Tag Archives: Banksy

“3D and the Art of Massive Attack”–A New Book on Rock Art.

Robert del Naja, a.k.a 3D, is a musician, artist and composer probably best known as being a founder member of the trip hop group Massive Attack. He has also other musical projects. del Naja was born in Bristol in 1965 and has been credited as the the city’s first graffiti artist and Banksy has named him as a major influence–it can be noted that suggestions have been made that del Naja IS Banksy! A real fact about him is that he is colour blind. Something that caused him problems in his early works–painting a self-portrait with green hair and brown Christmas trees.

I really liked the deceptively simple cover art for Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine” album, with its stag beetle image. Otherwise I had not paid particular attention to the group’s cover art. I was completely unaware that del Naja had a separate career as a record cover artist. He admits to have been designing covers for Mo’ Wax records for eight years–I once owned the 1994 Mo Wax vinyl samplers “Headz 1” and “Headz 2” with cover paintings by del Naja, though I then had no idea who he was.

Just recently, The Vinyl Factory published “3D & the Art of Massive Attack” by Robert del Naja and Sean Bidder–a 400 page book of Robert del Naja’s art. There are two versions, a popular edition selling for £50 or a limited edition of 350 signed copies selling for £350. I have the popular edition, which came sealed in cellophane with the Vinyl Factory sticker with bar cove on the outside. The book only contains pictures of del Naja’s artworks with no text apart from a three page interview in a separate 12-page booklet included in the package. Reviews of the book state that Banksy has written the book’s introduction, but I couldn’t find it in my copy–perhaps that’s only included in the limited edition…

Art of 3D-fr
The cover of Robert del Naja’s new book.

I was fascinated to find out that Robert del Naja has cooperated with photographer Nick Knight to produce record cover art. The “Mezzanine” cover is one example.

massive_attack-mezzanine-frontal
The “Mezzanine” front cover. Photo by Nick Knight.

Del Naja again approached Nick Knight for the cover photo for Massive Attack’s “best of” compilation “Collected”.

R-652096-1243886836.jpeg
Nick Knight’s photograph on the cover of “Collected”.

Nick Knight’s most famous cover photographs are probably David Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” cover, Björk’s  1997 “Homogenic” or Nick Cave & The Bad Seed’s “The Boatman’s Call” covers, but he has also photographed Miguel Bosé (see a previous recordart post for another Miguel Bosé album) for the cover of his 1987 album “XXX” among many others.

I was disappointed with the book at first, but it lead me to start looking for more examples of Robert del Naja’s record covers and that has proved to be an interesting journey. I will have to try to contain my interest and NOT start collecting his covers.

Advertisements

Banksy Picture Discs – All That Glitters Is Not Gold!

Readers of this blog may already have suspected that I have a serious case of OCD or just plain collectors’ mania. I aim to keep my collections of record cover art by artists/themes I collect as complete as possible. Therefore, I have compiled lists of each of these which I try to remember to update when I find or acquire new items.

So, a couple of weeks ago, picture discs with Banksy cover art began to appear on Ebay posted by a seller from Israel. The looked really cool and I could imagine hanging a selection on my wall.
Think TankPulp FIctionKeep It real-1

The prices were high–but genuine records with Banksy covers are fetching quite amazing prices nowadays, so I didn’t reflect too much. I made an offer on one disc which was promptly accepted and I was happy. The seller informed me that he had “a couple of other Banksy picture discs” and was prepared to offer me an even “better” price if I bought those, too. He even offered free shipping, so I agreed.

Less than a week later, the package arrived.

These turned out to be single-sided singles. The “Keep It Real” is a version by Jamal, called “Keep It Real“. As shown, it came in a die-cut, black card sleeve. The other two are shaped picture discs. The Blak Twang record is the “Kik Off” single and the One Cut has the track “Mr. X“.

Examination revealed that the records are 2 mm thick pieces of perspex with a sort of  thick flexidisc with the image and sound track affixed. The image is slightly blurred as if it has been copied from a picture sourced on the Internet.The sound quality is poor, probably lifted from an MP3 file.

