more of Foster’s work, I’d invite you to visit his company’s site at http://www.badpeoplegoodthings.com/?page_id=2

d) When the young designer/artist/photographer Astrid Kirchherr was attending college in Hamburg, Germany (the Meisterschule) in the late 1950s, she befriended two other students – Klaus Voorman and Jurgen Vollmer – who shared her interests in Pop culture and music. Voorman became her love interest and, in 1960, the two stumbled in to a club on the Reeperbahn called the Kaiserkeller where they listened to a band from England called The Beatles (who, at the time, consisted of five members, including drummer Pete Best and guitarist Stu Sutcliffe), bringing their friend Vollmer back with them to the club immediately thereafter. Kirchherr became entranced with the young lads from Britain, and one of the bandmembers – Sutcliffe, himself a former art school student – found himself smitten with the beautiful blonde, with the pair starting to date soon after. She’d soon apply her skills as a designer and fashionista to her friends hair and wardrobe, with Astrid being credited for the band’s early “mop-top” haircuts and tailored suits.

With access to the band both onstage and behind the scenes now easily granted, Kirchherr asked the band if they’d mind her bringing a camera along, with the goal being to get them to pose artistically for her as she had sensed something special about the band and its members. Now, over 50 years after these photos were taken, Astrid has teamed with publisher Damani to release a new book of these important photos of the beginnings of a band that would become the most-influential in rock music history. Titled ASTRID KIRCHHERR WITH THE BEATLES (co-authored by Maurizio Guidoni), the book’s imagery focuses on a period of time – from 1960 through 1968 – during which she chronicled the band from its hard-working club band beginnings, during their brief times away from their rapidly-rising careers, on the set of the making of the movie A Hard Day’s Night and up to the time she produced a headshot of George Harrison for his 1968 solo record Wonderwall Music. While her photos have been included in several limited-edition and commercial books of Beatles photos, this is the first time that many of the photos in this 96-page photo-book have been made available to the general public.

You can find this book on the publisher’s web site at https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/634

5) Other articles of interest –

a) Still feel that, for its sonic purity and well-designed packaging, vinyl LPs are still the best expressions of the various ways you can purchase your music? If so, there’s a company in Italy that would like you to consider extending that love for all things vinyl to how you outfit your bathroom. WTF, you say? Well, if you click on over to the MyModernMet site, writer Emma Taggart is happy to show you the various designs now available from the Olympia Ceramica company in their “Vinyl Collection” of LP-and-turntable-inspired bathroom vanities and fixtures. “Resembling a retro sound system, vinyl artwork is featured in the center of the basin; the sink’s faucet mimics a stylus; and taps, styled as “volume” knobs, can be used to adjust the water flow and temperature.

The stylish sink also includes a shelf for storage, a towel bar, a leather toiletry bag, and even an LED mirror featuring lights that resemble an audio equalizer. The best part? Each piece also comes equipped with built-in bluetooth speakers so you can listen to your favorite tunes while you brush your teeth.”

Can’t wait to find out when these are available for delivery and what the prices will be but, I’m assuming, you’ll soon be seeing these in the public and private bathrooms of many (well-heeled) music businesses  – https://mymodernmet.com/bathroom-sinks-vinyl-collection-olympia-ceramica/

https://www.olympiaceramica.it/en/

b) Another design-inspired article that should be of interest to LP fans – Goldmine’s recent podcast includes a discussion with Marshall Blonstein, a former record industry exec who is now co-owner of a company that makes a line of really impressive portable “record players” (much improved over the Kenner “Close&Play” models I remember growing up) – http://www.goldminemag.com/features/ufo-portable-turntable-subject-goldmine-magazine-podcast-episode-24

I’m particularly intrigued with the “UFO” model – a boombox for us Geezers!

http://www.myrocknrolla.com/products/rock-n-rolla-ufo/

c) Last month, I’d reported on a couple of group photo exhibitions – one in Italy and another in Los Angeles – in which the works of famed photographer Masayoshi Sukita were featured prominently. Sukita is probably best-known for his portfolio of photos that captured 40 years of David Bowie’s life and career, with several of his shots used on the covers of some of Bowie’s best-known recordings (from Heroes to The Next Day). In addition to Bowie, Sukita has collaborated with other trend-setting musical acts such as Marc Bolan (T. Rex), Iggy Pop, David Sylvian and influential Japanese electronic music band YMO to create memorable portraits to help chronicle and promote their respective careers.

Now, there’s a new film that premiered at the recent Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy that chronicles the work of this important lensman, with a focus on his unique and intimate portraiture of Mr. Bowie taken during the dozens of photo sessions they worked on together. Sukita – The Shoot Must Go On follows the upward-arcing career path of the now 82-year-old photographer, taking viewers behind the scenes – often with Sukita providing the commentary – during his studio and on-location work with his favorite clients. Included in the film is a special look at “the making of” the album cover for YMO’s second album (Solid State Survivor) and words of praise from many of Sukita-san’s fellow creatives, including famed Japanese composer Sakamoto Ryuichi, musician Hotei Tomoyasu (best-known here for his song “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” featured in the film Kill Bill), guitarist MIYAVI and film director Jim Jarmusch, who teamed with Sukita to create the arresting visuals for his 1989 film Mystery Train.

The documentary is directed and produced by Aihara Hiromi and will be in general release beginning May 19th, so check your local theaters/film festivals/streaming services for showtimes/availability. Reporter Patrick Brzeski gives us a preview on the Hollywood Reporter site at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/far-east-film-fest-premiere-documentary-david-bowies-photographer-1098267

And if you’d like to watch the trailer for the film (in Japanese, mostly) – http://sukita-movie.com/

d) Whenever I see an article in which the author(s) list their favorite album cover designs/images, I typically feel deflated, as I’m forced to wonder why these articles were written. Is there an album art or music-related exhibition taking place nearby, or is there a local artist currently working in the music space that they felt needed profiling, or did they need to fill some space on a page? These articles tend to simply give us a collection of album cover images and little or no useful information about them.

