Gina Vivinetto’s Greatest Hits

Takashi and Kanye: a list of artist and musican collaborations

I just found out that famed Japanese visual artist Takashi Murakami has created animation for his first music video. Naturally it’s for a song (“Good Morning”) by Kanye West. Murakami has already designed album art for Kanye and the two are developing a clothing line together.

This isn’t the first time a visual artist and a musician have worked together.

Indie rock superstars Sonic Youth famously dedicated cover space on each of their album covers to a burgeoning artist, dating back to 1986’s Evol, which featured a still from a film by New York artist Richard Kern.

Later Sonic Youth albums featured recognizable work by Raymond Pettibon (Goo), Gerard Richter (Daydream Nation), Mike Kelly (Dirty) and Richard Prince (Sonic Nurse).

Other examples: Andy Warhol designed the cover for several albums including the Velvet Underground’s first album with Nico, the Rolling Stones’s Sticky Fingers and jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell’s Blue Lights.

Blur used work by British artist Banksy for its Think Tank album. Metallica used work by controversial artist Andres Serrano for cover art on Load and ReLoad. (Serrano is the man who earned infamy over a piece depicting a crucifix floating in urine called Piss Christ).

Fashion designer Gianni Versace created Elton John’s ornate cover for The One. Queen’s News of the World cover was painted by award-winning sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas.

Did you know famed photographer Helmut Newton shot the classic cover of The Scorpions’ Love at First Sting?

Newton also took the pic of Dale Bozzio that graces the cover of Missing Persons‘ Rhyme & Reason album. The band’s video for “Surrender Your Heart” used imagery by pop artist Peter Max. Max also designed album cover art for Alice Coltrane and Badfinger.

Robert Mapplethorpe took the iconic shot of Patti Smith for the cover of her debut album Horses.

How weird is this? Classic American painter Norman Rockwell was the artist behind the cover art for The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper.

Cartoonist Robert Crumb designed the album art for Big Brother and the Holding Company‘s Cheap Thrills.

Pin-up artist Alberto Vargas came out of semi-retirement to create the cover art for The Cars’ Candy-O album.

How’s this for cool? I actually own art by this artist: Kathie Olivas painted the cover for Girl In A Coma‘s Both Before I’m Gone.

Isn’t this fun? Help me think of more.

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2 thoughts on “Takashi and Kanye: a list of artist and musican collaborations

  1. Gina – I really enjoyed your article on this subject. As someone who admits to having bought LPs strictly for their cover art (and who ultimately went on to open a gallery dedicated to the subject of cover art and photography), I keep hoping that more musical artists will get more actively involved in the visuals that accompany the marketing of their music (rather than just letting the record company make these decisions for them). I’ve been interviewing album cover designers, illustrators and photographers about these collaborations for a couple of years now, and many of the stories are really fascinating. I hope that you’ll visit my “Cover Stories” blog (http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/) and take a look thru the archives – it’s amazing how some of these images ultimately were made and have now become icons of popular culture.
    Anyway, keep up the good work – Cheers – Mike G – RockPoP Gallery

  2. ceterisparibus on said:

    Yoshitomo Nara & Matthew Sweet

    Yoshitomo Nara & Shonen Knife

    Mark Ryden & Screaming Trees (and Scarling and Jack Off Jill and Red Hot Chili Peppers and Michael Jackson – yep – but it’s too late for me to search for links – maybe more tomorrow)

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