The Gathering Storm – The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson
|The Gathering StormThe Album Art of
(Hipgnosis + StormStudios)
23 Oct – 01 Dec 2013
Exhibition at The Proud Archivist
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, Design Hipgnosis, 1973
© Pink Floyd Music Ltd / Pink Floyd (1987) Ltd
What do Pink Floyd, Biffy Clyro, AC-DC, Muse, Olivia Newton John, Led Zeppelin, The Mars Volta, The Cranberries and Black Sabbath have in common? All have had album covers designed by Storm Thorgerson.
With a career spanning five decades Storm Thorgerson revolutionised album cover art. He believed that nothing should be faked and would often stage preposterous feats to realise an idea – from 500 beds placed on a beach, to naked children clambering over the Giant’s Causeway. In celebration of Storm’s extraordinary career in design and following his untimely death earlier this year, StormStudios and brand new gallery and event space The Proud Archivist have brought together a retrospective of his work in the venue’s launch exhibition The Gathering Storm – The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson, 23 October to 01 December.
The exhibition will feature a plethora of images from the beginnings of Storm’s career as co-founder of Hipgnosis to his more recent work with StormStudios, from those created for well-known bands like Pink Floyd (including the famous prism design for ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’), Led Zeppelin, Biffy Clyro and Muse through to obscure and rarely seen gems. All these images are usually only seen in LP or CD format, and sometimes printed in less than desirable quality, but The Gathering Storm will provide a chance to see them as large high quality silkscreen/ giclee prints, pulsing with detail and colour. The exhibition will also offer unique behind-the-scenes insights with previously unseen sketchbooks, photographs and anecdotes from the shoots, revealing the process and extraordinary effort that went into making the final images.
In the years since Storm's first cover in 1968, countless bands formed and split up, LPs were replaced by CDs and then MP3s, and trends in music graphics continued to evolve wildly. Storm managed to somehow sidestep many of these fickle fluctuations and continued to pursue his very singular vision of what an album cover should or could be. Heavy on symbolism and daringly odd, his designs reflect dreams, fears, obsessions, and are usually tinged with his idiosyncratically sly sense of humour. Many of the images have remained at large in the collective consciousness long after memories of the music they were designed to accompany have faded.
The exhibition takes its name from the new book that Storm completed a short while before his death this spring. The book itself is a weighty full-colour anthology of Storm's 'greatest hits', all personally chosen and annotated by Storm himself. The opening of the exhibition will coincide with the publication of the book and copies will be available for sale throughout.
The Gathering Storm will be published by de Milo Art in hardback, collector’s edition and deluxe edition, and is available to order from: http://thegatheringstorm.firebrandstore.com/.
A programme of supporting talks and book signing event will be announced to follow.
No unauthorised use of images.
Images must be captioned/credited as per this release.
Exhibition: The Gathering Storm – The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson (Hipgnosis + StormStudios)
Dates: 23rd Oct – 01 Dec
Venue: The Proud Archivist, 2-10 Hertford Road, London N1 5ET
Nearest Tube: Haggerston
Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013)
Storm Thorgerson was born in 1944 in Mutton Lane, Potters Bar, Middlesex. Later the family moved to Grays, Essex then to Whitley Bay, and finally Cambridge in 1953. He was schooled at A.S. Neil’s Summerhill Free School then the local primary, before going to Cambridge Grammar School for boys, where both Roger Waters and Syd Barrett also attended. Storm went to Leicester University (63-65) and graduated with a 2:1 in English and philosophy after which he did an MA in Film and Television at Royal College of Art (66-69) in London.
Storm formed Hipgnosis with his friend Aubrey Powell in 1968, a graphic studio specialising in designs for contemporary rock music, particularly album covers. They set up business in a grotty but colourful studio in historic Denmark St. They were joined in 1975 by Peter Christopherson.
Hipgnosis specialised in what might be loosely called creative photography involving collage, montage, darkroom and developing effects, hand colouring etc, whereby design ideas were realised through all kinds of photography. Hipgnosis worked for numerous Rock’n’Roll bands including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, 10cc, Genesis, Yes, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, Alan Parsons Project, Styx, Wishbone Ash and UFO amongst many others. Hipgnosis’ output was quite diverse, ranging from surrealism to silliness, from narrative to portraiture, perhaps best known for The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) and Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin).
The company transmuted in 1983 to Green Back Films and were joined by Nigel Gordon and David Walsh to make pop videos for the likes of Paul Young, Robert Plant, Nik Kershaw and Yes amongst others. The company went unceremoniously to the wall in 1985 and the partners went their separate ways.
Storm continued a solo career until the early 90s with PMI and Harry Films and later under his own name; directing ads and videos, designing covers, and making television documentaries - The Art of Tripping - Without Walls and The Rubber Universe, both for Channel 4.
“Album Art is no bad thing….it is not enslaved to product, It is uncluttered by hyperbole, it has few false claims and every now and then one can get away with blue murder.” Storm Thorgerson
He then began working with Peter Curzon; and then Finlay Cowan, Tony May, Rupert Truman, Dan Abbott, Lee Baker, Jerry Sweet, Laura Truman, Charlie Barnes and Silvia Ruga, this loose affiliation of designers, photographers and artists came to be called StormStudios.
Over twenty years later, the studio is still going strong and continues to produce work for Pink Floyd, but also for Muse, The Mars Volta, Biffy Clyro, The Cranberries, Catherine Wheel, Offspring, Disco Biscuits, Anthrax, Powderfinger, Younger Brother, Shpongle, The Plea, The Chakras, Machineri and Pendulum amongst many others.
“Doing it for real is an avowed philosophy, little or no CGI for us. Doing it for real allow us to see it before you do, operates as a test for the idea, and is mostly more fun – witnessing an idea come to life in front of you is a serious buzz.” Storm Thorgerson
On April 18th 2013 Storm died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family and close friends. He was 69 years old. He had been suffering from cancer for the past five years and the effects of a stroke for the past ten. He continued doing the job he loved right up until the end.
In accordance with his wishes, the studio will continue to work, now and into the foreseeable future, headed up by Peter Curzon, Dan Abbott and Rupert Truman.
The Proud Archivist
Opening in October 2013, The Proud Archivist is a ground-breaking new 5,000sf café, restaurant, gallery & cultural space located on the Regent’s Canal in the highly popular Dalston / Shoreditch neighbourhood, east London.
A home of conversation, conviviality and stimulation, the proud archivist will fast become a thriving cultural and entertainment hub at the heart of the community, with an exciting programme of art, photography and design exhibitions, performance, spoken word, comedy nights, and daytime events tailored to everyone.
For further information, high res images, interviews and to request a preview copy of the book please contact:
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Nicola Duarte firstname.lastname@example.org / +44(0)7810 354 103
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