I’ve been working on these Words books [+] for awhile now. Each one is a collection of interviews with legendary artists. It started as one book but now it’s being compiled into volumes.
I spent many years discovering new music by actually digging through records, tapes and cds in stores, attics, basements and yardsales. I read my favorite artists’ point of view in print before twitter decimated a pretty robust culture of magazines. So this is a pretty special bit of work. Journalism in print! It’s high art, man.
This collaboration with Brian Kayser has segued into other book jacket design and illustration projects that I’m excited about. I’m working on a couple of children’s book ideas and currently designing a jacket for another different collection of interviews from an independent hiphop label out of London. I won’t say to much about those things yet but once they get printed, I’ll be posting details of them here.
I saw an image of the artwork from Kimio Eto’s “Koto Music” album and it really landed for me. Instant impact. I feel that art “on art’s terms” is largely overlooked due to the quiet value it offers amid competing bids for attention from an accelerating and unprecedented variety of commercial media. But sometimes a piece of art just connects and makes you stop and say “Oh.”
I saw this album and had to know what the music sounded like. I gave it a spin via YouTube [+] and began studying the cover with paper and ink.
My goal was not to copy the cover but see where I ended up by studying it’s character and line and energy. Receive it and express it and change it in the process.
I’m tempted to explain the associations that ran through my mind as I steered the image toward my own thoughts and interpretations but instead I’ll just leave it here.
These days, Ben Sayers is an emergency room doctor by profession. He made this great set of compositions with his turntables when he was in school circa 2001. Most of the narrative in the tracks revolved around science and chemistry but it segued to the mind, imagination and spirit — connecting an array of brilliant threads.
We were both big fans of Rob Swift and Prince Paul. You can hear that influence in most of the tracks. Humor woven into really imaginative soundscapes and rhythm.
I recently came across the Emily Dickinson poem “Hope.” It took me a minute to pinpoint how I knew the words. I remembered it from his project. So I asked him to let me upload the whole set to YouTube as a playlist.