Once in a while, though, even though I don’t quite understand what inspired the article, I am impressed with the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of an article that has pressed its authors to select their favorite designs and then also delivers us the “whos” and the “whys” relating to each featured item. Such is an article recently posted by the Michigan Daily News Music Writers Roundtable on important album cover works – https://www.michigandaily.com/section/arts/album-cover-art-round-table

Compiled by Shima Sadaghiyani, Daily Music Editor for the Ann Arbor, MI-based college daily newspaper, the panel selects several of “the classics” (Revolver by The Beatles, Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book and Doolittle by the Pixies) along with a number of newer “hidden gems”, such as the covers for the Memory Tapes’ 2009 record Seek Magic, M.I.A.’s colorful 2007 release Kala and Lorde’s 2017 megahit Melodrama. While of course I’m impressed with the fact that college writers can find great pleasure and inspiration from “the oldies” as well as the covers for today’s generation’s packaged music. When looking at the cover for the Stevie Wonder record, writer Laura Szubay notes that “only two years previously, on Signed, Sealed And Delivered, Wonder was popping cheerfully out of a cardboard box labeled ‘Handle With Care.’ Now he was sitting on the ground, his face turned thoughtfully to the earth, solemn and contemplative,” while writer Sam Lu shares his take on the connection between the intimate oil painting featured on the cover of Lorde’s Melodrama with the music found inside – “Lorde condenses the essence of teenage relationships in all of their turbulent glory, from the before to the during to the after,  and does it all without abandon. She leaves us with a final parting gift: an image of her at her most striking, when she’s unflinchingly staring right at the viewer.”

There’s hope yet for these young people…

e) I’m having a hard time thinking of a recorded music product with as much (well-deserved) notoriety as Wu-Tang Clan’s 2015 one-off double album – the “ultimate box set” – titled Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. When news of its upcoming availability via auction – coming after a six-year production schedule – was announced several years ago, it caused a sensation in the press as many in the media were perplexed as to who would ever buy such a thing, which also came with an entire agreement that limited the owner to how it could be shared with others (no commercial exploitation, period). Unless you’ve lived off the planet since the sale, you know that it was purchased at auction for $2 million by now-convicted pharma wunderkind Martin Shkreli only to be forfeited in a 2018 sale of assets to cover a $7.3 million dollar judgment against him after his conviction for securities fraud.

Now, further trouble seems to be following this record in the case of photographer Warren Patterson, whose work graces the cover of the infamous album and who is now suing the rappers for $1 million, claiming that he was never paid for the 80 hours of work he put in to the project. Hypebeast’s Isaac Rouse shares the sordid details in his article – https://hypebeast.com/2018/4/wu-tan-clan-sued-once-upon-a-time-in-shaolin-cover

As it turns out, the Department of Justice is still trying to locate the record, which has not yet been turned over even though its owner is in jail and is appealing his conviction.

f) It’s been 35 years since Michael Jackson’s best-selling-album-of-all-time (66 million copies sold so far!) Thriller was released, with that album featuring portrait photographer Dick Zimmerman’s iconic shot of the not-yet-surgically-destroyed young singer stretched out wearing a white suit (with the gatefold inside cover showing Jackson acting all buddy-buddy with a tiger cub). The new 35th anniversary DVD package now available on Zimmerman’s FanArtClubGallery.com site ($24.95) on the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller features an updated interview with Zimmerman and includes loads of behind-the-scenes footage taken during the photo session for the record cover.

More details about the project and the new DVD can be found via this press release posted at https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/18/03/p11422213/michael-jackson-thriller-photographer-interviewed-for-just-released-vi along with this feature you’ll find on a popular MJ fan site, the UK’s Michael Jackson World Net (also celebrating their 20th anniversary) – http://www.mjworld.net/news/2018/03/30/dick-zimmerman-talks-about-michael/

You can order one for your very own at http://fanclubartgallery.com/product/thriller-35th-anniversary-interview-with-dick-zimmerman-dvd/  , and you’ll also see that Zimmerman runs a gallery that sells limited-edition art prints based on some of the celeb photos he’s taken over the years, etc. – http://fanclubartgallery.com/store/

g) Missed this when it first ran several months ago, but now that I’ve found it, I wanted to share this info as it helps us laypeople understand the thought processes of those talented people who are tasked to make the packaging for our favorite retail music products – https://99designs.com/blog/design-other/how-to-design-album-cover/

While I’m quite certain that most designers working in the field don’t follow these guidelines all that closely, it is interesting to see that, in a day where it seems that most people are focused on success via rote memorization and/or applications development, even an outlined process like the one presented here reserves time and energy for existential searches, inspiration and the importance of finding the right people to collaborate with.

h) When those of us who’ve worked in the recorded music business hear the word “mixer”, it immediately brings to mind either the piece of studio equipment used to select and blend inputs from various sources or the people that operate these machines. In today’s foodie scenes, folks us laypeople used to call “bartenders” are now known as “mixologists” and, in many cases, seem to have advanced degrees in chemistry as best evidenced by the strange and wonderful concoctions they create. Recently, a Madison, WI-based restaurant called Merchant has developed and launched a craft cocktail program with inspirations drawn from the titles of classic rock tunes and uses album cover-style imagery to help market them. Want a “Black Magic Woman”? Order one and you’ll get a cocktail made from a blend of tequila, mezcal, fruit juices and other ingredients, while ordering a “Killer Queen” brings you a gin drink with sherry, poppy liquor (?), various juices and bitters. The menu looks like an LP cover, with co-production and “song-writing” (i.e., cocktail-invention) credits listed as they would be on a recorded music product. Contributor Lindsay Christians for The Cap Times shares the important details – http://host.madison.com/ct/entertainment/dining/with-s-rock-inspired-cocktail-list-merchant-is-stayin-alive/article_489df93e-4375-5779-b1e0-3ae6a36af903.html

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. If you’ve found that these stories have added some joy and appreciation for the arts to your lives, I’d like to ask you to let your friends and loved ones know more about the album art and artistry-related information you’ve found here on the ACHOF site.

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.

Album Cover News Recap – February, 2015

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

By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com

Although the month was a short one, you really can’t say that it was at all lacking in interesting album cover-related news. There were three new and very-talented recipients in the “Packaging” categories for this year’s Grammy Awards, announced here on February 8th and, via a show launched two days prior, LA-area music and art fans were treated to the opening of a very-comprehensive display of album/rock art at the Forest Lawn Museum called “Revolutions 2”.

Early February also was the time when two more major exhibitions were launched – one in California and one in Rhode Island – that contained carefully-curated selections of rock and album cover art, with several others following both in the U.S. and U.K. (plus one in Dubai!). Of particular note is the show at the Barbican in London, where fans can see selections from the personal collections of artists associated with album art, including Andy Warhol, Martin Parr and Sir Peter Blake.

