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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

LIVE! Robert Mapplethorpe at the Grand Palais

The Grand Palais in Paris is currently exhibiting Robert Mapplethorpe in an show that "presents the classic dimension of the artist’s work and his search for aesthetic perfection, through over 200 images that span his career from the early 1970s to his untimely death in 1989".

For those of us that can't make it, they have produced a series of 25 videos to promote the exhibition which we are excited to share with you here.

Playlist of all 25 videos in order:


Tuesday, 01 April 2014

Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was one of the great masters of art photography.

Born one of six siblings in a Roman Catholic family in Queens, New York, he went on to study art and design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. It was after this, when he got his first Polaroid camera, that he began to focus on photography - albeit as a tool, not his medium of choice - and that he received his first solo gallery exhibition (Polaroids, at the Light Gallery in New York City, 1973). You can see the invitation card to that exhibition along with other archive works by Mapplethorpe, on the Getty Research Institute website.

influenced by George Dureau*, Mapplethorpe is most notorious for his more controversial, erotic and often explicit subject matter and some have argued that this is really the only defining attribute of his work. It becomes clear to most, however, when looking at the whole of his oeuvre, that Mapplethorpe was a photographer with a stunning ability to exploit his medium for its particular qualities, its endless spectrum of shades between white and black, its ability to be instant and timeless at once. His style was beautiful and precise, masterfully composing with light and tone. It may seem to have moved a long way from the collages and sketches of his early career, but a thread of his interest in the classical Renaissance and the avant-garde runs right the way through both - as does his mastery of composition and design.

Mapplethorpe's portraits are testament to those formal talents and also to his personality. He explained that he felt his subjects revealed more of themselves when talking about things they loved. At a time when many portrait artists were looking for vulnerability, Mapplethorpe was looking for confidence. This might explain his popularity within artistic circles and the level of access afforded him by his friends and contemporaries.

Peter Gabriel, photographed by Mapplethrope, on the cover of his 'greatest hits' album Shaking The Tree

This combination of skills resulted in some of the best imagery we have of some of the greatest artistic luminaries of our times; Patty Smith (dearest friend of Mapplethorpe and a collaborator, too in their early years), Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Harry, Peter Gabriel, Grace Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Isabella Rosellini, David Hockney, William Burroughs and many more famous or notorious faces feature in his photographs. review article by Andy Grundberg published at the time of his first major American museum show, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988 offers a sad glimpse of the possibilities cut short by his early death from the AIDS virus only one year later.

In 1989 The Perfect Moment exhibition, curated by Janet Kardon of the ICA Philadelphia, caused huge national controversy, the somewhat ironic consequence of which was a great leap in the value of Mapplethorpe's work and the cementing of his name as one of the most important in popular consciousness as well as the history of photography.

Less than a year before his death Mapplethorpe helped found the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. to be "the appropriate vehicle to protect his work, to advance his creative vision, and to promote the causes he cared about".

Mapplethorpe's estate is represented by Xavier Hufkens, the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, OHWOW in Los Angeles, and several other galleries in partnership with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

The Robert Mapplethorpe Archive, spanning 1970 – 1989, was donated by the Foundation to the Getty Research Institute.

*George Dureau sadly died, only last week, aged 84. You can read more about that in articles and obituaries on hyperallergic.com, NOLA.com and advocate.com. JackFritscher.com also offers a download link for a pdf of an interview with Dureau talking about his relationship with Mapplethorpe. R.I.P.




Thursday, 20 March 2014

LIVE! Horace Panter

HORACE PANTER :: SPECIAL MUSICIAN :: ART HEAD :: POP PAINTER

Horace Panter, bassist in The Specials and one time art teacher has settled into a pretty illustrious, late flowering painting career. His work can be seen NOW and for another nine days at Reuben Colley Fine Arts in Birmingham, where they are exhibiting four 'catalogues' of his work:


POP ART
Horace Panter: The Specials
Copyright © 2011 REUBEN COLLEY


BLUES / JAZZ
Horace Panter: Muddy Waters
Copyright © 2011 REUBEN COLLEY


ICONS
Horace Panter: Blind Boy FullerCopyright © 2011 REUBEN COLLEY


and 
CASSETTES
Horace Panter: John Peel - August 1981 (Edition of 25)
Copyright © 2011 REUBEN COLLEY


There's a bit of nostalgia in there, a lot of love for his heroes (including a brilliant homage to Peter Blake's Self-Portrait With Badges), some clever ideas and mostly just some really good painting.

