Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Album/Song Cover Art & Some Of The Artist Who Create Them

When opening up the app to Twitter or Facebook on your phone or computer, aiming to scroll and catch up on the conversations happening amongst the crowd. You just so happen to stumble upon a link to new music from your favorite artist, or even a artist you've been aiming to checkout. What's the first thing that you see either before you click the link or when you enter the music blog? In many cases we get a creative piece of art that accompanies the music, as a sort of presentation before you click the play button.

In the earlier days of the music industry album art came fitted on a sleeve for 78 rpm records(vinyl). With credit of the first album cover going to Alex Steinweiss, earlier album featured reproduction of classic as well a original design, not different at all from today. Only difference being the technology we use to create it. As others companies and artist followed the idea of packaging and presenting music this way, colorful creative , and meaningful artwork is now an important part in marketing music.

With the change in technology, such as the creation of the compact disc and personal computers, album art had become even more detailed. CDs include booklets, in those booklets we get even more art, in many cases giving listeners a deeper visual view behind the meaning of the music. Now in the digital age, where there's music blogs, streaming sites like soundcloud and audiomack, we not only get album art but track and single art as well. If one rapper drops 10 songs over the course of 5 months, a graphic designer will possibly be employed to create 10 different pieces. Since consumption of Hip Hop has change album/track art is a pivotal part of marketing music to the people, with programs like GIMP, Photoshop, Illustrator, and others, being used to construct them.

Many times, but not all the time, album art plays a role in music discovery. Art is relative to each person, depending on what draws your attention. Consider if the visual art for the music isn't good, would you be less likely to checkout the music if you're not familiar with the rapper? Great album and track art also presents a story along with great music. In this editorial we pinpoint a few artist from Chicago creating the covers we see accompanying the music in recent time.

When Chance the Rapper released "Coloring Book", fans pointed out its relations to the album art of "10 Day" and "Acid Rap". The cover presented a story, though unintended, centered on the rapper himself and positions in which his eyes are focused. The artist behind all three of Chance's covers, Brandon Breaux presented works with an emphasis on color and detail, putting all three cover together you get a better appreciation for cover art. In an interview with theFADER  he says "Chance 3 is like maturity, fully stepping into his greatness, his focus isn't so much on himself but on the clear future". Brandon has definitely been inspiration to other graphic designers, with variation of the album cover popping up across the net. Breaux's art doesn't just sit in the realm of album art, he has a Bucketfeet shoe, illustrated a Frank 151 cover, contributor for the Stussy, Treated Crew, Saint Alfred Collection, website creation and more.

TalentedasKB now shorten to the form of TLNTD, recently return with a rejuvenated purpose in music, dropping bi-weekly tracks. Each track is accompanied with its own track art, which is created by Fenton Sylvester. Fenton creates memorable track art, with many of his pieces directly relating to the song. We get clean aesthetic driven art that quite possibly pulls new listens in. The track art and TLNTD's music is a great combination, as Fenton Sylvester puts it "Good music fuels the process of creativity." He's done work for many other artist as well a logos and art direction, which you can checkout on his Instagram page ArtByFiny

1/3 or 1/2(depending on how you look at it) of the newly formed group Air Credits, ShowYouSuck recently dropped his project "Bummer". He grabs the talents of artist Arturo Lopez aka Churrrrrro(on IG), for the cover art, a digital drawing devoid of color.  "Me and Show are really tight friends and we both share a love for punk/hardcore music and that's kind of been the inspiration for stuff that I've done for him. I've done artwork for a couple of his last releases and every time he has asked me to do something I listen to the music and we kind of go back and forth about ideas for the artwork", says Arturo. A detailed sketch is what's presented, with a pretty stark cover as figures hang in the back drop chained as if its a torture scene, while the center character looking very unmotivated. Lopez's style standout, creating illustrations that can grab the attention without flashy colors. He currently does graphic design and illustration work for the clothing/boutique brand Jugrnaut, plus find more work via his tumblr.

Album/song art isn't always created simply by a graphic design or digital artist, photographers have a hand in it as well. A great concept and talented photographer has shown to produce some creative covers that serve their purpose. One example of this is Eryn Allen Kane's "Aviary: Act 1" and "Aviary: Act 2", shot by Bryan Allen Lamb. He delivered a cover that thoroughly outlines the title of both projects and possibly Eryn's journey during this time in her career. Lamb is also doing work on "Pale Rose" singer theMind's upcoming project "Summer Camp". G Herbo, Saba, Mick Jenkins, Joey BadA$$, Lucki, Vic Mensa, and more have all been in front of his camera lens, making for a incredible list of musical artist he's worked with. As a visual artist Lamb has handled film projects (doing video for two CCHH favs songs "God Like" and "Mahjik"), behind the DBM Spring 16' look book, and gave us behind the scenes Polaroid shots of "Sunday Candy".

One artist who's continued to make a big name for himself, handling notable covers, is Chaz L Morgan aka AllBlck. He might be one the more successful graphic designer coming out of the city, whether you know the name or not and you've seen the work. Recently he's dong album covers from Lil Bibby and Lil Durk, with his art reaching outside of the city as well, creating art for Meek Mill, French Montana, and Roc Nation. Chaz prides himself on knowing what the artist wants, resulting in a wide range of style and great aesthetics. Morgan extended his reach from just graphic design to fashion. He now heads his own clothing line. "Apparel Reserve"(also known as Carpe Diem).

In a sea of art, there are many more artist to pinpoint. Some music artist like L.A. VanGogh dive into creating there own album and song cover such as "safeNsound presents L.A. VanGogh", along side Anthony Camacho. There's some newly discovered favorites as well such as dEMOx. As more music is released we'll get to see even more pieces from graphic designer and photographers, which means expect album art to be a recurring theme in future writing.

With the music already being art we can dive into, we should know the name of the people who create our initial interaction before we press play. There's always a meaning behind these cover art creation that build an deeper appreciation for the culture we love.

Written by Curtis Carey

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