Continuing to be popular are articles focusing on album art themes, including psychedelic music and heavy metal imagery, as well as one that presented an list of almost-unbearable album covers for records where the music was just as bad. There were video interviews with designers and photographers that helped you learn more about their inspirations, work (and play) habits and the stories behind many of your favorite album covers (yes, some drugs were involved in several famous examples!). Album art made “the big time” (i.e., a feature on network TV) when CBS Sunday Morning profiled photographer Henry Diltz and he shared his stories about his life shooting covers for The Doors, James Taylor and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (how cool was that?).

A number of notable gallery shows opened for your viewing pleasure during the month, with the works of artists including Robert Williams, photographer Guy Webster and the many famous and soon-to-be famous friends of agent provocateur/gallerist Robert Fraser, while new books featuring the works of Aubrey Powell/Hipgnosis, Graham Nash, Kishin Shinoyama and Art Kane were released for purchase by fans of great album art and imagery.

Of course, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m still working hard to update those already there with new information and to add another 50-75 new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). I’ve got several interviews slated to be published this month, including one with one of this year’s Grammy winners and a U.K. based photographer who has published a series of very unusual and compelling prints featuring portraits of many of your favorite album cover photographers. In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were out shoveling snow (or gathering supplies for extended home stays – will Winter ever end?) or doing whatever it is that makes you happy and satisfied. As I’ve said many times, regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics (don’t you agree?), so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day to continue our efforts 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).

February 27th – 1) Happy to announce the posting of my latest “Featured Fan Collection” article, this one featuring items from the collection of avid record collector and curator of the “Jackets Required: 40 Years of Album Cover Design” exhibition (on display at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library through Mar. 27th, 2015) Robert Garzillo. Robert shares his opinions on the “Top 10” covers from his own collection, showing us his unique sense of both style and history in his selections. I also asked him to give us his take on the importance of album cover imagery in today’s music business and whether he thinks it helps reflect – or influence – trends in Pop Culture even now, and I think that you’ll appreciate what he shares with us – please feel free to share with anyone you know who might enjoy strolling through 40 years of great cover design – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/…/featured-fan-…/

2) The team at NPR Music have just published a video interview with album art producer extraordinaire Gary Burden in which he takes us all on a tour of his Laurel Canyon (CA) stomping grounds, home in the 60s & 70s to an amazing collection of music talent – Mamas & Papas, Joni Mitchell, CS&N and many others – who became both his friends and his clients. There’s nearly 15 minutes of details, and a chance to relive an important era in music/music art history – http://www.npr.org/…/02/25/388693…/gary-burden-on-world-cafe

3) Rapper Eminem’s boyhood home was featured on the cover of his 2013 Grammy-winning album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 but, since the record’s release, the home was demolished and, as fans feared, lost to history. However, since that time, there have been claims made by fans that pieces of this home – most-notably, the front door with the number 19946 (the home’s address was 19946 Dresden, in Detroit, MI) spray-painted on it – are now in the hands of a couple of fans who allegedly scavenged them from the site. Originally, the culprits were going to be charged with theft after they were discovered with the door but, in a surprising turn-around of events, the authorities are not going to press charges against a fan who’d purchased the relic from two other fans in Tampa, FL. The young fan hopes to either re-unite the door with its original owner, or donate it to a museum. More on this impressive piece of music memorabilia in Eric Lacy’s article on the MLive web site –http://www.mlive.com/…/…/eminem_fans_who_allegedly_took.html

February 26th – 1) Here’s a bit more detail about the “Revolutions 2” exhibition at the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale that I’d reported on previously, graciously provided by San Gabriel Valley Tribune writer Michelle Mills. Michelle was able to talk with several of the participating artists whose works are included in the show, including Hugh Brown (IRS & Rhino Records) and Mike Salisbury (Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, more), as well as painter and sculptor Artis Lane. Read more in Michelle’s article, as seen on the San Bernardino Country Sun site – http://www.sbsun.com/…/revolutions-2-fetes-iconic-music-art…

2) In a show titled “That’s Entertainment!” now on display at The Empty Quarter gallery in Dubai, the works of photographers Helmut Newton, Frank Worth and Peter Sanders – who all earned fame for their photos of celebrities from all walks of life – are seen, with many images now available as fine art prints. Newton brought his subjects into equally-interesting, non-studio settings – villas, luxury vehicles, hotel lobbies – and contributed photos for albums by Van Halen, Scorpions and the Rolling Stones. Worth’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and other mid-century stars are well-known by any fan of the era, while Sanders was on hand to capture the careers of everyone from Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix to T. Rex, Procol Harum and Mott The Hoople. Take a break from the mid-day sun and enjoy this show, on display now through March 16th –
http://www.theemptyquarter.com/index.php?p=exhibits_current

3) While the best-known Beatle-related album cover boo-boo has been the infamous “Butcher Cover”, WZLX reporter Alisha Jackson shows us that that wasn’t the only time that a Fab Four cover required last-minute replacing. It turns out that, in early 1970, the band was set to release a compilation record titled Beatles Again, and had printed all the labels as such. With the song “Hey Jude” gaining popularity, it was then decided to change the album’s name to Hey Jude, requiring a change in the album cover as well. Panic and mistakes ensued, with Apple Records exec Neil Aspinall relating his take on what then happened and, in his opinion, who was to blame. To read the stunning conclusion, click on over to the WZLX (Boston, MA) site – http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/…/the-beatles-hey-profanity-hey-j…/ You’ll also be able to find out more about another reported editing malfunction that left some Paul-mouthed profanity in the mix…

February 25th – 1) The LA-area is getting all the good album cover-related shows these days (yes, I’m jealous)…Running now through April 27th at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery in Hollywood is an exhibition featuring selections from the life’s work (so far) of artists, journalist and agent-provocateur Robert Williams, best-known to album art fans for the original “robot rapist” cover art for Guns ‘n’ Roses 1987 record titled Appetite For Destruction. “Slang Aesthetics! Robt. Williams” tracks his career from his role as art director for 60’s customizer Ed “Big Daddy” Roth to his contributions to early underground magazines (Zap Comix) to his launching of the “alternative art” (AKA “lowbrow art”) magazine Juxtapoz, along with his works in painting, print-making and sculpture that were promoted to collectors and fans through shows at leading galleries in LA, NYC and abroad. LA Times writer Carolina A. Miranda gives us a look at the show and the talented man behind the art in her recent article on thelatimes.com web site – http://www.latimes.com/…/la-et-cam-lowbrow-master-robert-wi…

