Shaun Bloodworth – L.A. Dope

Stones Throw linked to LA Dope today, a great photo essay by photographer Shaun Bloodworth documenting a few of the best artists out of the LA music scene. Give Up Art and Bloodworth took a seven day trip to the city to exhibit their work at the Low End Theory Club, taking photos along the way, including shots of Daedelus, Flying Lotus, Dam-Funk, The Gaslamp Killer, Exile and others. A lot of my personal favorites. Jneiro Jarel’s in there, too. I thought he was in Philly? Anyhow, this is a great set. Well worth checking out, with more photos on the way.

LA Dope
Shaun Bloodworth
Give Up Art
Low End Theory Club
Stones Throw
Flying Lotus
The Gaslamp Killer

Spectral Sound – Spectral Sound Vol. 2

Spectral Sound Vol. 2 is a compilation celebrating the 50th release of Ghostly International’s counterpart label Spectral Sound. It’s a mass of 50 chronologically ordered house and techno tracks including artists like James T. Cotton (Dabrye), Osborne, Matthew Dear and others. The best part about it? The download is only $11. It’s tempting.

The artwork was created by Brooklyn-based artist Sougwen Chung. The work on her portfolio site is beautiful, including the poster above and a seperate page of great sketchbook drawings. Below is a video where she was asked by TWiN Studios/Rabbit Content to draw for 30 minutes while listening to an album of their choosing.

Also, I’m not sure why I never noticed this, but Ghostly has a page of visual artists they’ve worked with. I wish every label did this.

Sougwen Chung
Ghostly International

James Jean – Process Recess 3

James Jean, illustrator behind the packaging of My Chemical Romance’s Black Parade (mentioned previously), is releasing a new book in his Process Recess series sometime in September or October, according to Drawn.

I’m a proud owner of both Process Recess 1 and 2, so you can be sure that I already pre-ordered my copy of the third, especially considering how inflated the prices of the other books got. PR1 (bottom) and PR3 are essentially copies of Jean’s sketchbooks, while PR2 (below) contains finished and development work. He is also releasing “Kindling”, a book of removable prints, on August 26th.

James Jean

Rodgers & Hart – Smash Song Hits

Analog Apartment made a post yesterday about Alex Steinweiss, the designer considered to be the inventor of record covers. The image above, an album of hits recorded by Rodgers & Hart, is said to be the very first illustrated album cover. Undependent has more detailed images of the whole package. Supposedly every record before this was packaged in a plain cardboard or paper sleeve. Steinweiss became the first art director for Columbia Records in 1939 and continued to design covers through 1973 before he retired from the field to devote himself to painting.

Analog Apartment also mentioned that there is a book of his work available (above), which I’d oddly never picked up although I’ve noticed the book hundreds of times in stores. Interestingly, one particular Amazon customer review contests that Steinweiss wasn’t exactly the first to create an illustrated album cover and mentions a series of covers by Decca Records at least six years before Steinweiss, as well as children’s albums by RCA Bluebird. So I’m not sure how accurate the “inventor of the record cover” statement is, but the quality of Steinweiss’ design work stands either way.

Alex Steinweiss
Rodgers & Hart
For The Record @
Analog Apartment

Gorgon Visits An Independent Record Store

Not exactly my experience with independent record stores. But then again, I’m not an alien.


Beck’s Music Inspired Art

It’s always interesting to see beverage companies using artistic and cultural endeavors to promote something as simple as a drink. Like Red Bull, for example, who runs the Red Bull Music Academy and sponsors gallery showings, concerts and stunt events. Beck’s Beer has taken a similar route by commissioning artists for a series of music-inspired pieces, derived from albums on Pitchfork’s “Albums of The Decade” lists. They’re collecting the pieces on a Flickr account.

For example, McBess’s piece (top) is inspired by TV On The Radio’s album Return To Cookie Mountain. Kid Acne’s piece (above) is inspired by The Beastie Boy’s Paul’s Boutique. And Si Scott’s (below) is inspired by Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights. Each piece has it’s own set which includes a few images of process work as well.

One aspect of the project I especially like is the Flickr pool they’ve created so that other artists can participate. So while I’m sure this project is very much in the name of advertising a brand, it is a great idea.

Beck’s Music Inspired Art
Kid Acne
Si Scott
TV On The Radio
The Beastie Boy

Farm Vegas – Heavy Skies

When I’m cutting a project’s completion dangerously close to deadline, my mind always thinks of my old professor at VCU, Robert Meganck. Meganck is known for pumping out at least two digital (and at times ‘traditional’) pieces a day, filled with strong colors, abstracted forms and keen sense of design. He’s also known for his vigorous consumption of coffee. He’s one of my favorite professors and I owe him for essentially getting me my first illustration job. So whenever I lag behind on work I think “Meganck could have done this in a few hours” and I push ahead.

These two covers were designed for the first two albums of Farm Vegas, a four-piece rock band out of Richmond, Virginia. The group has shared the stage with fellow bands such as Drive By Truckers, Carbon Leave and The Pat McGee Band. Their folksy, Americana influenced sound vibes well with Meganck’s strong appreciation for true rock & roll music, which he expressed often in class. In fact, there’s a section dedicated to it on his portfolio site.

The piece above was created for Richmond’s 64 Magazine, illustrating the lyrics to “Flowers On The Wall” written by Lew Dewitt and performed by The Statler Brothers. Meganck has worked for a wide variety of clients and has won over 300 awards for his work. He continues to teach at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Robert Meganck
Farm Vegas