Dull Tool Dim Bulb has assembled an amazing collection of vintage sleaze paperback cover art, including these by Eugene Bilbrew.
"Bilbrew, an African-American School of Visual Arts student (!) fell into bad company and even worse habits. As he slipped into heroin addiction, his work became even more bizarre. He moved to the rear of a porno bookshop on the deuce. The mob-run publisher he worked for was busted out of business, so he sold his drawings to no less sleazy publishers such as Wizard, Satan and Chevron. Most of these are from Satan. A pall-bearer hits on the widow. An unlikely prison visitor tempts caged psychopaths. A rogue cop harasses an amorous couple out on the beach too late. A shop-class goggles wearing professor aims his student's motorcycle "headlights" into the wind. And of course, the extra-flamboyant dancer against a lime green wall "trips" and falls into the lap of his modern art loving suitor. Never mind that the text had absolutely nothing to do with the cover illustration, this is kitsch of the highest order. These all date to the late 1960's. Several have "saw-cut" slashes, which means they were returned to the distributor unsold. I can not imagine why.
To his credit, I suppose...Bilbrew was one of the few artists doing multi-racial covers at the time. (and the hair-impaired, for that matter) I don't think it helped sales."
See more sleazy covers here
French Book Covers is a blog devoted to none other than French Book Covers. Most of them date pre 1950, and the overwhelming majority of them feature girlie / nudie book art. It's run by the same bloke behind Au Carrefour Etrange, which is a good thing. Below are some of my favorites.
Those paint splattering menaces are at it again! The Stone Roses released their box set a few weeks back and I just had the chance to pick up my copy. The package is absolutely essential to people who forgot just how good this band was.
Those who have seen the band and have seen Ian Brown sing live, know just how important the high profile production work of John Leckie was to creating the sound to these recordings. I was recetnly reading Love's Forever Changes Wikipedia page, when I noticed that the partnership between The Roses and Leckie was apparently solidified when both parties agreed that Forever Changes was "the best record ever made", which explains alot when it comes to explaing the Turns Into Stone sound.
Forever Changes was Love's third record and certainly their best. The album art was done by Bob Pepper, an artist whose ties with Elektra gave him the opportunity to work on some of the most iconic album covers of the late sixties.
Pepper went on to create book covers for Ballantine's Fantasy series, most notable the work of Phillip K. Dick.
When editor/publisher Raymond Foye was visiting his good friend Francesco Clemente, the artist, in Madras, India, once, they decided it would be very cool to publish some sort of arts and literature thing together. They rejected the idea of doing a magazine in favor of starting a small press to publish books (Foye had started working at City Lights bookstore and press at the beginning of his career). Hanuman was the favorite Hindu deity of both men, and they decided to name their press after him. The Hanuman Books series, which includes at least 24 titles by now, has published works by William Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Jack Kerouac, William de Kooning, Robert Frank and other visionary and countercultural writers and artists. The tiny format of the books -- they measure 3" by 4" in size -- is based on prayer books in India. They are hand-made in India, where each little book is colored with deeply saturated tones to produce a limited edition that resonates with the charm and mystical potency of art miniatures around the world. And the books are easy to slip into your pocket and carry around as a sort of talismanic artifact, if that is your inclination, too.
Hanuman is a very popular deity among Hindus. There are many stories about this trickster god. In addition to being the god of grammar, Hanuman is the general of the monkey people. In the epic Ramayana Rama was a great human hero, the son of a king, who eventually became mythologized as an avatar of the important deity Vishnu. When Rama's beautiful and exemplary wife Sita was kidnapped by a powerful demon, Ravana, Hanuman and his monkey people were instrumental in freeing her from captivity on the island of Lanka. The visionary lit and counter-culture press Hanuman Books is named in honor of this delightful figure. According to a blurb posted on Hanuman Books' website, Hanuman is "the son of Vayu, the wind god. He is the conqueror of demons and hostile spirits, god of strength and wisdom, faithful to friend and unselfish servant to Rama. Able to fly and change his shape, he is often depicted as a buffoon-hero in the Ramayana epics. Humble and playful, he is revered in Southern India, where temples are erected in his honor."
I've been collecting these books for a while now and have about a dozen. They're small. Roughly the size of a pack of smokes and about 1/4 as thick. The content is a bit lucid. They've been selling on ebay from $30 - $200 bucks a pop.
Below are examples of design work done by Michael Willis & Lindsey Gooden. I believe they are London based, which explains the slick DIY look that English designers like Peter Saville helped develop. The best part about this is that Willis & Gooden teamed up to form the multi-disciplinary design project Panther Club, which looks to be the most promising English desing duo since Hapshash & the Coloured Coat.
Per Ahlin is a Swedish artist and animator who has animated Picasso's paintings and provided the art for numerous book covers. His film, Sagan Om Karl-Bertil Jonssons Julafton is shown every Christmas Eve in Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Chris Trela (producer of the documenatry Guest of Cindy Sherman) teamed up with photographer Gretchen Berg and counterculture icon, John Wilcock (one of the founders of Interview Magazine & The Village Voice) to reissue the 1971 classic, The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol. They've updated the content with some interesting stories and new photos and kept the entertaining interviews: Taylor Mead, Nico, Viva, Marisol and the rest of the usual suspects in tact. The editors will be discussing the book and signing copies at the Gagosian Shop (988 Madison Ave) on June 24th. From 6-8 pm.
This is a rare exception to the usually unimpressive mix of new Warhol media products that have over saturated the market. The industrious producer/publisher Chris Trela releases this substantive work that is both interesting and entertaining.