The Vinyl-Waller pays tribute to Storm Thorgerson

To start this blog by paying tribute to Storm Thorgerson, appeared to us as obvious. It is a major figure of cover-art. He has created an impressive number of vinyl covers, many of which are part of the great icons of the 20th century.

A bit of history on Storm Thorgerson

His career began alongside the Pink Floyd when Storm Thorgerson signed the vinyl cover "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968). From there, the creations of Hypgnosis, the studio of Storm Thorgeson become a must for the big ones of the rock like Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Nice, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath or for stars appeared more recently like The Cranberries or Anthrax , Audioslave, Biffy Clyro and Muse.

While studying film and television at the Royal College of Art, Thorgerson shared a roommate with his friend Audrey Powell, a BBC scenographer. The apartment quickly becomes a meeting place for many artists, including Pink Floyd. Thorgerson, for his part, creates book covers by experimenting with infra-red photography. It is on this basis that the group entrusts the design of the cover of their second vinyl. A cosmic and swirling image is born, close to science fiction, in phase with the album and the time of the space conquest.

Then everything goes very fast. From roommate to the creation of Hipgnosis Studio, the client list is growing to include Genesis and Peter Gabriel, Yes, the Alan Parsons Project, 10cc, Bad Company and Paul McCartney&Wings ..., all benefited from the visual mystique of Hipgnosis.

The artistic approach of Storm Thorgerson

He uses photographs, reworked with different techniques, especially airbrush and overexposure to create surreal distortions and disturbing juxtapositions.

Influenced in particular by Man Ray and Magritte, but also by Picasso, Kandinski, Juan Gris and Ansel Adams, he saw himself as a smuggler between music and the visual arts.

"I listen to music, read lyrics, talk to musicians as much as I can. I see myself as a kind of translator, translating an audio event - music - into a visual event - the vinyl cover. I like to explore ambiguity and contradiction, I like to disconcert, gently. I use real elements in an unreal way. "

Coming from an era where artistic experimentation often rhymes with narcotics, he builds visual universes close to dreamlike visions. The real is there, but metamorphosed. The objects multiply to infinity, the bodies and the clothes are covered with objects, the situations become decorations from which one escapes by as many open windows, the reflections are deformed and the portraits put in abyss ...

He did a documentary on The Art of Tripping in 1993 about the effects of drugs on creativity (with a David Gilmour band).

Working with Pink Floyd has always inspired Thorgerson. Stars of this collaboration: the prism ofThe Dark Side of the Moonin 1973, reference to the experiments of decomposition of the light carried out by Newton, Ummagumma in 1969 and its unsettling mise en abyme of the portrait of the group, the meeting of the man on fire of Wish You Were Here of 1975. It takes real taken he then reworked. This is the case of Animals, a pocket where an inflatable pig really flew over the Battersea power station, or "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" (1987), pocket for which Thorgerson managed to consolidate 700 hospital beds aligned to infinity on a beach ...

The graphic arts studio StormStudios after the disappearance of the artist

Storm Thorgerson, British photographer, filmmaker and graphic designer, born February 28, 1944, died April 18, 2013, with cancer.

The graphic arts studio «StormStudios"He founded with designer Peter Curzon, joined by Rupert Truman (photographer) and Dan Abbott (designer) continues to produce among others record sleeves.

Some books to dig the subject

He and Powell presented the highlights of their work inFor The Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis(2008). Thorgerson has also written several books on the design of album covers:The Art of Hipgnosis: René Walk Away,Mind Over Matter,Eye of the StormandTaken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson(limited edition).