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Eve Babitz — A Los Angeles Icon.

I first saw Eve Babitz’s name on the Buffalo Springfield Again album in 1967 and again on the Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield (1969). She also took the photograph of Linda Ronstadt for the cover of Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel LP (1974). Discogs has a list of eighteen covers that Eve Babitz has either designed, illustrated or photographed (although two were in recent collections.) I had a few of them, including Heart Like a Wheel, The Byrds (Untitled) and, of course, all the Buffalo Springfield albums. There were also other covers including Noel Harrison’s 1968 album Santa Monica Pier, Earth Opera’s self-named album from 1968 and Danny O’Keefe’s album titled Danny O’Keefe from 1971. She also designed the cover for Leon Russell’s Hank Williams is Back, Vol I.

However, I knew nothing about Eve Babitz until I recently heard a radio programme on Swedish Radio that outlined her life and work (only a passing mention of her record cover design, though) focusing mainly on the resurgence of interest in her writing. Eve was born in May 1943 to Sol and Mae Babitz. Her father was a classical violinist, of Russian Jewish descent and friend of Igor Stravinsky, who became Eve’s godfather, and her mother, an artist, had cajun descent.

Eve Babitz — Photo booth phots (collection of Miranda Babitz)


Through her parents, Eve met many Hollywood stars and people from the music and art worlds and she was known for having affairs with many soon-to-be famous people. But she became best known for her writing, as Wikipedia says: Her articles and short stories have appeared in Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire magazines. She is the author of several books including Eve’s Hollywood; Slow Days, Fast Company; Sex and Rage; Two By Two; and L.A. Woman. Transitioning to her particular blend of fiction and memoir beginning with Eve’s Hollywood, Babitz’s writing of this period is indelibly marked by the cultural scene of Los Angeles during that time, with numerous references and interactions to the artists, musicians, writers, actors, and sundry other iconic figures that made up the scene in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

Babitz’s first claim to notoriety came when she crashed the 1963 opening of the exhibition Pop Art: New Painting of Common Objects at the Pasadena Art Museum. Artists included Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp. Babitz had affair with the Gallery’s head, Walter Hopps, and Hopps had forbidden Babitz to attend as his wife would be there. Babitz was invited by a friend and asked if she would play chess with Marcel Duchamp and she agreed only appearing in an overcoat that she dropped to sit nude to play the game.

Apparently, however, Duchamp didn’t notice Babitz’s nakedness and concentrated on the game, going on to win.

Eve Babitz was severely burned in an accident in 1997. She was driving her car trying to light a cigar when she dropped a lighted match into her lap igniting her dress and causing her 30 percent third degree burns to the lower part of her body and legs. She became a recluse thereafter.

There has been a resurgence of interest in Babitz’s writing in recent years though it is her record cover design that most fascinates me. She knew Ahmet Ertegun, head of Atlantic Records, who, presumably, gave her the opportunity to design covers for that label, though she also did covers for Capitol Records (Linda Ronstadt), Warner Brothers and Reprise Records (Eric Anderson, Noel Harrison), and Elektra Records (Earth Opera, Lord Buckley), Columbia records (The Byrds).

Another indication of Babitz’s fame comes from a band calling themselves Misery Loves Company which released a CD in 2006 called All About Eve Babitz, with a cover picture recreating that famous chess match! A CD I must try to get hold of.

Andy Warhol’s Unreleased Record Cover Designs.

There are currently 68 known record covers with designs or illustrations by Andy Warhol (not counting colour variations or variations in format — LP or 7″) produced in his lifetime–the exact number is unknown as new covers with his illustrations/designs seem to turn up with monotonous regularity as soon as there has been an exhibition purporting to show his complete oeuvre. A case in point being the discovery of Paul Desmond’s 1963 Take Ten LP found in 2019 just as the Warhol 1968 exhibition at Moderna Museet in Malmö, closed, where a “complete” collection of Warhol’s covers was shown.

In addition, there are countless record and CD covers that use Warhol’s art released since his death. There are also designs for at least six record sleeves that Warhol made that were never released. These are:
Progressive Piano — a Various Artists compilation — planned for release by RCA Records, both as a 10″ LP and as 7″ EP (probably a double EP) as RCA allocated catalogue numbers for both formats. Lithographs of these covers are in the collection of The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Progressive Piano – 10″ LP, RCA Victor LJM-3001.

