Russell Mills (artist)

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Russell Mills is a British artist who was born in Ripon, Yorkshire, United Kingdom in 1952. He has produced record covers and book covers for Brian Eno, the Cocteau Twins, [1] Michael Nyman, David Sylvian, Peter Gabriel, and Nine Inch Nails. [2]

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, informally as Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Brian Eno English musician, composer, record producer and visual artist

Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI is an English musician, record producer, and visual artist best known for his pioneering work in ambient music and contributions to rock, pop, electronic, and generative music. A self-described "non-musician", Eno has helped introduce a variety of conceptual approaches and recording techniques to contemporary music, advocating a methodology of "theory over practice, serendipity over forethought, and texture over craft" according to AllMusic. He has been described as one of popular music's most influential and innovative figures.

Cocteau Twins British band

Cocteau Twins were a Scottish rock band active from 1979 to 1997. They were formed in Grangemouth by Elizabeth Fraser (vocals), Robin Guthrie, and Will Heggie (bass), with Heggie replaced by multi-instrumentalist Simon Raymonde in 1983.

Contents

As a recording artist he has collaborated with many musicians, for example David Sylvian, Ian McCulloch and Peter Gabriel. He has released 3 CDs with his recording project Undark, one of them on the British ambient label Em:t Records. The last, Pearl + Umbra was released on Bella Union, to very respectable reviews.

David Sylvian English singer

David Sylvian is an English singer-songwriter and musician who came to prominence in the late 1970s as frontman of the band Japan. The band's androgynous look and increasingly electronic sound made them an important influence on the UK's early-1980s New Romantic scene. Following their breakup, Sylvian embarked on a solo career with his debut album Brilliant Trees (1984). His solo work has been described by AllMusic as "far-ranging and esoteric," and has included collaborations with artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Robert Fripp, Holger Czukay, and Fennesz.

Ian McCulloch (singer) singer, musician

Ian Stephen McCulloch is an English singer-songwriter and musician, best known as the frontman for the rock group Echo & the Bunnymen.

Peter Gabriel English singer-songwriter, record producer and humanitarian

Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame as the original lead singer and flautist of the progressive rock band Genesis. After leaving Genesis in 1975, Gabriel launched a successful solo career with "Solsbury Hill" as his first single. His 1986 album, So, is his best-selling release and is certified triple platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the U.S. The album's most successful single, "Sledgehammer", won a record nine MTV Awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards and, according to a report in 2011, it was MTV's most played music video of all time.

He was Visiting Tutor (until 2012) at the Royal College of Art, [3] Visiting Professor at the Glasgow School of Art [4] .

Royal College of Art public research university in London, in the United Kingdom

The Royal College of Art (RCA) is a public research university in London, United Kingdom. The only entirely postgraduate art and design university in the world, it offers postgraduate degrees in art and design to students from over 60 countries. As of 2019, the RCA has placed first in the QS World University Rankings in the Art and Design subject area for five consecutive years.

Glasgow School of Art Scottish fine art school

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is Scotland's only public, self-governing art school offering undergraduate degrees; post-graduate awards and PhD's in architecture, fine art and design.

Emergence as music packaging designer

In the 1980s, Mills began receiving commissions to design record album covers and associated packaging. Stylistically, his work at this time became much more abstract, abandoning figurative representation in favour of symbolic allusions. He regularly treated the canvas as a sculptural plane, with materials such as metals, powders, bones, feathers, beeswax, fabric, wires, animal skins and papers embedded in thick paints and pastes. Works of this period generally occupy the entirety of the canvas with little or no "negative space" left.

Notable album covers include:

Roger Eugene Eno was born in Woodbridge, England in 1959. He is known primarily as an ambient music composer.

Japan (band) English new wave band

Japan were an English band formed in 1974 in Catford, South London by David Sylvian, Steve Jansen (drums), Richard Barbieri (keyboards) and Mick Karn. Initially a glam rock-inspired band, Japan developed their sound and androgynous look to incorporate electronic music and foreign influences, eventually becoming an influence on the UK's early-1980s New Romantic scene.

<i>Exorcising Ghosts</i> 1984 compilation album by Japan

Exorcising Ghosts is a compilation album by the British band Japan, released in October 1984 by record label Virgin.

An analysis of the symbolic meaning of the elements used to create the cover for Roger Eno's Between Tides appears in the 1999 book 100 Best Album Covers , edited by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell (of the design group Hipgnosis.)

