Street art developed in the seventies and one of the first protagonists in New York was Keith Haring (1958 – 1990). Haring’s graphics found their way onto record covers.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, another New York street artist also designed record covers. This one from 1983 is the cover for Rammellzee vs. K-Rob’s “Beat Bop” 12”.
A growing street culture evolved in Bristol in south west England. Artists like 3D, who would later emerge as Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja, along with many others paved the way for Banksy, the most famous of all Bristol street artists.
Not much is known about Banksy apart from the fact that he is said to have been born in 1974. In the late 1980s he had a studio in the same building as John Stapleton’s Blowpop Records and Stapleton asked him to make a cover for a promotional single for The Capoeira Twins first single “4 x 3”. Banksy used a stencil and spray painted 100 copies.
But this wasn’t Banksy’s first cover. His first commercial sleeve was for a book, not a record. His illustration of a donkey appeared on the cover of Nick Cave’s book “And the Ass Saw the Angel”
In addition to Eastman’s Hombré Records, Banksy was associated with the Wall of Sound label and its subsidiaries. He designed several covers including a second hand sprayed promo for Röyksopp’s “Melody A.M.” album. Again, 100 hand numbered copies were sprayed by Banksy.
But probably the most remarkable album cover for Wall of Sound Records was for the label’s 10th anniversary anthology in 2003. Banksy designed the cover of the three LP set with many of the labels artists pictured on the cover. In addition, there is a further person, said to be Banksy himself, crouching on the right as if spraying paint on the wall!
In 2003, before Banksy had become well-known, Blur commissioned him to design the cover for their new album “Think Tank” released in may 2003 and for the three singles taken from the album.
English rock band Blur was so popular at the time that The Observer newspaper included a five-track CD, also with artwork by Banksy, with the paper on Sunday September 21st, 2003.
Banksy’s portrait of Kate Moss is in the style of Andy Warhol, nicely rounding off this “From Warhol to Banksy” cover story.