Progressive Piano – RCA Victor 45EP-EJB 3001.


– Four designs for a Billie Holiday four-track EP entitled Volume 3, probably aimed at Columbia Records, as the songs were recorded for that company’s subsidiaries. The song titles were written on the covers of two of the designs. There are four songs on one and seven on the second. The songs are:
Did I Remember?
I’ll Never Be the Same
They Say
Georgia on My Mind
I’m in a Low Down Groove
Romance in the Dark
Night and Day
No Regret
We do not know if these designs were actually commissioned or were simply Warhol’s own idea. No single record with these titles seems to have been released.

I first read about the four designs for the Billie Holiday covers in 2015 in Guy Minnebach’s excellent Andy Earhole blog. You can read his post here. And I’ve been thinking about trying to recreate them on record covers.

All these designs must be from the early 1950s. The Progressive Piano collection was probably as early as 1952 and the Billie Holiday designs I would guess were made around 1953 or 1954 as they are somewhat in the style of the drawings Warhol made for Margarita Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish and that appeared on the record covers to the two albums of pronunciation exercises that accompanied the book, published in 1953.

I made reproductions of the Progressive Piano LP and double 7″ EP several years ago and these have been included in exhibitions of Andy Warhol’s record cover art; most recently at Moderna Museet in Malmö, in 2019.

Recreating the Billie Holiday covers is much more difficult. Redrawing Warhol’s sketches means finding pens that can imitate Warhol’s lines. Then painting the colours round his drawings. So far I have attempted three of the covers:

There is a lot more work need to make them even remotely like Warhol’s originals. I hope I’ll be able to post more polished results sometime in the future.

Chu Bops Bubble Gum with Record cover Art.

You may have read my recent post on Anonymouse’s installation of a miniature record store in Lund, Sweden, displaying tiny record covers that parody well known covers, giving them a murine slant.

I seem to remember seeing bubblegum packed in miniature record sleeves in the late sixties or seventies but I only recently saw the ones manufactured by Amural Products Company and called Chu Bops in the 1980s. I have seen more than seventy different covers:
– The Beatles (16 covers)
– Rolling Stones (ten covers)
– Elvis Presley (eight covers)
and diverse covers by:
Abba, Air Supply, Allman Brothers, ARS, Pat Benatar, Blondie (two covers), Blue Öyster Cult, David Bowie, Brothers Johnson, Charlie Daniels Band, Commodores, Crystal, Neil Diamond, ELO, Foghat, Heart, Isley Brothers, Billy Joel (two covers), Jefferson Starship, Judas Priest (two covers), The Kinks, The Knack (two covers), Little River Band, Loverboy, Meat Loaf, Willie Nelson, Juice Newton, Gary Numan, Robert Palmer, Teddy Pendergrass, Rush, Santana, John Schneider, Rex Smith, Southside Johnny & The Ashbury Dukes, Spinners, James Taylor, Pat Travers Band, Stevie Winwood,

Each cover is three inches (9 cms) square and contains a pink bubblegum disc made to resemble a record.

There are even shop displays with Beatles or Rolling Stones covers and LP-sized collectors covers into which you could save your bubblegum records.

The Chu Bop Rolling Stones collection includes both Sticky Fingers and Love You Live covers that would fit in my collection of Andy Warhol covers and The Beatles collection includes the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover that would be a nice addition to my Peter Blake cover collection. The completist in me says that I should add them to my album cover collection.
Peter Blake:

The Chu Bops Sgt. Pepper cover beside the full size LP cover.

Klaus Voormann:

The Chu Bops Revolver cover beside the full size LP cover.

Andy Warhol:

The Chu Bops Sticky Fingers and Love You Live covers with a matchbox to show their size.

I think these covers make an interesting addition to my collection. As far as I can see Chu Bops don’t seem to have produced any other covers by cover artists I collect.

Ricotta Records–A New REcord shop in Lund, Sweden.

The Ricotta Records shopfront. Photo Anonymouse.

There’s a creative group in the town of Lund in Southern Sweden called Anonymous, that makes miniature shops that suddenly appear on the streets and attract the attention of passers-by. They seem to appear magically by night. There has been an Indian restaurant, a detective bureau, a pharmacy and a jazz club, a barbers shop, and, most recently, a record shop called Ricotta Records.

