Design Inspiration: Brian Blomerth

Checking in here with another round of Design Inspiration, and this time its from a longtime favorite. Brian Blomerth has popped up in a lot of familiar corners with his idiosyncratic psychedelic style, rooted in his “Adult Contemporary Dog-Face” characters with a proclivity for lush color surroundings. His work has dotted tour posters, comics, and album covers alike, working early on with artists like Videohippos before gracing Anthology compilations and Ryley Walker LPs. Last year he penned an ambitious graphic novel that depicts a historical account of the events of April 19, 1943, when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann ingested an experimental dose of a new compound known as lysergic acid diethylamide. He’s also, incidentally, the designer of the North Americans’ cover from the review earlier this morning. While his style is a feast for the eyes, its inherent psychedelism makes its perfect for the album cover and I’d asked him to pick five favorite covers of all time for the Design Inspiration column. Check out Brian’s picks below and if you get a chance to pick up any of his work outside of his albums and books I’d highly recommend it. Keep an eye on Pups In Trouble to snag limited run shirts in lush tye-die that are nothing less than amazing.

Akiko Yano: Rose Garden, 1981
This record cover is completely baffling and I think about it all the time. A lot of strange details. The people are all drawn at different perspectives and different sizes. There’s patterns that are bold and strong and feel somewhere between arbitrary and precisely Zen. It’s loose. It’s free. It does what it wants. I love this cover. I try to rip it off all the time. Little details are called the ‘chicken fat’ in Illustration and it can turn any old stew into a soup. Delicious. 


Rudolf Cechura: Maxipes Fik Jde Do Sveta, 1985
So I have no idea what the music sounds like on this. Never heard it but i love this record cover. Font is some real sick wild brush work.  Jiří Šalamoun is such an incredible illustrator. Real loose — a lot of weird techniques, brushworks and line qualities.  Back cover with the guy and the dog is also extremely up my alley. So is little boat on the back. Theres a broad tradition of Soviet Bloc illustrators and animators taking the Disney model and running with it in really personal and unique ways. Nu Pagodi, Robert Sahakyants, Fyodor Khitruk, Polish Film Posters?yep if you are stuck as an Illustrator can?t go wrong viewing some Soyuzmultfilm.

Dan Hartman: Instant Replay, 1978
This one is by the great Seymour Chwast. The true Pancake King. As the most free-wheeling handspun member of the great Push Pin Graphics team. His work is immediately recognizable and impossible to pin down. Art Deco is his secret sauce but he dribbles it in ways that boggle the mind. Check out his covers for Barefoot Jerry.

Miles Davis: On the Corner, 1972
I love this cover and love that the Illustrator, Corky McCoy and Miles Davis were friends. On and Off. So simple. Front and Back match. Bold clear linework flat colors. Perfectly even ink-work.  The Clear Line. Look up Corky McCoy on Wikipedia to see Miles’ take on the whole thing. I can’t quote it. 

Bruton Music Library: Tomorow’s World, 1982
The Bruton Music Library Illustrations all feel like an old car manual. They made about a hundred of covers for this library music playing off this grid. I am always trying to draw mechanical objects clean and precise. My mom was an engineer and I use a lot of her old templates for things like cars, trains and automobiles. Anything man-made in my illustrations gets the rulers.  These covers all kind of have the feeling where it’s the perfect, simple representation of line work of an object.  It’s the perfect plane or what have you?and thats mirrored in the music. It’s the perfect soundtrack to Tommorow’s World  Bonus points, there’s a documentary on youtube on Epcot that is all soundtracked by this album, and it is perfection.


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