I was honoured to be involved in this year's Secret 7" exhibition alongside some powerful and magical artists creating one-off record sleeves for an impressive list of musical musicians.
Completely torn and faced with the common dilemma of 'Elton or Nas', Secret 7" head honcho, Kevin King kindly krept in and said I could have a go at producing sleeves for both Nasir's brilliant Don't-Call-It-A-Comeback single, 'The Don' AND The Rocketman's Classic-Made-More-Classic-By-Biz-Markie hit, 'Benny And The Jets'.
I've had a few emails recently from awesome people who think my artwork is worth looking at, asking about my artistic process and pens and what-not.. so I took a few snaps while I was messing these blank 7" sleeves up..
For 'The Don' cover I looked at a few ancient Egyptian references and sketched out the initial image on tracing paper with a 'Mars Technico' pencil (which I lost shortly after.)
Then I transferred the image to the blank sleeve..
..and inked it up with a 'Rotring Rapidograph 30'..
Next I coloured in the character with a gold Edding paint pen..
And finished it off with a red Posca Pen background..
I added the record's details to the back..
Here's the sleeve up in the show..
For the 'Benny And The Jets' sleeve I was looking through old school astronaut/pilot imagery for reference. The process was the same as I really wanted the two pieces to compliment each other in the show as well as stand alone and represent their specific tracks.. not too much though as I do love the secretive nature of the project, so I didn't want the images to represent the artists too directly. The gold n' red was replaced with silver n' baby blue for Elton..
For the opening night of the Secret 7' show, Downstairs at Mother London, I was invited to join the Peep Show Collective and Pete Fowler to spin 7" records and produce another 7" sleeve live on camera. I drew an All-Seeing-Pizza-Slice for HAIM's 'Better Off' record, Disc Jockeyed a nice set o'sevens and then left my box of records on the tube the following day.. (I lose things.)
The show was a great success and almost all of the sleeves were sold when the venue opened its doors on Record Store Day on Saturday. All three of my sleeves were sold and I was chuffed to receive a message from 'Eel Art' in Brighton who bought both my Nas and Elton pieces, so they're reunited in a lovely seaside home! I'm not sure what became of the pizza slice yet, but it isn't up on the eBay page where you can bid on the few remaining sleeves so someone definitely snapped it up. Here's a link to that last chance to support the great cause that is 'Art Against Knives' and to get your hands on one of this year's Secret 7" records..
The breaking news concerning the mystical totem featured on 'The Don' sleeve is that shortly after its 7" appearance, a Golden Snake Portal emerged from the effigy's head region and a limited number of the resulting prints are now available from APG Works' ONLINE SHOP as part of the Spring potforlio they have 'Unleashed', which also features exclusive prints by EMA, Jo Peel, Kid Acne, Jon Cannon, and Lawrence Harborne. Details HERE .. The prints are available online now, but we're having a few beers down at APG Gallery, Sheffield this Thursday (25th April) evening to launch them and everyone's welcome to join us.
I should stress that the 'Golden Snake Portal' is a visual progression from the image I developed for the Secret 7" show, but these new prints of mine aren't connected to those good people. Head to the eBay page I mentioned before to support their cause.