There are fourteen record covers in the shop window.

The shop is packed with record sleeves, and rock posters, all in miniature format. People have gone to amazing lengths to recreate actual record covers but given them a murine twist.

The Anonymouse Instagram post attracted followers to design their own mouse-associated covers.

I’d love to do some miniature covers of my own, but I seem to lack the inspiration to mousify any of my favourites. But all cred to Anonymous for making this great addition to the streets of Lund.

The Record Cover Art of Sir Peter Blake–A Discography.

I have written about Dave Haslam’s little monograph “A Life in Thirty-Five Boxes–How I Survived Selling My Record Collection” (Contingo Publishing, 2019) in a previous post. In it, Haslam classifies collectors into either completists or surveyors (that’s my term not his.) I’m a completist–If I collect record covers by a particular artist, I HAVE to have EVERY cover by that artist, whereas those whom I call “surveyors” can collect odd items that represent their subject without the encumbrance of having to get every single item in the field.

As everyone who reads my blog knows, my particular obsessions are collecting record cover art by (in alphabetical order–obsessive again?) Banksy, Peter Blake, Damien Hirst, Klaus Voormann and Andy Warhol. I have almost complete collections of these artists. I have to stress the word “almost”. I have many times boasted that I have complete collections of Banksy’s, Peter Blake’s and Damien Hirst’s record cover art and, as near as dammit, complete collections of Klaus Voormann’s and Warhol’s record covers. When it comes to my Warhol collection, I have been able to fill the gaps by making my own reproductions of the rarest items, however, I’m missing one Voormann cover which I probably will never find…

But, back to Sir Peter Blake and my “complete” collection. Obviously I cannot have a cover of a record that has not yet been released (I refer to the forthcoming album by The Who discussed in my last post) but I reckoned I had ALL the other Peter Blake covers. WRONG! So it’s time for a revised list.

  1. The Beatles — Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – June 1967
  2. Pentangle – Sweet Child – 1968
  3. Chris Jagger – The Adventures of Valentine Vox the Ventriloquist – 1974
  4. Roger McGough – Summer With Monika – 1978
  5. The Who – Face Dances – 1981
  6. English Chamber Orchestra / Steuart Bedford / Daniel Blumethal – Rhapsody in Blue / Piano Concerto in F / An American in Paris – 1983
  7. Ian Dury – Apples (LP) – 1989
  8. Ian Dury – Apples (7”) – 1989
  9. Eric Clapton – 24 Nights  (gatefold LP)– 1981
  10. Eric Clapton – 24 Nights (promotional box set of 7″ singles) – 1981
  11. Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (7”) – 1991
  12. Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (collectors CD) – 1991
  13. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas – 1984
  14. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas (reissue) – 1985
  15. Paul Weller – Stanley Road LP – 1995
  16. Paul Weller – Stanley Road (7” Box) – 1995
  17. A Stranger Shadow – Colours (CD only) – 1995
  18. David Sylvian – A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil (12”) – 1986
  19. David Sylvian – A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil (picture disc) – 1986
  20. Various Artists – Brand New Boots and Panties—Tribute to Ian Dury –2001
  21. Brian Wilson – Gettin’ in Over My Head (orange vinyl double LP)–2004
  22. Eric Clapton – Me and Mr. Johnson (Classic Records 200g LP) – 2004
  23. Oasis – Stop the Clocks (3LP) – 2006
  24. Oasis – Stop the Clocks (numbered 7”) – 2006
  25. Oasis – Stop the Clocks (CD in card cover) – 2006
  26. Oasis — Champagne Supernova (promotional, single-sided 12″) — 2006
  27. Various Artists – John Peel–Right Time, Wrong Speed (CD only) – 2006
  28. The Blockheads – Staring Down the Barrel (CD only) – 2009
  29. Ben Waters – Boogie for Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart (gatefold double LP) – 2011
  30. Eric Clapton – Me and Mr. Johnson (re-issue LP in gatefold sleeve) – 2011
  31. Madness – Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da (double LP) – 2012
  32. Paul Weller – Dragonfly (numbered 12”) – 2012
  33. Eric Clapton – I Still Do (Double 45 rpm LP) – 2016
  34. Eric Clapton – I Still Do (CD in card sleeve) – 2016
  35. Paul Weller – Stanley Road (Reissue LP in gatefold sleeve) — 2017
  36. John Cooper Clarke — The Luckiest Guy Alive (CD) — 2018
  37. The Who – WHO (triple LP) – 2019
  38. The Who – WHO (double LP) – 2019
  39. The Who – WHO (cassette) – 2019
  40. The Who – WHO (deluxe CD) – 2019

