Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell: Masters of Album Cover Artwork

The term ‘master’ isn’t one to be used lightly, but in describing album artwork creators Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, it seems rather fitting.

10cc Deceptive Bends

Source: Published in 2012 by Hypergallery

10cc Deceptive Bends

The pair, who founded photo-design studio Hipgnosis, created numerous iconic sleeve design for artists including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Peter Gabriel, forming beguiling, psychedelic images that have informed the work of countless designers since.

Scorpions Love Drive

Source: Published in 2014 by Hypergallery

Scorpions Love Drive

A one-day event in Birmingham next month will celebrate the work of Thorgerson and Powell, showcasing their famous images alongside nine previously unseen prints.

Strawbs Deadline

Source: Published in 2014 by Hypergallery

Strawbs DeadlinePublished in 2014 by Hypergallery

These include album covers for Scorpions, Strawbs and Wishbone Ash, created during the 1970s.

Aubrey Powell signing Wishbone Ash New England prints
Aubrey Powell signing Wishbone Ash New England prints

In the afternoon of the event, Powell will be giving an hour-long talk, unearthing stories about the process of designing the covers, and giving insights into the start of his career.

10cc How Dare You! - photo of print
10cc How Dare You! – photo of print

10cc fans are also in for a treat, with Powell said to be discussing how the band’s relationship with Hipgnosis first began.

10cc Bloody Tourists - photo of print
10cc Bloody Tourists – photo of print

Alongside showing the prints, the gallery will feature an immersive stream of images and music from Pink Floyd, projected around the walls.

Be Bop Deluxe Drastic Plastic

Source: Published in 2014 by Hypergallery

Be Bop Deluxe Drastic Plastic

Thorgerson and Powell were first approached by Pink Floyd to design a cover for them in 1967, creating 1968’s A Saucerful of Secrets cover, leading to more and more commissions, and resulting the formation of Hipgnosis.

Godley and Creme Freeze Frame

Source: Published in 2014 by Hypergallery

Godley and Creme Freeze Frame

The studio was in business for the next 15 years, and was named after some graffiti the pair found on the door to their then-home.

Montrose Jump On It

Source: Published in 2014 by Hypergallery

Montrose Jump On It

Thorgerson said he felt the name had ‘a sense of contradiction, of an impossible co-existence, from the word Hip meaning cool and Gnostic, related to ancient learning’.

Indeed, it was a fitting title for a studio working in revolutionary ways, taking strange, photography-based mages and manipulated them into surreal collages way before the birth of photo-editing software using methods including multiple exposures, airbrush retouching, and mechanical cut-and-paste techniques.

Styx, Pieces of Eight

Source: Published in 2014 by Hypergallery

Styx, Pieces of Eight

The final pieces have a cinematic quality, hinting at Thorgerson and Powell’s background as film graduates, and setting the tone for psychedelic, weird and wonderful artworks in the years that followed.

Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell: Masters of Album Cover Artwork takes place on 22 February at St Pauls Gallery, 94 Northwood St, Birmingham, West Midlands B3

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