Friday, December 26, 2008


T-shirt © 2008 Frank Olinsky
I’ve been living in Brooklyn for a long time. About 40 years or so. A lot has changed over that time. Used to be none of my friends would come visit. Now Brooklyn has become a superstar. Why only a few weeks ago they were shooting an episode of Gossip Girl on my corner. Heath Ledger lived down the block and and I didn’t know until after he died. Any way, like it or not things change. One thing that has not changed is my love for this place. I came up with this t-shirt design awhile back. I decided to have a small edition printed up as gifts for friends and family members. In case you were wondering “BKLYN” is an abbreviation for Brooklyn. It has five letters as does the word “rocks” which made for visual symmetry.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Apple. . . BlackBerry. . . Blueberry!

My original idea was to make a laptop computer from a pizza box. Since pizza boxes are square that didn't work out. While visiting Canada this past summer I came across a blueberry box that was just the right size and shape. Brought it back to Brooklyn. It sat around for a while. One day out came the X-acto knife, Elmer's glue, some Fom-Cor, black paper, aluminum foil, Duct Tape, etc. and this construction was born.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Velocity, Deborah Feingold, etc.

It was 1984 and one of the first album packages I got to work on with my studio Manhattan Design was Velocity by the Philadelphia band, The Vels. I still have a warm spot in my heart for this one. It was also the first time I got to work with one of my favorite photographers, Deborah Feingold. Her photos of the band appeared on the back of the LP (yes kids, vinyl). I illustrated the cover based on a portrait Deborah took of the band with odd bits drawn on fomecore and pasted on their faces. (The source photo appears very small on the lower left corner of the back cover.) Drawings of these facial bits also appear full size on the back cover. I also scratched out an inky black and white version of the portrait for a 12 inch single. The silhoutte portrait of Deborah in action is a recent digital recreation of the missing original art which was created with cut paper. The square shape was selected because Deborah shot in square format in those days. She also stood on a blue equipment box when she worked. I’ve been in touch with Deborah just recently. She’s working on a book of her photographs. It will be amazing.

Next New Networks’ Poster Series #2

The second from a series of 12 limited edition posters I am creating for Next New Networks has just been mailed out. This one features the names of each of the Next New Networks inked on top of their N-Bot logo/character. As mentioned earlier on this blog, these posters will be mailed out one per month for a year. The first poster for Barely Political was sent out just before Obama Day (I mean Election Day).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I was alerted to a post on Gawker related to layoffs at MTV. The posting was accompanied by this takeoff of the original MTV logo.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Drive Carefully

Another one from the vault (circa 1975). A cover illustration for a trade publication I don't recall the name of. It was done with watercolors, Luma dyes, and color inks. The article was titled "Money and Trucks." This thing has a strange contemporary resonance. Make up your own story to go with it.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I am really pleased with this poster design and wanted to put it up on my blog right away. I was hesitant because it most likely won't be printed until sometime in the Spring. I didn't want to leak the image and possibly annoy my dear friend and client Fred Seibert for doing so. I just discovered that Fred had already posted the ThreadBanger and other poster design comps here on Flickr. Since it is already on the Web I figured it would be OK for me to post it here. This is one of a series of 12 posters I have been commissioned to create for Next New Networks. They are being mailed out one per month over the course of a year. The first poster for Barely Political was sent out just in time for the election. The drumkit was constructed from a spool of ribbon, spools of thread, buttons, needles, plastic sticks, and a switchplate. The lettering evolved from safety pins, needles buttons and thread. I have suggested a t-shirt featuring the lettering.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Billy

The e-mail displayed in my previous post got me thinking about Billy Idol and MTV days. Here's a book cover illustration and design from back then. The iIllustration was done with Caran D'Ache Neocolor Water-Soluble Artists' Crayons on a black and white xerox.