2) Manchester, U.K. born and educated designer/art director David James is the subject of a new profile in the series titled “The Creative Class” found on the Business Of Fashion site. Best known today as the creative head for the leading design magzaine AnOther, James’ work as an independent designer has also benefited advertising and celebrity clients including Prada (who he’s worked with for over 20 years), but album cover fans will remember his stylish work on covers for Boy George, Neneh Cherry and Soul II Soul. Bringing his sense of fashion – along with a roster of design/photography talent – from the music and entertainment worlds to the fashion world established his credentials as a “go to guy” when clients wanted a unique take for their new campaigns. Rebecca May Johnson’s profile of this multi-talented artist is available for viewing via the link http://www.businessoffashion.com/…/creative-class-david-jam…

February 24th – 1) In the 1960s, London-based art dealer Robert Fraser established himself as one of the most-progressive supporters of pop art, artists and the culture they helped develop. His gallery became one of the main gathering places for the artists, musicians and patrons of their efforts (much like Andy Warhol’s “Factory” in New York), and Fraser’s influence on the scene’s participants would be long-lasting. It was Fraser who paired The Beatles with, first, artist Peter Blake, who’d lead the project that produced the cover for their Sgt. Pepper’s LP, and then with Richard Hamilton to come up with the simple-yet-powerful design for the band’s “White Album”, and he went on to have an impact on the art and music scene up to his death from AIDS in 1986. To help fans of Pop Culture gain an appreciation of the man and legacy, he people at London’s Pace Gallery have just launched a seven-week exhibition (running now through March 28th) that puts on display works by the many artists he helped introduce to collectors through his efforts, including Warhol, Jim Dine, Keith Haring, J.M. Basquiat and several others. Writing for the Wall Street Journal‘s Feature Section, Liesl Schillinger gives us a detailed account of the man and the scene he helped both invent and grow, with his influences still acknowledged today – http://www.wsj.com/…/art-dealer-robert-frasers-swinging-lon…

2) For anyone who has spent time in the Ozark Mountains, you’ll appreciate photographer Jim Mayfield’s fixation on the beauty that can be found there – from the simple beauty of a local sky, or tree or local elder sitting on a porch with his favorite pipe. Album cover fans will recall his three cover photos for the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, all featuring the scenery and the people of the place he’s called home for most of his 68 years. In this article by Juliana Goodwin in the Springfield News-Leader, readers will get the chance to learn more about the path that the graduate of the Art Center College of Design took to establish himself as one of the foremost documentarians of the regions history, resources, people and the natural beauty they enjoy –
http://www.news-leader.com/…/jim-mayfields-photog…/23509075/

February 23rd – 1) While it only makes sense that folks in the album cover creation business would also be art collectors themselves, it is a rare occasion when us fans are given the opportunity to take a look at these collections. Let’s then thank the curators at the Barbican Art Gallery in London for putting together the “Magnificent Obsessions” show – running now thru May 25th – which puts on display over 8,000 objects borrowed from the collections of artists including Andy Warhol, Martin Parr, Damien Hirst, Sir Peter Blake and many others. There are dolls, musket balls and elephant figurines from Sir Peter’s eclectic acquisitions, skulls and stuffed animals owned by Mr. Hirst, several of Mr. Warhol’s prized cookie jars and a wall of album covers owned by Mexico’s Dr. Lakra. NY Times International Art writer Farah Nayeri gives us the show’s details, along with interviews and commentary by the curator and some of the participants in her recent Times article –
http://www.nytimes.com/…/magnificent-obsessions-show-at-the…

2) Sir Peter Blake also appeared in an article by Simmy Richman in the U.K.’s Independent in which the writer tracks down one of the production team members for Blake’s probably best-known album cover work – i.e., the collage created for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record – to learn that there was quite a bit of chaos present on the set where all of those cut-outs, wax figures and other objects were assembled to create the iconic final image. Richman located (via Facebook) photographer Michael Collins’ assistant during the project – Nigel Hartnup, now living in France – who was able to share more details about his involvement and what happened to at least one of the cut-outs from the shoot (Sir Peter still owns the Marilyn Monroe figure). More details via the link – http://www.independent.co.uk/…/wed-like-to-take-you-home-wi…

February 20th – 1) One of the best-known and often-discussed album covers to date is the Peter Saville-designed image found on Joy Division‘s Unknown Pleasures album. The 1979 release was unusual for a number of reasons – most notably that it was the band’s debut studio album and the cover doesn’t mention the band at all – but the memorable cover image has been somewhat of a mystery that, finally and in great detail, is unveiled by Scientific American’s art director for info-graphics Jen Christiansen via the following link – http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/…/pop-culture-pulsar-o…/ 
The article digs deep, interviewing designer Saville, finding the origins of the design he adapted and, finally, interviewing the scientist that published the original figure as part of his astronomical research in the early 1970s. Very thorough and thought-provoking!

2) 2014 ACHOF Inductee Brian Roettinger is the subject in NY Times reporter J.C. Gabel’s recent interview during which the designer talks openly about the most-influential aspects of his life (his family’s impressive record collection and suburban surroundings, to start) and about his career path that has lead him from creating album covers and gig posters for LA-area punk/metal bands early in his career to his award-winning work for Jay-Z (Magna Carta Holy Grail), Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special and, soon, Florence & The Machine’s upcoming album titled How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Quite the trip –http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/…/brian-roettinger-art-…/

February 19th – It’s all about album cover photography today! Three stories for your enjoyment and education:

1) The work of famed photographer Art Kane is the subject of a new book – curated by his son and daughter-in-law – released by Reel Art Press. Titled Art Kane, the book includes over 200 photos taken from Kane’s long career as a photographer, art director (and, later on, playwright and videographer) for magazines (LIFE, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and others) and for clients in the advertising and music arenas. His shot of The Who – taken originally for a feature in LIFE and used later for the album cover for the band’s The Kids Are Alright LP – is considered one of the best-known (and often-imitated) images in modern rock history. You can learn more about the man and the new book in Eliza Berman’s recent article in Time Magazine – http://time.com/3689728/art-kane-photographs/

2) Singer, songwriter and major contributor to the improvement of digital photo printing Graham Nash has a new photo show running now through May 31 at the Mumm Fine Art Gallery in Napa, CA that includes a number of portraits of musical friends such as David Crosby and Joni Mitchell. Nash’s introduction to photography as a young man began with a disturbing incident, with Graham’s father presenting him with a new camera, only to be arrested shortly afterwards for stealing said camera. Rather than pointing the finger at the real thief, his father would go on to spend a year in jail for the crime…Bay Area NBC News reporter Joe Rosato, Jr. provides us with a video news piece about the man and his new photo show, via the link – http://www.nbcbayarea.com/…/Graham-Nash-Singer-Songwriter-P…

