Marra’s comic-book style illustration for Kaytranada and Suicideyear’s Bromance EP10 uses a colour scheme based on the 64-colour palette used by US comics in the 1970s and 80s, and features a woman crying and waving a pistol at a man in a purple tuxedo.
“I wanted to create a picture that tells a story and has context. I don’t want a drawing that will just look cool – I always want to weigh it down with some kind of narrative that the viewer can engage with,” he explains.
“What I liked about the music was its sexiness and romance, so I wanted to create an image that would capture that feeling. As a subject, we chose this moment of tension between two characters and I’d like viewers to create the back story of how they arrived at this moment and what will come next for them,” he adds.
Marra is the creator of comic book series Night Business and was named one of the Art Directors’ Club’s Young Guns in 2006. He has worked on illustrations for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vice, Marvel Comics and Wieden + Kennedy and on album artwork for rappers and rock bands. He was approached by Bromance in April this year.
“Some of my favourite artists and friends have provided art for Bromance – like C.F. And Jonny Negron. They [Bromance] were interested in letting me do what I wanted and giving me creative freedom, so I worked on about six or eight sketches to present to them. I was excited about each of the sketches and would have been happy to do any, but I’m happiest with the one we ended up using,” he adds.
Bromance was launched in 2011 by Louis Brodinski and Manu Barron. Each of the label’s releases features a radically different design by a visual artist. Past collaborators include Netherlands-based designer Viktor Hachmang, art director Hassan Rahim and visual artist Jesse Auersalo.
“I spent my childhood buying records and building my musical collection through graphics. I would buy the worst records, just for the covers – hopefully with Bromance, we’ve been able to mix both [good graphics and good music],” says Barron, a design graduate who worked in advertising before turning to the music industry.
Bromance selects artists whose work they find interesting or exciting – there is no set criteria and no brief given. Both big names and young designers have been commissioned to produce Bromance EPs, and each artist is given around three weeks to complete a project.
“It usually starts with us saying ‘I love your stuff, would you be interested in working with us? We don’t have a lot of money but it should be fun’,” explains Marron.
“I’ve only refused an artwork once, because I was certain the artist hadn’t listened to the music. Allowing the artists to have carte blanche on their creations seems right and allows us to launch new projects as quickly as possible with the budget we have,” he adds.
Bromance Records EP10 feat. Kaytranada and Suicideyear is out now and available on iTunes.
Images (from top): EP10 by Benjamin Marra; EP5 by Jonas Delaborde; EP3 by Viktor Hachmang; EP9 by Sarah Esteje; EP6 by Jesse Auersalo; EP4 by Hassan Rahim; SPE (Lana Del Rey) by Leslie David and EP1 by CF.
Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.
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