Please note that this list is heavily weighted towards vinyl releases but I have had to include a few CDs and a cassette for completeness. I had not previously known about the David Sylvian’s “A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil” single or Oasis’s “Champagne Supernova” promotional 12″. So how many other Blake covers do I not know about?

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David Sylvian’s “A Little Girl Deams of Taking the Veil”, 12″ EP uses Peter Blake’s “Just at this moment, somehow or other, they began to run”, One of Blake’s 1970 illustrations of “Alice in Wonderland”. Peter Blake has signed this cover.

 

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A picture disc of the “A Little Girls Dreams of Taking the Veil” single.

 

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OASIS’ “Champagne Supernova (Lynch Mob Beats Mix) promo, single-sided, 12” single. Cover signed by Peter Blake

While Peter Blake is consistantly producing new works in a variety of formats, paintings, prints and collages, he has only produced 27 individual record cover designs (increased to the 38 listed in various formats) in fifty-seven years. I look forward to the arrival of The Who’s latest album and hope that the 87-year-old will continue to design even more.

“WHO”–Peter Blake Designs the Who’s 2019 Album Cover.

Sir Peter Blake is still at it! At the age of 87 he is still very productive, making a variety of works including paintings, prints, and, what interests me most, record cover designs. So far he has produced a total of 27 record covers in the past fifty-two years!

The latest record cover he designed was Eric Clapton‘s 2016 “I Still Do“, on which Eric used Peter Blake‘s portrait of him. This portrait harks back to Clapton‘s 1981 live album “24 Nights“. Peter Blake didn’t know Eric prior to being asked to paint his portrait, which was planned to be the cover picture for the “24 Nights” album. Blake watched Clapton and his band at rehearsals and concerts in Dublin, Brixton and the Royal Albert Hall and got to know Clapton well and they became firm friends. Blake sketched while watching Clapton and his band perform and produced a series of drawings, but no portrait of Clapton. It would take a further thirty-four years before Blake finally painted Clapton‘s portrait.

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Peter Blake’s 2015 portrait of Eric Clapton.

Just this month (September 2019), The Who announced that they will be releasing new album on 22nd November 2019 called, quite simply, “WHO” and that Pete Townsend‘s pal Peter Blake had designed the cover.

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Petr Blake’s cover for The Who’s 2019 album “WHO”.

The cover design uses elements from a recent series of Peter Blake prints entitled “The Sources of Pop Art” and is reminiscent of the cover for Paul Weller‘s “Stanley Road” album cover from 2005.

Stanley Road
The cover of Paul Weller’s 2005 album “Stanley Road”.

The Who‘s “Who” album will be the 28th record cover that Peter Blake has designed. The Album will be released on 22nd November 2019 and special limited editions are available on The Who’s official site.

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The limited edition tripple vinyl, Deluxe CD and cassette edition of “WHO”.

Andy Warhol – The Artist Who Died Twice.

In a recent post I investigated Andy Warhol’s medical history, concentrating on the story of the heroic Dr Guiseppe Rossi’s lifesaving treatment of the seriously wounded Andy Warhol and on his gallbladder disease and final operation and his unnecessary death in 1987. Since that post, I have been researching Andy’s medical history in more depth using several biographical sources. Finding Andy’s medical history was relatively easy. Using several sources, probably every illness can be identified. However, none of the sources I have thus far read have even begun to discuss Andy’s mental health.

Reading Victor Bockris’s and Bob Colacello’s biographies gives some insights, but neither tries to discuss Andy’s psychological health. There are other books that do look at aspects of Warhol’s mental health. Claudia Kalb discusses Andy’s hoarding while Brian Dillon examines his hypochondria.