3) When photographer Kishin Shinoyama snapped a photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono sharing a kiss near the pond in NYC’s Central Park (which would be used as the cover for the couple’s last studio album Double Fantasy), little did he know that, just a few weeks later, Lennon would be dead. During that day in the park, Shinoyama shot over 800 photos, with many of them never released, and so it is of great joy to Lennon fans that the folks at Taschen have teamed up with the photographer and John’s widow Yoko to publish a limited-edition art book titled “Kishin Shinoyama. John Lennon & Yoko Ono. Double Fantasy”. The 174 page book is being offered to collectors in two versions – the $700 “Collector’s Edition” book, signed by both Ono and Shinoyama, is in a limited-editon of 1980 copies, while the two $1800 “Art Edition” models (in editions of 125 copies each) come with your choice of one of two signed photo prints. Rebecca Bengal of the New York Times provides us with an intro to this new book, which includes a link to the video promo trailer – http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/…/john-lennon-yoko-ono-…/

February 18th – 1) The readers of the popular R&B/Hip-Hop site The Boombox have spoken (via the site’s annual Fan Choice Awards poll) and have selected – by a large margin – the cover of artist Jhene Aiko’s Souled Out record as “Album Cover of the Year 2015”. With design and art direction done by Salt Lake City-based designer Chris Le and the team at C-LeGFX (who has done design and film work for a host of clients including Island/Def Jam, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Records, among others), the cover depicting Ms. Aiko apparently suspended between Earth and the Heavens proved very popular with the site’s readership, garnering over 58% of all votes (with YG’s My Krazy Life, getting the second-most number of votes, approx. 22% of the total). You can take a look at the results on the Boombox site via the link at – http://theboombox.com/jhene-aiko-souled-out-wins-album-cov…/

2) Accomplished album cover designer Paula Scher lectured to an auditorium full of lucky students as part of the Stuckerman School at Penn State University’s ongoing lecture series. A long-time principal at the NYC-based Pentagram design studio, Ms. Scher spent many years in the record business, working in the 1970s-80s as the creative director at Atlantic and CBS Records before going on to bring her talents to projects for clients including Bloomberg, Citibank, Comedy Central, The Public Theater, New York Times, Target, Tiffany,The American Museum of Natural History and many others. To find out more about this opportunity to meet one of the most-prolific graphic designers at work today, follow the link to the Penn State News site at http://news.psu.edu/…/graphic-designer-scher-lecture-penn-s…

3) In my ongoing effort to present the work of “mere commercial artists” to those in the fine art world establishment, one of the questions I’m presented with from time to time is whether applying your talents as a designer to music products is simply “selling out”. I’ve heard passionate claims by those on both sides of the issue and, while I’ve always been one to hope that the talented creatives that produce the packaging for our favorite musicians/music products earn enough money to keep themselves fed, happy and eager to continue to work in the music business, it is interesting to read and attempt to process opposing/mixed views, so it is with this in mind that I link you to a recent article by writer Paddy Johnson on the ArtNet site titled “Do Artist Branding and Hollywood Talent Agency Deals Kill an Artist’s Soul?”. Let me know what you think – http://news.artnet.com/…/do-artist-branding-and-hollywood-t…

February 17th – 1) In this recent interview article by Andy Butler on the Designboom site, Smiling Wolf designer director Simon Rhodes talks about his agency’s work (including album packaging for several music industry clients), his “Brian Eno”-style approach to creativity (via “lateral thinking”) and how his appreciation of record cover design as a teenager helped him truly understand the important role that he could play in working for clients in the music, art, industrial design and fine art worlds. I was particularly impressed with the work he showed for Elevator Studios – quite the branding package! http://www.designboom.com/…/interview-with-simon-rhodes-di…/

2) With revenues from the sale of music products – both physical and digital – losing steam, musical acts of all types have to look at other ways to both build closer relationships with their fans and make money via touring, licensing and merchandise sales. While many larger (i.e., more successful) acts can rely on their labels, agents, etc., to help them fully-explore these needs, most indie/small label acts have to invest the time and resources themselves, so any help they can get in doing this correctly is always welcome. Of course, one of the most-important items that need to be created are graphics-based (logos, cover art, related merch, stage designs, promo posters, etc.), so in the article written by the staffers at the ToneDeaf site, two of Australia’s top merchandising specialists – LPATM’s Brian “BT” Taranto and 24Hundred’s Duane Jackson – give readers a “Merchandising 101” course, adding important details such as understanding your fan base, focusing on quality and. most-importantly, remembering (as much as it hurts, sometimes) that THIS IS A BUSINESS! Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who is trying to earn a living in today’s tricky music business arena – http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/…/guide-creating-selling-best-mu…

February 16th – 1) Famed album cover designer and partner in the illustrious Hipgnosis studio Aubrey “Po” Powell is the subject of a recent “Flyodian Slip” radio show, which premiered  Feb.16 and ran through Feb. 22 in markets the show is broadcast in. Host Craig Bailey talks with Powell about his career producing covers for many great bands, talks about the release of his new book on the subject (titled Hipgnosis: Portraits and published by Thames & Hudson) and rooming with original Floyd singer/songwriter Syd Barrett. Transcripts from the show, along with streaming files, will be available on the show’s site at http://www.floydianslip.com/…/pink-floyd-designer-aubrey-p…/

2) Although Grammy-nominated album cover designer Xiao Qing-Yang didn’t take home this year’s trophy, the designer is a certified star in his native Taiwan, and the loss hasn’t slowed his career, as evidenced by his latest commission – creating the latest “Story Island – Round the World” in-flight meal service motif for Taiwan-based EVA Airlines. The award-winning designer will apply his talents to tablecloths, menus and other related items for the airline’s Premium and Business Class customers. Like a good album cover, Xiao’s designs help strengthen the relationship between producer and customer, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see his efforts represented on notable music packages going forward. More on the Travel Daily News Asia web site – http://www.traveldailynews.asia/…/eva-chooses-grammy-nomine…

3) Do bad music and bad art inevitably find each other? If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve purchased records that had great covers, only to find that the music packaged inside was not quite what you’d hoped for. Well, if you take a look at this video produced by Jimbo Stephens (as related to us by writer Ryan Kristobak on the Huffington Post site), there are many examples of absolutely horrible music getting the packaging it deserves – tasteless, offensive and/or featuring head-scratchingly poor production values. You’ve seen some of these examples in previous articles on bad cover design, but I haven’t seen several of them before and, necessarily, refuse to suffer alone…follow this link, if you are a glutton for punishment – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/worst-album-covers-_n_66147… Please note – there are some REALLY offensive images included in the clip, so be sure to keep sensitive eyeballs at bay.