Hipgnosis was an English art design group based in London that specialised in creating cover art for the albums of rock musicians and bands. Notable commissions included work for Pink Floyd, T. Rex, the Pretty Things, Black Sabbath, UFO, 10cc, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Scorpions, Yes, The Nice, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Def Leppard, Paul McCartney & Wings, the Alan Parsons Project, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Electric Light Orchestra, the Police, Rainbow, Styx, Pezband, XTC and Al Stewart.

Work with Nine Inch Nails

Russell Mills worked with Nine Inch Nails in 1994-1997 and again in 2012-15.

Nine Inch Nails American industrial rock band

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band that was formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1988. The band consists of producer and multi-instrumentalist Trent Reznor, as well as English musician Atticus Ross. Over the course of their three-decade existence, the band has signed with several major labels, the most current being Capitol Records, under the name The Null Corporation.

In 1994, he was commissioned to create the entire visual world of The Downward Spiral , beginning with the artwork for that album's cover and booklet, and extending to all of the associated singles (including March of the Pigs and Closer to God ), the remix collection Further Down the Spiral , the 1997 videocassette compilation Closure , the 2004 Deluxe Edition and DualDisc re-releases of The Downward Spiral, (which was accompanied by several new Mills compositions downloadable from the Nine Inch Nails website [5] ), and various promotional materials.

These interrelated works contain Mills' heaviest use of organic materials to depict a sense of fragility and decay. [6] Animal skeletons, sets of teeth, blood, feathers, and dead insects are liberally embedded in the canvases. In some pieces, materials have been affixed and then exposed to water or chemical elements, so that their decay is literally imprinted on the surface of the artwork.

In 2012 work began on the cover art for the album Hesitation Marks , released in 2013, and subsequently an art book called Cargo in the Blood, [7] [8] released in December 2015.

Advent of digital design

From the later 1990s to the present, Mills' work has again evolved to a new style, made possible by the advent of computer design applications such as Photoshop. The "collage" aesthetic is still frequently seen, but now in a virtual/digital form, with many abutting and overlapping semi-transparent images, often cropped into crisp, aligned rectangles.

Mills still uses hand-drawn or -painted imagery, but as often as not it is scanned into the computer and treated as another malleable collage element. Images of water and sky are frequently seen, and a cooler color palette often prevails (in contrast to an earlier reliance on earth tones).

Negative space is still a rarity in Mills' compositions. It is worth noting that many of the musicians who choose Mills as an illustrator compose music that is "ambient" to varying degrees. Many of the album covers visually reflect this, in that they can be viewed quickly for an overall emotional impression, while intense perusal reveals many painstakingly layered details.

Notable album covers from 1995 to the present include:

Music

In addition to soundtracking several multimedia exhibits (see below), Russell Mills has released two albums to date:

Both albums originated from Mills "collecting sounds" from musicians, many of whose albums he has illustrated. He then collaged the organic and electronic sounds into ambient pieces (with one or two vocal "songs" per album), with varying degrees of collaboration with the originating artists.

Featured contributors to Undark(aka "Undark One: Strange Familiar"):

Featured contributors to Pearl + Umbra:

Multimedia soundtracks

Still Moves | one
  • Between Two Lights [1994] – 20:48
  • Soundings [1995] – 15:29
  • Looming [1996] – 7:33
  • Measured In Shadows [1996-97] – 22:19
  • Still Moves [1999] – 17:45
  • Mantle (Sonic Boom Catalogue Edit) [2000] – 7:02
  • Mantle (Extended Edit) [2000] – 31:05
Still Moves | two
  • Republic Of Thorns [2001] – 31:12
  • Cleave | Soft Bullets [2002] – 48:15

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<i>Not the Actual Events</i> 2016 EP by Nine Inch Nails

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References

  1. Moira Jeffrey (12 March 2001). "When solo artists meet their match". Herald Scotland . Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  2. Will Hermes (24 September 1999). "The Fragile: Nine Inch Nails". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  3. Royal College of Art – Staff
  4. Glasgow School of Art
  5. Nine Inch Nails: Russell Mills
  6. Russell Mills Committere
  7. Cargo in the Blood
  8. Nine Inch Nails and Russell Mills to publish art book
  9. Slow Fuse Sound
  10. Still Moves | one