Reading Bockris’s and Collacello’s biographies one gets the feeling that Andy couldn’t have been a particularly ‘nice’ person. The biographies show that Andy was born in Pittsburgh in relative poverty. He was his parents’ third son, but the couple had had a daughter, born in Miková, then in the Austro-Hungarian empire, but now in Slovakia, near the Polish border. The girl died after only six weeks. Ondrej, Andy’s father (after whom he was named) was a hard worker and often had to travel away to work. So the three boys would be brought up mainly by their mother, Julia. The family was poor and Julia worked cleaning houses and making toys out of tin cans which she sold for 25 cents. Ondrej was thrifty and saved money to be able to send his youngest son to college. He hadn’t been able to afford to send his two elder sons — they started working early in life. Ondrej had recurrent jaundice that improved after his gallbladder was removed in 1939. However, his liver later began to fail and he was housebound for the last year of his life, dying in 1942 at the age of 55, when his son Andrew was only 14 year old.

Julia’s English wasn’t good. The family lived in cramped conditions and had a poor diet. Soups were often what they ate. Andy’s childhood illnesses made him closer to his mother. Remember, she had already lost her first born child. At the age of two, Andy had swollen inflamed eyes, which necessitated bathing them with boric acid solution. When he was four he fell and broke his arm. He didn’t tell his mother and it was several months before it was noted that his arm was crooked and he went to a doctor. It was necessary to re-break his arm to straighten it. In 1936, when Andy was six, he caught scarlet fever and developed Sydenham’s chorea, tremor and muscular weakness. He was confined to bed for several weeks and when he had apparently recovered he had a relapse and was again sent back to bed. A further consequence of the illness was that it left his skin blotchy and it would be a problem for him for the rest of his life. He also had problems with pimples and is nose was lumpy and ugly. He became very concerned about his appearance. And in addition, in his twenties, he began losing his hair and took to wearing wigs.

Andy began using various cosmetics to hide his blotchy skin and pimples and visited dermatologists at first searching for a cure, but later for collagen injections to fill out his sunken cheeks, the result of his inadequate diet because of his gallbladder disease. In the mid 1950s he had a procedure to sandpaper down his bulbous and swollen nose, but the treatment provided only a temporary result and he felt his nose was worse afterwards. He took courses of tetracycline for his pimples.

Warhol always maintained that he did not take drugs, though his associates witnessed him dipping his finger in cocaine and smearing it on his gums while saying the he didn’t take it. However, as part of weight loss treatment he was prescribed Obetrol®, a mixture of four amphetamine preparations (a 10 mg capsule contained 2.5 mg methamphetamine saccharate, 2.5 mg methamphetamine hydrochloride, 2.5 mg racemic amphetamine sulphate, 2.5 mg dextroamphetamine sulphate, while the 20 mg capsule contained twice the amount of each constituent). Andy would continue to take these capsules twice daily for the rest of his life.

Andy’s mental health:
Andy Warhol was inordinately attached to his mother, taking her to live with him in New York. He was homosexual but had difficulty in forming longterm relationships. He was vain and deeply insecure, always seeking approbation and affirmation. He had a twofold aim in life, to be the most famous artist of the twentieth century and to become very rich. He lacked empathy, discarding friends and associates, often delegating uncomfortable decisions to others. He was stingy and underpaid his Factory employees. He even failed to pay the $3,000 bill from the surgeon who, in 1968, saved his life after Andy was shot and seriously wounded. The bill was found when one of WArhol’s Time Capsules was opened almost 30 years after Warhol’s death. Warhol also suffered periods of depression. In summary, he appears to have been a classic case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The DSM-V states:

The most important characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are grandiosity, seeking excessive admiration, and a lack of empathy. These identifying features can result in a negative impact on an individual’s interpersonal affairs and life general. In most cases, on the exterior, these patients act with an air of right and control, dismissing others, and frequently showcasing condescending or denigrating attitudes. Nevertheless, internally, these patients battle with strong feelings of low self esteem issues and inadequacy. Even though the typical NPD patient may achieve great achievements, ultimately their functioning in society can be affected as these characteristics interfere with both personal and professional relationships. A large part of this is as result of the NPD patient being incapable of receiving disapproval or rebuff of any kind, in addition to the fact that the NPD patient typically exhibits lack of empathy and overall disrespect for others.