February 13th – 1) As Idaho-based designer Rocky Davies was growing up in the 1980s, he found himself a fan of cartoons, comics, toys and video games and, surrounded by all of this input, decided early on to learn to draw so that he, too, could contribute to the art forms he loved. Graduating from BYU with a degree in illustration, he began his career as a freelance designer, but never forgot about his favorite characters from the 80s and recently decided to devote some time to developing a series of art images that place some of his favorite villains – including the Joker, Freddy and the Sta-Puf Marshmallow Man – front and center in album covers for many tunes from the era. “Sweet dreams are made of these” takes on a whole new (nightmarish) meaning – click here to see Rocky’s portfolio of these alt-covers – http://www.rockydavies.com/?p=1393

2) A music-focused bar in Cardiff, Wales wanted to create some visuals for an upcoming event that combined the venue’s love of music with their support for the annual Six Nations rugby tournament and, if you take a look at the article and illustrations found on the Wales Online site written by David Owens, you’ll find the results of their efforts – a series of “classic” album cover images where the original featured characters have been replaced with images of Welsh rugby stars. The Full Moon Bar is now the home of Leigh Halfpenny as the alien in Aladdin Sane, and Gethin Jenkins is now a really Bad man…see the slide show via the link – http://www.walesonline.co.uk/…/rock-met-rugby-welsh-stars-8…

3) Vinyl Connection‘s Bruce Jenkins gives us an in-depth look at the cover of Procol Harum’s 1974 release titled Exotic Birds and Fruit in the latest edition of the ongoing series he calls “Art On Your Sleeve”. Bruce digs in to a number of aspects of the band’s eighth album, with insights on the choice of art, the lighting and why he thinks the cover might feature birds that have been sedated. Always an interesting take on classic album cover design – enjoy – http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/02/12/art-on-your-sleeve/

February 12th – 1) Wanted to point you to this article regarding the recent feature done for the CBS News “Sunday Morning” show on famed album cover photographer Henry Diltz, the many responsible for a number of truly memorable photos of acts including CSN&Y, The Doors, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and many others. Reporter Anthony Mason was taken to Diltz’s archive where he was shown a number of images that those of us “Boomers” will acknowledge having seen hundreds of times – the cover shot for JT’s Sweet Baby James LP, the photo of Misters Nash, Stills & Crosby seating on THAT couch in front of THAT house and, of course, the photo of The Doors standing in the window of the somewhat-decrepit Morrison Hotel in Los Angeles. Quite the afternoon, I think…You can watch the segment and view a nice slideshow of a number of Diltz’s photos on the new net’s site via the link at http://www.cbsnews.com/…/capturing-an-era-of-rock-nobility…/

2) While I don’t have a lot of personal experience or knowledge about album cover designers who work for clients in the Latin-music market, I did just run across an interview by a writer working for the NBC News Latino site (named Juan Castillo) with a very-prolific designer by the name of Ruben Cubillos that I thought I’d share. A former performer himself, Cubillos was always impressed with the album art he saw growing up in San Antonio – in particular, the covers and logo designs done for The Commodores – and committed to himself early on to the development of his artistic talents, hoping that he’d one day excel in the field. 150+ record covers later – including ones for musical acts including Ruben Ramos,Selena and Juan Gabriel, to name just a few – Castillo has achieved that goal and looks forward to continuing to bring his artistic sensibilities to his future efforts. More on this at http://www.nbcnews.com/…/latino-album-cover-artist-ruben-cu…

3) Looking to approach your record collection – and find new music, too – in an original and different way? How about searching by color? A site was launched by the design collective called Open Work that is called Predominant.ly and, using computer power to do what I can only imagine a computer can do, fans can search for their favorite records, old and new, by the colors featured in their cover art. Going to the home page, you’re presented with what looks like the color chart found in most image-processing programs. Simply move your cursor to the color you’re most-interested, click it and presto!, you’re given a list of albums where that color is featured predominantly. While I can’t tell you why it exists, it certainly seems to work well. This might be worth some extra looking in to…Read more in the Paste Magazine feature on this intriguing new site –
http://www.pastemagazine.com/…/predominantly-wants-you-to-c…

February 11th – 1) It’s not nice to fool Mother Mitchell – in a recent New York magazine interview article, recounted here by John R. Kennedy for Canada’s Global News site, singer Joni Mitchell explains that the reason why she agreed to appear in blackface on the cover of her 1977 album titled Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter was to “freak out” the photographer who with, according to Ms. Mitchell, she was locked in a psychological battle with that day. As the shoot went on, she would retreat to change into different costumes she’d prepared and, on her fourth change, returned to the set dressed as a black man, tricking the crew who wanted to know who this never-before-seen person was on the set. And even today, Joni still states that she has much in common with black men having, as she’s quoted, experienced what it’s like being one herself.
The interview also touches on many other topics, including her take on the possibility that Taylor Swift (whose music Joni’s never heard) might play Mitchell in a proposed biopic…more via the link – http://globalnews.ca/…/joni-mitchell-reflects-on-posing-in…/

2) As part of the DIY site’s “Hall of Fame:Inside The Artwork” series, writer El Hunt introduces us to photographer Ness Sherry, who gives us the back-story to the wintery B&W image shot for the cover of Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm. While I found the story quite interesting, the one thing that most-impressed me was the fact that, rather than the setting for the photo being some Easter-bloc country’s barren wasteland, it was actually photographed in Northampton, U.K.! This reminded me of a similar photo – the one taken by Brian Griffin and used on the cover of Depeche Mode’s A Broken Frame – which, rather than being the result of Brian’s trip to Italy or Russia to find a peasant woman working in a wheat field, was also a scene taken from alongside a highway in England…click on over to DIY Magazine’s site for more – http://diymag.com/…/inside-the-artwork-story-behind-silent-…

