Friday, December 5, 2014

The Beatles: Yesterday and Today - The Butcher Album Cover


I can finally reveal my illustration for the Thirty Three and a Third Exhibition that opened at the fantastic Gallery1988 East In Los Angeles today. The piece is called The Butcher Shop Quartet and is my reinterpretation of The Beatles Yesterday and Today Album with the infamous Butcher cover. The print is a limited edition giclée print you can get a copy from Gallery1988's website here.

The Thirty Three and a Third Exhibition celebrates the art of the album cover, featuring reinterpretations and re-imaginings of existing album covers by artists and designers! When it came time for me to pick what album to illustrate I was stuck. I had a million ideas running through my head, I even lost sleep, mentally going through my record collection thinking of an album to reinterpret. I really wanted to illustrate an album that I not only loved to listen to but that I was also drawn to the cover artwork of. I then began thinking about records and record collecting and albums that I don't own and what would be my holy grail record find based solely on its cover, that's when it hit me….. The Beatles, Yesterday and Today with the now infamous Butcher Cover.


For those of you who don't know the Beatles' U.S. albums differed from the band's U.K. albums in a variety of ways, including different track lists, song mixes, album titles and artwork. In the U.S. the fab four where signed to Capitol Records and especially in the early years they were playing catch-up with the albums and singles that had already come out on the EMI record label in the U.K. Yesterday and Today was released in June 1966 and included tracks from the Beatles' two most recent British LPs which had not yet been included on American albums, plus three from their upcoming LP in the United Kingdom, plus two songs which were back-to-back on a single. At the time The Beatles felt the US releases had undone the hard work that they put into the sequencing of the British versions.


When asked to supply an image for the cover of this album, the band decided to show their dislike of the hodgepodge nature in which Capitol Records compiled their albums by submitting a photograph from an earlier photo shoot by Robert Whitaker. The photographer had the Beatles in the studio for a conceptual art piece titled A Somnambulant Adventure. For the shoot, Whitaker took a series of pictures of the group dressed in butcher smocks and draped with pieces of meat and body parts from plastic baby dolls. The group played along as they were tired of the usual photo shoots and the concept was compatible with their own sense of humour.


Capitol Records originally printed 750 000 covers with the Butcher Cover image. A small fraction were shipped to distributors, disc jockeys and reviewers before its release. A Negative reaction to the cover was immediate and after receiving complaints from some dealers, the record was immediately recalled by Capitol Records prior to its actual release. Although initially ordering the destruction of the Butcher covers, Capitol decided instead to paste a much more conventional cover over the old ones when faced with number of jackets they had already printed. Of course as word of this spread among Beatles Fans, owners of the altered cover attempted, usually unsuccessfully, to peel off the pasted-over cover, hoping to reveal the original image hidden beneath. Eventually, the soaring value and desirability of unpasted-over Butcher covers spurred the development of intricate and complex techniques for peeling the Trunk cover off in such a way that only faint horizontal glue lines remained on the original cover.


I originally chose to reinterpret The Beatles Butcher Cover of the Yesterday and Today Album because of its rarity but it also got me thinking about the power of the album cover. I feel that this cover is a definite precursor to the more artistic and creative album covers of the Beatles' later career, that move away from a simple group shot of the band. When recreating the cover I made it a little less macabre by illustrating it in my retro "story-book style". I really wanted to capture not only the likenesses but also the mannerisms and energy of The Beatles in a very simplified form. I think the final illustration has the feeling of being a children's sing along album which is funny when you think back to its original release and the controversy that followed. Rather than having the band sitting is a blank studio I decided to emphasize the humour and surrealism of the original photograph having The Beatles sitting outside a Butcher and Doll Repair Shop. I also decided to get a bit self referential placing this Butcher and Doll Repair Shop on Penny Lane right next door to the famed barber shop. The Thirty Three and a Third Exhibition exhibition will run until the 21st of December at Gallery1988 East In Los Angeles.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 Create Design Awards Night


In 2014 I was lucky enough to be a dual finalist in the Create Design Awards. I had my work for Pack of Heroes as well as the CD cover and concert poster I illustration for Red River Shore's single Wild, Wild Wind both selected to be finalists in the illustration category.

