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Paint it Black: Musical and visual creatives

Creative types are often multi skilled across many disciplines, and this is no exception when it comes to those of a musical persuasion.

I have always admired musicians who utilise other artistic talents to complement their image in the public domain.

There are many interesting examples of album artwork designed by the recording artists themselves, which visually conveys their music in a way that no commissioned artist can. Nobody understands and can visually interpret the music as well as its creator.

Album artwork creates a visual identity for a band/musician in itself, this is particular significant in The Stone Roses debut album artwork created by guitarist John Squire. The Jackson Pollock-esque technique has become a visual synonymous with the band. As well as a visual message, there is political meaning – the painting that graces the album cover makes reference to the Paris riots of the 1960s, shaping the political stance of the band.


I have included other interesting examples of album artwork created by the recording artists below. Maybe next time you give these albums a spin, consider the expression of album art combined with musical content that creates a more rounded persona of the artist you are listening to.

(With reference to the title of this post: Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones has become an established painter, his artwork becoming quite the collector’s piece).


The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Album art by lead singer Wayne Coyne.


Underworld – Dubnobasswithmyheadman. Album artwork by Tomato, the art design collective that includes Underworld’s Rick Smith and Karl Hyde.


The Who – The Who by numbers. Album artwork illustrated by John Entwistle, bassist.


Graham Coxon – The Golden D. The album cover is a portion of Coxon’s painting “The Blue Dog”.


Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) – Tea for the Tillerman.