But this isn’t really enough. Andy was a hoarder, another anxiety-based condition. DSM-V states that the symptoms of the hoarding disorder are:

  1. Persistent difficulty or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.
  2. This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items and to distress associated with discarding them.
  3. The difficulty discarding possessions results in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromises their intended use. If living areas are uncluttered, it is only because of the interventions of third parties (e.g. Family members, cleaners, authorities).
  4. The hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning including ( including maintaining a safe environment for self and others).
  5. The hoarding is not attributable to another medical condition (eg., brain injury, cerebrovascular disease, Prader-Willis syndrome).
  6. The hoarding is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (eg. Obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder, delusions in schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, cognitive deficits in major neurocognitive disorder, restricted interests in autism spectrum disorder).

The hoarder engages in excessive acquisition, buys items that are unnecessary and they do not have have space for. The hoarder may have good insight and realise that their hoarding is a problem or have poor insight and not recognise their behaviour is unhealthy.
According to (DSM-5) 80-90% of hoarders also engage in excessive shopping and buying unnecessary items.

This describes to a tee Warhol’s shopaholic behaviour. He threw nothing away. Quite apart from filling his house with about 100,000 items that, on his death, many were found not to have been removed from the packaging in which he took them home, he accumulated 610 boxes of “stuff” from his Factory studio that he called “Time Capsules”. These, now in the Warhol Museum, contain invoices, unread letters, used postage stamps, broken toys, gifts, records, decaying pizza slices, and much else.

I have a theory that many artists have a touch of obsessive compulsive related disorder (OCRD). But are OCRD and hoarding related? There are cardinal differences as explained by in a 2014 article:

The disorders in the OCRDs category have both similarities and differences. Although all the disorders in this category have intrusive thoughts, these obsessional thoughts manifest somewhat differently. Some disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are characterized by classic obsessions. Obsessions are repetitive, unwanted, and intrusive thoughts that trigger anxiety. In other disorders, such as body dismorphic disorder (BDD) and hoarding disorder, the intrusive thoughts could be more aptly described as a persistent and unrelenting preoccupation. In the case of BDD, this preoccupation focuses on personal appearance and attractiveness. In the case of hoarding disorder, the preoccupation centers around possessions.

The intrusive thoughts of people with hoarding disorder are associated with their preoccupation regarding their possessions; specifically, parting with, or losing these possessions. Unlike spontaneous OCD obsessions, intrusive hoarding thoughts and resultant anxiety are not usually activated until faced with the prospect of losing or parting with possessions.

Andy’s preoccupation with his appearance–he always considered himself ugly–could perhaps be construed as a symptom of body dysmorphic disorder, BDD.

By all accounts Andy was not loved, more tolerated. There were, however, many sycophantic hangers on who wanted to share Warhol’s fame. His employees at the Factory called him “scrooge” because of his meanness. But Warhol was inordinately generous to people he wanted to impress, giving paintings and prints to potential clients or advertisers.

Over and above these personality disorders, Andy had several phobias. He was afraid of the dark from childhood. He was inordinately afraid if hospitals and doctors, despite having his own personal physician and regularly visiting dermatologists. It is unclear exactly when this fear of hospitals began; it could have been in his teens when his mother, Julia, was operated on for bowel cancer and ended up with a colostomy. Colacello states that it started n earnest after an operation in March 1969 to remove part of a bullet that remained in his body after he was shot by Valerie Solanas on June 3rd 1968. This inordinate fear was to cause him to delay having his gallbladder removed until his physical condition was poor. Unsurprisingly, Warhol became more paranoid after he was shot. Andy professed to a fear of flying. Early in his career choosing to cross America by car rather than fly. However, he seems to have overcome this later in his lie as he journeyed round the world to exhibitions.

I think we can conclude that Andy Warhol was a tortured soul. Biographical descriptions lead me to conclude that he probably suffered from at least three psychological disorders: narcissistic personality disorder, hoarding disorder and possible body dysmorphic disorder. However, his psychological deficiencies did not prevent him from producing amazing art that still influences twenty-first century art.

Sources:
Bockris, V. The Life and Death of Andy Warhol. 1989
Colacello, B. Holy Terror–Andy Warhol Close Up. HarperCollins, 1990.
Kolb, C. Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder- National Geographic, 2016.
Dillon, B. Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives. Penguin Ireland, 2009.

