Cratedigger: The Lost Art of Album Cover Art

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Above, “Trunk” by Skye Amber Sweet

There’s music in the art, or art in the music. Anyway you look at it, Gabba Gallery’s Cratedigger: The Lost Art of Album Cover Art is a visual song. The wide-ranging group show features the work of 85 artists who have created 12 x 12 album art for both real and imagined records.

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Above, Vakseen works his vivid magic.

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Above, a taste of delicious smoked rum “Stolen” by Gabba’s great bartending crew.

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Above “Love is Strong,” a tribute to Otis Redding, and yes, love, by curator and artist Jason Ostro.

Featured artists include ÷-x+, 8333, Sarah Elise Abramson, Africa47, Alex Azripe, Bandit, Cody Bayne, Nick Bonamy, Clinton Bopp, CANTSTOPGOODBOY, Kate Carvellas, Brett Crawford, L. Croskey, Baha Danesh, Lisa Derrick, Keith Dugas, Dytch66, Carley Ealey, June Edmonds, Eerie Pop, Joey Feldman, Karin Lindberg Freda, Rene Gagnon, Terry James Graham, Peter Greco, Raphael Grischa, Gumshoe, Mary Hanson, Teale Hathaway, Himbad, Khalid Hussein, Jesse Jacobellis, Warren Jacobson, Paul Juno, Jay Kantor, Kate Kelton, Christopher Koneki, Kophnz, Jennifer Korsen, Kozyndan, Kub aka Julien Hirn, Andrea LaHue, Jonathan Lamb, Leba, Devin Liston,  Steven Lopez, Stone Malone, Colette Miller, Bobbi Moline-Kramer, Moncho1929, Morley, Jules Muck, Max Neutra, Ugo Nonis, Nvralone, Michael Ortiz, Jason Ostro, Nate Otto, Pastey Whyte, Antonio Pelayo, Phobik, Valerie Pobjoy, Dave Pressler, Christina Ramos, Sergio Robleto, Phil Santos, Otto Schade, Kristine Shomaker, Septerhed, Ariel Shallit, Jeffrey Sklan, Amy Smith, Bisco Smith, Spacegoth, Hannah Streety, Tatiana Suarez, Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman, Skye Amber Sweet, Teachr, Ten Hundred, thrashbird, Toshee, Self Uno, Vakseen, Em Wafer, Christine Webb, Woes, Jason Woodside, wrdsmth, Lauren YS

Take a spin around some of these artistic turntables for some incredible hi-fidelity art.

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Photography artist Jeffrey Sklan presented two images: the pink flower is titled “Pink at Rembert Studios,” the green image “The Lotus Eaters.” Each is a limited edition of 5 printed on aluminum.
Sklan notes “There was almost a perfect correlate of interest determined by gender. The green attracted men, the pink, women.”
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Peter Greco says he usually creates “Gothic calligraphy and gothic flourishing. I studied classically, but my work here is more abstract.” Of his pieces in the show, he remarks “‘Silver Winged Rabbit’ is the title of my brother’s garage band in high school.” His “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”

reflects “experimental, trippy music built around recorded material such as chanting or late night radio.”

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Phil Santos’ “Stray Katz” takes it’s logo from the actual Stray Cats album. “It’s a play on words, something funny and satirical I wanted to play with.”

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Ajax created two covers which “pay tribute to forgotten street artists of the 90s, using two punk rock album covers as their starting point. The works are done with water color and copy paper. Chaka and Phantom Street Art were both left out of the big street art show at MOCA, and I wanted to give them the recognition they did not have there.”

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Brett Crawford created covers on both panel and aluminum. His Jango Reinhart (far right) reflects the myth of the musical artist: he died in a fire and disappeared, in a classic story of good and evil. “In my painting the cat is his guardian angel, the serpent represents temptation or selling out.”  Crawford’s second cover (near right) is a shiny aluminum Blondie.

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Kristine Schomaker’s “Train: the White Album” is a work that plays with recycled elements from another exhibition about trains, she says. “It just came to me that the train element could become an album, and it’s a play on the Beatles’ White Album,” she says.

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June Edmonds’ two works were inspired by listening to the radio. The brightly colored “Giant” was taken from the words of Cornell West. “He said it was going to take giant steps and love supreme to get us out of the mess we’re in these days.” She was listening on July 17th, the date on which John Coltrane died. Her Coltrane tribute, far right, uses the colors black and blue – with blue representing a spark of life and hope.

 

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Kate Carvellas is a huge fan of David Bowie. “I was still feeling his passing when I heard about this theme show. Ordinarily theme shows intimidate me, because I usually work so unconsciously, but this was different. It hit me to do something about Bowie because his music resonated with me so much.”

 

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Skye Amber Sweet has three pieces in the exhibition. “‘Trunk One and Two’ have to do with water, and trees, drought.”

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“My Bernie Sanders piece, ‘Berning Sanders,’ is a reaction to how really terrible I felt about what was happening politically. I made it before all the Hillary and the Democratic party news came out, but my idea was that she was trying to cool Sanders off, that’s what the ice cream cones I used are representative of.”

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Can’t Stop Good Boy created an album cover for System of a Down. “I’m the only artist that didn’t listen to the 12 x 12 requirements for the show,” he laughs.
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Dytch66 says “‘Chosen by Shiva’ and ‘Back in 1985’ each represent musical eras.  “Heavy metal, speed metal, that’s what ‘Chosen’ depicts. ‘Back in 1985 embraces the 80s boom box era, breakdancers, graffiti,” he says.  “That piece is ink on metal. My style constantly changes – because I work as an illustrator, I can go with any different style.”

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The Cratedigger celebration of record sleeve art plays on through September 10th. Crank up the volume and enjoy.

Gabba Gallery is located at 3126 Beverly Blvd., and is open Wed-Saturday noon to 3 p.m. and by appointment.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke (Jeffrey Sklan works provided by the artist)