Catch it while you can.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

STORM AT 70 (seven of his best)

February 29th 2014 would have been the 70th birthday of Storm Thorgerson: master of album cover design and a unique talent whom we were very proud to know.

Last week I watched the Culture Show's Henri Matisse - A Cut Above the Rest. It brought to mind the impression we had of Storm, over the last few years, as an artist truly racing to realise as many of his ideas as possible in the time he had left; time he knew was borrowed. Though he was battling a serious illness there was never any question of his letting up the pace.

In the last few months of his life Storm was working on several print editions with us, and no doubt all kinds of other projects with other publishers, clients, galleries, musicians. Opposites, from the work he made recently for Biffy Clyro, and nine images produced with Aubrey Powell at Hipgnosis many years ago all made it through approval at his bedside. Stacks of prints were brought to him there for signing, at his insistence. If you knew Storm you'd know that his insistence was the ultimate authority.

Storm's self believe and the force of his passion for the sleeve design genre fuelled a loyal and passionate following - both public and professional.

We miss him dearly and daily. He loved playing with numbers, so here, in honour of Storm at 70, are 7 of his best album covers in our opinion, along with annotations by the man himself. Feel free to agree, disagree or share your list below.


10cc Look Hear?
"This picture of a sheep on a psychoanalytic couch was designed as a poster insert for 10cc's 1980 album Look Here. The band had asked for 'something different'. I decided to take them literally and suggest something without imagery, without imagery? Bit like shooting myself in the foot.

"I suggested that the album cover was verbal, like a newspaper headline, large fragmented text, no imagery. I thought it was more engaging to ask a question and between us we came up with 'Are You Normal?' as if the viewer were barmy, which somehow applied to the intrinsic madness of rock'n'roll, of 10cc....."

Pink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of Reason
"The design for A Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd came initially from a line of lyric, namely 'visions of an empty bed' from the song 'Yet Another Movie. The line prompted 'a vision of empty beds' stretching into the distance, winding away from the camera like a river, as in 'river bed'. It seemed preposterous enough to suit the album title: loads of empty beds sitting on a beach certainly constituted something crazy, an act of madness, a momentary lapse of reason at the very least.

"Who but the Floyd would be crazy enough to endorse shooting a vast number of empty hospital beds on a sea shore? And pay for it, the lovely crazy fools."


Riff Raff Vinyl Futures
"Since the album was called Vinyl Futures and the band called Riff Raff the combination called for something quirky but to do with vinyl. The model’s face and particularly his expressions inspired the finished cover. The image was shot in an old train carriage to add to the quirky feel we wanted"




Steve Miller Band Water Guitar
"Steve Miller is very much about guitars and I was trying to think of a way to imbue a guitar with all the emotion and artistry that is part of Steve Miller. So I imagined that this guitar was full of water, and the people were pouring the water or their emotions or their history or stories into the guitar or into the song that the guitar was playing."





Umphreys McGee The Bottom Half
"The idea was about female sexual allure and sexual contrariness, and came from Alice in Wonderland via Toulouse-Lautrec, French can-can, red/black striped corsets, Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge or Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."




Thornley Tiny Pictures

“So... is it a travel weary image for a much travelled rock'n'roller Ian Thornley? Is it a suitable case for treatment? A nut case? Or indeed a head case? Or is it about luggage? - one takes ones luggage/baggage with one as one travels though life, ain't dat de troot. Maybe it's a left luggage repository at the back of Heathrow's notorious Terminal 5, and the cases have temporarily arranged themselves to communicate with the visitor. 'Sorry madam your case is not here'. The star of the show is of course the dog Chester, known in his local park as Chester the Molester - I just thought you'd like to know that.”






Pink Floyd Atom Heart Mother
"I wanted to design a non-cover, something that was not like other covers, particularly not like other rock or psychedelic covers – something that one would simply not expect. Not shocking, not mind altering, just unexpected. The cow was, in fact, more eye-catching than I had ever dared imagine; it was so different because it was so normal: so ordinary it stood out a mile. The cow was your regular cow, your standard cow, what every cow should look like.

To Pink Floyd the cow seemed suitably resonant, but unrelated and certainly open to different interpretations. For them, Atom Heart Mother was the big breakthrough in the UK despite the fact that the record company hated the cover. Still, nobody knows the nature of the link between sales and design, if one exists at all...."