The seller informed me that he had “bought” the discs and the person who had sold them to him said they were made in Japan and only twenty or so copies existed. He had about twenty-five different discs with Banksy cover art for sale and was prepared to let me have them for the “bargain” price of $139 each.

Further research on Ebay gave more surprises. The same seller is selling picture discs by other artists, such as Björk, Aphex Twin, Led Zeppelin and others at the same sort of inflated prices.

These records are not proper pressings. They are produced to appeal to collectors and sold at wildly inflated prices. They cannot really be called bootlegs as they are not really records at all. And the quality of the artwork, not to mention the sound, is really poor.

I decided not to “invest” in the 25-or-so Banksy picture discs the seller had on offer. I prefer “proper” records, not pieces of perspex with a flexidisc attached. And I would like to issue a warning to other collectors not to support this type of exploitation solely aimed at fleecing collectors.

 

Icon Worship – Kate Moss on Record Covers

My blog is usually about record design and some of my favourite cover designers. This post is about an icon who appears on record covers.

According to a dictionary an icon is either: a devotional painting of Christ or another holy figure, typically executed on wood and used ceremonially in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches, OR
a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.

I don’t suppose anyone would argue that supermodel Kate Moss is a 21st Century icon. Her face is on the covers of fashion magazines and there are coffee table books of photographs of her. She has even appeared on record sleeves. The first one that I have been able to identify is Dirty Funker‘s “Let’s Get Dirty” which used Banksy‘s Kate Moss portrait from 2005

Banksy's Warhol style Kate Moss portraits (2005)
Banksy’s Warhol style Kate Moss portraits (2005)

Apparently Kate Moss bought one but it was stolen in 2010 together with other Banksy works that she had bought.

Dirty Funker‘s use of Banksy‘s Kate Moss’ portrait on his record sleeve was not authorised by Banksy. But hey ho, who cares? A first pressing showed only Moss‘ face with no title or other text, while a second (more common) had a black Dymo tape with the record’s title across Moss‘ eyes on the front and across her mouth on the rear.

LetsGetDirty_1st_150

First and second pressings of Dirty Funker's "Let's Get Dirty" 12-inch single.
First and second pressings of Dirty Funker’s “Let’s Get Dirty” 12-inch single.

The February 2008 number of TAR Magazine contained a photographic essay of Kate Moss. And the magazine’s cover was adorned with Damien Hirst‘s portrait of Kate, with the right side of her face dissected down to the muscles.

TAR Magazine cover and the record sleeve.
TAR Magazine cover and the record sleeve.

624e2a543996df02ffa92fc2bee036be
The following Year Hirst released a single-sided 12-inch single in an edition of 666 copies pressed on white vinyl that used the TAR Magazine picture on its cover.

Bryan Ferry released his thirteenth album “Olympia” on 25th October 2010. The album was released as a CD, CD with DVD, a collectors’ edition with extra tracks as well as a limited edition LP. He seems to have been besotted with Kate as the album and five singles’ covers taken from it all bear Kate‘s portrait. There is a video of the photo shoot for the cover photo

The Olympia cover.
The Olympia cover.

The Vinyl Factory in London released five limited edition 12-inch singles from the album in 2010 and 2011. All with cover photographs of Moss. These are “You Can Dance” (2010), “Shameless Remixes” (2010), “Alphaville” (2011), “Heartache by Numbers” (2011) and “BF Bass (Ode to Olympia) (Remixes)” (2011). The portraits of Kate Moss on these covers are by british photographer Adam Whitehead (born 1973).

You Can Dance cover.
You Can Dance cover.
Shameless Remixes cover.
Shameless Remixes cover.
Alphaville cover.
Alphaville cover.
The limited edition version of Alphaville.
The limited edition version of Alphaville.
Heartache By Numbers cover.
Heartache By Numbers cover.
BF Bass (Ode to Olympia) Remixes cover.
BF Bass (Ode to Olympia) Remixes cover.

