Archive for the ‘Faces’ Category

Barney Bubbles, July 30 1942 – November 14 1983: A celebration in rare and previously unpublished images and artworks

Thursday, November 14th, 2013
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//Barney Bubbles with poster/programme for Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ Armed Forces tour, west London, 1979. Photo courtesy Chalkie Davies//

In celebration of the creative legacy of Barney Bubbles – who died on this day 30 years ago – here is a selection of rare and previously unpublished images and artworks.

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//Drawing of Odeon cinema facade, Richmond, south-west London from early 60s student sketchbook. © Barney Bubbles Estate//

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//Credit to “the magnificent Barney Bubbles”, Oz 38, 1972//

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//Ident for Kevin Coyne’s 1973 LP Marjory Razorblade. © Barney Bubbles Estate//

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//Photobooth shot from Stiff Records day out, 1977//

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//Bubbles (left) with Suzanne Spiro, Jake Riviera, Cynthia Lole, Paul Conroy and Dez Brown at Stiff Records offices, from Melody Maker, August 6, 1977. Photo: Barry Plummer//

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//Single sleeve proofs for Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ giveaway 45 Talking In The Dark/Wednesday Week, December 1978//

 

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//FBeat Records letterhead, 1980//

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//Profile, pen and ink on art board, 1983. © Barney Bubbles Estate//

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//Profile, pen and ink on art board, 1983. © Barney Bubbles Estate//

6_15d_Art

//Pen and ink on art board. The sparkplug, along with the lightbulb, was one of the recurring motifs of Bubbles’ later work. © Barney Bubbles Estate//

Read here for recent examples of Bubbles’ pervasive influence.

 

Did Barney Bubbles forge the Psychedelic Furs/John Piper connection?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

//Top: Abstract 1, John Piper, 1935; above: Front cover, Danger, The Psychedelic Furs, CBS, 1982//

One of the hallmarks of Barney Bubbles’ body of work is the elevation of the methods of art historicism.

While perusing a copy of the early 80s exhibition catalogue Circle: Constructive Art In Britain 1934-40 last week I came across John Piper’s Abstract 1, one of a series of investigations into abstraction by the artist in this period.

//Front cover, Circle: Constructive Art In Britain 1934-40, edited by Jeremy Lewison, Kettle’s Yard Gallery, 1982//

//Reproduction of Abstract 1 in Circle (Left) with sections of John Cecil Stephenson’s Painting, 1937, and Freidrich Vordemberge-Gildewart’s Composition no 94, 1935 (right)//

Abstract 1 in particular chimes with the Bubbles’ painting incorporated into the design for the front cover of The Psychedelic Furs’ single Danger.

//Abstract 1, oil and commercial paint on canvas, 917cm x 1065cm, Tate Britain//

//Composition, oil on canvas, 55.4 x 68 cm, 1937, Ashmolean//

//Abstract 1935, gouache and collage, 1935, Pallant House Gallery//

The Furs’ single was released in 1982, the year Circle was mounted at Cambridge gallery Kettle’s Yard to reflect on the outpourings of pre-WWII modernism from Piper, as well as such artists as Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson.

As Bubbles’ work in his final years grew increasingly reductive, his preoccupations became aligned with those of early 20th century artists, in particular regarding the simplification of natural forms to geometric essentials.

This was combined with his fascination for constructing faces from unusual elements – as explored a few years back here – in the Danger design.

I don’t know whether Bubbles visited Circle or was even aware of the show, but it’s pleasurable to contemplate the ways in which this master designer invigorated his work – en route achieving maximum engagement with his audience – by drawing on the relatively recent history of art and design.

Buy copies of Circle: Constructive Art In Britain 1934-40 here.

Pearl Harbour and her Blockhead carrier bag

Monday, December 31st, 2012

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Thanks to Kosmo Vinyl for digging this out of his archive; a late 70s shot of performer Pearl Harbour strolling along east London’s Bow Road clutching a carrier bag bearing that ubiquitous Barney Bubbles design, the Blockhead logo.

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From here to hear: Design for Keith Allen’s unreleased pirate radio station album

Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Front, Programme 1 by Station BPR, the unreleased pirate radio album by Keith Allen. Design: Barney Bubbles. 1983.