Read Storm Thorgerson remembered by Aubrey Powell in Guardian Art & Design from April 19th 2013. 


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Aubrey Powell launches 9 new Hipgnosis art prints


Yesterday, Hypergallery and St Pauls Gallery in Birmingham held a launch day event to celebrate the works of two great artists, Aubrey 'Po' Powell and the late Storm Thorgerson, who founded the infamous photo-design studio, Hipgnosis.

Hypergallery has published nine new editions from archive Hipgnosis sleeve designs and these will be on exhibition at St Pauls Gallery until April 5th 2014.

Here are some snaps from the day, at which Po talked us through some of his memories and ideas with Graham Gouldman of 10cc - long time Hipgnosis fans and consorts.


Hypergallery's Rob introduces Po

Po


Po and Graham Gouldman





Thursday, 23 January 2014

Featured Album Cover Fan Collection – Hypergallery Director Rob Smeaton | Album Cover Hall of Fame.com

Featured Album Cover Fan Collection – Hypergallery Director Rob Smeaton | Album Cover Hall of Fame.com:



'via Blog this'


Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 album cover stars

The end of 2013 is nigh: a year that brought some pretty notable cover art for some of our biggest (and oldest) rock stars.


David Bowie shook things up with The Next Day in March. You can read all about that from the designers themselves here.


In a similar spirit of looking forward (if nothing else), Paul McCartney released New, with a nod to Dan Flavin for the title that filled the full width of the cover, designed by Rebecca and Mike.



Happy New Year 2014 album cover lovers!



Wednesday, 23 October 2013

BULLETIN: News in brief

EXHIBITIONS
Last night we were at the opening of The Gathering Storm at The Proud Archivist in London N1. What a great show to celebrate the prints that Storm Thorgerson created. Go and check it out while you still can! On until 2nd December. We'll be posting some pics and thoughts here shortly.


NEW EDITIONS
Looking back at the year so far we have a lot to be proud of, with beautiful new editions of prints by HR Giger, David Scheinmann, Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson, as well as a collection of work created for Elvis Presley and for Jazz releases on Columbia Records. The plan chests are heaving!


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

To Print, or to Print : How we reproduce images….. and does it really matter?

Hypergallery guest blogger: Amy Wiggin

About me: helloooo i'm amy wiggin, other wise known as wiggles or wiggy. I am currently studying Visual Communication at The Glasgow school of Art. I like drawing, printing, painting and taking photos-some of which i post here.

The techniques for printing have grown dramatically over the years - not only because of the developments in technology and indeed knowledge, but also due to the changing fashions within the art and design markets.

I am currently studying Design at Glasgow School of Art where my specialism is primarily as a printmaker, specifically screen printing. So it was a recent and shocking discovery to learn that my education within the British art school system had made me blithely unaware that design schools in other countries do not value, or even retain, the equipment required to make analogue (non digital) reproductions or prints. On my exchange programme to The Danish design school, Copenhagen, I was mocked and even teased for specialising in what is deemed a “dead” and “redundant” technique by many of the students. “Why bother” seemed to be the attitude when a digital printer could do the same.

I discovered that in this sense Britain and a small handful of other countries, Germany and Holland being examples, are unique in their celebration and retention of these analogue techniques. Of course screen printing is commercially used, particularly within the textiles industry, but as a technique within the commercial Design and Art markets it is not a cost effective choice for many.

The ideas I held dear in my practice as a screen printer have been challenged as I am currently working at a commercial art gallery; Hypergallery. They sell high quality prints of rock album covers which the gallery publish, exhibit and sell. I was surprised to discover that only a small percentage of their editions are achieved through analogue techniques (screen printing or lithography). The majority of the prints are created using a technique called Giclée, where inkjets inject the paper with high quality archival inks. The results are amazing and it is often hard, when comparing a silkscreen print to a giclée, to ascertain which is which.

But perhaps herein lies the difference: we are publishing ‘limited edition’ prints. The very meaning of this was coined from the traditional techniques; the creation of a plate or screen which was then printed, and then destroyed (hence where we also developed terms like ‘artist’s proof’ and ‘cancellation print’). The key point was that the plate could never be used again, where by contrast the giclée technique can easily be achieved at the click of a button once all the original proofing work has been approved. To play devils advocate, the prints from a plate could (and have been) reproduced from a plate before the cancellation print was made without anyone’s knowledge, but what has become more important in this day and age, what gives a print or artwork lasting value, is the legality of a print: a signature.

