The Eye Of The Storm | Storm Thorgerson Exhibition
We are delighted to be hosting The Eye Of The Storm, a retrospective of Storm Thorgerson’s work at For Arts Sake Ealing gallery from Thursday 6th July to Sunday 30th July 2017. As the famed graphic design company ‘Hipgnosis’ and then ‘StormStudios’, Storm Thorgerson created some of the most iconic record covers in the history of rock and roll including The Dark Side Of The Moon for Pink Floyd and Houses Of The Holy for Led Zepplin.
The exhibition will feature silkscreen and digital prints, along with props that Thorgerson used to create his other wordly designs. Thorgerson founded StormStudios in the early 1990s where he worked as party of creative team that included photographer Rupert Truman, who worked with him shooting 99% of the studio’s output. Storm Thorgeson sadly passed away in 2013 but the Studio remains busy today creating ‘normal but’ designs and Rupert Truman has given us access to many works from the studio, including iconic props such as the heads used in the 10cc album, Tenology, that will be included in our exhibition.
Photographer Rupert Truman, member of StormStudio, will be at For Arts Sake gallery Sunday 23rd July from 12-3pm talking about his art and signing copies of his book. This event is part of the Ealing Arts Festival in Bond Street where the street will be closed and many art activities will be taking place, including print demonstrations by Paul Catherall, Martin Langford and Martin Grover.
“Many people agree that Storm Thorgerson is the best album designer in the world. Look at the evidence. By which I mean look at your collection of LPs.”
Douglas Adams from ’Eye of the Storm’ 2000.
Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) began his career with UK design group Hipgnosis, founded in the late 1960s and his distinctive style made him one of the industry’s most recognisable artists. Thorgerson designed album cover art for over 40 years including many of the most famous album covers in history, such as his prism design for Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon.
Many of Thorgerson’s classic album covers have become masterpieces in their own right. Thorgerson’s designs are noticeable for their surreal elements. He often places objects out of their traditional context, setting them in vast spaces that give them an awkward appearance whilst highlighting their beauty.
Born in Dartford, Kent in 1944, Thorgerson went to school with Roger Waters and Syd Barrett. He studied English and Philosophy at university before going on to complete an MA in Film and Television at the Royal College of Art. His career as an artist began accidentally; around the time of his graduation from the Royal College Pink Floyd were completing their second album A Saucerful of Secrets, when a friend turned down the job of creating its sleeve. With no background in art or graphic design Thorgerson volunteered to step into the fold. Along with his friend Aubrey Powell he set up the British graphic art group Hipgnosis in 1968, they specialised in creative photography for album covers. Many of Thorgerson’s album covers were designed before the advent of advanced computer design software, and were created through the use of photography, paint and sculpture.
“Since I cannot draw for toffee, I work with photography. But just because I can’t draw, it doesn’t mean I can’t take the flight of the imagination. I like photography because it is a reality medium, unlike drawing, which is unreal. I like to mess with reality. Some of my work asks the question: is it real or not?”
Thorgerson’s approach to design started from photography and applied techniques such as airbrushing and multiple exposures to create surreal dislocations and disturbing juxtapositions. Today similar effects could be created using software such as Adobe Photoshop, but Thorgerson’s retort to this notion was: “I prefer the computer in my head to the one on my desk.”
He cited as influences artists and photographers including Man Ray, Magritte, Picasso, Kandinsky, Juan Gris and Ansel Adams, and described his working method thus: “I listen to the music, read the lyrics, speak to the musicians as much as possible. I see myself as a kind of translator, translating an audio event – the music – into a visual event – the cover. I like to explore ambiguity and contradiction, to be upsetting but gently so. I use real elements in unreal ways.”
Thorgerson’s surrealist work raised the bar for album cover designs, changing the way the world looked at the music of everyone from Peter Gabriel to Black Sabbath. From the burning businessman on the cover of Wish You Were Here to the giant flying pig over Battersea Power Station for Animals, Thorgerson went on to design almost every Pink Floyd album sleeve.. Thorgerson has worked with many bands over the years, including Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Led Zeppelin, Muse, 10cc, Syd Barrett, Offspring and The Cranberries to name a few.
From 1983 Thorgerson directed numerous rock videos, making clips for Paul Young, Yes, Robert Plant and Nik Kershaw. In 1994 he directed six short films for Pink Floyd, which were screened at concerts during their world tour. Storm Studios continues to design album covers and direct the occasional film along with writing and designing several books.
The Storm Thorgerson exhibition at For Arts Sake gallery features a range of amazing limited edition art prints, including his iconic album cover designs which have played such an essential part in the psyche of rock and roll culture.
Storm Thorgerson’s work for Pink Floyd was so significant that he was often referred to as the 6th member of Pink Floyd. You can put his influential work into context by visiting the current immersive Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum.
The exhibition of Storm Thorgerson’s prints runs at For Arts Sake Ealing gallery from Thursday 6th July to Sunday 30th July 2017.
Photographer Rupert Truman, member of StormStudio, will be at For Arts Sake gallery Sunday 23rd July from 12-3pm talking about his art and signing copies of his book.
This event is part of the Ealing Arts Festival in Bond Street where the street will be closed and many art activities will be taking place, including print demonstrations by Paul Catherall, Martin Langford and Martin Grover. For Arts Sake gallery will be offering Pimms and Fruit Punch to all our visitors.
You can read more about Rupert Truman and his work at StormStudio in our interview here.