The cover of our new book, The Rolling Stones: 50, was realised through a collaborative effort between artist Ian Wright and the art direction team at Studio Fury. Here is the story behind it.
Ian and Stephen Kennedy (creative director at Studio Fury) first worked together on album art for Ian Brown’s ‘Golden Greats’. When the Rolling Stones management and The Mirror approached Studio Fury about producing artwork for the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary, Stephen and colleague Jimmy Tilley instantly knew that Ian’s work was a perfect fit for a cover image that needed to be both iconic but also incorporate hundreds of images. With privileged access to The Mirror’s extensive archive of Rolling Stones photographs, Studio Fury set about selecting and processing images of Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie into circular crops that could be made into button badges.
Stephen then sought Ian Wright’s expertise in executing the final work. Ian set about turning the circle images into 2,500 badges and prepared the board they would be mounted on. Ian had to work especially hard on this phase because the printed photo sheets were slightly too thick for the badge-machine and kept getting stuck!
Then for two solid days in March, Ian and his daughters Connie and Ava put the final piece together.
The trio became ‘a well-oiled machine’ says Ian, one laying out the badges, one applying glue, and the other placing them.
They had to be especially diligent at this phase, paying careful attention the line the badges were following. Ian employed his father’s wisdom, ‘measure twice, cut once’, before he allowed anything to be made permanent.
They worked their way through a total of 10 sticks of industrial silicone sealant.
Ian was pleased with the final piece – ‘I thought it looked strong, and the concept worked well. Hopefully people will realise it was handmade, if they look closely.’
Photographer Ed Park was then on hand to photograph the artwork for the book, who turned their shared studio into a pop-up photo studio for the day, covering everything with black fabric to minimize reflections. Ed wanted to make the artwork look as natural as possible: ‘The technical challenge was to retain, in the photograph, a feeling of the artwork’s existence as a real object, so I used daylight from an overhead skylight, giving highlights and shadows of various sizes and shapes occurring naturally across the piece.’
The images of the artwork then arrived at Thames & Hudson, where designer Angela Won-Yin Mak worked with Ginny Liggit in Production to make sure that the photograph accurately reproduced the original artwork into print. A complicated part of the design process was choosing the right font for the word ’50′ – some fonts looked too much like the word ‘SO’, and Angela had to go through numerous fonts to find the perfect one.
Thames & Hudson and Studio Fury are delighted with the way the collaboration turned out. The underlying intention was to make the best possible use of perhaps the most iconic logo in rock and pop and also to communicate how rich the inner content of the book is before it has even been opened. As Angela’s observes: ‘The tongue is a strong icon and from afar this is what you see and instantly recognise. But if you look closer you notice that each badge is actually a snapshot of the band’s past. As you get closer to the image, you discover all the stories within it.’
The Rolling Stones 50 will be published on 12th July 2012 and priced at £29.95
The Mirror Online has also published this story – read the article here