Mark Rosen, the former head of the Print department at Sotherbys points out that a genuine Picasso without a signature is worth at least half the value of a Picasso with a signature. That is the mark that grants the artwork authenticity, and therefore value, and furthermore its potential value as an investment. Hypergallery often endorse the print even further, sometimes asking the musician or band themselves to sign the prints; With the likes of 10cc, Debbie Harry and even David Bowie being examples. This not only adds to the monetary value of a print, but from an art history perspective ensures that the origins and history of an artwork can be traced back to its very roots and creation.

So does it matter how we print?... The current consensus seems to signal that what matters for posterity is the authenticity of a print. Of course we cannot overlook the very concept, ideas and feelings communicated in any given artwork which will again hold its value throughout history.

Regardless of how students at art schools or dealers at auction houses feel about contemporary printmaking and its authenticity or investment potential, the pleasure reaped by the individual owners who have claimed their part of the artistic and musical (hi)story is clear.


Sunday, 14 July 2013

We're KooKoo for Debbie Harry

H. R. Giger, the Swiss artist responsible for this fantastic image, is probably best known for his terrifying Alien design. He won an Oscar for that in 1980, his huge success in Hollywood arguably overshadowing his status as an artist and master of the airbrush medium. He has created a prolific body of work depicting disturbing landscapes, machines and creatures in a distinctive style described as “bio-mechanical”, and created a number of album covers, probably the best known being Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery.




KooKoo was recorded while Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were taking a year long break from BlondieH. R. Giger's artwork was based on a photograph of Harry taken by the renowned photographer Brian Aris, Giger created several variations of the cover (another of which is seen on the album's inner sleeve) in what Debbie Harry described as a combination of punk, acupuncture and sci-fi. Harry has actually said that the album title came to her after she saw Giger's completed work.

For the promotion of KooKoo, Chrysalis Records planned to display large posters of the album cover in various stations of the London Underground but officials deemed the image, with metal skewers going through her face and neck, to be too disturbing!


There are 200 individually numbered and signed prints in the edition, plus Artists and Hors de Commerce proofs, being the property of the artist and the publisher.

Giger has personally overseen the printing of the edition, which has been produced in Densbüren, Switzerland by Kunstdruckatelier exclusively for Hypergallery.

We met up with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein the day after their Roundhouse gig in London, and they charmed us as they signed KooKoo before heading off to the Bowie Is exhibition at the V&A.


Chris Stein and Debbie Harry sign KooKoo
Chris and Debbie making light work of the print signing

KooKoo prints ready to go
All done!




The Artist
If you want to know more about H. R. Giger you can seek out this full length documentary on his work...




Or visit the H. R. Giger museum in Gruyères, Switzerland!


Thursday, 04 July 2013

Artist profile: DAVID STOREY

Thanks to David Storey for this post!



I started designing album covers while still at college (Middlesex). After graduating I joined Chrysalis Records which, in the early 80s was THE label to work for. The early 80s also happened to be the golden age of album cover design with covers being regarded as an art form in their own right and recognised as such by a show at the ICA.

I'm particularly proud of the work I created for the 2 Tone (a subsidiary of Chrysalis) bands such as The Specials, The Selector, The Beat and Madness that I produced alongside my colleague John 'Teflon' Sims, under the creative direction of Jerry Dammers (founder of 2 Tone and keyboard player in The Specials). Our design approach was what you might call 'none design' meaning that Jerry would root out any attempts by John and I to introduce gratuitous design embellishments. This ruthless weeding process resulted in bold, simple, direct graphics and is probably the main reason that the 2 Tone style has such an enduring impact and timeless appeal. It was an exciting time for me personally and a privilege to package and promoted such a unique style of music – dance music that conveyed important social and political messages. Probably the best examples of the genre are 'Ghost Town' and 'NelsonMandela', both by The Specials.


I left Chrysalis in 1984 but they kept me on a retainer to continue working with Jerry Dammers and also on their new subsidiary label Go! Discs for whom I created the design style of The Housemartins amongst other things.


Around 1990 the creative opportunities in the music industry started to decline rapidly mainly because the CD format was replacing vinyl but also as marketing replaced art as the major vehicle for selling music. It was at this time that I started to concentrate more on my own projects and for the last 20 years I've worked primarily as a painter/printmaker – I'm represented by the Thomas and Paul gallery, London.