 

 

 

Andy Warhol by Sir Peter Blake. Post Dedicated to Daniel Brant.

As readers of this blog will know, I collect both Andy Warhol‘s and, not by any coincidence, Peter Blake‘s record cover art.. I would list these great Pop Artists as the equals–Warhol as an exponent of American Pop Art and Blake curiously English.

Andy Warhol died on 22nd February 1987, just 30 years ago. Art lovers, it seems, love and hate him in almost in equal measures. However, Warhol‘s art still causes excitement and discussion. Peter Blake‘s art continues to evolve, now in his 85th year.

In 2009 Sir Peter Blake produced a 355 x 355 mm (14 x 14 in) print of Andy Warhol in an edition of 25, complete with diamond dust. A new, larger (510 x 510 mm) edition 0f 75 was produced in 2016.

Warhol by Blake
Sir Peter Blake’s 2009/2016 print “Andy Warhol”.

This would make a great addition to both my collections! I’m going to start saving up tomorrow.

I dedicate this post to the memory of Daniel Brant of the A and D Gallery, who died on 19th January 2017 and who gave me many insights into Andy Warhol‘s art and gave me the opportunity to meet Sir Peter Blake at the opening of the Gallery’s show Peter Blake‘s “I Love London” in 2010. I suppose it is also an homage to Andy Warhol and Peter Blake, too.

Comic Books Connected to Music & Art – Mauri Kunnas, Klaus Voormann and Catherine Ingram & Andrew Rae.

As a child, my parents frowned on popular culture – unless it was Sinatra or musicals. Comics were a definite “no-no”. So I had to sneak looks at The Eagle, Beano, Dandy and others. I only caught up on Asterix and Tintin much later. This probably explains why, today, I am fascinated by comics; the parental disapproval as well as the obvious evolution of comics as high art–from Roy Lichtenstein onwards.

Mauri Kunnas is is a great illustrator and is well-know as the author of many children’s books. His books are usually populated with animals dressed in human clothes and up to all sorts of adventures. Less well-known is the fact that he plays in a cover band and loves 60s and 70s British bands like the Beatles, Stones and Hollies.

Last year, on a visit to Helsinki, my wife and I went into publishing house Otago’s shop and I saw Mauri Kunnas‘s recently published “Beatles With an A“, in Finnish (original title “Piitles – Tarina erään rockbandin aikutaipaleesta.“). It was a comic strip history of the early life of the Mop Tops up to and including the recording of “Love Me Do“. There was also a version in English  Great research and clever drawings–obviously I had to have it!
kunnas-frkunnas-spreadkunnas-bk

Kunnas has also written a companion book on the Rolling Stones entited “Mac Moose ja Jagge Migreeni tapaus” which, strangely, only seems to be available in Finnish and Portuguese but not in English!

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Mauri Kunnas Finnish book about the The Rolling Stones.

Then for my most recent birthday my daughters, well conversant with my interest in Andy Warhol‘s art,  gave me “Where’s Warhol?” by Catherine Ingram & Andrew Rae. This large-format book is made up of a series of twelve scenes each populated by hundreds of people. These range from Studio 54 through places and times before Andy was born (such as Marie Antoinette’s execution and Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel) to Basquiat in Washington Square. The clever drawings are by Andrew Rae and many celebrities are recognisable in each double spread picture. The game is to identify all of them and to find Andy among the host of figures. Catherine Ingram has written explanatory essays at the end of the book with a key to let one know which celebrities are included in each scene.

The latest addition to my comic library is Klaus Voormann‘s “Birth of an Icon-Revolver 50“. His history of how the Grammy-winning cover for The Beatles‘ seventh album was created. Klaus calls it a”graphic novel”, obviously a misnomer as it is as near as you can get to a true story. I am an ardent admirer of Voormann‘s draughtsmanship and–as readers of this blog will know by now–have spent endless hours searching for records with cover art by him.

The quality of the drawings is amazing. Just imagine (pun intended) how long it must have taken to produce the 32 pages of drawings for the graphic novel–and (if I have counted correctly, a grand total of 166 separate drawings throughout the book! Even with the advantage of digitalising backgrounds so that he only needed to redraw the foregrounds in some pictures, that’s a massive amount of work! Anyway, “Birth of an Icon-Revolver 50” is a genuine treasure.