Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hip-Hip-Hipgnosis!


Last night I was at the Albert Studio Gallery in Battersea for the launch of an exhibition by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey 'Po' Powell - better known to us kids of the 60s and 70s as design company Hipgnosis.

In 1968, Thorgerson and Powell were photography students looking for a direction. The arrival of exciting and innovative LP covers such as The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper and the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers made them realise that there was potential to develop the 12" by 12" LP cover into an art form. The fact that they shared a flat at the time with maverick Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett led to them creating their first few covers ... and an almost lifelong association with the band.

Apart from designing almost all of Pink Floyd's covers - including the iconic Dark Side of the Moon and Animals - they also did covers for Marc Bolan, Yes, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney and Wings, 10CC, UFO, Styx, Black Sabbath and many more. Between them and Roger Dean, they probably defined the look of LP cover art for a decade.

The exhibition runs until 18th January and signed giclee prints are on sale at the gallery. In addition, the lads have produced a book (see here) called For the Love of Vinyl that catalogues their 40-odd years in the business with behind the scenes notes and essays by people like Nick Mason of Floyd. I'm loving my copy.

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