The Gathering Storm- Storm Thorgerson

The Gathering Storm- Storm Thorgerson

A profile of a teethy grinning Storm Thorgerson with a coffee coloured background

Opening the exhibit

For a short but precious time, this unique exhibition uncovering some of the events, installations, sculptures, images, drawings, and ideas behind Storm Thornton's 40 year career as one of the pioneers of original commercial design with timeless and art that can be recognised from anywhere. Taking the time and using this opportunity to look back on his work as an artist not only allows us to access to a new level and appreciation to the art, but offers unique insight into the otherworldly and incongruous work Storm is carrying out today. The exhibit ran at Idea Generation, London, 1st of April 2010 to the 2nd of May 2010.

A woman dipping her hands in water whilst spread apart, with her body hunched together so the reflection mirrors her and creates an illusion of an eye

Storm thorgerson

Thorgerson found himself living an incredibly colourful and excellent life, straight off the bat, he found himself in school with people like Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, the founders and members of the band he later went to make arguably the most widely recognised and famous cover art of all time.

Between the 60's and 90's Thorgerson went between shifting groups and organisations with other artists and producers, each making their own impact and influences as big as the last. In 1968, along side Aubrey Powell founded Hipgnosis, a design art group that specialised in making cover and album art for rock musicians, with Peter Christopherson joining them for their later commission. After fifteen years the group dissolved, but the original two moved on to make formed Greenback Films where they started producing music videos. Finally, he had started an organisation called StormStudios, where he gathered free lance artists of all sorts to continue making, printing and publishing art and cover art.

As the art and teams developed, Thorgerson's distinctive style stayed true to his style and throughout all of the work he produced, with a notable surreal nature being pronounced. More often than not, you would find in most of his work that he placed objects out of their traditional contexts, especially with ample spaces around them, to give them an awkward appearance while highlighting their beauty. To quote Thorgerson, "I like photography because it is a reality medium, unlike drawing which is unreal. I like to mess with reality ... to bend reality. Some of my works beg the question of is it real or not?". Proceeding, Thorgerson and his team further collected their art together and released books surrounding their work, the first being in 1989, being name "Classic Album Covers of 6's", and the last being "The Gathering Storm – A Quartet in Several Parts", this being the last book he and his team worked on just before his death in April 2013. The book was released five months after his passing in September 2013 and includes album covers artwork, photographs, and anecdotes, spanning five decades from his early work with Hipgnosis through to StormStudios.

album art

a man's pained looking face coming out of what seems to be paper or a light material

Roy Harper - life mask

Vintage looking bar with a multiple men in it drinking, with a lighter toned swipe going through a brown filter

Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door

A shot of a triangle with beam of light on one side and it dispersing into a rainbow on the other side

pink floyd - the dark side of the moon

in the middle of a deserted looking area, a naked an cowering from a giant eye staring right at him

the cranberries - bury the hatchet

All four members of queen sat together with "queen Greatest hits" above them

Queen - the greatest hits

A naked man sitting on a chair, he is made out of puzzles and one piece is still on the floor. he has his head in his hands and there are people in the doorway just leaving

biffy clyro - puzzle

A space themed print with saturn in the back but earth taking up a whole corner and the words " Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium" in the center

red hot chili peppers - stadium arcadium

In a motel parking lot, various people dressed in clothing for different job roles with their eyes covered with a black bar. A black dog stands behind a veterinarian. The band's name, AC/DC labelled in pink text at the top

AC/DC - dirty deeds done dirt cheap

a man stood alone in a bare area of sandy textured ground with a giant statue of a flame towering over him

Audioslave - Audioslave

A shot of Syd Barrett  with a greenish filter over the top in the center of a beige vinyl cover with an orange, apple and small box in the left most corner of his photo. the top and bottom hand written note saying " Syd Barrett" and

Syd barrett - Syd barrett, a double album

interactive album making

the exhibit

As well as delving into Storm and his team's reality, we got to appreciate the creativity, work and effort that went into designing, setting up and manipulating objects to make the photos and art from everything down to behind the scenes shots of painting subjects, setting up sets, test shots and the before picture to the final edit of a masterpiece. Around the gallery laid all of Thorgerson's life, the work from each age and stage of his career and his passion all laid out on each wall for people to walk through and see just how magnificent and truly expert his eye was and visualizing his impact on today's day and age art not only on album and covert art but in all concepts art and sculpture work. One of the best highlights of the exhibit will differ from person to person, but something that really strikes another level for his art is seeing the behind the scenes and the setting up and real scenes of him slowly building his vision. In things as simple as watching his crew tying guitars to trees in a forest, or seeing the painted ladies smile and laugh with the artists painting them, seeing the before, simple picture before the irregular, abstract and surreal editing gets put into place makes you remember just how incredibly talented he is, that he had a vision and took great patience and pleasure in finding beautiful shots and breathtaking bases for his amazing ideas without manipulating it and simply incorporating natural beauty.

Pairing this with something as valuable as his art resulted in a truly unforgettable event for fans of his and art admirers. Idea generation's vision of this exhibit entirely made this experience and engaging and memorable for all people, with ranging experiences from still prints of his art to a series of live, interactive events, one of which being a live construction of his most famous album cover, Dark Side Of The Moon.