Last week, at around 4:30 am est, I was fully engaged in the Boston Bomber manhunt. I had the Boston Police scanner, Reddit, and several Twitter feeds open. This was going my generation’s White Bronco, and I was going to watch it unfurl faster than anyone else, just like how my father sat glued to America’s first 24 hour cable news network twenty years prior.
No updates yet. I refreshed twitter. Still nothing. I refreshed twitter again. Storm Thorgerson is dead. I refreshed twitter again. Police have a suspect in custody.
I didn’t really process that news any more than “one of these things is not like the other,” I was starting to loose steam and I went to the bathroom. That’s when I looked down at my shoes.
I painted these De-Loused in the Comatorium shoes my freshman year of film school on a bored afternoon of too much writing and not enough drawing.
I had actually found out about Storm Thorgerson years before I ever even heard of Cedric or Omar. My mother was a visual artist in her twenties and I was heading in the same direction in my early teens, including the obsession with classic rock.
At the time, I went by the Aol Instant Messager handle, pinkfloydisc001 (that’s Pink Floyd is cool, not Pink Floyd Disc 1 like many thought). My mother bought a me copy of Pink Floyd’s Echoes, which had an extensive booklet of Storm’s art in it. I learned about Storm’s art collective, Hipgnosis, and their work on Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, Black Sabbath’s Technical Ecstasy, and countless other albums I would later download and never truly experience at 12 inches by 12 inches.
The amazing thing about Storm’s art is it never feels dated or trite. We know Dark Side of the Moon came out in the early 70’s, but if it was released today would it look old? It’s hard to believe the same artist who designed ELO’s first full LP would later design AudioSlave’s debut album 30 years later. While many artists today mimic the airbrushed style of 80’s album art ironically, years from now, artists will try to emulate Storm Thorgerson’s distinctive-yet-unpredictable style with complete sincerity.