Leda and the Media Vultures
I was contacted by Protest the Hero Guitarist/Keyboardist Luke Hoskin last July, regarding doing a cover for their 4th full-length album, Volition. I liked the music on their previous album, Scurrilous, so agreed to take on the project. I’ve established a reputation in the business that if I don’t like the music, no cover. I’m unable to be a Whore, for whatever reasons.
So, once we got past me liking the music, I asked Luke what the band’s concerns were, where we might go with the cover image. It seemed their biggest concern was the Media trying to control people’s minds. I don’t quite understand how ideas form in my mind, but I pretty much instantly thought of twisting the old Greek Myth of Leda and the Swan into Leda and the Media Vultures. I ran it by Luke, pretty much feeling like I’d nailed the idea. I didn’t hear from him for awhile, which was good, since we’d been going back and forth for several hours, trading ideas every 5 minutes. So when I didn’t hear back for a couple hours, I was pretty sure he was telling the other guys, and that’s what happened. When Luke got back to me, it was a Go.
We had about a month until the deadline hit, so I got right on it. As it turned out, I worked without a day off–there wasn’t time.
I need to explain here that we went through a house remodel, 2011-12, 80% of the house torn up over a period of 16 months–during which time my painting skills essentially vanished. I was flopping around, going nowhere with painting for almost a year, pretty much back to the dread Square One. When PTH wrote I was struggling with regaining chops. It turned out to be just what I needed.
Like I said, there wasn’t much time until the deadline, but I knew I was onto something, so I jumped in. What a RIDE it was. I knew it was a pretty edgy image once I had it drawn out, so I wasn’t surprised when Luke wrote saying various distributors they’d talked to were hesitant about putting the Leda image on the shelves of record stores, particularly in America. They had decided to go with a decoy cover, (see previous post) and they were hoping I wouldn’t be mad. How could I be mad? It was the PERFECT reverse marketing strategy–making people wonder what was Forbidden, possibly selling Album Units based on curiosity.
I started getting nervous as the deadline approached, wanting to get the painting looking as good as I could make it, but also needing to leave time for Joe Wilhelm, my Scan Man, to have time enough to work his magic.Right near the end Luke wrote saying they’d pushed the deadline back a week, having a good idea of what they were getting, and wanting it to be right. I can’t say how much I appreciate working with people who understand sometimes a couple extra days can make a big difference in how things turn out.
The bottom line is I had an opportunity to regain my skills–do or die–and went through the exhilaration/horror of either getting it or making a fool out of myself–both of which are possible every time you start a new image in whatever media. I’d like to think I got it, that time….
Next time: more PTH