Good fortune shined on me allowing me to be involved with two major musical scenes based in Chicago.
I supported the Wax Trax! scene in the 80’s & early 90’s through my graphic and design work with Interzone, the merchandising company founded by Bill Meiney and Mike Nash. From the 90’s until the present I have been art director for Touch and Go Records. Both of these worlds were born out of the punk ethos and loosely followed the business model of the 50/50 split and the handshake deal set forth by Factory Records.
Musicians in these scenes are highly original and creative individuals in many fields – not only music. Following their own muses without regard to what the major labels of the times would call “their potential”, i.e. mass saleability.
My role as graphic artist and art director wasn’t to put my personal visual stamp on the records but rather help the artist realize their graphic vision. Like an engineer in a recording studio; I know how to use the tools and physical parameters of the packaging to deliver the art in a format that works for the form required (LP, CD, poster, banner…).
Over the years artists have come to me with as little as a snapshot — and I simply had to come up with everything to go with it. While others came to me with fully realized packaging. In those situations, I managed technical issues to bring the project in within budget. I have been a sounding board, a go-between, at times a collaborator and confidant. Some of the most rewarding efforts are working directly with the group or a member or two in the studio; trying out ideas, experimenting with methods, sticking to budgets the best we could — or having budgets raised because the work was deemed deserving of it.
I am proud to have been a key part of creating packaging for these recordings from some of the finest, most original musicians of their time. This site is my thank you to them and all the fans of the music and art.