In the last month we have finished three commissions whilst travelling Thailand.
Two are portraits and the third is album artwork. We are both big music fans; between us we have an eclectic collection of music and we have long held the company of musicians. Joe has produced some artwork for bands before and really enjoys conceptualising the musician’s ideas into visual imagery.
George asked us to produce three images for his new album, Alex-24. This concept album is about a female android coming to terms with the gifts and burdens of her own sentience, so Alice and I have had an enriching experience researching androids, mechanical body parts and old Chevrolet cars.
The middle section of the album artwork came together first. George had a fuzzy idea of intermingled wires and robotic parts, along with a depiction of Alex-24‘s development of love and the new found connection with her girlfriend. Alice had a composition in mind of two female figures arching away from each other, almost like two ballerinas. We then discussed how we could depict the intimacy of love between these two robots and decided on a symbiotic connection using tubes and wires.
We had no real idea for the back cover so we concentrated on the front, hoping it would lead to some inspiration. George had some specifics, for example, Alex-24 loves old things, has a hummingbird tattoo and likes to drive her vintage Chevrolet up to a plateau to observe the city through her mechanical eye. This idea made Joe think of some cut scene from Bladerunner, just without Harrison Ford in a trench coat. The front cover developed over three or four initial sketches, from loose composites to tight final drawings.
About midway through the progression of the front cover we had a light bulb moment regarding the back. For centuries, the human heart has been considered the most symbolic organ of the human body, both physically and emotionally. We feel love and sadness in our hearts as strongly as we do in our minds, and so using an anatomical heart as the main image seemed like a good starting point. Once this was sketched out, the idea of incorporating the hummingbird and mechanical eye motifs came quickly as we had researched and sketched them previously. And, as luck would have it, Alice had drawn a human heart a few weeks back, so her hands and fingers were primed and ready to go!
We have kept all the images black and white for two reasons. Firstly, as we are travelling and are currently living out of our backpacks we don’t really have the materials to produce much artwork in colour. We have four bottles of ink (black, sepia, red and white) and some cheap watercolours. Secondly, we felt that the images contained enough detail to remain monochromatic; let the detail and the semiotics speak for themselves, which we think has worked out well.
We raised the issue of colour with George early on, even suggesting that we could Photoshop colour in if he wanted any, but he agreed with us on the monochrome and we were happy to oblige.
We’re very happy with this project, especially as it is the first one on which we’ve had to agree aesthetically and conceptually. The images are clean and iconic and we are both very excited to receive our artwork in CD and vinyl form!
Here are links to George’s website and Soundcloud: