Musician art: Jump Lead - my first album cover commission!
Back in September 2019 Nigel Hartnell visited my open studio during the Borough of Ealing Art Trail (BEAT) and he admired my musician art.
The following year, just before lockdown, he contacted me to say he was considering commissioning an artwork of his own band ‘Jump Lead’.
Nigel Hartnell vocalist of Jump Lead performing at farewell gig
He explained they had, sadly, lost their drummer, Lyn, a founding member of the band to cancer late in 2019 and had decided to play a last gig in his memory. The performance was to be recorded and Nigel said he would like the artwork not just to hang on his wall, but for use on the cover of any album they might subsequently produce.
The first part of the commissioning process involved a visit to Nigel's home music studio to see where the artwork would hang. I noted that, on the wall, he already had framed a collection of his favourite vinyl music albums - size 12” x 12".
We discussed his wish for a painting, rather than a drawing - and his budget. And it became clear that, although I couldn’t keep within the budget with an oil painting, I could by creating a digital painting, a skill I had acquired during the pandemic, which take less time to produce.
As a digital painting only exists digitally, each print from it is an original. This meant an added bonus. Instead of a single artwork, I could provide each band member with their own print, vinyl album size.
Jump Lead farewell gig
Nigel says, “When Stella visited my studio she asked if I would like the commission to be a collaboration - as this would be new territory for both of us, I readily agreed.
"I showed her two of my favourite album covers, of 'The Shadows’ and ‘Jefferson Airplane’, with the musicians with their instruments and a strip showing the name of the album - and she suggested using the band’s distinctive yellow and black graphic ‘Jump Lead’ in a similar band across the top.
"I provided her with a photo taken by my wife Kitty of the five members who comprised the band at our 10th anniversary gig. We have had a change of keyboard player since then and there was a space where his picture could be inserted.
Source photo of five of the six Jump Lead members.
"Stella, who spoke a lot to me about using diagonals and circles to direct the viewer’s eye, colours like red that jump forward, and negative space, suggested turning the keyboard on its side and getting the band member to lean on it. It worked well as the red keyboard points downwards towards Lyn and I at the base of the photo.
“Once Stella began painting, she sent regular updates until we were both satisfied that she had captured the likeness of all the band members - and that the composition held together and worked as an album cover. All of us in ‘Jump Lead’ are delighted with the result and I, personally, can’t wait to hang it in my studio!”
Lyn's wife accepting my digital painting of Jump Lead from Nigel Hartnell.
Jump Lead’s farewell gig was held on Saturday 20 November at the Old Deer Park to raise funds for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, where Lyn received much of his treatment throughout his illness.
Artist (left) with Judi, Lyn's wife, at farewell gig with portrait.
Jump Lead t shirt from my Red Bubble Shop (NB now closed to sell fine art Prints & Cards direct from my website)
Nigel Hartnell with in my home studio with my portrait of Jump Lead
All members of Jump Lead who performed at farewell charity gig with Lyn's wife Judi.