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.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dunny Wailer

In Spring 2004, Kid Robot invited 50 artists create versions of a new vinyl action figure called DUNNY. Each artist was provided with a large-scale blank prototype that they could customize in any way they wanted. The finished DUNNYs were exhibited at Visionaire Gallery in SoHo. The figure I created with Anne Doran began as a take-off on the name of one of reggae music’s all-time greats, Bunny Wailer. I must admit Dunny Wailer really didn’t fit in with the predominant style of vinyl figures. A bit too funky. One Love!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Money for Nothin' and Chicks for Free

A recent e-mail exchange:


I am working on a feature for (name withheld) magazine called "Rock's Secret Millionaires" that focuses on people whose work may be well known but whose names/stories probably aren't. (in-demand songwriters, session musicians, inventor of the Walkman, etc.) I know you designed the MTV logo, but I was curious as to whether you have subsequently retained the copyright to the image or had any sort of deal where you got a cut of merchandise sold with the image on it. Essentially, I'm trying to ascertain in the least tacky way possible whether you would qualify, however loosely, as a "millionaire." I apologize in advance for not finding a more graceful way of figuring this out.
Let me know if you can help me out.

Dear D.,
Thanks for writing. And thanks for your tactful approach to the subject. Let's just say it's a classic blues musician story. Millionaire? Far from it. Good luck with your article. I'll read it.
Best, Frank

I figured as much. I suppose it's not surprising that in researching this story I've come across more people with stories like yours than those who have actually gotten the money due to them.
Take care,

Dear D.,
In the words of the great David Lindley, "Pay Bo Diddley (Pay Little Richard Too)."
Best, Frank

Sunday, April 6, 2008

3 Wise Monkeys, Philip Glass

I've always loved Japanese and Chinese stamps (or chops), especially the red ink stamps on Zen calligraphy and paintings. My 3 wise monkeys stamp (or chop) was based on small figurines I saw at the Gandhi Museum in India. I use it on letters and such.

Diary Entry:
Sunday, March 1, 1992

This afternoon we visited Gandhi's Memorial Park and Museum. I saw people in the most intense colors -- primarily oranges, golden yellows, magentas and reds. Like flowers. I can't help observing the contrast of filth, grime, pollution with the brightness and joy of color.

Gandhi's Museum had all sorts of photos and objects relating to his life and teachings.I wanted to shoot some photos of displays but hesitated both because I thought they wouldn't come out and because it didn't feel proper.

A few of my favorite displays were: a small inset with the words "His Masters" in English and Hindi under tiny figurines of 3 monkeys with their hands over their ears, eyes and mouths (hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil) which in turn were under a small crude set of wood mala beads. Also a replica of his room, a pocket watch (I didn't know Gandhi had a pockets) and 3 of his teeth.

The greatest impact was entering a room containing a glass case enclosing his blood stained garment and a bullet removed from his body. I actually "felt" a tangible energy. I also saw some photos which reminded me of Philip Glass's opera "Satyagraha." . . .

Men of Peace

I recently attended the annual Tricycle magazine benefit. The evening’s events were dedicated to Gandhi’s teachings and included comments about The Satyagraha Forum (see previous post); Philip Glass and Tony Boutte performing an excerpt from Satyagraha, Glass’s opera about Gandhi in South Africa, a speech by the Executive Director of the ACLU; and the Indian diva Falu and her rock band performing, among other things. Gandhi’s favorite song (I didn’t know he had one). Got me thinking about my long relationship with Tricycle. This is the the first of over 40 covers I designed for the publication; it featured a striking photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama taken by Herb Ritts. Looking at this cover in turn connected me strongly with thoughts and feelings about the current situation in Tibet and China.

The Satyagraha Forum

Logo designed for The Satyagraha Forum, a new organization established to raise awareness of the life of Mahatma Gandhi and to explore the relevance of his teachings on non-violence to our own time. The logo is seen here with an unpublished portrait of Gandhi.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Another construction. This one a robo-portrait of my longtime friend and media wizard Fred Seibert. It appeared on the Happy New Year 2006 poster for his company, Frederator.