[2] Entstehung Artwork Mellon Collie

Frank Olinsky, der verantwortliche Art-Director für Mellon Collie, erzählt in einem Interview, wie die Zusammenarbeit mit Billy Corgan für dieses Release entstanden ist. Es sind auch noch ein paar Entwürfe von Billy Corgan und das daraus resultierende Artwork zu sehen.

Interview mit Frank Olinsky (Art Director Mellon Collie)

Hier ist noch das Interview, das Simon (von sp.com) mit Frank Olinsky geführt hat.

Frank Olinsky is the art director behind the extravagant and intricate packaging that accompanied all of the Pumpkins' official releases between 1995 and 1999. From Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness to the singles that supported Adore, he oversaw the creative process that led to some of the most visually engaging albums in the band's discography. He has also worked with R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Duran Duran, and Philip Glass, just to name a few, and helped co-create the chameleon-like logo and original look of MTV.

I caught up with Mr. Olinsky to talk about his time working with the Pumpkins, and just what exactly an art director is.

Simon: You've been involved over the years in several Smashing Pumpkins projects, the first of which was under the role of art director for the band's double album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. For those of us who aren't very familiar with the graphic design world, what exactly does that entail?

FO: The art director is responsible for the overall "look" of a project. The process begins with an initial concept and proceeds in stages to completion. Sometimes the concept comes from the art director, sometimes from the client, and sometimes out of a dialog between them. The art director may seek out appropriate pre-existing images or suggest creative talent to execute new images. He or she then orchestrates the creative process through final production, working with photographers, illustrators, designers, or other visual artists to achieve the desired result.
Simon: How did you come to be involved with the band? Did you work alongside the band on the art, or was it mostly through their record label at the time?

FO: The band had creative control over the package. That basically meant that I interacted directly with Billy and passed the results on to the record company. I was first contacted by someone who worked closely with the Pumpkins. They called me up and asked if I would be interested in designing the band's forthcoming album package. I was already a Smashing Pumpkins fan - in fact, I was listening to Siamese Dream when I received that preliminary phone call. Of course I said yes.
A short while later, I got a call from Billy. He described the music on the album Mellon Collie as 'psychedelic music played by a heavy metal band from the 1920s'. Pretty good description don't you think? I figured that if I were going to be working with him closely over a long period of time, it would be helpful to know why he had chosen me for the project. He said he owned quite a few CDs that I had art directed/designed and he liked that I didn't have one style that I imposed on all my projects. Rather, he felt that each was a good design that fit the particular recording. Besides being flattered I thought that here was someone with a keen eye who knew exactly what he wanted. I felt we could collaborate on some great things, and that turned out to be true.
Simon: Mellon Collie's packaging is particularly stunning, with several recurring themes throughout the art that capture a sense of timelessness and youthfulness. Can you share a bit about the underlying concept behind the imagery, and the way it was brought together?

FO: As you can see from his faxes [siehe oben] , Billy had a clear overall vision for the package from the start. One of his notes reads, "As you know I am looking for that very sentimental, Victorian style look..." It is not well known, but originally I had suggested a photographer to execute the various images Billy had in mind for the package. Billy was into it, but things didn't work out. I then suggested the illustrator John Craig, and the rest is history.
Simon: Simon: In the liner notes, every song is associated with a particular icon. How were they selected? It is commonly assumed that Billy made these associations, but perhaps it was just good design decisions on the part of the artist?
FO: I'm not 100% certain, but I believe this is the story: I put together a collection of old engravings, which I thought resonated with John Craig's collages and would be fun to use along side the lyrics. My recollection is that I suggested the icon/lyric associations, and then Billy made final decisions.
Simon: You then went on to put together the retro style box set that compiled the different singles from Mellon Collie, all of which you also designed. What were the general themes you were working with when it came to each single?

FO: The Aeroplane Flies High was modeled after those 1950s and 1960s carrying cases for 45 RPM records. When Billy came up with the idea, I didn't think that many of the Pumpkins' younger fans would get the reference. After all, this was 1996! I'm older, so I remembered seeing these carrying cases when I was a kid - I had a baby sitter who owned several. I also remembered that the cases sometimes had a "This box belongs to . . . " label inside the lid, a detail that we included on the Aeroplane box. I particularly like the booklet, Billy's silver-foil-stamped airplane drawing, and the rivets.
There's not much to say about the singles. The designs were all over the visual spectrum. "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" was an extension of Mellon Collie's look, using more John Craig artwork. "1979" was loosely based on the front and back covers of Linda Ronstadt's Living In The U.S.A. "Zero" had some nice touches: metallic silver ink on the insert, matte and glossy black ink on CD label. The photos were by Yelena Yemchuk. "Tonight, Tonight" used drawings of Billy's, and a Special Pantone Pastel ink. I don't remember whose painting it was on "Thirty-Three." It arrived via Yelena, who was responsible for a lot of the Pumpkins photos. I added the constructivist typography. It seemed appropriate to use along with the Russian imagery of the cover painting.
Simon: Why reference Linda Ronstadt's Living in the U.S.A.?
FO: That would be a question for Billy. I just remember him telling me about the reference. All I know is on that cover and back cover Linda Ronstadt was wearing rollerskates.
Simon: You posted on your blog last year a series of alternate concepts for the box set. How many different concepts do you typically brainstorm when it comes to a project like the box set?
FO: It all depends on the specific client, project, schedule and budget. For one particularly unfortunate project, I created over 50 comps for a CD cover, none of which were used. I came up with about a dozen ideas for the Aeroplane box pattern and design.
Simon: In 1998, you again worked with the band, and are credited alongside Billy Corgan and Yelena Yemchuk for artistic direction and design, and helped put together the richly dark art that accompanied Adore, along with its various singles. What was your involvement on this particular project?
FO: I worked Yelena's photos into a beautifully dark package - basically a mini art photography book. I also really like what I did with the typography. I love this package, and I think Adore is way underrated - the songs are just awesome.
Simon: Is there a reason the last single (the "To Sheila" radio promo), and the LP version of the album are in color, while the rest of the body of work is in black and white?
FO: That's another question for Billy. Maybe so that over a decade later, you'd be asking that question.
Simon: Is there an SP project that was particularly meaningful for you?

FO: Obviously Mellon Collie was the biggie, but I really can't choose just one. Each project had its unique challenges and rewards. In some ways, it now seems as though they were all part of one extended project. It was an honor to work on them.
Simon: Do you have an overarching philosophy when it comes to art and its creation?

FO: For me, success has been achieved when the result appears to have been inevitable, something that always existed even though it has never been seen before.
Simon: As a graphic designer, art director, and illustrator, what is your take on how the digital world is affecting the role of art in the music business?

FO: The Buddha said that everything changes. And, as the great Yogi Berra once said, "The future ain't what it used to be." In this download world, there seems to be less and less room for anything printed or physical.

Billy's Ideen zum Mellon Collie Artwork

Billy Corgan hat Frank Olinsky ein paar Skizzen mit seinen Ideen zum Mellon Collie Artwork geschickt. Hier sind noch ein paar Bilder zu den Skizzen und was später dann umgesetzt wurde:

Promotion Artikel

Aufsteller "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness" - Größe: 33x49cm

Aufsteller: "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" - Größe: 21x21cm

Burdock Blood Bitters 1886

Das Bild von der BWBW-Single stammt übrigens von einem Almanach aus dem Jahr 1886. Jemand von SPFreaks hat die Quelle dazu entdeckt. Ich muß mal schauen, ob ich noch ein paar weitere Informationen hierzu finde. So sieht es aus.