I still design the odd album cover. I was recently commissioned to produce a limited-edition vinyl box-set called Untrue Island which is a collaboration between the composer Arnie Somogyi and the writer Robert Macfarlane and is their reflections on Orford Ness – a de-commissioned cold war weapons testing site on the Suffolk coast. The box will also include a limited edition screenprint by me so the project has brought together my design expertise along with my work as an artist. I plan to write a separate blog about this project in the near future.






Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Elvis Costello

New Lambda print now available!

Elvis Costello This Year's Model by Chris Gabrin




Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Album artwork before photography




When record companies (with a little help from Alex Steinweiss) first began to see the potential role of album covers beyond simple packaging, advertisements were nearly always illustrated and often still in black and white. Billboards, movie posters, magazine ads and packaging of household products all featured the work of graphic designers, illustrators and artists.

As photographic printing techniques became more readily available and affordable, photography took over as the media of choice for record companies looking to promote their product to the music loving public. As art directors and copywriters began to work directly with photographers, the graphic artist was slowly pushed aside. The image of the recording artist became the focus and for the vast majority of covers the unique imagination of the illustrator, and their stylish cover designs, were history. For a while.


Of course in design as in fine art, photography began to weave its own magic; the photo design studio Hipgnosis is the prime example of this medium reaching new potential under the guidance of great artistic talent. Illustration, too, has regained a place in album cover art of today - just look at the work by Katie Scott for Bombay Bicycle Club or Tinhead's work for Foals to see that the bands with an eye for the extra special will often find it in the graphic arts and eschew the safe but often banal photographic portrait. 

The origins of album artwork from the great talents of Alex Steinweiss, Jim Flora, Neil Fujita provide us with a snapshot of a time when illustration was the only way, and the fullness of creative talent was given to the LP sleeve designs at record labels such as Columbia. In the course of publishing limited edition prints of some of this work, and with the help of the research already done by the wonderful folk at Birka Jazz, we'll be compiling a series blog posts that shine a long overdue spotlight on some of the artists and individual works that came out of this 'pioneer' era.


Let us know if you have any details to add!


Friday, 10 May 2013

Columbia Records: new jazz prints from the home of cool




Hypergallery is embarking on a project, in collaboration with Sony Music, to rescue what we hope will be a huge collection of album cover art from the Columbia archives and make this work available as limited edition prints. The music may be available in other formats but the original artworks, along with their designers, must not be forgotten. We hope that by working with Sony to seek out the original designs and make them available in this way, we are helping to preserve this important visual archive for generations to come.

Columbia, the oldest brand name in pre-recorded music, was also pioneer in the field of album cover design, from the first big era of advertising through to the big era of the 12” vinyl that saw Led Zeppelin conquer the world. It was for Columbia that Alex Steinweiss created the first illustrated cover, before which albums were simply sold in plain brown sleeves. Some of the most significant artists ever to design album covers were subsequently employed by Columbia, with many of them leading the way as Artistic Directors for the label including Jim Flora, Neil Fujita and Bob Cato.

Hypergallery has been publishing works of album cover art from this last great era and beyond for a while now, and had built up a small collection of work from the 1950s, largely those published by the archive of the inimitable Jim Flora. We felt it was high time more of the outstanding work from these early days in the field of sleeve design saw the light of day - particularly as many of the LPs themselves have become so rare. We hope you will join us in this endeavor and perhaps begin your own personal collection of hg edition jazz prints!



About the collection
Each of the Hypergallery hg editions Jazz Prints will be published in a limited edition of only 100.
Each print will be giclée printed in archival inks on paper.
Each print will be numbered in pencil and issued with a unique certificate of authenticity.


Sign up to our e-bulletin to be among the first to hear about new publications and upcoming editions as well as special offers and exhibitions.




Friday, 10 May 2013

We're back......

The blog has had to take a back seat for a short while but we're back! And due a makeover...



Monday, 21 January 2013

Culture Label

Hypergallery have maintained a tentative presence on Culture Label for a couple of years, and we have been fans since its launch. For those of you that haven't yet heard of them, it is a great place to find gifts and treats of all sorts for your cultured selves, friends and family. Their brilliantly curated suggestions for gifts groupings - so often a pointless list of items that miss the mark - are a really useful and inspiring effort, under such headings as Hipsters and History Lovers. Pick a category that you think fits you and just see how many of their suggestions you want to add to your birthday wish list! The long list of desirables we came up with is testament to them and also to the vast range of wonderful products they have for sale.