3) An author with a doctorate from the International Centre for Music Studies in the U.K., Elodie Roy brings readers a very insightful take on the relationship – a “visual enhancement”, as she calls it – between fans and active participants in today’s various musical cultures and the memorable photographs that have appeared on record albums. While, as a child, she was often frightened by the images she saw on popular albums (remember Peter Gabriel’s “melty face” cover – quite shocking, no?), she admits that, as she grew older, the images she found on retail music packaging actually drew her into the sonic and visual worlds created by each musical act. In a recent editorial she wrote for the PopMatters site, Roy goes on to give us a range of examples of images being used, throughout the history of retail music, to help establish a link between artist and fan (she also gives us a brief look at two new books that help add backup to her contentions). I always felt a strong connection to the art used to package my favorite music – now, there’s scientific proof that it exists! http://www.popmatters.com/…/190093-the-visual-enchantment-…/

February 10th – 1) For as long as rock music has been around, there has been a loyal group of fans of “psychedelia” – the music, the art and the spirituality often found in the art and music – and although it’s been called different things over time (“New Age”, “Transcendentalism”, etc.), one thing is certain – the artwork created by a short list of talented designer/illustrators continues to impress, amaze and occasionally confound viewers and fans of the genre.

In this article on the site for the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technology (IEET), you’ll meet – via text and video – one of the best known “visionary” artists working today, Alex Grey, who, in addition to fine art and illustrations seen in a variety of settings – has created album covers for bands including Tool, David Byrne, Beastie Boys and, with probably his best-known work (his painting Muscle System/Pregnant Woman) for Nirvana, featured on their In Utero album. In an article titled “Psychedelic Spirituality”, you’ll learn more about the artist, his inspirations and the “spiritual and practical uses of the Cannabis plant”. Free your mind and visit http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/grey20150128 for more.

2) I love it when the hometown paper heaps praise on “a local boy done good” (my quotes)…Ravenswood, WV native Don Pendleton and his design team won a Grammy Award this past Sunday (yes, there were other awards handed out to talent that wasn’t Beyonce on that date – sorry, Kanye) and the editors at the Herald-Dispatch proudly made the announcement to his neighbors. Pendleton won for his work on the packaging for Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt record, having been introduced to the band via bassist Jeff Ament, who was a fan of the artist’s work (having purchased examples for his own art collection back in 2009) and a fellow skateboarding aficionado. In addition to the cover art, Pendleton helped create a variety of items to help complete the package (stickers & artwork for each song) and promote the band’s tour and other promo appearances.
Read more of this hometown tribute via the link at http://www.herald-dispatch.com/…/Marshall-grad-Don-Pendleto…

3) It was my sad duty to have reported the death February 9th of Rex Ray, the talented San Francisco Bay-area artist who was responsible for a number of well-known album covers for musical acts including David Bowie, The Residents, Joe Satriani and Matmos, among others. Ray was an extraordinary collage artist and painter whose works are in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art and many others. For the past several years, his designs and unique art pieces have been featured in the Jonathan Adler design stores nationwide.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rex several years ago about his work on the cover image for David Bowie’s 2003 release titled Reality (see link, below) and found him to be a very nice guy with a simple approach to art – he just worked hard to create beauty from a variety of materials and, if you look at his portfolio of work, I think that you’ll agree that he accomplished that quite clearly. You can read more about Rex in this article by Sam Whiting on the SFGate web site – http://www.sfgate.com/…/Collage-artist-Rex-Ray-dies-6071830…

and, if you’d like to read my interview with him, follow this link –http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/…/2008/05/cover-story-int…

February 9th – 1) There’s a new show now on display at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library that will be of great interest to fans of great design and, more specifically, great album cover design. The show, titled “Jackets Required: 40 Years of Album Cover Design” was organized by librarian (and accomplished record collector) Robert Garzillo and includes 100 covers that appeared during the years 1940 – 1980 featuring the work of many ACHOF “Early Influencers”, including Alex Steinweiss, Saul Bass, Jim Flora, Josef Albers, Andy Warhol and others. The covers represent music released in a number of different genres and give the viewer a good sense of how album art both reflected the designs of the times and also helped take record packaging in new directions. I hope to have more about this show to share with you soon. In the meantime, you can read more about the exhibition – which runs now through March 27th – in Bill Van Siclen’s article in the Providence Journalhttp://www.providencejournal.com/…/20150208-risd-exhibit-al… or on the library’s site at http://library.risd.edu/exhibitions-current.html

2) The Napa Vallery Museum is now hosting a new show featuring works from the portfolio of photographer Guy Webster, the man responsible for many notable album cover images, including covers for The Rolling Stones, The Mamas & The Papas, The Turtles and many others. “Big Shots: The Photography of Guy Webster”, on display now through March 15th, the LA-based Webster was on hand in the 60s – 70s to capture images of rising stars in many aspects of the entertainment industry and, in this show, you’ll find a host of photos of stars including musicians Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Simon & Garfunkel (among others) as well as film/TV stars such as Jack Nicholson, Raquel Welsh and Natalie Wood. On March 12, Guy will be on-hand to do an Artist Talk about his career. I’ve seen videos of his presentations and would highly-recommend attending this talk to anyone in the area…More info on this can be found on the Museum’s site at http://napavalleymuseum.org/?page_id=3063

3) Found an article I thought you all might like about a metal music fan who is working hard – with varying degrees of success – to establish himself as a working photographer covering the genre in Southern California. In this article in the OC Weekly by Rachael Mattice, Adrian Mejia gives us the often-dirty details of what it takes to shoot memorable photographs of musical acts in the clubs and theaters they’re working, all while ducking the punches, kicks, thrown objects and flying bodies often found up in front of the stage during these events. His commitment to his craft has earned him the respect of both the venues he works in and the artists he photographs – now, if he can live long enough to build on to his career, I expect that we’ll be seeing more of his work as time goes on! More via the link at http://blogs.ocweekly.com/…/a_local_metal_photographer_give…

February 8th – And the winners of this year’s Grammy Awards in the packaging categories are:

1) For “Best Recording Package” – the team that produced the package for Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt (on Republic Records) – Jeff Ament, Don Pendleton, Joe Spix & Jerome Turner, art directors

2) For “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” – the team that produced the package for The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27) on Third Man/Revenant Records – Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood & Jack White, art directors

3) For “Best Album Notes” – Ashley Kahn, for his work on Offering: Live At Temple University

Congratulations to all of the winners – to see the complete details of nominees and winners in this category, please click on over to the Grammy site at http://www.grammy.com/Nominees?genre=22

February 6th – 1) Opening today at the museum at Forest Lawn – “Revolutions 2 – The Art of Music”, featuring hundreds of examples of album cover and music-related fine art from an impressive line-up of designers, illustrators, photographers and other contributors to great cover art. On display now through August 2nd, you’ll find prints and original works by artists including Hugh Brown, Ernie Cefalu, Roger Dean, Joe Garnett, Rick Griffin, Kadir Nelson, Joe Petagno, Tom Recchion, Mike Salisbury, Alex Steinweiss, Drew Struzan, Guy Webster and many others. There will be several related events to this show, so please visit the Forest Lawn site at http://forestlawn.com/event/revolutions-2/ to learn more about this exciting event. I hope to have some pictures of the display for you soon, so stay tuned.

