DIGITAL ABSTRACTION MEETS GRAPHICS
This is just a bit of fun really. I was trying to cheer myself up following disappointments in July. Do they merit inclusion? For the moment they have their place. As with the ENCRYPTION series in 2014, they were a way of collecting more abstract images generated in preceding series into some sort of theme. They did not have a consistent undertone of vague menace like ENCRYPTION, probably due to the introduction of colour. So I looked elsewhere. The idea of record sleeves was actually suggested by the square format (true of vinyl and CD covers) which I stumbled upon as I relaxed picture shape in preceding series. I am not normally drawn to a square format. The association between music and abstraction in painting is longstanding, although not that prevalent in actual record sleeve design. The tension between painting’s ambitions and advertising’s fashions certainly steered my efforts.
The idea of imaginary titles for actual musicians was a way of granting more leeway in matching image to a type of music. And it obviously provided scope for humour. As the series progressed, choice of music soon directed imagery and suggested typefaces and more figurative elements, so the series became more about graphic design. In part it became a reflection on my belated studies in graphic design (2008-11) in part reflection on my music collection.
More notes at the bottom of the page.
The series is more an anthology of my favourite corners of Photoshop than guide to my musical tastes. The full range of my tastes would probably require three or four times as many illustrations. All the same, I wanted it to reflect something of my interests and overlap with pictorial matters. In the main, the independent rock or pop genre provides that. The music ranges from old favourites to current enthusiasms and this too hopefully carries something of my history. The order of appearance does not indicate order of production or preference. The sequence is just a way of balancing the variety of design or abstraction. There was very little variation on a given composition or design and so no real opportunity for sub pages. While it makes for a long page, hopefully it has not been a particularly demanding one.
As a designer, I am needless to say, pretty ordinary. I don’t really care about briefs and unless well paid have no patience with the compromises that go with client/art director consultation. Been there, done that. I did almost no research for this series, using only my existing libraries of images and music. I did eventually look up some of my favourite sleeve designers from the seventies and eighties, like Barney Bubbles, Malcolm Garrett and Keith Breeden. There is a page on the NME site, where famous records are given CD covers in the style of old Penguin paperbacks. This is in much the same spirit as my series and suggested a limit on some of my borrowings.