Sarah Larnach on collaborating with Ladyhawke

Artists and musicians have a long history of creating kick-ass culture-defining album covers. Think Storm Thorgerson and Pink Floyd, Warhol and the Velvet Underground, Peter Blake and The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s. And that’s just one era. Closer to home, the collaboration between illustrator Sarah Larnach and  Ladyhawke has been bubbling away with Sarah’s most recognizable work being the Ford Thunderbird traveling down a  watercoloured desert road in 2008’s My Delerium video. That is until now. Sarah Larnach gave us the lowdown on how the two have been at it again.

In 2011 I revisited my collaboration with the musician Ladyhawke, after the very successful self titled first album that I supplied all the art for in 2008. For her new album ‘Anxiety‘,  we were looking for a bit more maturity in the artwork, and found ourselves really liking the idea of strong and simple ink work with a little shading and a lot of line. Encouraging people to get physical copies of the records is a responsibility, so we want the covers to be classic and collectable, as well as something that the fans and critics will paw over and study. This time around I’ve been quite obvious about hiding stuff in the image; animals and hands and miniature Ladyhawke’s claw their way our of her mane. We also managed to timelapse the creation of the artwork (see below) as a teaser to the album release. The final painting is quite cropped on the album cover, but as a promotion early buyers of the album will get a limited edition print of the full artwork.

I’m also pretty proud of the work I created for her website. It features a dark and psychedelic background skin, elaborate borders and frames made of chainlink, hair and beasts.  The elements were all painted in ink before being assembled as digital graphics.

Somewhere in the rush of getting all these things done, we needed to make the first single cover too… and we liked it so much that I included it in the album package as well. The cover for the single ‘Black, White And Blue‘ has Ladyhawke’s face almost obscured by the vintage camera she’s holding- the camera keeps it in theme with the music video for the song. Between promotional commitments and making that music video, Ladyhawke came over to my studio and we nutted out the artwork concept, dug out a vintage camera, and had a two minute photoshoot using the iMac ‘Photobooth’ function. Referencing the 3 grainy, back-to-front photos that produced, I painted up the ‘Black, White and Blue’ cover, with a few deaths-head moths (more of which feature in the album package) in the mix for good measure! Enjoy.

– Sarah.