Robert Beatty (artist)

Robert Beatty (/ˈbti/ BAY-tee;[1] born 1981)[2] is an American artist and musician based in Lexington, Kentucky,[3][4] best known for his noise band Hair Police, his solo project Three Legged Race, and most recently for his work designing album covers, including Burning Star Core's Challenger (2008), Tame Impala's Currents (2015), and Kesha's Rainbow (2017).

Early life

Robert Beatty was born in 1981 on a cattle and tobacco farm in rural Kentucky near Nicholasville—"one of the most beautiful places in the world," according to Beatty.[5][6] Growing up, he "constantly" drew, teaching himself.[7] He began to experiment with his family camcorder, exploring circuit bending and video feedback,[7] and during high school later started investigating and playing music (Beatty was fond of music from Warp Records) and designing concert posters.[8]

Beatty never attended art school (or college at all),[9][10][11] instead moving to Lexington after high school.[5] He also worked for a time at radio station WRFL,[12] and supported himself for years working at a gas station and as a janitor.[5]

Artwork

Beatty's graphic design work employs a distinctive style which has been called "trippy,"[13] "nostalgic,"[14] "psychedelic,"[10] "dark,"[15] and "mystifying;"[16] Beatty tries to evoke a "weird sense of wonder."[6] He began working by hand and today mostly uses Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop[11] to perform his "digital airbrushing,"[14] replicating and subverting traditional graphic design techniques using software.[17] However, Beatty says that his work often "goes back to drawing, because that's the simplest thing."[6] A prolific artist, Beatty has designed over 75 album covers;[2] after he decided to pursue creating art for other bands instead of just his own,[5] his album artwork rose in popularity with his covers for Challenger by Burning Star Core in 2008 and Tame Impala's Currents in 2015.[18][1][10]

In addition to album art, Beatty's illustration and design work has grown to include concert flyers,[19] magazines,[20] book covers,[21] fashion design,[22] music videos,[23] and news feature illustrations, with clients including Wired and the New York Times.[6][24][25] He has also released an artists' book, Floodgate Companion (2016), which Beatty "structured... more like an experimental film than a book." Beatty also designed the artwork for the soundtrack to the video game Thumper.[15] His video work has been featured at the Anthology Film Archives.[9] In 2019, Beatty created a lyric video for Cage the Elephant's song "House of Glass", from the album Social Cues.[4]

In 2018 he contributed "surreal"[26] art for use in fashion house Dries Van Noten's fall-winter 2018 collection.[22][27][28]

Beatty designed the cover art for historian and photographer Roger Steffens's anthology photobook The Family Acid: California (2019).[25][29]

His influences include Cal Schenkel, Piotr Kamler, Gary Panter,[1] Terry Gilliam,[10] and Lillian Schwartz.[11]

Music

Beatty performs electronic and noise music solo under his own name and under the names Three-Legged Race and Ed Sunspot,[30][31][32] co-founded Hair Police in 2001[33] (who went on to open for a Sonic Youth tour),[5] and is or has been a member of experimental and electronic bands Warmer Milks,[1] Burning Star Core, Eyes and Arms of Smoke,[3] and Lexington collective Resonant Hole.[30][10] He was also a member of Ulysses alongside Apples in Stereo members Robert Schneider and John Ferguson.[30]

In 2014 he released the album Soundtracks for Takeshi Murata under his own name.[34]

Beatty also masters music, including Public Housing's 2014 self-titled album.[33]

Discography

  • Three Legged Race – Persuasive Barrier (2012)[35]
  • Robert Beatty – Soundtracks for Takeshi Murata (2014)

Cover art designed

References

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  2. ^ a b "Robert Beatty, Suspended Passthrough". Atlanta Contemporary. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Leitko, Aaron (January 19, 2017). "Robert Beatty has become a one-man industry of psychedelic album art". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b Acevedo, Angelica (March 8, 2019). "Cage the Elephant Drop Thrilling New 'House of Glass' Song & Lyric Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Joyce, Colin (January 26, 2017). "Meet the Noise Musician Responsible for All Your Favorite Mind-Expanding Album Art". Vice. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Baehr, Mike (January 30, 2017). "Art Gallery: Robert Beatty's Psychedelic, Retro-Futuristic Aesthetic". Bandcamp Daily. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Artist Spotlight | Robert Beatty". grafiktrafik. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Robert Beatty Interview". ISO50. May 1, 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b Shields, Chris (May 22, 2017). "Interview: Robert Beatty". Screen Slate. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Kawaii, Keith (April 18, 2012). "Robert Beatty | Interview". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Gosling, Emily (August 29, 2016). "The Joy of Robert Beatty's Pre-digital Graphic Art". AIGA. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
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  14. ^ a b Erickson, Steve (May 25, 2017). "Let It Happen". Village Voice. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  15. ^ a b Shamoon, Evan (September 29, 2016). "How Psychedelic Games 'Rez Infinite,' 'Thumper' Fuse Electronic Music With Virtual Reality". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
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  24. ^ a b Pescovitz, David (April 1, 2019). "The Family Acid: California, a far-out photo album from a very unconventional family". Boing Boing. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
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External links


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