Some Painters Are Cool

I am a designer, and not a painter. Or an illustrator for that matter. Well, I’m not trained as an illustrator, however, in this contemporary world of ours, I feel that designers are often called upon to fulfill the role of illustrator/painter, and vice versa as well. Many of the best posters I have seen have a combination of illustration with good use of type, or photo with type, or a combination of all three—concert posters, as well as posters for art exhibitions, galleries, and other artistic means fall heavily into this category. Likewise, many of the best design pieces I have seen at school use a combination of good concept, good layout/type/design, and good hand-done illustration. Often, painters create some of the most beautiful “graphic designs.”

Recently, a friend of mine came to me asking me to design an album cover for a record his band wants to put out in the summer. He came to me knowing that I was studying graphic design, although, much of the work that goes into an album cover falls into the category of illustration/painting or even photography. I said yes, however, I am not a painter. I am designer, with some knowledge of the basics of painting merely due to the fact that I attend an art school and am required to take classes outside of design. Working on this project sort of made me wish I had taken more drawing/painting classes in school. Maybe they should be requirements of design students also.

In any case, the album cover project had me looking at album covers and at cover-designing artists—these guys bridge that gap between artist and designer. Three artists who have done beautiful album work—as well as other paintings and prints—are John Dyer Baizley, Jacob Bannon, and Aaron Nagel. All three have their own bands (Baroness, Converge, and DESA, respectively) and design for themselves, as well as other bands. They all play music, paint, and design more than just album covers. Baizley and Bannon are both art school alumni, Baizley majoring in painting at RISD and Bannon in Design at the Art Institute of Boston. Nagel is self taught. All three make a career out of music, but still show work regularly in gallery shows.

A few images of the artists’ work:

By John Dyer Baizley—

{Baroness Red Album cover; 2-tone silkscreen print}

{Untitled; silkscreen run}

{Baroness Blue Record cover}

By Jacob Bannon—

{Converge Axe To Fall cover; silkscreen, spray paint, oil}

{Winter’s Hearts; silkscreen print}

{Poseidon; oil on canvas}

By Aaron Nagel—

{Blue Blood Bleed Red; oil on canvas}

{Pedictable (cover to The Resignation by the RxBandits) ; oil on plywood}

{Look Left (cover to …And The Battle Begun by the RxBandits); oil on plywood}

Well, that about covers it. Check back tomorrow for some more updates here. I have to post a few assignments for class, but also stay tuned for updates on my thesis as well as updates on the album cover I’m working on.



  1. Wow, very cool.. Nice post..

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