Don't Need A Gun

Hi Frank,
I just stumbled upon your website as I was looking for an image of the awesome design you did on the back of Billy Idol's Don't Need a Gun 12-inch single, however I couldn't find it on your site.
Anyway, I just wanted to say I was mesmorised by that design as a kid - I used to look at it while the record was playing, and was totally entranced! I liked it so much I traced it on paper, coloured it and stuck it on the cover of one of my high school books! Looked awesome. Anyway, I've been looking for an image of it online as I no longer have the record, and I am thinking of getting the design tattooed on me. Will you put it on your website? Or do you know where I can find an image of it online?
Thanks for making rock look so cool!



I had forgotten all about this drawing. I found a small JPEG (shown above) on some DJ's website. Brendan was right, the artwork is very cool. I sure wish I still had the original

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Burning Down The House

Cover design and interior pix from Violet's 2005 album The Last Cathedral. I always really liked this and still do. Almost burned down my kitchen taking the photos with my dinky digital camera. The smoke detector went bonkers. Your mother was right. Don't play with matches!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Green Energy

Just found this ancient (1975) cover illustration for The Sciences.
Since "green" is so in these days I thought I would post it.

Hey, Don't Look At Me!

I just saw this photo posted on
Yes, I designed the logo.
If you are interested in purchasing shirts
click here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just Vote

Assume nothing. Get out and vote.
Poster design for Barely Political online network.
The first in a series for
Next New Networks

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Secret Machines T-shirt

T-shirt featuring the TSM Recordings logo I designed for the Secret Machines is now available here. The band is currently on tour supporting their just released self-titled album.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Next New Networks Posters

I have begun work on a series of posters for Next New Networks. Details forthcoming as the project unfolds.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Greeting Cards

Some of my illustrations will soon to be available as greeting cards.
Order wholesale from Ray Hooper Design, NYC.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Graphics for some of these T-shirts have appeared in earlier posts. Click on related labels to see details.
Top left: T-shirt originally for Tricycle Magazine's "Change Your Mind Day" (2000)
Top center: Limited edition T-shirt for the band Luna's final shows at the Bowery Ballroom, NYC (February 26, 27 & 28, 2005)
Top right: "Bell Man" T-shirt for So Percussion (back) (2007)
Bottom left: Limited edition Watertower T-shirt for Brooklyn Industries (2007)
Bottom center: Bleacher Bloggers T-shirt ( (2007)
Bottom right: LP Cover Lover T-shirt ( (2008)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

IKEA Brooklyn Coincidence?

Left: (c) 2001 Frank Olinsky
Right: IKEA 2008

Left: (c) 2007 Frank Olinsky/Brooklyn Industries
Right: IKEA 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Coming This Fall

Dogs Waiting for Their Humans: The Blog

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dean and Britta

Friends Dean & Britta (Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips) are re-releasing their long-out-of-print first album L'Avventura as a Digipak with bonus tracks. Package for a forthcoming vinyl edition was also recently prepared.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Secret Machines' New Label

Logo I designed for the Secret Machines' new label TSM Recordings.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I will be profiled in the Fall 2008 issue of Prattfolio, the magazine of Pratt Institute. It will be accompanied by a more recent photo than the one above which was taken when I was a student there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

When I Grow Up

Cover design for Juliana Hatfield's memoir to be published this September.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Time Is Running Out

A promotional calendar for my old studio Manhattan Design and our favorite printer Enterprise Press. I came up with the idea for this calendar after not finding any good ones on the market for 1982. Manhattan Design provided the artwork and design and Enterprise Press donated the printing. Calendars were given out to clients and a small amount were sold in a few stores in Greenwich Village. It featured monthly illustrations based on the "time is running out" theme. Artists included: Mark Marek, Jean Tuttle, Jim Cherry, Futzie Nutzle, Richard Stine, Vivienne Fleischer, Keith Haring, Candy Jernigan, Guy Billout, Gary Panter, Steven Guarnaccia, and yours truly (shown above along with cover and grid for November). I recall there was also a painting by Sue Coe that was rejected by the printer because it was too intense for his taste.

