Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beck’s Music Inspired Art 2009

Beck’s asked 10 Illustrators including McBess, Hellovon, Kid Acne, Si Scott, and Laura Jackaman to re-think the best albums of the last 40 years (gleaned from Pitchfork lists).

"What really drew me to re-imagining Let It Be was the backstory and turmoil which surrounded it creators at the time of recording. It's an atmosphere that clings to the cover. Gone is the swirling freedom of Revolver, the colour of Sgt Pepper or playfulness of Abbey Road. Each Beatle has divided themselves from the group and occupied a solo corner. In my reinterpretation I wanted to extend the time period these snapshots were taken in, drawing influences from their solo careers, and suggesting that, with time, those self-created barriers would fade - even if they would never play together as a group again.

And purely from an artistic angle, it's always an interesting exercise to work from recognizable models. Unlike drawing fantastical creatures the audience have a yardstick to measure imagery to. So I enjoyed the challenge of depicting John, Paul, George & Ringo but in a new form, and striving for a balance between a believable likeness and personal expression.

Plus I like drawing big noses, and they all have a great collection."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Apple and Labels Hope to Reinvent Digital Album as Something People Buy

Some hope...from Wired Magazine:

The view that technology is an unstoppable juggernaut moving at lightning pace isn’t always accurate. Sometimes the simplest ideas take years to realize — even when Apple is involved and the future of the recorded music business could be at stake.

Take today’s widely-echoed Financial Times report about “Project Cocktail” — an attempt by Apple and the four major labels to re-imagine the digital album with soft (as in onscreen) album art. They hope album art that embraces digital technology, rather than merely providing a miniaturized version of the original album cover, will entice music fans to start buying digital albums again. Apple and the labels envision fans gathering ’round the glow of their laptops — or tablet PCs — to listen to music together, the way they used to before they retreated into their own digital pods. [read the rest of the article here]

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bubble Puppy

One of the last bands signed to the legendary International Artists label, Bubble Puppy also gave the company its most substantial hit, "Hot Smoke And Sasafrass". Originally known as the New Seeds, the Austin based quartet that had roots in Corpus Christi, comprised Todd Potter (guitar), Roy Cox (bass), Rod Prince (guitar) and David "Fuzzy" Fore (drums). They derived their new name from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. More mainstream than many of their contemporaries, their 1969 debut A Gathering Of Promises, showed traces of Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Moby Grape. Their hit "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" has been ranked as the # 3 Greatest One Hit Wonder of all time by VH1.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Album Cover Artist Tom Wilkes Dies Unexpectedly at Home in California

Award winning artist and designer Tom Wilkes died unexpectedly on Sunday, June 28 at his home in Pioneertown, CA at the age of 69. Wilkes was the art director of the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. He designed many classic album covers like Rolling Stones' "Beggars Banquet" and Neil Young's "Harvest." He was awarded a Grammy in 1974 for Best Recording Package for "Tommy" as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and Choir.

Pioneertown, CA (Billboard Publicity Wire/PRWEB ) July 5, 2009 -- Renowned album cover artist and designer Tom Wilkes died unexpectedly on Sunday, June 28, at his home in Pioneertown, California. He was 69.

Tom Wilkes and his Grammy Award, taken a few weeks before his death in Pioneertown, CA. Photo by Fritz Drumm
Tom Wilkes and his Grammy Award, taken a few weeks before his death in Pioneertown, CA. Photo by Fritz Drumm

Thomas E. Wilkes was born July 30, 1939 in Long Beach, California and was raised in southern California. He attended Long Beach City College, UCLA and the Art Center College of Design in the 1950's and 1960's.

In 1967 Wilkes was the art director of the Monterey International Pop Festival. He created all graphics and printed materials for Monterey Pop, including the program book and the festival's psychedelic and iconic foil poster.

From 1967 through 1969, Wilkes was the art director of A&M Records. He was partner with Barry Feinstein from 1970 through 1973 in Camouflage Productions, which became record label Blue Thumb's house art department.

He was partner in Wilkes & Braun, Inc. from 1973 through 1974, and art director of ABC Records from 1975 through 1977. In 1978 he started Tom Wilkes Productions and became President of Project Interspeak, a not-for-profit environmental and human rights organization devoted to planetary enhancement programs.

Wilkes designed and directed such hit record covers as Rolling Stones' "Flowers" and "Beggars Banquet", Neil Young's "Harvest", and George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh" and "All Things Must Pass."

He received a Grammy Award in 1974 for Best Recording Package for The Who's rock opera "Tommy," as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra & Choir.

Among his many album cover credits:

Janis Joplin - "Pearl"
Ike & Tina Turner - "Outta Season"
Eric Clapton - "Eric Clapton"
Dave Mason - "Alone Together"
Joe Cocker - "Mad Dogs & Englishmen"
Flying Burrito Brothers - "Gilded Palace of Sin"
John Prine - "John Prine"
Emmylou Harris - "Blue Kentucky Girl" and "Elite Hotel"
Leon Russell - "Stop All That Jazz"
REO Speedwagon - "You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish"

In addition to creating hundreds of posters, logos, books, trade ads and illustrations, Wilkes produced and directed TV and radio spots, music videos, films, mixed media presentations and special events.

He recently completed a book of his artwork and memoirs, called "Tommy Geeked a Chicken," and was negotiating publishing arrangements. At this time, plans are being made to proceed with publication of the book.

A memorial service will be held for Wilkes on Saturday, July 11th, in Orange, C

Thursday, July 2, 2009