Sunday, December 13, 2009


I'm just sayin'. I mean, I came across this picture of Rick James with these two women while doing a Google search on another topic for this blog. It's a picture I've never seen before and I'm assuming it's from one of his albums. I'm not sure of which one. All I can really say about this wild-out and outrageous set up is what I said in the above Title of this post.

Side note: It's interesting that the White woman's chest is covered as well as her rear-end. However, the Sistah's chest is on full naked display for all to check. I guess you can say that that White woman's behind is barely covered in her thong-like bottom piece. Never the less, she's covered. Now, I know Rick was an equal opportunity freakazoid and did not discriminate with the ladies. But it's just an interesting thing. Someone had to make the decisions for the art direction for the photography on this shoot. Nothing is arbitrary or by accident. Just an observation that I felt warranted a mention.


Art Vs. Commerce re-upped with another one of their The Classics album cover exhibit events in DC a few weeks back. We posted a heads-up on this event last month. Below are some shots of what went down and what was on display. It's good to see that people are still interested in the art and design history of the album cover-- an art-form and visual communications medium under persistent threat as go deeper into the 21st century's internet age.

You can see and learn more about the event here.

The Classics (SOUL Series) Interview: Graphic Designer Tom Nikosey

You can find a great lengthy article on the life and artwork of the the designer Tom Nikosey over at Art Vs. Commerce. It's in support of the organizations second The Classics album cover art celebration events thrown in Washington, DC. Earlier in the year the first event made its debut with the work being focused on consisting of classic rap covers. In support of that event AVs.C interviewed the renowned Drawing Board Graphic Design firm (Def Jam records' in-house creative services company) founder Cey Adams.

This time around the event is all about the "Soul" and AVs.C felt it appropriate to reach out to Nikosey and get his take on his work that contributed to the music visual communications of the 70's decade. If you've not heard of Tom Nikosey you should read on and then jump over to the AVs.C's web site for the complete two parter interview.

"...Ed hired me on “Sergio Mendes and Brasil 77”, Eric Clapton’s “No Reason to Cry,” Cheech and Chong’s “Sleeping Beauty,” “Three Dog Night,” “American Pastime,” the Bee Gee’s “Children of the World” and “Saturday Night Fever,” and what happened was, Ed would give me the photographs, we’d talk about the idea – Ed usually had the idea for the cover, and I would put it all together graphically.

I always had this flair for lettering as well and I had this vision of designing logos that were the main piece rather than a subordinate piece that went along with the photograph. I wanted to embellish a name and make it the central piece. Lo and behold I get a call from an Art Director at Motown, and this is early 1976, and he had seen something that I had done and he wanted to know if I would design a logo for this album by a band called the Commodores. He said they already had one or two albums at the time and he wanted to make sure that the logo stood the test of time.

He was an African – American Art Director named Carl Overr; a great Art Director and a great guy. He said, “I want you to create a logo for the Commodores under one condition – you make it black chrome.” “Black chrome?” I said, “I don’t even know what ‘black chrome’ is!” He said, “Make it somewhat reflective but I don’t want it real bright and shiny, I want it more subdued.” That’s what he told me. I said, “What’s the title of the album?” He said, “The working title is ‘Zoom.’” So he said, “Come back to me in three days with some sketches.” I was just so excited. I went back and did three designs, came back in three days, and he chose one that turned out to be the main logo of what you saw on the cover of “Zoom,” and it’s been used ever since. I did two other album covers for them from that logo: One was called “Heros,” and the other “Midnight Magic.” That logo launched my career to be honest with you.

Then the band…that was really great. I met the band when they were rehearsing over here in Hollywood. I walked in and Lionel (Ritchie) comes up to me and he said, “Who are you!?” And I said, “Tom Nikosey.” He says, “Well, what can I do for you?” I says, “Well, I was instructed to come over to meet with to you guys and talk about your new album cover.” And he said, “Well we want the guy who designed the other one.” And I said, “I am the guy.” And he said, “Well, we thought you were a Brother!” Those are his exact words!! I said, “Thank You!!” Then we started to laugh, and all the other guys in the band came over and he introduced me to them and from that point on it was sorta magic ‘cause they called me in to design “Midnight Magic” from the logo, ‘cause the original logo was called “Zoom” and it was floating in the sky and “Midnight Magic” it was the logo being projected over the Hollywood Hills as if it were a klieg light in the sky. So we were discussing the concepts for that album when they called me in.

All three of the covers I did for them were all by hand. I think the Commodores did at least ten albums with that logo. I think they still use it."

You can read more here.