Friday, June 13, 2008

LP Cover Lover

Brand new logo for the incredible website

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cake Like

Illustration done in honor of MTV's first birthday (1982).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Dedringers

Cover for the forthcoming CD Sweetheart of the Neighborhood by young Texas band, The Dedringers. Photo by one of my favorite photographers and dear friend, Keith Carter. We met on a photo shoot for the Jimmie Dale Gilmore album, Spinning Around the Sun in Big Bend, Texas in 1993. I have deeply enjoyed working with both Keith and Jimmie on other projects since that time.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Artists Only

A spread from What The Songs Look Like: Contemporary Artists Interpret Talking Heads Songs (1987). The book was my concept and I got to collaborate with my very favorite band, Talking Heads. I was able to obtain work from many incredible artists including: Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Byrne, Sue Coe, Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Duane Michals, Jim Nutt, Nam June Paik, Gary Panter, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, William Wegman, Tadanori Yokoo and others. To illustrate the song "Artists Only," I painted over a large photo print of myself with a painter's palette worn as a mask. The photo was taken by Caroline Greyshock.

Lynda Barry

I caught up with my old friend Lynda Barry at the Strand Bookstore last evening. So wonderful to see her again. She is truly an inspiration. Go out RIGHT NOW and purchase a copy of her incredible new book What It Is which features exercises from her writing workshop "Writing The Unthinkable" plus a ton of other stuff. Some of Lynda's meditating monkey paintings appear in the current issue of Tricycle magazine.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Give Peace A Chance

Photo taken at Vietnam Moratorium, October 15,1969 in Greenwich Village.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Logo for a very small record company in big old Texas.

Threadless (follow-up)

Follow-up to previous post.
I just learned that my Red Guitar t-shirt design was taken out of competition because of low scores. Oh well. Thanks to all who took time to vote.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I submitted a tee shirt design called Red Guitar to to be voted on and hopefully printed.

If I get enough high scores the shirt will be printed and sold from the site and I will win some prizes. Take a look at it and if you like it, sign up and give it a score.



Monday, May 26, 2008


This piece created sometime in the early '70s was inspired by the Beach Boys song "Cabinessence" which originally appeared on their magical album Smiley Smile (released in 1967). It featured lyrics by the legendary Van Dyke Parks who collaborated with Brian Wilson on a number of genius tunes including "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villans." Decades later I stumbled across Van Dyke Parks' website and discovered that I had just missed the deadline for a contest for pictures inspired by Van Dyke Parks lyrics. Even though the contest had closed and the prizes given out I went ahead and emailed my "Cabinessence" artwork anyway. Much to my total delight I received an email from Mr. Parks saying that he liked my piece very much and I should consider it a runner-up after the fact or something to that effect. (Damn, I wish I had saved that email!)

Oblivion Records

A flattering post related to this drawing and Oblivion Records by my good old friend Fred Seibert.
Click here.

Thanks once again, Fred!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


A favorite painting of mine (197?) and logo design adapted by Perelandra Natural Foods Center for their new eco-friendly canvas bags. I asked my friend and owner Steve Hoose: "How long ago did I do that logo?" He replied:"Very very long ago."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Loving the Alien(s)

I was asked to create this drawing of David Byrne and some alien buddies to promote his limited edition Illy espresso cup collection (2001). I first met David when we worked together on the book What The Songs Look Like: Contemporary Artists Interpret Talking Heads Songs. The preface of that book featured a portrait I drew of David in the style revisited in this illustration.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Selected Reject: Best of Luna

Rejected cover for Best of Luna. Photo taken back in the swinging '60s by the legendary David Bailey. The leggy girl in white is the likewise legendary model, Penelope Tree. (Dig the wine and vinyl on the floor). Luna loved my idea for the cover as did the record company art department. Much to my surprise and joy, permissions were obtained from Mr. Bailey and Ms. Tree. Apparently the party people had sufficiently obscurred faces (cropped or wearing sunglasses -- digitally added in the case of the girl on the left) to be legally passable. Unfortunately the record company lawyers nixed use of the photo because they couldn't track down the full-faced fellow with the shiny jacket passed out on the sofa. (Someone said he was in the band Procol Harum). Too bad.

