The art of (re)imagination

In 1911, Ambrose Bierce, that patron saint of cynicism, described the phonograph as "an irritating toy that brings life to dead noises."

Now, everyone should have a hobby to pass the time. Myself, I live for dead noise and enjoy collecting it in all its varied styles: rock; blues; bubblegum; pop; classical; jazz; international; et cetera and ad nauseum.

I was too young for 8-tracks, and cassettes never did much for me. CDs were alright… at least you got a booklet with your purchase. But something about how vinyl brought music, art, photography, and typography together into one package has always enthralled me.

It's been said that the digital age killed the music industry. But for this avid collector of dead noise, it all came back to life when I discovered the "Add Artwork" capability of iTunes. Rather than being nostalgic for an old, familiar album cover, I discovered I could combine random images and create my own version. I discovered the fun of curating my own collection!

A quick example

"Robin's Reign" by Robin Gibb. (I love early Bee Gees and Robin's overwrought-yearning of a voice.) This is the original artwork. A little dated, don't you think?


For some reason, I always get a pre-Raphaelite feel from Robin. Something romantic, yet very English. See if you agree:

So, I grabbed a painting from one of the dead masters, threw in a little photo of Robin (alas, another dead master now) and voilå:

Or, here

I took a… well, uh… kinda boring cover from Leonard Cohen's not-boring album "Song From A Room," (I mean, the album starts out with "Bird on the Wire," for god's sake.)


And added an old black and white photo of his muse, Marianne, from their time in the Greek islands.


Toss in some Photoshop tricks, and you get:

Now, there are some wonderful graphic artists doing great and timeless artwork on a lot of these album covers, and I'm not saying my work is better. It's just—I enjoy bringing my own personalized twist to my hobby of listening to "dead noises."

Watch for more!


Hugo is a contributing writer to the ConceptuaLine blog and an accomplished copywriter in both English and Spanish. Catch him on Friday nights supporting Lancer football.