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If you really appreciate the art of music and let yourself inspired by anything that goes with it then you might have come across the following pieces of art:
- The artwork for the Primal Scream album ‘Screamadelica’. This particular artwork could be with great confidence marked as one of the most famous covers in the history of music.
- The artwork for Manic Street Preachers’ single ‘You Love Us’.
- The bird logo associated with Heavenly records.
- The colourful artwork that the Telescopes used for their self-titled album and the similarly rich artwork of 'Phobia' by Flowered Up. (Both albums were released by Creation records)
Sadly their creator, Paul Cannell, took his life on the 5th July this year.
Paul Cannell came from East London. He got into punk rock in the mid 70’s when he was about 15 . School didn’t appeal to him so he became first of all a printer, making money by designing party invitations and serviettes. He then worked as a milkman for a while. Finally Cannell decided to paint full time.
The key moment in Cannell's life came when he was introduced to Jeff Barrett through Flowered Up who he knew at the time. Jeff Barrett was the boss of Heavenly Records. The first work that Cannell produced was his cover for Flowered Up’s album ‘Phobia’. The artwork on this quickly became popular with other musicians.
Primal Scream’s album ‘Screamadelica’ is definitely the most popular piece of art that Cannell painted. The first artwork that he painted, however, was for their single ‘Higher Than The Sun’. It was a well thought through work. Primal Scream's front man Bobby Gillespie got in touch with Cannell looking for sleeve artwork for ‘Higher Than The Sun’. “He couldn’t play me the record” Cannell told Select Magazine in an interview in 1992. “He just told me the title, which I thought was cool. We spent ages sectioning out the painting and figuring out what he wanted from it. He wanted it to be jazz. Abstract. He knows what he wants and he’s very exact about getting it.”
After creating the ‘Higher Than The Sun’ artwork, Cannell went on to paint the artwork for ‘Screamadelica’ and also Primal Scream's next single ‘Don’t Fight It Feel It’.
While Cannell earned a great respect for his talent he always remained with his feet firmly on the ground. In a never published interview with Marceline Smith he even compared his works to ones that children do. “I pick up so many kids drawings off the street at 4 o'clock in the afternoon” he said in the interview. “It's incredible, they're great. I put them up in my house and people go:
'Oh, I like this one!'
and I say, 'How much would you pay for it?'
and they'll go, 'I'd give you 200 quid for it.'
and then I say 'Yeah… It's a fucking kid's drawing mate'.” [Laughs]
Cannell was naturally left handed but, as Marceline Smith learnt in her interview, the left hand didn’t seem to be quite right for painting. “I changed my hands.” Cannel revealed in the interview. “I was sick of what my left hand was doing. I like drawing with my right hands because it’s messy. It’s like a kid. It’s clumsy. That’s the only way I’ve been able to build abstraction. I was getting too dangerously technical with my left arm.”
Cannell's other influences included Picasso and Impressionist painters such as Renoir and Monet.
Painting wasn’t the only thing that connected Cannell with music. He was a member of the bands, the Kenny Process Team and Crawl. Crawl released a single on Creation in 1996.
Unfortunately Cannell’s success in the early 90’s didn’t have a follow up. With time passing fast and Cannell disappearing from the music scene his name faded away from people’s minds. It is even sadder that one of the few pieces of news we have heard about him in recent years is that he decided to end his life. His art, however, will live forever, keeping the name Paul Cannell unforgotten.
Commenting On: Obituary - Paul Cannell
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Paul Cannell, who created the artwork for Primal Scream's 'Screamadelica' and various other early 90's iconic record sleeves, died on the 5th July. Olga Sladeckova looks back and reflects on his life and career
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