2) One of the artists whose works are included in the aforementioned exhibit at Forest Lawn is designer/art director Ernie Cefalu who, over the years, has been responsible for noted album covers for Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Iron Butterfly, Jesus Christ Superstar and many others. For her “Face To Face” series of artist interviews, Linda Woodyard McFadden interviewed Ernie about his role in one of the best-known designs in Rock & Roll history – i.e., the “Lips & Tongue” logo for The Rolling Stones. During this 14-minute video, Linda and Ernie take a look at the “birth” of this design via original sketches, comps and other fascinating pieces that went into “the making of” this iconic design –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eUQn4bJs64&feature=youtu.be

3) Here’s a link to an article in the Taipei Times about the two Taiwanese artists who are nominated for Best Recording Package for their impressive work on the Muddy Basin Ramblers’ Formosa Medicine Show record. Over the years, Taiwan-based artists have been nominated a half-dozen times for submissions in this category, but none has ever won. And while they’re up against some big-name competition (including records for Pearl Jam and the Pixies), last year’s winners were honored for their work for indie band Reckless Kelly, so there’s always a chance that these “underdogs” could win. I’m quite certain that both they (writer David Chen and graphic designer Andrew Wong) and their clients would be VERY happy with a win – http://www.taipeitimes.com/…/feat/arc…/2015/02/02/2003610619

February 5th – 1) Interesting post on the ArtNet site by Cait Munro about musician David Byrne and his affinity towards “outsider art”, shown quite nicely by his commission of one of the world’s most-prolific artists – the late Rev. Howard Finster – to create the cover for the Talking Heads Little Creatures album. Byrne has been collecting works in this genre since the 1980s and continues to visit shows looking for whatever’s new and exciting in the area. To read more about Byrne and his collection, click on over to the article at http://news.artnet.com/i…/david-byrne-on-outsider-art-238262 

If you’re interested in reading more about Finster and his “Paradise Garden” compound and museum in GA, I interviewed the curator – David Leonardis – several years ago and found out more about this fascinating gentleman and the work he did (and why he did it). http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/…/2007/09/cover-story-rem…

2) To help commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1, the city of Liverpool and the Tate Museum have hired legendary album cover designer Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s and Band Aid fame) to produce a customized design for one of the famed “Ferries Across The Mersey”. The ferry, called “The Snowdrop”, will be re-painted with a unique design called Everybody Razzle Dazzle, and will be launched along with a fully-coordinated schedule of educational programs for schools and opportunities for other local writers and artists to contribute to. Writing for the Liverpool Echo, Catherine Jones provides us with more details and a nice slide show of the artwork created by the now 82-year-old Sir Peter – http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/…/sir-peter-blake-give-merse…

February 4th – As promised, here is a link to the “Albers In Command” FB page – https://www.facebook.com/events/1414938145466313/ There, you’ll find photos of the show on display at The Ace Hotel in LA and get to see some of the actual covers Albers designed in the 1960s. Thanks again to the show’s curator, Nitzan Hermon, for giving us “the inside scoop” on this wonderful display of design talent.

February 3rd – 1) A number of years ago, while I still lived in the NYC area, my wife and I drove out to Long Island’s wine country to see an exhibit of rock & roll fine art that was set up in a barn on a winery’s estate. There, we found a number of album cover prints featuring The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many others. The show was put on by a company called “Rock Art Show” who, it turns out, worked with a local radio station to co-promote their activities. Just the other day, I saw an interview with Scott Segelbaum, who started the company back in 1991 and has expanded the collection to include concert photos, gold records and artwork by John Lennon and Ringo Starr (to name just a few). In the interview, he talks about what motivated him to start his business, how he selected what would be shown and how he works hand-in-hand with local radio stations nationwide to bring fans shows of great variety and quality – perfect for us collectors of album cover fine art and photography. Read this interview – conducted by Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media Research – on the company’s site at http://jacobsmediablog.com/…/radios-most-innovative-scott-…/

2) Its wonderful to see someone whose career began in the album art world now make strong showings in the “fine art world”. Ryan McGinness, a NYC-based artist, did his first album cover work while still an art school student (doing covers for Gerald Levert, Speed McQueen and Inner Circle in the mid-late 1990s), is the subject of a new show titled Ryan McGinness: Studio Visit now on display (through April 19th) at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Virginia Beach. In 2009, the museum commissioned Ryan to create a work of art for the museum’s collection, and the new show works to give viewers a look behind the scenes of the artist’s process as he created this 16-panel work. Read more about it on the museum’s web site – http://www.virginiamoca.org/ryan-mcginness-studio-visit

February 2nd – 1) My ongoing research has led me to the site of photographer Emilie Sandy, where I found info/imagerly on a project she did several years back that, if you haven’t seen it already, you should take the time to do so. Called “Deja Vu”, Sandy recruited a number of highly-regarded music industry photographers – Anton Corbijn, Bob Gruen, Chris Gabrin, Gered Mankowitz and many others – to work with her to “recreate” one of their best-known photos, and the results are really impressive. You’ll see well-known album cover shots for Elvis Costello, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash and many others redone to now feature their creators in the starring roles. Great idea, very well-executed. I will find out more and report back to you all with additional info as I get it – in the meantime, enjoy the show – http://emiliesandy.com/portrait/deja-vu/

2) With the credit for the album cover shot for one of the past year’s best-selling records – Grammy-nominated singer Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour – bringing her work to a much-larger audience, it seems that London-based photographer Stephanie Sian Smith still finds time to shoot beautiful images of her friends, the world around her and her cat Ron while taking care of the editorial and portrait needs of her ever-expanding list of clients. In this new video (sponsored by Nikon) on The Telegraph‘s site, you’ll get a chance to meet Ms. Smith and follow her while she works on a recent project – shooting portraits of young women with their cats (sounds like she’d have some experience on the subject, no?) –http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/stephanie-sian-smith-photograp…

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