While some people might maintain the fact that the physical art piece is slowly losing its relevance within the defined art world – it can also be argued that album and poster art is taking off and becoming more popular and in some cases, more expensive than that of a typical fine art piece.
For many decades, the art of constructing an album cover that is suitable for the band, its message and its music has been a painstaking but very necessary process.
Everyone’s seen those god awful album covers around the internet, as well as several music based quiz shows. Australia’s Spicks and Specks TV show searches for the worst album covers they can possibly find, then blank out certain words or objects to play the game.
If you are aiming on becoming a serious artist, or want people to buy your album – Your album art needs to be spectacular.
Album art can also be part of the whole learning experience. The last Tool album ‘10,000 Days‘ included a booklet of psychadelic pictures, paired with some viewing glasses that inverted and combined the pictures that were side by side, to cause a 3d effect, that accurately matched the feel of the song. Such an experience can lead to enjoying the music on an entirely new level, which encourages music listening, as well as consuming art.
Think of an album like the first selling point. If you haven’t heard any of the music, but walk past an album that really catches your eye, you’re going to pick it up and give it a gander.
The same goes for a concert poster. If the poster is different, or bold, you’re going to stop and look to see what it’s all about.
A typical album cover is going to display the band in all their glory. However; it’s usually the albums that don’t follow this cliché that catches my eye. The bands that become creative and use prints, or disguised drawings is what’s going to make me pick up the album. Clever and sometimes ground breaking album covers such as Nirvana’s infamous Nevermind cover blazed trails with a different concept for the music industry – as well as causing a mass of drama over the naked boy in the pool, with church and modesty groups world wide.
Controversy is definitely a key in creating an album cover that’s going to cause people to look. It’s definitely applicable to say ‘any publicity is good publicity.’ And that album cover is what’s going to get you talked about.
Death of Music Artwork?
Unfortunately, these two forms of art run the risk of now becoming extinct, along with the usual fine art that we see in museums. Since the digital age well and truly took over a few years ago, all albums are downloadable, and most concerts you discover on the internet. Some bands now include the album art within their download bundle, which as a huge purveyor of album art, I truly appreciate.
Gig posters are slowly dying out however; the famous and more rare posters are popping up on Ebay at a rapid pace, going for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of the gig posters are true pieces of art, and can be found printed on bags, as well as books and tshirts.
The designs can vary, from being entirely relevant to the band, to the other end of the spectrum where there are no links whatsoever. It’s quite common to see block prints, or quirky cartoon characters drawn up in a certain way. Bright and contrasting colours definitely gain attention.
Some of the art that we see on gig posters now is so intricate and interesting that it’s too beautiful to chuck away with the rest of the rubbish after a gig. This is where the collection has started, an collection that hopefully picks up despite the lack of posters found since the invention of Myspace and Facebook.