So, we are properly loving Culture Label right now and are honoured to be featured as part of a relatively new Culture Label endeavour; Private View is, in their own words, an "expertly curated art and artist-designed products from the world's most iconic artists, designers and cultural brands."

Sir Peter Blake prints from Hypergallery are currently available on a special Private View exclusive with Culture Label and there will be more offers to come exclusively available to Private View members. We think it's a lovely idea well executed; where many 'special offers' and suggested item lists can leave you cold, Culture Label have taken the time to ensure that you warm to them as much as we have.





Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Print Launch this Thursday

One more 'plug' for out latest print:

The launch party is this Thursday 17th January from 6pm to 8pm at SNAP Galleries in Piccadilly, London, UK.

Remember: the print will rise in price from £360 to £480 after the event, so get in quick! This is a silkscreen edition of only 60.

We hope to see you there!


Friday, 30 November 2012

De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising by Toby Mott + the Grey Organisation




New York City, Hip Hop in The Daisy Age, Summer 1989
An essay by Toby Mott, 3 Feet High and Rising cover artist & Grey Organisation Founder
It is getting hot on Canal Street; things get a little cooler on entering the subway. I'm travelling uptown on the 6 train to meet Monica Lynch at Tommy Boy Records to talk about a new act they have signed from Long Island. She gives me a 12" promo DJ copy of De La Soul's debut, Plug Tunin. Back downtown in my loft on Grand & Centre Street in lower Manhattan - it's where Chinatown meets Soho - the rent’s cheap but there are rats on the staircase. I put the record on the turntable and have to play it at full volume; it's so low fi, it sounds 'dusted'. This is not Bring the Noise Hip Hop but something completely fresh; altogether more melodic and playful.

It’s 1984 in NYC and I find myself working as a bicycle messenger taking packages around town from studios to advertising agencies. I move along breathing in a city that has existed for me as an exciting celluloid dream - through Times Square, passing the break dancing b-boys and giggling fly girls, taking subway trains which rumble along still graffiti covered. As I immerse myself in the city, opportunities open up and I find myself in the Hip Hop world working with acts from Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, all of who seemed to continue my English punk sensibility by being inventive, challenging and new. 
Five years later, the summer of '89 is scorching hot and humid. Nights out are spent at the downtown hip hop clubs Payday and Saturdays in the Lower East Side. I'm part of the self styled Grey Organisation arts collective from London, now working as art directors in the burgeoning Hip Hop music video scene as well as exhibiting our paintings in the East Village galleries.
Dressed in our uniform of grey suits, buttoned up white shirts and shaved heads, we find a home in NYC having caused trouble for ourselves with the authorities back in London with some of our 'Art Actions', like covering the gallery windows of Cork Street in Mayfair with grey paint. 
I know Tommy Boy Records from working with their act Information Society on their video and record sleeves, they are a synthpop band from Minneapolis and are doing well on MTV with a very bright 'Pop' look we have given them for their breakout hit, Pure Energy.
With De La Soul it is not going to be about the prevailing rap stereotypes of gold chains, cars and guns, this is not about getting, 'paid'.
We have come up with the 'Daisy Age' visual concept. De La Soul visit our loft where we lay them down on the floor facing up, their heads making a triangle. We photograph them whilst hanging precariously off a step ladder, one idea being that the cover would not have a right way up. CD's have yet to be the dominant musical format so the vinyl album sleeve is our most effective way of making a statement.
We layer the brightly-coloured hand drawn flower designs made with Posca paint pens on acetate over the black and white photographic portrait print, which is rostrum camera copied. This is well before the time of Apple Macs and scanning etc.
On release the albums success is immediate and crosses over to the 'college audience', then the code for 'white'.  Hip Hop at this time is not the monolithic culture it is now.
The intent of the design of De La Soul's, 3 Feet High and Rising LP cover is to be new and bright, with the overlaying of the fluorescent flowers and text reflecting a synthetic pop cartoon look, not a reworking of some earlier hippy ideal. If anything, it is almost a loving parody of the Daisy Age label that De La Soul has been given. This is a move away from the prevailing macho hip hop visual codes which dominate to this day. It was forward thinking of both Tommy Boy Records and De La Soul to take a chance with the Grey Organisation that summer in 1989. The downtown NY club scene embraced De La Soul, it was a meeting of minds as we danced the nights away to the sounds of 3 Feet High and Rising. It's as fresh today as it was, 'back in the day'.
Toby Mott
London, 2012

