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KMFDM – PARADISE: Sketches and final art.

Final artwork. Inked by hand and colored in Adobe Illustrator

For the their new album, Paradise, KMFDM supremo, Sasha Konietsko, wanted an artwork that would inspire hope in a world torn apart by tribal rivalries and hatred. As both of us are family men, it seemed appropriate to create an image that would illustrate our state of mind concerning the future of our children and immediately this post-apocalyptic scene popped into my head. Hold them close, teach them well and maybe their generation can accomplish that which we did not.

Sketch one based on an idea by Sascha Konietsko. I originally saw it as a Mad Max-meets-Social Realism propaganda piece but, as the backstory to the scenario grew in my mind, I could see it becoming something more meaningful.
Secondary sketch. Still with the message of hope I wished to create fresh in my mind, I replaced the corny heroism for a quieter dynamic and tried to capture the relationship between father and daughter.
Third sketch. I decided to use a reverse symmetrical angle of the father and daughter to indicate the connection between this scenario and my earlier artwork for KMFDM’s Salvation album in which a young warrior rescues an unconscious woman from the ruins of a destroyed city.
In this initial pencil sketch, the main character had a bow, a knife and a pistol. These were all subsequently removed when Sascha and I agreed that they should be entering the future without weapons.
One of a series of alternative colour and background combinations. The sky in this version was considered too busy and replaced in the final illustration by a huge sun.
This image from the album, Salvation, ties in with the one from the Paradise cover in that the woman the young warrior rescues from the ruined city is the mother of his daughter in the new illustration

NEW!! KMFDM album, Hell Yeah!, drops.

There’s a back story to the image I created for KMFDM’s latest album, Hell Yeah!
Back in 1994, I’d just moved into a new house in West London, renting a studio nearby as a workshop. No sooner had I acquired the keys when I got a call from KMFDM supremo, Sascha Konietsko, who informed me that he had to have the artwork for the band’s new album, asap. I barely had time to assemble my desk before starting the process of creating the image.
Unleashing the hack within me, I copied my face and hand reflected in a shaving mirror, adding the buildings behind almost as an afterthought. Despite the amount of fine detailing, I finished the picture well within my deadline.

Rather than mail it ahead of time, I decided to dwell a while on what I’d drawn, subsequently realising how powerful yet negative the image was. So, using another layer, I drew a cable within reach of the falling man’s hand, offering him a way out (if he chose to take it).

Over the years, it has become one of the images I’ve become most known for. I’ve been approached by people and told that the illustration made them stop and contemplate their lives  before attempting suicide. Somehow, I’d accidentally created a piece of art that spoke to people in a way I’d never consciously considered during its creation.

Fast forward to 2016 and the news that KMFDM, once again, required a new BRUTE! cover.  As I’d just launched the Tweak app, my time had been spent spent absorbing related articles and videos while how our lives are being shaped by smart phone technology was a recurring topic.  During a phone call to Sascha, the idea of updating the Glory cover to address the  concept occurred to me and, over the next few days, I embellished the initial idea into a story of sorts.

I think it’s one of my best.