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2 January 2012

BEST ART VINYL 2011 Winners announced


THE AWARD CELEBRATING THE BEST OF RECORD COVER ART NAMES BRIGHT EYES, CULTS AND BON IVER AS WINNERS     
1st January 2012: Today, Art Vinyl announces the winner of Best Art Vinyl 2011 with the Bright Eyes LP – The People’s Key taking first place, Cults self-titled debut coming second and Bon Iver’s eponymous effort in third place.  
The 2011 winners display a diverse mix of art and design with the Bright Eyes album’s intensely detailed sleeve designed by Zack Nipper at Saddle Creek, to the strikingly dynamic photographic work on the Cults LP to the quietly beautiful, intricate collage work of Gregory Euclide on the Bon Iver cover.
“With the Best Art Vinyl Award now in its seventh year,” Sarah Reeve, Art Vinyl’s Exhibitions Curator comments, “for 2011 we’ve really seen the award grow. Sleeve art is such an important and evocative part of our music experience but the designers of these works are often overlooked. This award gives us a chance to celebrate the creativity behind the sound.”
“This has been a particularly great year for the award as we have seen a hugely diverse range of styles which are really pushing the boundaries of the record sleeve as an artistic platform. This year there has been lots of new talent mixing with some of the well known names of the sleeve design and art world such as the Tom Hingston Studio, Big Active, Vaughan Oliver and Tappin Gofton. In 2011, it’s not just been graphic designers involved but the musicians themselves, with The Horrors, Brian Eno and Nick Cave amongst others taking part in the artistic process. We’re also excited to see that some big names not usually associated with the music world have entered the world of sleeve design, such as artist Damien Hirst and fashion designer Riccardo Tisci.”
As the winner of Best Art Vinyl 2011, Bright Eyes and sleeve designer Zack Nipper will join a diverse list of other notable bands and artists who have won the award in the past. This includes the winner for 2010, Richard Robinson’s cover for Klaxon’s Surfing the Void, as well as Fleet Foxes self-titled debut LP, whose sleeve featured a painting by 16th century artist Pieter Bruegel, and the prolific contemporary designer Stanley Donwood, whose breathtaking work can be seen on the cover of Thom Yorke’s The Eraser.
Sarah Reeve continues, “We’re looking at a year when vinyl sales in the U.K. have increased again by more than 40% and it seems that music lovers are really searching for added value with their music collection. Vinyl records can provide this as you’re also purchasing a piece of collectible art – we’re pleased to see that record labels are releasing a lot of music (both old and new) on the vinyl format and continuing to invest in a really exciting medium.”
From January 2012, the winners of the Best Art Vinyl 2011 award will be featured in exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia as well as on www.artvinyl.com. All of the designs will be displayed in the unique Art Vinyl Play & Display Flip Frame.

Information on Top 3 Winners

1st
Artist: Bright Eyes
Title: The People’s Key
Record Label: Saddle Creek
Designer: Zack Nipper

2nd
Artist: Cults
Title: Cults
Record Label: Columbia
Designer: Art Direction and Design by Dave Bett and Jeannette Kaczorowski at Sony Music Entertainment

3rd
Artist: Bon Iver
Title: Bon Iver
Record Label: 4AD
Designer: Gregory Euclide

A word from winning designer Zack Nipper:
The basic idea for the artwork came from Conor (Oberst). He wanted it to look like a wall of fire, as this was one of the themes/images of the album. He left the execution up to me, but he said he wanted it to be visually striking.
I used cut paper, as this was the technique I did for the first release I worked on for him--the "Every Day and Every Night" EP from 1999. I thought it would be fitting to return to the original style of artwork I did for Bright Eyes, since at that time the word was that it would be their final album. It was made at roughly actual size as it appears on the LP jacket (three panels wide for the deluxe version). I cut the flames out using a surgical scalpel and glued them onto a board. This was scanned and pieced together in Photoshop. 
The deluxe version of the LP and CD were printed on an iridescent foil, which gave a shimmering effect to the inside and outside of the jackets. They were done at Stoughton Printing, and are the old style "tip on" jackets, tri-fold, with the front flap having die cut flames along the top.
I think first about the vinyl format when designing an album package. I couldn't care less what something looks like as a tiny thumbnail on someone's phone. At that point, does it even matter? Music packaging should be designed for vinyl first, then CD, and MP3 last, because that's the order in which viewing it matters. In my opinion, listening to an LP while viewing jacket artwork is the ideal way to experience an album. Anything other than that is a compromise--for convenience, for cost, etc.”



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