Art on your sleeve

I’ve always felt a big connection with, and between art, design and music. My day job may well be pushing pixels around a screen, but while I do it there is inevitably music playing. One thing feeds the other.

As a teenager, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be a pop star or a graphic designer but opted for the latter, I never could sing and my keyboard skills are fairly limited. The connection between music and design was forged very early for me, when I developed a fascination with the design of record labels. My Mother still recounts tales of me as a four year old with my head under the lid of the record player, hypnotised by the colours of the spinning disc label as much as the music coming from the speakers.

This interest extended as I became a pocket money consumer of music. I was always interested in the design of record sleeves and was lucky to grow up in an era where this was of supreme importance with record companies like Factory, ZTT, Mute and Virgin. All of these invested heavily in design, making pseudo-celebrities of the designers as well as the artists. I discovered my ambition through these sleeve designs and could often tell who had designed what without needing to look at the credits.

Earlier this year I was asked by the brilliant Classic Pop Magazine to write an article about ‘Pop + Art’ which was published a couple of months ago and I have just finished my second piece which is due to be published in early August. Malcolm Garrett was the designer responsible for so much pop packaging and I really enjoyed putting the feature together all about his graphic design. If you ever bought records by Culture Club, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Buzzcocks, Thomas Dolby, Heaven 17 etc. you will know his work.

I’m enjoying this new career as a part time pop journalist, almost makes up for never making it as a pop star.

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