As a collector of record cover art, I have tried to limit collecting to a manageable number of artists, and the ones I have chosen are those that have produced a collectible number of covers. I once set out to collect Alex Steinweiss covers but gave up after I had found about fifty as there were still about 2,450 still to collect. I similarly decided not to try to collect Anton Corbijn‘s record covers — he’s been responsible for far too many. As I have mentioned on a previous post I did have a nice collection of Vaughan Oliver‘s record cover art but in the end I couldn’t house it all so it had to go.
My collection of record covers by street artists is limited to only three. I have what seems to be an ever expanding collection of covers by the artist who calls himself Banksy and a few choice covers by Robert del Naja (a.k.a. 3D). However, a couple of years ago I had an exhibition of some of my paintings at a gallery in Stockholm and exchanged a couple of works for posters by the Swedish street artist Iron. At the same time I had begun to notice the appearance of paper deer stuck on hoardings surrounding building sites around town. These turned out to be the work of another Swedish street artist by the name of Hellstrom. Like Iron, he prefers to keep his identity secret but he has been interviewed in a recent book Hellstrom Street Art published in 2019.
The book gives a good overview of Hellstrom‘s work to date. One picture in particular, together with the cover image, struck a chord.
Hellstrom shares his name with the popular Swedish singer Håkan Hellström and it is Hellstrom‘s portrait on Hellström on the cover of the book. It transpires that Hellstrom (no dots over the “o”) stencilled this portrait on a limited edition of Håkan Hellström‘s (with the dotted “o”) 2019 album Illusioner in an edtion of 40 copies.
One day last August I popped into my favourite record shop in Stockholm and saw this album hanging on the wall. It was number 36/40 and it accompanied me home to be the sole representative of Hellstrom‘s (minus the dots) art in my record cover collection.