Thus I have been able to find ten covers with portraits of Kate Moss released in less than 10 years. I think this fulfills the second definition of an icon. Perhaps I have missed a cover or two. Readers are very welcome to let me know of any I have missed.

A review of 2014 – my collections grow

Readers of this blog will by now know that it deals with collecting record cover art by five designers

  1.     Andy Warhol
    2. Peter Blake
    3. Klaus Voormann
    4. Damien Hirst
    5. Banksy

When I sat down to put my thoughts together on the past year’s collecting I could not immediately recall any real high points. Then I started to look through my list of acquisitions and soon saw that 2014 had been another successful year. Let’s take things in order.

Andy Warhol
Well, I’ve managed to add twenty-one covers to my collection of Andy Warhol sleeves – surprisingly, the majority by The Rolling Stones. I have added three variations of the “Emotional Tattoo” bootleg cover. Frank Edwards very kindly sent me his extra copy of the 1983 version on orange vinyl in exchange for a set of “Giant Size $1.57 Each” covers and I bought the two variations of the 2014 numbered reissues of the album, one on black and the other on green vinyl.

Early in the year I had decided to go for the Rolling Stones singles with variations on the “Sticky Fingers” cover art. I had previously not been interested in singles or EPs but the wonderful RCA and RCA Camden covers with Warhol art have changed my mind. Anyway, fellow Warhol Cover Collectors Club member Guy Minnebach had tipped me off about the Mexican “Brown Sugar” singles (entitled “Azucar Morena” in Spanish). One was a two-track single and the other a three-track EP that happened to pop up on Ebay soon after he had told me about them.

The Rolling Stones “Azucar Morena” single in a fold out cover.

Rolling Stones “Azucar Morena” EP.

Then I had to add the original “Brown Sugar / Bitch / Let It Rock” single and a German pressing of the single, both of which used the “Sticky Fingers” rear cover photo on their rear covers. I also found a copy of the “Brown Sugar” shaped picture disc single to complete the set.

“Brown Sugar / Bitch” picture disc single.

When it comes to “classic” Warhol covers, I – like most collectors of Warhol’s cover art – had been looking for a cheap copy of the Lew White “Melodic Magic” EP. Well, I found the single on Discogs for $3.86 plus $12 shipping. Unfortunately, the record had no cover, but I bought another RCA Camden EP with the same rear cover list of other artists on the Camden label and peeled off the cover slick and stuck a Lew White cover slick in its place and – wonder of wonders – I have the Lew White EP, indistinguishable from the real thing – as it IS the real thing (almost) and all for about $40!

The next “classic” cover I managed to get hold of was the “Alexander Nevsky” re-issue sleeve with the green colour blocks. I already had both the original “blue” and the re-issue “orange” covers. Now all I need to find is the “pink” cover variation.

My three “Alexander Nevsky” covers.

When I first started to seriously collect Andy Warhol’s record cover art I saw Wilhelm Loibner’s “Ballet From Vienna” listed as a Warhol cover. The cover is a solarised photo credited to William Hughes. The rear cover has no image. Guy Minnebach informed me that the original copies of this LP had an inner sleeve with Warhol’s drawing of part of an orchestra, the same image as used o the cover of “4 Divertimenti”. The “Ballet From Vienna” cover appears on Ebay with monotonous regularity, but almost NEVER with the inner sleeve. However, one did turn up advertised from Spain in mint condition so I added it to my collection.

“Ballet From Vienna” Front of inner sleeve and front cover.

The other Warhol covers I managed to find included Diana Ross’ “Muscles” and “So Close” seven-inch singles and Billy Squier’s “Everybody Wants You” single.

And then there was an unusual CD that came up on Ebay in August. It was a Japanese promotional double CD with a line drawing of an ear and some arrows with the sole word “ear” beside the drawing. The handwriting was so like Andy Warhol’s that I took a chance and bought the set. Guy Minnebach immediately recognised the drawing as one of a series in a Warhol portfolio entitled “Playbook of you S Bruce 2:30-4:00”.

The other covers with Warhol art were two Velvet Underground bootlegs; “NYC” and “Orange Disaster” which both had pictures from Warhol’s Deaths and Disaster prints.

