Visualized spotlights visual artists in the music world.
Dive into the imaginative and infinitely colorful mind of visual artist Erik Kirtley.
I’m a 23 year old Swede who just moved to Gothenburg, the home of Little Dragon, Jens Lekman and José Gonzales. I’m soon to be a student at the School of Design and Crafts here in town. I used to draw as a kid, discovered Photoshop at age eleven, started drawing manga characters in junior high, got caught on photography and graphic design in high school and later attended preparatory (not the fancy kind) art school and preparatory design school.
Besides creating graphics, my biggest passion is listening to music, so it came quite naturally to want to create artwork for musicians. Creating artwork for music is basically trying to describe in an image what the music makes you feel. It can be a really amazing feeling, especially when you get free hands with the artwork.
Do you have to go to a happy place when making art? If so, what does your happy place look like?
Physically, that happy place is in a clean studio/work place surrounded by other creative people, inspirational art and all the tools one could think of. Mentally it’s in that moment of sheer inspiration that gets me in a creative flow. That’s a wonderful feeling.
What is your hands-down favorite album artwork of all time?
I’m going to have to say that piece by Scott Hansen again (pictured above), although it’s for a single and not an album. Other than that I’d have to say almost any album cover made by Reid Miles, Blue Note’s graphic designer (pictured below).
If you could hop into the skin of one artist for a day, new or old, who would it be?
Reid Miles most definitely, just imagine being able to create artwork for all those amazing jazz musicians on Blue Note! Either him or Saul Bass who also had a simple, but genius aesthetic (pictured below).
How does it feel when you see your artwork attached to a piece of music?
It’s always a great feeling, but seeing your artwork printed on a vinyl sleeve and getting to hold a copy of your own, now that’s an incredible feeling. It’s happened once so far, with the Teams vs. Star Slinger EP that was released on Mexican Summer. I’m hoping I’ll get to experience that feeling sometime soon again.
If your artwork was a musician, what musician would it be?
Oh wow, that’s a tough one, hmm… I’d probably have to say Miles Davis or Machinedrum, or any other musician with a style always evolving and changing direction, yet never sounding like anybody else. I’m not saying my artwork is anywhere near as genius or original as the music of the two musicians previously mentioned, haha, but I at least try to do the same thing with my art.
Any new pieces in the works?
I’m currently working on artwork for a single by Waves and Waves, a Bibio fan art piece, a secret project and just a bunch of personal projects. I thought I’d focus on personal projects this last week before uni starts, since there will most probably not be much time for that once I’m back in school again.