 
As you can see from the photos, the awards night was a lot of fun and I ended up being selected as the runner-up for the Illustration of Pack of Heroes. The awards themselves were held in the beautiful Forum Theatre in Melbourne. It was great to meet and mingle with other creatives and to receive recognition for all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that went into Pack of Heroes with a Create Awards finalist nomination and a runner-up result.

 
Big thank you to all the judges and staff at Desktop magazine for putting the Create Awards together and for supporting creatives like myself.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Too Many Cinderellas - Game Cover


I was recently contacted by the wonderful folks at Grail Games to illustrate the cover for their great new game called Too Many Cinderellas. The premise of the game sounds so fun and basically is that Prince Charming can't remember who Cinderella is and the players have to try and persuade him that they are the Cinderella he met at the party. The game is an English language version of an existing Japanese game.


While working on this cover I looked toward the various depictions of the Cinderella fairytale in popular culture to come up with a strong cover that instantly portrayed the Cinderella story. I wanted a very princely yet generic Prince Charming sitting below a castle that could only exist in a fairytale. I looked to the work of the wonderful illustrator Mary Blair, the colour stylist for Disney's Cinderella when working on the colour palate for my cover.


I wanted to use colour to really help make the characters jump off the cover while also presenting the idea that Prince Charming has rushed out of his own party in the middle of the night to track down Cinderella. After leaving the party the baffled Prince Charming discovers a vast mountain of crystal slippers, of all shapes and sizes (go to the head of the class if you noticed the roller skates!) I loved this idea and I really feel it reflects the quirkiness of the game itself.


Lastly I decided to add the mouse character sitting on his pumpkin to the foreground of the image as one final nod to the Cinderella fairytale, of course the mouse and pumpkin are Cinderella's carriage and driver transformed back to their original form after the fairy godmother's spell has worn off at midnight. Too Many Cinderellas should be out at your local game store some time in 2015 in the mean time you can back the project on Kickstarter right now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thirty Three and a Third and a Third Exhibition

I have some very, very exciting news I have been selected to have an illustration of mine in the Thirty Three and a Third and a Third Exhibition at the wonderful Gallery1988 East In Los Angeles this December.


The exhibition celebrates the art of the album cover, featuring reinterpretations and re-imaginings of existing album covers by artists and designers!

I won't give away what album I have done just yet - but I will say a sneak peak of it features on the flyer above. If you are in LA this December you've gotta check this exhibition out it's sure to be fantastic! The exhibition will run from the 5th until the 21st of December.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tori Amos Illustration and Unrepentant Geraldines in Sydney


As soon as a heard that Tori Amos was returning to tour Australia on the back of her new album Unrepentant Geraldines I thought about illustrating something to mark the occasion. I have been a fan of Tori and her music for most of my life and I was really excited for the shows with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House.


As always Tori's live performance was energetic and electrically enchanting. She performed songs from across her vast back catalogue that had been specifically arranged for the Symphony. Winter, Purple People (performed solo), Hey Jupiter, Programmable Soda and 1000 Oceans (also performed solo) were definite standouts from the performance for me.


The following day I joined fellow Tori devotees in the line for the meet and greet before her rehearsal for the second show at the Sydney Opera House. Meet and greets are something that Tori has done from the very beginning of her career. I have attended them before and they are always a very special event as a fan. It is a great way to spend a day meeting other fans and talking about your favorite songs before Tori herself comes out. They seriously broke the mould when they created Tori Amos she has limitless time, patients and appreciation for her fans. Meeting her is such a great experience. To say I was nervous would be a massive understatement but I did manage to get a few words out and to give her a print out of the illustration I drew which she thought was super cute! What a day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pizza Dude - Limited Edition Poster

Meet Pizza Dude, this superhero is fresh outta the box and ready to deliver justice one slice at a time!


This limited edition poster print is available now!
It's from an edition size of 250, is A2 size 420mm x 594mm (approx 16.5" x 23.4" ) and is offset printed in Australia on 300gsm, 100% recycled paper stock!

You can grab one now from my online shop.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pack of Heroes Activity Book


Here is a look at the new Pack of Heroes Activity Book that I have created. It's 24 pages jam packed with pages to colour in, find-a-words, mazes and even your own cutout hero to create!


It features the fun and colourful superheroes from the game Pack of Heroes and is a great gift for the superhero fan that is young or young at heart! The activity book is printed in Australia on 100% recycled paper stock. You can grab a copy via the brand new Pack of Heroes Website here.