I’m often asked: Why did you become a designer? What inspired you? One of the most constant threads in my life has been my unequivocal love of music and in particular a love of great album art, a love that moved me from the geeky kid who did creepy Goth paintings in art class to one that went to art school to become a “commercial artist,” that turned into a degree in graphic design…and well, here I am.
So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite album covers, sleeves that have inspired me at various phases of my career, music that has accompanied the journey, and made memories along the way.
Sort of dreadful, kind of awesome. Artist Roger Dean was a huge inspiration when I was 12, and I vaguely remember trying to copy this with felt pens. Prog-rock pomp meets Egyptian Gandalf-fantasy.
The late 70’s were dominated by Californian laid-back everything, and here is the inimitable Eagles and their LA Native Americana. I painted this on a backpack with enamel house paint and am pretty sure it lacked the nuance of the original.
They will probably play “Majik of Majiks” by Cat Stevens at my funeral. Seminal music and accompanying folk-art English whimsy.
Tits and glam rock. Perfect combination. As a fashion art director years later, I endlessly referenced Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. Genius.
My Teens. Angst and deconstruction. Collage. DIY. Everyone was creative. It was heaven.
God, another one to be buried to. Typography finally entered my lexicon, albeit pretty dreadful type here, buy nonetheless.
I was and am still obsessed with Peter Saviile. Cult of personality, genius louche rockstar designer, cerebral and insanely referential. When I first discovered that looking backwards into history was a great source of inspiration.
No words. Sheer perfection. Probably my favorite one up here.
As an art director, I was good at cropping and editing film. French creative director Jean-Paul Goude was a huge influence on the idea of experimenting in camera. And I SO wanted to be Grace Jones.
Farrow and his perfect minimalism. The notion of branding was emerging in my brain - that a consistent, smart visual narrative was invaluable. When years later I had my own business, nickandpaul, we were referred to in The New York Times as: “The Pet Shop Boys of Branding” which I loved.
My Drum ‘n’ Bass, Trance & Ambient Period. I was into the cerebral and conceptual at the time - Damien Hirst referentialism. The whiter and more obtuse the better.
Finally, Nick Knight. Genius. I shot with him when I was at college, and he was cool. Love love this sleeve. Micro-macro.
OK, I’ve shown you mine. What are yours?