My Uncle Peter, aka Geoffrey, was the famous musician member of the family when I was a child. My Mum’s brother has been touring far-flung corners of the world for as far back as I can remember, appearing on stage and on album covers, on telly and in music mags. Courtesy of Uncle Peter - who professionally uses the name Geoffrey, just like his musician Dad before him - I’ve met famous people, learned that name-dropping at school can get you favours and admiration, and been to a celebrity wedding aged 11 (at which I had my first experience of drunkenness with naughty Welsh cousin Ellie, having uncovered the yacht’s champagne stash).
Starting out at art college, becoming a painter and sculptor, my ‘artistic’ side was often thought to have flowed down that side of the family mixing with the cinematography, music and typographic influence on my Dad’s side. Thus as I got older it was often thought inevitable that at some point, we’d get the chance to work together.
Still as busy as ever with a production house and recording studio of his own, and still touring and gigging like a man possessed, my Uncle Peter is today married to yoga teacher Liz and living in medieval Canterbury within a viola bow’s distance of the cathedral. I was surprisingly nervous and excited to be asked if I would design the cover for his solo album, Garden of Love, because international mega-clients and eye-watering deadlines are one thing, working for The Family (read that in an Eastenders voice) is quite another.
I had a few listens to the album before going straight in with the tiniest little ink sketch on the title - y’know, just to tide label Cherry Red over for the Amazon/distributor listings - then went ahead and produced about 20 different suggestions for an album cover. Now I’ve made this mistake before, because, as is often the way, the first design seen was the one the client had fallen in love with, and there was a moment of bemusement as I slightly-nervously presented idea after idea to a face that was saying ‘but love, we've already chosen!’
Not to mention the making of an immaculate mock-up - seems legit? (note harsh creative overseers (my ma and pa) in the background)
I spent a whole day spent drawing gerberas in ink - the kind of indulgent ‘just drawing' that really doesn’t happen enough - which was followed by the painstaking hand-writing of the credits, track list and other bits that belong on an album cover. No typesetting!
And released by Cherry Red on October 30th, you can buy it directly here and here is how the final album looked in the end!
Uncle Peter is very pleased with it, and thus the need for me to avoid family gatherings for the next five years has been awesomely swerved. For now.
You can buy the album directly from Cherry Red here.