The first ever album we designed – and it happened more out of a favour in a low budget situation, and my eagerness to give it a shot in the first place, and the generous trust of my dear friend Joe Locke to guide me through his own vision of the design for this duo project with another good friend, fellow vibes and marimba artist Christos Rafalides.
‘Van Gogh by Numbers” was self produced and distributed as a jewel case, 6-panel folder-out booklet, tray card and on-body CD label. I had great photography to work with, thanks to a recent photo shoot with both artists by Andrew Lepley. Yet we were immediately in agreement not to use a photo of Joe and Christos on the cover. This project was as much about the original music, the composition, the artistic collaboration and the unique arrangements of two deeply complimentary tuned percussion instruments, as it was about the quality and personality of the artists. Yet it was never meant as a mainstream vehicle. So to put the character of the music into the spotlight, we decided to go with an graphic representation of the musical tools.
The album was released in early 2005, supported with one sheet and press pack, also designed by myself. And I had caught a bug.
To mark our first professionally released album design and to underline its significance and modest nature of an intial (though thankfully successful) attempt, I signed this first piece of artwork as “Siula Grande Design” – the mountain in Peru, whose summit was first reached via the western face route by British climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates in the mid eighties before an unimaginably moving drama unfolded, as described in the book and film “Touching the Void”. A story of high significance to me at the time, and still today.
the 6-panel booklet foldout
the tray card