//12" x 12" proof, front cover, Programme 1, 1983.//

Programme 1 was to be the second release on Utility, the label launched by music business manager Peter Jenner (Ian Dury, Pink Floyd etc) through Charisma in 1983.

As detailed here, the album purporting to be a broadcast by London pirate radio station BPR was conceived and performed by Keith Allen with appearances by others including the late actor David Rappaport.

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Kate Moross’s fabulous video triptych at White Noise

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Kate Moross's Barney Bubbles Triptych at White Noise in Chaumont, France May 26-June 10.

A popular element of the Barney Bubbles exhibition within the recent graphics/music group show White Noise: Quand Le Graphisme Fait Du Bruit was the cubicle housing designer Kate Moross’s Barney Bubbles video triptych.

Cubicle housing Kate Moross's Barney Bubbles Triptych at White Noise in Chaumont, France May 26-June 10.

Kate Moross's Barney Bubbles Triptych at White Noise in Chaumont, France May 26-June 10.

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Ian Dury + JCC: The joy of songbooks

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Front, John Cooper Clarke Directory, 1979. Design Barney Bubbles.

//Front, John Cooper Clarke Directory, Omnibus Press, 1979. 10" x 7", 52pp (inc covers).//

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//Front, Ian Dury Songbook, Wise Publications, 1979. 12" x 9", 68pp (inc covers).//

In 1979 pop songbook design was shaken up by Barney Bubbles and the artist Derek Boshier, who had come together to collaborate on the group exhibition Lives.

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Bob Andrews’ Cracking Up grin

Friday, April 20th, 2012
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Top: Detail, Music press ad for The Rumour, 1979. Below: Detail, front cover, Cracking Up, Nick Lowe, 1979.

The collaged waving hand/face on the sleeve of Nick Lowe’s 1979 single Cracking Up is one of Barney Bubbles’ most recognisable creations, assisted into prominence by its usage on the front of Reasons To Be Cheerful.

The toothy grin was clipped from a photo of keyboard-player Bob Andrews, one-time colleague of Lowe’s in Brinsley Schwarz (and before that in 60s pop band Kippington Lodge) and one of Graham Parker’s collaborators as a member of The Rumour.

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Posters centre-stage of V&A’s British Design show

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Double sided fold-out tour programme/poster for Ian Dury & The Blockheads, designed by Barney Bubbles 1978.440

Promotional poster/double-sided fold-out tour programme for Ian Dury & The Blockheads, 1978. 59cm x 84cm.

Ian Dury With Love, 60in x 40in poster for the 1977 Live Stiffs tour, designed by Barney Bubbles.440

Ian Dury With Love, 60in x 40in poster, 1977.

These two stunning Barney Bubbles posters will be taking centre stage in the graphics section of the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition British Design: 1948-2012.

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Yet another Barney Bubbles design emerges

Monday, May 23rd, 2011
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7in sleeve + record with custom label. Stretcher Case Baby/Sick Of Being Sick, The Damned, Stiff Records, 1977.

A backlog has been steadily building of Barney Bubbles designs to be added to the singles + album sleeves section of this site.

We’ll be getting round to sorting the listings out soon with much more fabulous artwork, but the recent contact with Kosmo Vinyl has spurred on the addition today of Bubbles’ sleeve for The Damned’s free single Stretcher Case Baby/Sick Of Being Sick, issued in the summer of 1977 to celebrate the first anniversary of the band’s debut gig.

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Kosmo Vinyl on Barney Bubbles + Ian Dury

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

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Kosmo Vinyl has sent this photograph taken of himself with Barney Bubbles (centre) and an unidentified person (right)* in the west London offices of Stiff Records in 1977.

“I have no idea what we are looking at,” says Vinyl, the former plugger/publicist/ideas man for Dury and The Clash who later became a record producer.

“The way I’m holding whatever it is,  I’d say it’s a book or a magazine. I love the way it captures Barney’s enthusiasm and amazement.”

Vinyl has also provided some fascinating tales and insights into the creative partnership conducted between Bubbles and the late Ian Dury.

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