Sunday, October 18, 2009


As you know by now, the new JAY-Z album is out: 'The Blueprint 3'. I go back a bit with the work of "Hov" being that I once worked in the creative department of Def Jam as a designer. There, we developed design work for his album projects starting with Jigga’s second album release, ‘In My Lifetime, Vol. 1’. So it’s been incredible, having been somewhat intinately involved with the design and marketing of JAY-Z, to see his evolution. In terms of his album design- it’s never been highly conceptual in terms of visual approach with his albums. But for for The Blueprint 3 they’ve gone in an unuals direction by utlizing the artwork and still life photography of artist & photographer Dan Tobin Smith.

Although I love Smith’s work, I actually find it an odd choice for the cover of JAY-Z’s album. It’s not a bad choice of cover or a wrong choice- just an odd choice (in my humble opinion). And I guess I feel that way based on the fact that I can’t draw a connection with the title, The Blueprint 3 with Smith’s cover depicting a white room filled with a pile of various all white musical instruments. The connecting through line between album title and cover concept is lost on me. But that said, simply as an image or installation peice, I love it. And I’d love even more to actually see the peice in an art gallery up close versus on a tiny CD cover square. I’m quite certain the images impact is lessoned to a great degree due to the ahrinking down of the art to accomodate the CD package. I’m sure that in a gallery smith’s work would be, and is, a very poweful experience when viewed up close and personal.

You can sweat the technique of Smith and his work at his web site:

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