It is a matter of some regret to me that I never got to do an LP cover; even though I began my illustration career in the late 70s, I was not established enough, or didn’t have the right connections, to get a record gig before the LP format died in the mid-80s, so I never had a chance to strut my stuff on that 12-inch canvas. Fortunately, I have at least gotten a chance to fill the 12-centimeter cover of the CD a couple of times, thanks to my sister Anny Celsi, who is an independent musician based in L.A. Her latest CD, Tangle-Free World, came out last fall.
(By the way, that business about our spelling our names differently is a long story that I don’t have time to get into right now.)
Each job for Anny has taken me somewhat out of my stylistic comfort zone. For Little Black Dress, which came out in 2004, she wanted the look of a pulp paperback cover of the 1950s. For this recording she at first told me she wanted it to look like a Nancy Drew cover, but eventually she asked for something reminiscent of L.A. portrait painter David Anderle, but crossed with the look I used for the trading card series Blockbusters of Rhythm and Blues. This entailed a lot of back and forth, as this series of color sketches shows:
Anyway, eventually we settled on an image we were both comfortable with, and I’m proud to be associated with the recording, which I think is Anny’s best yet. I can but feebly describe her sound, but it inhabits a sonic house down the street from Nancy Sinatra’s pad and around the corner from the place where Dusty stays when she’s in Memphis. You can listen to samples here
I had meant to blog about the CD in time for readers of this blog to buy it for Christmas, but hey, it makes the perfect soundtrack to stick in your car as you’re driving down to Tijuana or Florida for spring break.
I’m not sure if there’ll be any work for illustrators once the CD itself bites the dust, but I’ll be happy to design the icon for whatever format replaces the mp3.