‘Painters and musicians have long been friends and collaborators with varying degrees of success, but in my experience, there is tremendous mutual respect and almost an awe of each other’s craft,’ tells artist Luke Scibberas. Austinmer band Shining Bird enlisted the Hill End-based artist in creating the cover of their 2016 release, Black Opal. Luke first became acquainted with the members of this experimental pop band by reputation (‘their excellent work’) and then via social media.
In another collaboration, Collingwood-based artist Stephen Baker created artwork for The Smith Street Band‘s fourth album, More Scared of You than You Are of Me, which was a first for the band and ‘extra special’ for Stephen. ‘Having known the members for some time, I definitely had an intimate connection to the artwork and their personalities,’ Stephen explains. A portrait of the singer, Wil Wagner, was decided on unanimously for the album cover. Additional new artworks, all in Stephen’s artistic style and a specific colour palette, were used across a range of merchandise for the release, from covers to posters, T-shirts, and even 50 hand-painted guitar pedals!
From the other perspective, Alexander Gow, frontman of Melbourne-based indie rockers Oh Mercy approached Ken Done by email seeking something ‘vibrant and bold’ for their sophomore album. ‘I was also very aware of his place within the Australian psyche. Knowing the title was going to be Great Barrier Grief, I knew it’d be a perfect match,’ Alexander explains. He visited Ken’s gallery at The Rocks. ‘I met his family, and we just had a chat about art and music. It was enough to make him say, “Yeah, I’ll do it.”’
When creative forms like music and fine art come together, there is an opportunity for mutual growth and the reaching of new audiences. While mass distribution may at first seem at odds with an exhibiting painter’s priorities, both Luke and Stephen found their collaborations to be incredibly enriching.
‘I think it’s a great thing if you trust the musical artist you’re working with, and the result is in keeping with your ideals and aesthetics. Being inspired by someone else’s work is also exciting, having the trust of a musician’s opus to render or capture visually is an amazing experience!’ praises Stephen.
‘One can’t fathom just how the others wrest their respective works. I’ve worked with and maintained friendships with pop musicians, classical and contemporary composers, and music is a constant in my studio, adding a lyrical inflection to my visual story,’ adds Luke. ‘May it ever be so.’
We take you through some stand-out collaborations below. *With more than 11,377,191 albums released at the time of writing, we’ve no doubt missed some of your favourites – please pop them in the comments!