No disrespect to the rap phenomenon Drake, but I stand corrected when I say that there was twice as much buzz about the artist’s album cover art this year than then actual album (sorry!). But, with that being said, we’ve seen plenty of music stars turn to the fine arts for inspiration when it comes to album art. Kanye employed the genius of fine artist George Condo to create not one, not two, but FIVE masterful covers for his ‘My Dark Twisted Fantasy’; Fiona Apple’s album art for ‘The Idler Wheel...’ is a poignant mix of abstract expressionism and textbook surrealism, while Lady Gaga’s ‘ARTPOP’ was spearheaded by the infamous Jeff Koons. But it was Drake’s ‘Nothing Was the Same’, which featured two beautifully painted scenes of a young Drake and present day portrait amongst a landscape of clouds and sky that had everyone asking ‘Who created this?’
Fine artist Kadir Nelson is a photo-realistic painter who got his degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and has since been creating works of art for the likes of Coca-Cola, The US Postal Service and Dreamworks SKG. Nelson’s works are at home in some of the most prestigious institutions and public/private collections such as The US House of Representatives, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and in the living rooms of countless celebrities, sports figures and actors.
Not only does Kadir Nelson get commissioned by institutions but he’s also the creator of various book covers. The multi-faceted artist is known for his bold colors, eye-catching composition and technical ability making every Kadir Nelson piece recognizable and undoubtedly his.
Today, Nelson resides in San Diego, California and although he’s been compared to other artists like Kehinde Wiley, Nelson’s paintings have an ethereal humanness that depicts strength and triumph, partly due to the fact that Nelson’s subjects are, oftentimes, ‘larger than life’ personalities.
You can learn more about Kadir Nelson by visiting his website.