Sound + Vision

Cover design and dummy spreads from a book proposal (circa 2000). Named after the David Bowie song from his ground-breaking album, Low.

A collection of paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, etc. created by contemporary musicians.

Would have been the third book in a sort of trilogy following What The Songs Look Like: Contemporary Artists Interpret Talking Heads Songs (Harper & Row,1987) and Buddha Book: A Meeting of Images (Chronicle Books, 1997).

Potential contributing musician/artists included: Terry Allen, Laurie Anderson, Melissa Auf der Maur, Beck, David Bowie, David Byrne, John Cage, Kurt Cobain, Billy Corgan, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, Perry Farrell, Chris Frantz, Jerry Garcia, Kim Gordon, John Lennon, Tony Levin, John Mellencamp, Natalie Merchant, Joni Mitchell, Meredith Monk, Thurston Moore, Bill Nelson, Yoko Ono, Liz Phair, Iggy Pop, Lee Ranaldo, Lou Reed, Todd Rundgren, Patti Smith, Michael Stipe,
Suzanne Vega, Don Van Vliet, Victoria Williams, and Ron Wood. (Keep in mind this list was compiled about eight years ago).

Approximately 50 pieces of art accompanied by a small photo of the musician/artist, a brief statement by each contributor about the relationship between music and visual art, and specifications of the work (title, date, size, etc.)

Foreward by a notable artist, best-selling author or musician/artist (possibly Laurie Anderson).

Introduction (possibly by Oliver Sacks) discussing the connections between music and visual art.
(Note: this was my idea about ten years before Oliver Sacks’ best-selling book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain).

The book proposal was rejected by about a dozen publishers.

Although my agent was unable to place this project, I made some new friends during the process. Most notably the amazing British musician, Bill Nelson.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Zaz Turned Blue

Recently stumbled across these front and back comps done for a single by the band WAS (Not Was). I created them in 1983. The Bart Simpson-like punk silhouette head popped out here four years before The Simpsons shorts first appeared on The Tracy Ullman Show. The Simpsons got their own show several years after that. "Zaz Turned Blue," with vocals by Mel Torme (The Velvet Fog), was not released as a single, but did appear on the album Born To Laugh at Tornados.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita was a limited edition Italian only release LP Duran Duran box set (1986). The box contained their first five albums on vinyl: Duran Duran, Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Arena, and Notorious. It also included a large poster of the Notorious cover. I created the design and Pan/angel character which was gold foil stamped on the box cover. The overall effect was like a large box of chocolates.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lost in Translation

Special collector's limited edition package designed for the 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged CD (1993). Manufactured in Nepal with handmade and handprinted paper in conjunction with The Body Shop's Trade-Not-Aid Program. I recall being told that the band name and album title when translated into Nepali became something like: "A lot of crazy people. Wooden music." (Always thought Wooden Music would make a wonderful album title.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Logo design for the Stingaree Music Festival. It is happening this weekend: April 18, 19 and 20 in Crystal Beach, Texas.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


While we're back visiting the '80s, here is the final cover for The Cars Greatest Hits and two of my preliminary sketches. I found some really cool metal toy cars made in India. Lots of airbrushing was involved. This was before Photoshop.

Takin' care . . .

. . . of some serious '80s business.

Walking on Sunshine

Katrina and the Waves? How '80s is that? Entrance to my old studio, Manhattan Design, circa 1985. Portfolios on the floor were dropped off by photographers and illustrators to be reviewed by myself and my partners Patti Rogoff and Pat Gorman.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Disc Designs

A selection of CD label designs.