About the Grey Organisation

The Grey Organisation’s origins can be found in the Punk movement and 70’s youth politics; its founding members had also been members of the Anarchist Street Army, a loose collective of young punks and anarchists from several inner city London Schools.
They undertook a series of direct art actions, including an attack on Cork Street, then centre of London’s art establishment, in which they covered some of the city’s most famous galleries in grey paint. They also organised live concerts, directed films and took part in exhibitions. Towards the end of the eighties they were living in New York designing album covers and art directing music videos for Tommy Boy Records, Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy and MTV. What may seem like a strange turn of events was in fact a fateful meeting of two very different pioneering groups. This is the previously unknown story of how the Grey Organisation and De La Soul produced one the most well known Hip Hop LP’s of all time.

Toby Mott, Manhattan, 1989

About Toby Mott

Toby seems, at first glance, seems to be from an entirely different world to that of De La Soul's 'D.A.I.S.Y. Age' but this is an artist who defies pigeon-holing and straddles conventional categorisation with an easy self assurance.
When the Grey Organisation disbanded in 1991, Toby Mott pursued a solo career as a painter, exhibiting at White Columns in New York, The Thomas Soloman Garage in Los Angeles, Interim Art in London and being represented for many years by the Maureen Paley Gallery. Later as a designer Mott founded the iconic fashion brand Toby Pimlico.
Most recently, whilst continuing to make work of his own, he has been curating exhibitions and events for The Mott Collection; an archive of British punk fanzines and other visual ephemera along with an accompanying publication, Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper. The success of this venture has positioned Mott as something of an authority on its subject, a particular moment in British popular culture.

Read more about the print itself here.


Friday, 30 November 2012

3 Feet High and Rising print launch

It's here!
New limited edition print in day-glo ink featuring the iconic cover art from De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising.


Over 20 years after its release, 3 Feet High and Rising remains one of the most feted albums in the hip hop canon. This unique LP emerged in 1989 amidst the burgeoning US hip-hop scene.

While most now forgotten groups took the cookie-cutter approach to hip-hop, replicating the style, lyrics and golden chained aesthetics of the era, De La Soul’s daisy aged record broke the mould. 3 Feet High and Rising became New York’s unofficial soundtrack, it’s bouncing beats and positive vibes match the city’s late 80’s early 90’s vibrancy. Today the record is still spinning, having stood the test of time. Its unique aesthetic approach to the formation of hip hop is represented both in its sounds and its unforgettable album artwork.

This print is now available to purchase at a pre-launch price of £360
Read Toby Mott's essay, 'New York City, Hip Hop in the Daisy Age, Summer 1989'


About the print

LIMITED EDITION OF 60

First available for delivery after 10th December
Signed and numbered in pencil by the artist Toby Mott
Embossed with the official stamp of the Grey Organisation
Giclée and silkscreen in 6 colours on Woodstock Felt 310gsm
Printed by Senecio, Oxford and Hippo Screenprinters, Essex
Image size: 20" x 20"
Paper size: 25.5" x 26.5"

This print has been through two separate processes: a black and white giclée print was overlaid in silkscreen for the outrageous day-glo illustrations. All the extra effort has paid off though, and when we unrolled the proof for the first time we knew we had done it justice. For such an iconic image it's a very small edition of only 60 prints and we are really honoured to have been able to do it.

Toby Mott was still in possession of all the original artwork for De La Soul and was hugely enthusiastic about what we proposed. This enthusiasm was all the more precious given that he was in the midst of a busy schedule of events for his wonderful British punk collection whilst also finding time to produce a series of outstanding paintings inspired by the 2011 riots in the UK.

We took an unusual path to get this print right but when we first set eyes on the proof we knew it had paid off. The edition is the product of a two stage process: the faces of Plug 1, 2 and 3 were printed by Senecio, who have achieved a clean giclée image over which the cartoon-like illustration sits. We knew we needed to capture the day-glo spirit of the original design but fluorescent inks simply aren't available for giclée. We turned to Lynne at Hippo Screenprinters in Essex who was the perfect match for this project. She has produced the most outstanding edition for us; the hand pulled printing mirrors the feel of the cover design and, more to the point, of the original sketch submitted to Tommy Boy records by the Grey Organisation.



