Released this month is the new album from musical artist John Smith for which I did the album artwork.
His manager Bernadette Barratt contacted me to find a day for some portraits for press with the suggestion I sit down and discuss some ideas with John for the album cover.
It was brilliant to be given very little in the way of a brief, but to just suggest the kinds of things I like and what was inspired by just listening the album. The impression I took away were of a journey, often solitary with references to England and its geography. Selfishly it reminded me of a series of images I did with a dishevilled tramp like figure roaming through forests and caravan parks (The Alan Project). John liked these but was keen to try and keep some humour in the image and to try and hint at the references to water.
Lakes are in the title of the album but it was my memory of learning about ox bow lakes in geography that suggested something stranger and google maps came in useful in locating them in Sussex. After a recce to the river Cuckmere in Sussex and with an idea of having John in the landscape I remembered reading about a project with a Swan pedalo being pedalled around the English waterways by the writer Iain Sinclair. I felt this had the right nod to an English sense of the ridiculous and then had to sell that to John without the whole thing descending into farce..somehow it still had to have a beauty and sublime feel to match Johns music.
Anyway..the day did descend into farce but i love the images we produced..luckily they don’t capture the comedy of trying to pedal this vessel against the tide and then trying to pull it across a swampy field without offending the wildlife and then amusing ramblers who congregated and took videos of us from the banks.
Special thanks to Rory Mulvey assistant and a huge support creatively, his work can be seen at www.rorymulvey.com
and to Sara Laak who just came for the experience but gave us some of these great behind the scenes images..and a big thanks to John, who trusted me and umped in wholeheartedly.
Johns Music is available to download on iTunes . and this little video features a clip from his single “Salty and Sweet”