Peter Blake

There were no new record sleeve designs by Sir Peter Blake in 2014 but one old one did surface – the rejected cover for the group Landscape’s 1982 album “Manhattan Boogie-Woogie”. I saw an art gallery advert for a 2009 silkscreen of the cover image. I managed to find a high-resolution copy of the image and could resize it to LP-format and get several slicks printed. I stuck one slick of the front cover to one of the rear cover from the issued album and there was (my version of) the original cover restored.

Klaus Voormann

2014 saw many additions to my Voormann collection. The first cover I found was the last cover needed to complete my set of all twenty “Pioneers of Jazz” EPs. I had managed to find nineteen previously and been searching the Internet for Volume 18, the only one I lacked. In February I finally found it.

The next cover I found was George Harrison’s “When We Was Fab” promo box with the seven inch single. I already had the twelve-inch version and this was a nice addition. I felt I had just about completed my Voormann collection when I found some purely German releases: “Stinker” LP and seven inch single “von Drüben” by Marius Müller-Westernhagen.

Klaus Voormann’s first official cover was for a band called The Typhoons about which I have failed to find any information. Klaus has informed me that he never met the band and could only say that it was a German combo active in the early sixties. Heliodor records had released their cover of “Walk… Don’t Run”, the old Ventures hit. I had made a copy of the cover from an image on Klaus Voormann’s portfolio and I have seen a cover in poor condition sell on Ebay for over €100 but never seen the record until one turned up without the cover. So, true to form I bought the single to live in the cover I had made. I’m still looking for a proper cover…

I had already bought Klaus Voormann’s album “A Sideman’s Journey” on LP with a limited edition poster and eyed the limited edition box set, which included the album on CD, a DVD of the making of the album, a book of drawings and the poster – signed by Klaus. The box was expensive and I felt I did not really need it until a second-hand copy came up for half the normal price.

My friend, gallery-owner Daniel Brant found two copies of Voormann’s poster of John Lennon and Paul McCartney eating breakfast in the Abbey Road canteen during the “Revolver” sessions and he let me have a copy.

 

The last item needed to complete my Voormann collection was the CD of covers entitled “A Guide to Modern Country Living” by The Twang. There is, however, one cover that has only been released as a digital download and that is “Picasso’s Party” by a band called The Dogs of Bali. I have the download.

So, with the exception of a proper cover for the “Walk… Don’t Run” single, my Klaus Voormann Collection seems complete – at least until Klaus produces more cover designs.

Damien Hirst

This has probably been the year when I have obtained the largest number of Damien Hirst covers. There were three covers for Babyshambles, including the LP “Prequel to the Sequel” and the two singles from the album, “Nothing Comes From Nothing” and “Fall From Grace”.

Next was The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ LP “I’m With You” with the cover picture of a fly on a medicine capsule. Then Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros promo CD “Tony Adams (The Morning Sun)” and the very rare twelve inch EP “Yalla Yalla”. Somehow, Thirty Seconds to Mars had been allowed to use one of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings for the cover of their CD “Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams”. I got hold of the limited edition box set of the album thinking the box and LP cover were also designed by Damien Hirst – but they aren’t! However, the box set did include a book with the spot painting on the cover. I had to get the CD as well for completeness. A seller in Germany advertised a twelve-inch EP of Dave Stewart’s “Heart of Stone (The Dance Mixes)” which I had never heard of. I could not find a copy elsewhere so I bought his expensive copy. Then I found out there was another remix EP of “Heart of Stone (The Sure Is Pure Remixes)”. That one was easy to find and did not cost an arm and a leg.

My final Damien Hirst find for the year was the USB promotional version of The Hours’ “See the Light” album. A nice little skull-shaped USB stick.

Banksy

I have not been able to find any new records with Banksy images in 2014. My collection of Bansky records has been touring Sweden throughout the year and I sincerely hope that they will return home in 2015.

Meanwhile, I wish all my readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year – and wish you all success with your collecting in 2015.