April 23, 2014
Here was a perfect reason to work for free.
I was invited to participate in the epic Secret 7″ project this year. The organization solicits wordless art to pair with 7″ sleeves which are then auctioned off as mystery singles on Record Store Day with all of the proceeds going toward a charity chosen annually. The charity benefitting from the sales of this year’s auction will be going to War Child Syria—which is fantastic for existing and also abominable that it still needs to.
The only ground rules the contributors were issued going in was to choose one song from seven possible titles and produce an image that could allude to the track on the vinyl in question without giving it away. No band names or track titles were permitted on the sleeves. Every 7″ was auctioned off anonymously and bid upon solely by the merits of the art on the sleeve. The recipients had no idea what music they bought until they opened the package.
I was given the option of choosing between seven different songs to design for and I opted to take a crack at Roxy Music’s Virginia Plain—which, in addition to being a perfect piece of music, can also stand alongside the best of the absurdist pop greats with lyrics that manage to be inscrutable without sounding off-putting or phoned in. In that spirit, for the imagery I wantonly and aggressively ripped off the stylings of Tadanori Yokoo and Keiichi Tanaami. From an art-making perspective, it was one of the most selfish exercises I’d tried out in years and I’m only mildly ashamed to say that I loved the process of trying to wrangle my way into another artist’s skin. Such catharsis.
Here is a complete list of this year’s contributors and their monster gallery of everything they commissioned this year. It’s worth digging through if you have the time as there’s some legitimate invention on display (which is more than I can say for my thievery).