The LP cover was the perfect medium for a visual artist. A 12" x 12" square one could fill with anything. It had a good run. Some of the images are so ingrained, I carry them upstairs all the time, though haven't owned an LP or record player for years. Sticky Fingers by Warhol. Talking Heads by Rauschenberg. The Richard Pettibon covers for Black Flag and the Minutemen. "What makes a man start fires" indeed.
Susan Archie is one artist who has been able to bring both classic and innovative esthetics to the music package. Despite dropping sales and the invisible format of the download, she has designed some of the most beautiful artistic objects you can imagine, and they often come in a 5" x 5" size! I once thought the CD was too small for art..I was wrong. I'll be wrong about the 2" x 2" screen of a handheld one day too.
Here are examples of Susan's work from the last few years. They are usually thick and juicy as well, a richness I can not show with a scanner... she specializes in packages, not just covers, and the damn feel of her product (a word I hesitate to use as they are so beautiful) makes everything she does just about the least expensive piece of serious art one can buy. It is difficult to be both pure and lush, her work manages to be both. She will jam in content and information, but still present a minimal beauty that is capable of creating awe. I have not asked Susan or the labels who have hired her for permission to use these images, nor do I have the time to list all their details. I am sure she would choose others, since she also manages to be prolific, thankfully...but if there is a way to search her name you can purchase ANYTHING and I do not exaggerate. I grabbed a few here, ignore the wear. They are among the most played discs in the house.
Is the CD gone? Actually this is the glory days. I'll let you all in on a little secret too...for collectors, the most rare and valuable items are always produced in the last days of a format change. As many of the small presses and labels Ms. Archie chooses to work with press in small quantities, there won't be enough to go around in the future...and believe me, she will have a museum show one day. These images from my rack don't even BEGIN to show what she has done and what she is capable of. The music too is above reproach, she has taste AND taste!
Susan's WEBSITE is here, She should crow louder than she does. I am linking as well to her testimonial page here so you can see some of her achievements. I don't know where there is a complete discography of her work, but the one HERE will give you an indication (and buying list) Her work is consistently beautiful and that she chooses to work in a small format is no indication of her giant talent, plus when I think of her I always smile.