A recent hashtag chain letter on twitter struck a chord with this hypergallery heart and when I was nominated for #cinephilephoto
(aka #cinefilephoto or #cinephile) one image came straight to my mind. That image
was of a chair - a still from the amazing Hirokazu Koreeda film After Life
that I saw not long after it was released in 1998 and which has resonated with me ever since.
I subsequently discovered that this twitter chain began with film directors themselves, nominating contemporaries and heroes from their own area of expertise. What a lovely and simple thing.
Something else to take on board and resonate with.
And i'm glad it reached a wider audience. Imagery matters. To those that make and those that absorb it. For anyone who likes the sound of this, check out @oneperfectshot
, through which Geoff Todd has been, in his own words, "honoring cinema's past frame by frame" for yonks.
I'd love to draw inspiration from this in what we do with Hypergallery - the sentiment is right there.
LIVE! 2 Tone Poster Graphics in Folkestone this weekend
classic 2 tone poster graphics from the original designers:
An added feature for ticket holders to Folkestone Ska Fest, August 8, 9 and 10 in Leas Cliff Hall will be a showing of the mini “This ART 2 Tone” exhibition. Some of the iconic 2 Tone graphics designed by TEFLON (aka John Sims) and more… DON’T MISS!
'via Blog this'
Gary Houston runs Voodoo Catbox; a Portland, Oregon based hand pulled screenprint studio specializing in rock poster art. Portland, like San Francisco, has become renowned for music poster-making; Houston is a real gem in the city’s crown of poster artists.
He says it feels like he has been making poster art “for a lifetime”; as a youngster he and a friend made posters for a promoter in Wichita, Kansas advertising bands including Savoy Brown, Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple and Fleetwood Mac. He attended Wichita State University and Bethany College in Kansas, studying sculpture, art history and drawing.
Since then he had a brief break from picture making as a record wholesaler but in 1988 he opened a design studio in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon. “We were in the Pearl when people were scared to go in there. We’d smoke cigarettes and put them out on the floor.” Houston started Voodoo Catbox in 1995 and still does everything by hand; lettering, drawing, cutting (scratchboards, always using a No. 11 Exacto-knife blade) and silk-screening. Despite the low runs and quality of the work his posters start at only about $30, rising to more than twice that when the editions run low or are especially rare.
When Hypergallery made our fan-pilgrimage to Voodoo Catbox (now in the St Johns area of Portland) back in 2012, Houston was working over a desk in one corner of his vast studio. He was surrounded by mounds of paperwork (Houston doesn’t use a computer, leaving anything that requires it to his assistant) all of which was pushed aside to make space for one black and white drawing of a guitar with a lightning bolt head.
Guitars often feature in Voodoo Catbox posters, sometimes with wings, sometimes buried in undergrowth as the shape of the frets blends with the curls of the leaves; often he will plainly and simply place them at the centre of the frame. Other regular players are bottles of liquor, cigarettes, skulls and all manner of flora and fauna both real and fantastical; all play a part in the Voodoo Catbox oeuvre, demonstrating Houston’s love of the music with a touch of humour and a dash of symbolism.
For well over ten years he has been creating the Waterfront Blues Festival poster, many of which have become serious collectors’ items such as 2008’s “Ain’t No Peace in the Barnyard” and Robert Johnson Waterfront Blues Festival Posters from 2001-2004. His scratchboard artwork with its woodblock feel to it has really become a visual identity for the festival despite his humility. He said in an interview with Vortex Music Magazine earlier this month, "It was never our intention to brand any of this stuff. It just happened.” As they said, with the state's largest music festival now in his 14th year with Houston at the visual helm, it's impossible to imagine it without him.
Here is their video of that interview. Sit back and enjoy meeting this outstanding artist:
The Division Bell is 20 #TDB20
Storm Thorgerson on Division Bell / Pink Floyd 1994
This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Division Bell. Here is Storm, in his own words, on the making of the album cover."I had this idea in answer to Pink Floyd telling me that Division Bell was in part about communication, or the lack of it. I decided that we should not do a cover about communication but a cover that was a piece of communication - in the act of communicating. We borrowed the candlestick illusion of two profiles that are in fact one, engaging the audience, the viewer, in a direct relationship, inclining them to decide whether it is this or that.
"Instead of being represented by the usual line drawing, in which form printed illusions normally appear, this was enacted as a real event with huge sculptures the size of a small house. The sculptures were beautifully designed by Keith Breeden and were quite enough on their own, irrespective of the idea. The idea also contained a sort of absence between the heads, which was in reference to Syd, another part of the Division Bell record. I hate to say this, but personally I think it worked a treat: imposing, unmistakable, huge, set against the Fens, where the band come from, dominated by Ely cathedral and set against a moody sky, even in winter, lending a dramatic atmosphere to the whole affair."
Storm Thorgerson, 2011
Hypergallery loves OK Go
Our OK Go obsession continues as they release their latest video masterpiece. Channelling Felice Varini this time? With a bit of Daniel Buren? Even Escher?
This band can fit all of these associations (deliberate or not) with the lightest of hands into one joyful swoop of a pop video and, for that, we continue to worship the ground they prance on.
Here it is: The Writing's On The Wall:
LIVE! Michael Spencer Jones at the Royal Albert Hall #Oasis
The Royal Albert Hall is showing a great selection of photographs by Hypergallery artist Michael Spencer Jones until June 29th 2014.
