The earliest,most iconic album artwork started at a time’ 60s counterculture music came about and has progressed over the years to include different aesthetic styles during the change of decade.
Iconic artwork such as Andy Warhol’s famous pop-art of a stark banana for The Velvet Underground’s first album ,”The Velvet Underground and Nico(1967)”,which is one of the most iconic known albums of the band and a trademark symbol of Warhol’s.
While many known band covers were simply known to be a simple photo of the band posing,especially in the early years of album releases.
Some of the most notable photography artwork can be referenced to albums covers from Bob Dylan’s controversial “Highway 61 Revisited(1969)” ,to Miles Davis’ saxophone shot in album “Kind of Blue(1959)” ,as well as most psychedelic bands of the ’60s like The Monkees and Jefferson Airplane.
The use of photo artwork for album covers has changed over the years to include more graphic design,computerized artwork or mix media that includes a composition of both instead of the traditional based photography that was primarily used.
Many although have changed progressively to a more mix media ,digital age based artwork that mainly started in the ’80s such as Queen’s Hot Space(1982) to Alice Cooper’s Raise Your Fist and Yell(1987) ,David Bowie’s Computer World (1980) all have a similar new age aesthetic.
Although many artist of the last two decades from artists dating back to the ’90s hip hop ,pop,and country to now still use photo based album cover artwork.Hip pop artists like Dr.Dre to Nas used mostly photography portraits based cover art for their best known albums.
A vast majority of graphic album covers of the ’90s began to alternate towards the album covers that resonate much of today’s album artwork. Especially from musicians like Radiohead’s Ok Computer(1997) ,and The Flaming Lips of then and now.
Current artists like Tame Impala ,MGMT,Grimes ,Rihanna and more have album cover that is like their music experimental and futuristic adhering to the new age of music now.
Today graphic and mix media artist like Leif Podhajsky who has created album artwork for artists such as Foals,Lykke Li,and even Beck .To artist Esao Andrews who designed all the album artwork for the band Circa Survive.
Graphic art has taken a major influence on the artwork of cover art of large amount of artists as computers continue to take over and revolutionize art in terms of the digital age.