10 Contemporary Artists And Iconic Album Arts They Made

  • by Cielo Serale

For years, contemporary art has grown beyond the canvas. Aside from street art and innovative installations, art has also been applied to almost everything that we consume daily. Tapping through your music streaming app can even make you consume art without even knowing it. Because music is all about sound and rhythm, album art often gets passed on simply as accompanying visuals. Among the many album arts we've all come across with, a good lot is done by contemporary artists or have been appropriated from their works. Here are some album Rearrange DeleteFor years, contemporary art has grown beyond the canvas. Aside from street art and innovative installations, art has also been applied to almost everything that we consume daily. Tapping through your music streaming app can even make you consume art without even knowing it. Because music is all about sound and rhythm, album art often gets passed on simply as accompanying visuals. Among the many album arts we've all come across with, a good lot is done by contemporary artists or have been appropriated from their works. Here are some album arts that were done by artists from the contemporary scene:arts that were done by artists from the contemporary scene:

Andy Warhol Velvet Underground.
Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

1. Andy Warhol for The Velvet Underground

The ever-controversial album cover is used for The Velvet Underground's 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico. Earlier copies of the album were reported to have the phrase "peel slowly and see" and once done, the yellow banana reveals a flesh-colored banana underneath. Reissued versions of the record did not have any peel-off banana stickers. The album cover is deemed controversial for the lawsuits that surround both the front and back covers like the case against The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.; the foundation was sued for licensing the banana design for iPhone and iPad cases.

Keith Haring David Bowie
Photo courtesy of Discogs

2. Keith Haring for David Bowie

Prominent street artist Keith Haring illustrates David Bowie's song "Without You". The song speaks love and connection as seen on the album art, showing two people seemingly hugging each other. Personally, Bowie was also an avid collector of works by Haring and Haring was a music enthusiast himself making this collaboration one for the books.

Photo courtesy of MoMA

3. Barbara Kruger for Consolidated

Rock band Consolidated taps activist and conceptual artist Barbara Kruger to create the cover of their album Business of Punishment. The cover shows the iconic Kruger style of collage—an image overlayed by a text block, all in black, white, and red. The political theme of the album proves Kruger perfect for the job. The album is about the hidden power of corporate control—a theme both dear to the artist and Kruger.

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

4. Young & Sick for Foster the People

Dutch artist and musician Nick van Hofwegen—of Young & Sick as you know him—has been making album arts for Foster the People since their debut with the album Torches. The artist's work has now been known as an integral part of the band's identity and as they continue to use van Hofwegen's works for their album arts. Part of his collaboration with Foster the People is the abstract surrealist Supermodel mural he did which became the largest in the West Coast.

Photo courtesy of Genius


5. Honno for Offonoff and Epik High

Visual artist Honno is not new to the album art industry. The South Korean artist has made album art for the debut album of lo-fi duo Offonoff Boy and South Korean hip-hop trio Epik High for their recent EP Sleepless in __________. Honno creatively displays a multitude of techniques and styles when creating his works making each one unique to its nature.

Photo courtesy of Mutual Art

6. Yoshitomo Nara for Absynthe Minded

Japanese artist Yoshimoto Nara has been known for creating works that portray children or animals in both sweet and sinister nature. His works are mostly inspired by pop culture and have been created under a spiritual point of view. He created the album art for rock band Absynthe Minded's album There is Nothing, showing a child seemingly singing as she plays with a guitar.

Photo courtesy of NME

7. Takashi Murakami for Kanye West

Graduation is an iconic album indeed. As Kanye West rises in the industry, the grammy-winning singer takes his album to greater scopes as he collaborates with Takashi Murakami for the album art. The surreal visuals represent that of Kanye's rise. This album art has made Murakami's name soar in the scene when he was only a budding artist rattling the contemporary art scene. True to the album art, this indeed was the beginning of both artists' rise to ultra stardom. Murakami has later collaborated against with West for Kids See Ghosts, an eponymous album by the duo composed of Kanye West and Kid Cudi.

Photo courtesy of Apple Music

8. Yayoi Kusama for Towa Tei

In 2013, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama appeared on the music video of Towa Tei's Radio. Along with this, Kusama painted the album art for Towa Tei's 2013 album Lucky.

Photo courtesy of The Guardian

9. Ai Wei Wei for Day & Taxi

Contemporary Jazz band Day & Taxi works with Chinese contemporary artist Ai Wei Wei for their live EP. The EP, featuring live performances at Shenzhen, China, also features a photograph by Ai. Released in 2005, the vinyl record has 6 live tracks. The following year, the band has also tapped Yoshitomo Nara to do the album art for Out.

Photo courtesy of Apple Music

10. James Jean for Linkin Park

James Jean and Linkin Park have gone through an extensive design process in the making of not just one but various designs for the rock band's album The Hunting Party. First seen as art for the single "Until It's Gone," James Jean has also participated in creating merchandise for the band, including a Chester Bennington tribute shirt.