We went along last night to hear Michael in conversation with John Robb at the Berry Bros. & Rudd No.3 Bar in the Royal Albert Hall, London, UK.
John Robb, the music journalist, author and punk musician had been part of many of the histories being recounted, was well placed to guide Michael through a slideshow that documented some of the great musical moments of the nineties, from the Stone Roses' epic gig at Spike Island through his years as the official photographer for Oasis at the peak of their powers.
We managed a couple of snaps in the dark basement bar before heading up to ground level to see the photographs, many of which are to be found in Michael's Out of the Blue book and portfolio.
Pink Floyd - Marooned (Official Video)
Directed by our very dear Aubrey Powell. Beautiful.
HR Giger promo shoot / Chris Stein captures the dark side of Debbie Harry
The album cover art for KooKoo
was an incredible, idiosyncratic portrait of Debbie Harry
by the inimitable HR Giger
(1940-2014) and the KooKoo art print
was eventually published by Hypergallery last year. Every new print publication begins with months' of research and negotiation and so we began our search for the original KooKoo
artwork through conversations with Giger's agent which brought us into direct contact with Chris Stein.
Stein's support for the KooKoo
project encouraged us to persist when logistics gave cause for doubt. His search for original material in his possession brought to light more images from the archives, including the photographs you see below. These were taken by Stein himself during the making of promo videos for the tracks Backfired
and Now I Know You Know
both were directed by HR Giger and filmed at his own studio in Switzerland.
Backfired featured a dark-haired Harry dancing superimposed over a backdrop of Giger's distinctive artwork, with Giger himself appearing in a semi-translucent face mask.
Now I Know You Know featured Harry in a long black wig and a form-fitting bodysuit painted with Giger's unusual artwork, dancing around in a small set furnished with Giger's "bio-mechanical" design work.
To be able to see Chris Stein's photographs of these promo shoots - the insider's view - is something truly special and we are very excited to be able to share them here, with his generous permission.
|Copyright © Chris Stein - All Rights Reserved|
|Copyright © Chris Stein - All Rights Reserved|
|Copyright © Chris Stein - All Rights Reserved|
|Copyright © Chris Stein - All Rights Reserved|
Chris Stein (born 1950) is most famous as guitarist and co-founder of Blondie but he started taking photographs in 1968. During his last years at the School Of Visual Arts in NYC he began hanging around the early downtown rock scene and in 1973 he met and began working with Debbie Harry. So Blondie was born.
Stein took pictures of the milieu that surrounded Blondie and from his vantage point, at the centre of the scene, he was able to mingle with many new wave and punk music pioneers. The photographs that he took of Debbie Harry certainly helped to establish her as the international icon we recognise today.
Pink Floyd Animals photoshoot
Storm Thorgerson on Animals / Pink Floyd, 1977
"The Animals shoot turned into 'Spinal Tap' and all that you ever heard is true. It was a brilliant set of minor disasters that culminated in the best press coverage that could be achieved, being headline in three national newspapers: the manager was thrilled.
"On the first day the pig couldn't even get off the ground because of inflating problems. On the second day of the shoot the pig took off easily and was tethered between the towers. The marksman who was going to shoot the pig down the previous day was sent home (he was there of course for insurance purposes), but on the second day the manager decided he wasn't necessary.
"And on the second day the pig was a delight rising into the sky except that it twisted in the wind, broke free from its mooring and took off. In fact it took off so fast that it disappeared from sight into the air lanes of incoming aircraft to Heathrow who reported seeing a pig flying at several thousand feet which of course is why it hit the national headlines. Various jokes were made about pilots and possible inebriation and 'if pigs could fly' etc etc.
"The pig landed on a Kent farm - I always imagined that the wife has seen it and is turning to her husband to say 'darling, we have a new arrival' and the husband of course didn't believe a word of it. Anyway the roadies fetched the pig from the farm and put it up again on the third day, and the pig stayed there all day and we photographed to our hearts content. But since the sky from day one was better than the sky from day three we transposed the pig from day three to the sky of day one to produce what I think is a memorable atmospheric shot, more like a painting than a photograph, and despite the fact that the band had turned down our own idea initially, in retrospect I'm pretty sure they were correct because this cover has remained strong and true to its nature to this day."
Storm Thorgerson, 2011
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:
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. A 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
. JackFritscher.com also offers a download link for a pdf of an interview with Dureau talking about his relationship with Mapplethorpe
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:
|Horace Panter: The Specials|
Copyright © 2011 REUBEN COLLEY
BLUES / JAZZ
|Horace Panter: Muddy Waters|
Copyright © 2011 REUBEN COLLEY
|Horace Panter: Blind Boy FullerCopyright © 2011 REUBEN COLLEY|
|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.
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....."
"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.
|Pink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of Reason|"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."
"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"
|Riff Raff Vinyl Futures|
"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."
|Steve Miller Band Water Guitar|
"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."
|Umphreys McGee The Bottom Half|
|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.”
"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.
|Pink Floyd Atom Heart Mother|
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.
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 and Graham Gouldman|
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'
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!
BULLETIN: News in brief
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.
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!
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.
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 Blondie. H. 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 and Debbie making light work of the print signing|
The ArtistIf 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 Gruy
Artist profile: DAVID STOREY
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
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.
New Lambda print now available!
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!
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.
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