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6. Music Promotion 6. Gig poster for the Breeders for Congress Theatre, Chicago.

Jay Ryan, 2001

Jay Ryan of The Bird Machine, based in Chicago, creates editioned silk-screen prints as promotional posters for gigs at various venues. Employing images that communicate immediately and directly, Ryan works with a limited colour palette that translates to the medium perfectly.

1. Music Promotion Gig poster for Interpol for Rock City, Nottingham Jay Ryan, 2004

The Music Industry Illustrator

An Interview with Kustaa Saksi

Working for the music industry brings another dimension to the job of the illustrator who is normally associated with bringing text to life. In this sector it is about bringing a visual form to music and it can also be associated with fashions and trends. How do you respond to a given project?

KS - Well, il really depends on the project. Sometimes the client is open and sometimes they come with a clearly thought-out idea. Both are fine with me, Of course I prefer illustrating the music I like, but sometimes it can be really refreshing to do something completely different.

Record sleeve design has been a vital aspect of marketing music; when CDs emerged to replace vinyl, the canvas reduced dramatically. Do you enjoy the restrictions of the medium?

KS - I still prefer vinyl format and fortunately I've been working with record companies who usually publish in vinyl too. Nowadays, the clumsy 1970s CD jewel case may be a classic, but I usually prefer the cardboard ones. It really is a challenge to make the small CD format appealing. But I wonder what we are going lo do with MP3s?

The perception by the audience of a musician or recording artist is often drawn from the graphics created for their recordings - do you have the artist's visual identity in mind whilst you create their cover art?

KS - Sure. But I prefer covers that take the listener to a different level. I think the covers can be a bit challenging too - I always try to illustrate the moods and feelings from the music. Of course it's just my personal view, but I hope it opens the music up to other people too.

Your work has a surreal, other-worldly feel about it - do you think that it has helped you get work in this area of design?

KS - Well, it's really difficult to say. Sometimes the music makes me draw different things. It's really about the music and how it matches with the illustration. Hopefully one day I can do a project where the image is first.

Please give a brief outline of your intentions when making illustrations for this sector of the industry?

KS - Well, first, hopefully I like the music I'm going to illustrate. If I do, I usually get Stuck into it for some time. And then I get deeper and try to understand it. After that it's easy and inspiring to make my work. But if I don't like the stuff - then it's like any other work project, good or bad, but I don't take it too personally.

2 & 3. CD cover design 'Country Falls' by Husky Rescue Catskills Records, 2003 Kustaa Saksi, 2003

Surreal landscapes and imagery represent the 'Country Falls' album artwork lor Husky Rescue. Finnish illustrator Saksi divides his time creating work for clients in the music industry and in magazine publishing and advertising.


7 always try to illustrate the moods and feelings from the music. Of course it's just my personal view, but I hope it opens the music up to other people too."

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