iron_wine_v21.jpg

When it comes to being creative, most of us settle for a signature talent – say, drawing or juggling or composing dirty limericks. But Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) is one of those vexing all-rounders.

Not only did he record The Shephard’s Dog, which has introduced his music to a wider audience and received much acclaim, he’s also responsible for the striking cover art.

“I went to art school, wanting to be a painter,” he says, “and then I got into photography. Then it was movies, and I liked the images. One of the things that interested me in film was that I was communicating in images. That was something I did intuitively and could not even talk about until I started having to do interviews.”

He was content teaching college filmmaking when Sub Pop decided that his music should become much more than a hobby. Beam would go on to successfully escaped the “freak-folk” ghetto as his music matured and became at once more adventurous and accessible. This is the kind of album you can’t put on without someone asking who’s playing.

I really like the dog on the cover. There’s something about the pose that seems to perfectly capture the movement and gestures of a canine. We all love cool album covers but unless we live in a dorm, most of us don’t want them on our wall. But take the (solid) typography off this picture and I’d hang it in a second.

Here’s another painting from the same series:

music_feature1-2.jpg

This is “The Shepherd” that owns the dog. They both have those same creepy yellow round-eyes, probably because most people end up resembling their pets.

And while we’re on the subject, what is it about folk singers painting their own album covers anyway? As a singer, Bob Dylan makes a very good songwriter. As a painter, he makes a very good singer. Here’s the cover from his 10th (and some say worst) studio album, Self Portrait:

self_portrait.jpg

Hmmmmmm. Much handier with a paintbrush is serial offender Joni Mitchell:

joni-mitchell-clouds-front.jpg

joni_mitchell_selfportrait.jpg

Alright, art appreciation is over for the day. Time for group discussion – can anyone think of some other examples of musicians painting their own album covers?

Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog

iron_wine_v21.jpg

When it comes to being creative, most of us settle for a signature talent – say, drawing or juggling or composing dirty limericks. But Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) is one of those vexing all-rounders.

Not only did he record The Shephard’s Dog, which has introduced his music to a wider audience and received much acclaim, he’s also responsible for the striking cover art.

“I went to art school, wanting to be a painter,” he says, “and then I got into photography. Then it was movies, and I liked the images. One of the things that interested me in film was that I was communicating in images. That was something I did intuitively and could not even talk about until I started having to do interviews.”

He was content teaching college filmmaking when Sub Pop decided that his music should become much more than a hobby. Beam would go on to successfully escaped the “freak-folk” ghetto as his music matured and became at once more adventurous and accessible. This is the kind of album you can’t put on without someone asking who’s playing.

I really like the dog on the cover. There’s something about the pose that seems to perfectly capture the movement and gestures of a canine. We all love cool album covers but unless we live in a dorm, most of us don’t want them on our wall. But take the (solid) typography off this picture and I’d hang it in a second.

Here’s another painting from the same series:

music_feature1-2.jpg

This is “The Shepherd” that owns the dog. They both have those same creepy yellow round-eyes, probably because most people end up resembling their pets.

And while we’re on the subject, what is it about folk singers painting their own album covers anyway? As a singer, Bob Dylan makes a very good songwriter. As a painter, he makes a very good singer. Here’s the cover from his 10th (and some say worst) studio album, Self Portrait:

self_portrait.jpg

Hmmmmmm. Much handier with a paintbrush is serial offender Joni Mitchell:

joni-mitchell-clouds-front.jpg

joni_mitchell_selfportrait.jpg

Alright, art appreciation is over for the day. Time for group discussion – can anyone think of some other examples of musicians painting their own album covers?





12 Comments

  1. The first that springs to mind is Ryan Adams' 2005 '29' – a pretty dark painting for an album exorcising the demons of Adams' 20s.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/da/2

  2. Didn't Graham Coxon paint the cover for Blur's 13? And in fact, most if not all of his solo album covers too…

  3. David Byrne painted the cover of the Talking Heads' “Speaking In Tongues”.

    I seem to remember Don van Vliet himself painted the cover of some Captain Beefheart albums?

    Robyn Hitchcock has drawn the covers of many of his albums (though not in paint.)

  4. Roy Wood (Boulders, Mustard, others), Ronnie Wood (Gimme Some Neck) and Cat Stevens (on more than one of his 70's releases) come to mind…

  5. Guitarist John Squire painted all the Stone Roses disc covers and now he's retired from music and focuses on his art career.

    I also illustrated the disc cover for “More Needful Things”, from my band, World Racketeering Squad:
    http://weracketeer.bandcamp.com/

  6. I seem to recalling hearing that Richard James is responsible for the self-portraits on “I Care Because You Do” and “Richard D. James Album”, but who the hell knows with that guy.

  7. Marilyn Manson “Lest We forget”. Watercolor.

  8. Marilyn Manson “Lest We forget”. Watercolor.

  9. Sub Pop Records have gone a long way from this painted cover to sleeve for the latest release of Dum Dum Girls – http://coveryrshame.blogspot.com/2010/03/dum-du

  10. Conrad Keely of …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead has done most of the band's album art – would definitely make a sweet article

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  12. Bedouin Soundclash – jay

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