Artists have been collaborating with musicians in various contexts for forever. Its almost as though they go hand in hand. I think it’s because artists can express in ways musicians can’t and like wise. Artist/musicians have always had a more symbiotic relationship. Its like one sees and tries to interpret the others vision… Or in the case of cover art. It’s like the musician sees something in the visual artists work that is symbolic of their own work. So they commision the artists and/or the artists work to represent the music via the album cover. Sometimes the artist is sufficiently compensated and sometimes not.
In a few of our posts we’ve talked about the value of ones creative works. Not to be redundant but that value is not always fair to the artist. I have a few examples but the most recent one that comes to mind are the latest album releases by Future. DS2 & Evol were both considered classic albums. The artist (Sanja Tošić) who made less than $80 from the sale, said that “the lowest of all her sales paid out $0.33 and the most she ever made on one sale was $80.00.” So basically she sells digital copies, or possible prints via Shutterstock. Although not too many details have been released I’m sure Shutterstock cleared a larger profit per their “premier package.” Even though DS2 was taken from a stock image, Evol was not. They instead used Polish photographer Szymon Świętochowski to create the cover artwork. Now Im willing to bet that that he made significantly more to produce the artwork for this project than Sanja did but she is still very happy about her collab. After it does bring attention to her as an artist.
I spoke on Future first because he’s the most relevant to the subject, but he’s not the only one by far. I wonder how much Kanye West paid to get George Condo to do the artwork for MBDTF album. Better still would The Velvet Underground have been able to colab with Andy Warhol had he not been their manager and friend. The situation may be different. Just as the reward an artist recieves for their work may be different, but the out come is the same. The musician creates a body of work accompanied by the artists interpretation of said body of work via the album cover. Together the two mediums merge to create a lasting impression on modern culture. Together they complete each other and compliment each other, and this empowers both individuals. The statement each artist makes merges to create one cohesive message. And this is the culmination of a great project.