Launch party



A launch party, to exhibit the print alongside the original sketch and other archival material, will be held on Thursday January 17th at SNAP Galleries, Piccadilly, London, SW1Y 6NH
Following this launch the price of the print will rise to its official price of £400



Tuesday, 20 November 2012

10cc Tenology: Hypergallery celebrate the album release with new print collection

The Hypergallery and 10cc journey began in January 2011, when Storm Thorgerson handed over some of the original Hipgnosis artwork for us to image.





We have now reached the point of publication, to coincide with the release of 10cc's latest album, Tenology.

This turned out to be quite an adventure, full of twists and turns as the chosen images changed and new source artwork was found, new proofs were required and ideas about how to present the series, 10 of 10cc were proffered. Finally, we can reveal the 10 chosen images and soon we'll be able to offer a beautiful bespoke box set designed to accommodate only 20 of the full edition of 80. This set will come with a booklet designed and authored by Storm Thorgerson and signed by Graham Gouldman.

But for now, let us revel in the finished edition:


Here's the final How Dare You print!



And here is Tenology!



You can view the full set and print details at Hypergallery but don't hesitate to get in touch if you want to know more.

Here is Lol Creme in his studio in 2011, sharing his recollections of working with Hipgnosis on the How Dare You cover:




Thursday, 08 November 2012

Plastic Circles: Peter Gabriel - So box set by Marc Bessant

Plastic Circles: Peter Gabriel - So box set by Marc BessantMarc Bessant-designed So 25 set additionally demonstrates Gabriel's commitment to work that is beautifully realised.


Tuesday, 06 November 2012

Cultural Heritage

The legacy of physical artifacts and the stories they preserve future generations, or for exchange between cultures, has become hugely valued by the western world. Pop culture has joined the canon with a bang. In fact it is fair to claim that cultural legacy has become part of the design process from the get-go.

The art of the album cover encompasses two kinds of cultural asset: the tangible, visual culture of art and artifacts; with the intangible culture of nostalgia, traditions and shared experience associated with music. The physical memory of flicking through a stack of LPs; the emotional memory of hearing the music that matters; the visual identity of the album that is so tied up with the whole experience that it is difficult to separate, even when the image has been removed from its original purpose and given new, vibrant life as an art object, collectable in its own right.

Therein lies the joy of the thing; the importance of cultural heritage and the stories that are there to be told are what drives us at Hypergallery. We are passionate about album cover art. We believe the stories that are out there, in the minds of the artists and the musicians, are stories that should be told and preserved as part of our collective cultural heritage.

We'll be looking into some of those stories here over the next few months as we throw a spotlight on some of our favourite prints. Look out for the frist in the series coming soon: Spotlight on 10cc.



Thursday, 25 October 2012

FRAMING PRINTS: advice on mount board / mat board


My previous FRAMING posts looked at finding a good picture framer and choosing a moulding style. Another big decision you'll need to make is whether you want a mount or not. In the USA, a mount is called the mat (mountboard = UK, mat board = USA). I'm talking here about the card that sits over the paper around your print that frames the image. A mount gives a traditional and well-finished look to your framed work of art and holds it in place. It also keeps the printed surface away from the glass. You can get mounts of varying thickness so, again, do have a look at pictures in other galleries and museums to get an idea of the style you like. Things to consider if you do want a mount:

  • how thick
  • how many layers / steps (a framer can cut several mounts in staggered sizes for a more dramatic effect
  • what colour (do you want it to match the paper? Do you have other framed pictures with mountboard in your house?)
If you prefer a very contemporary look you can ask your framer to use a spacer. This will sit just inside the moulding and keep the paper away from the glass without being visible.


Friday, 05 October 2012

Art of the Album Cover feature

Stop press! Hypergallery are going live at Art In Woodstock this Autumn. In advance of the exhibition, we have been featured in Oxfordshire Limited Edition magazine. Click on the image to go through to the article online (pages 101 and 103). We hope to see you there!




Thursday, 04 October 2012

FRAMING PRINTS: choosing a moulding

Choosing a FRAME MOULDING



The moulding for your frame is the big decision. You may already know what you like or perhaps you have other pictures in your home that this will need to match or compliment. If you are starting from the beginning, have a look at pictures in other galleries and museums to get an idea of the style you like. Also bear in mind the style of your home and decoration. Finally don't forget the style of the print! You don't have to play safe but you do want to choose something that works with and even for your print, and not against it.




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