Apr 23, 2016

'OTERO WAR'!!! CAVEMAN'S ALBUM COVER IS ROCKIN' the RETRO!!!






CAVEMAN ROCKS

On January 6th I received a interesting proposal From a Cinematic, a record label seeking my skills on an Album cover for a New York rock group called Caveman. After doing a bit of research into the band, and hearing the song list that they linked me to, I was definitely impressed. The sound was full, vibrant, nuanced, and thoughtful. It was solidly rock, and the band members fantastic. ...But why me?…As it developed, all of these young men were once kids who played games, and loved them! They remembered that art that I had produced and tracked me down, in no small measure, because the name they had chosen for this album was 'Otero War'. There's a smile to the naming, but it's not my tale, so I'll leave that to Matt and the boys to one day explain to their fans, which are legion, and growing.







Clearly, the idea was intriguing, and I was anxious to chat with the band about their ideas. That task fell to Frontman Matt Iwanusa who was a delight to work with, and an inspiring artist in his own right, certainly to a guy like me, who can't carry a tune in a bucket. The rest of the band members are, Jimmy 'Cobra" Carbonetti on Guitar, Stefan Marolachakis on vocals and drums, Sam Hopkins on vocals and synthesizer , and Jeff Berrall on bass and vocals.The first task was to get an overall impression of the band's vision, which was one of  a world existing in the aftermath of war, mystery, and desolation. Much like the soul of one who struggles against the grip of love, and loss, or gain, with overtones of the adventures of one's youth spent partly in the confines of the world of gaming. Matt wanted a visual that felt game-like, and worked with the idea of war, entrapment, and release, all mirroring the concept of the entrapment of and the escape from, or to, relationships.



THE MOOD….




This nomadic rider walking past the ruin of an ancient
icon of a sports warrior in a trackless desert seemed
to Matt to capture the desolation the band desired.




Tis desert environment that I had recreated in an illustration
 for the Baltimore Sun Times in 2003 about Joseph Heller's
novel 'Catch 22' seemed a perfect setting.

There were elements of my illustration for
Lynx's Xybots that the band liked as well.

Of the first selection of images that I sent Matt, he chose as a guide a cover I had done for PC Games magazine in 1990. He enjoyed the isolation of the desert he saw, and that became our paradigm. He also mentioned the scale of the buried athlete This was the first appearance of what became the Battlebots in the final version.

The Days of Thunder logo was the original direction
the team wanted me to lean for the header title.






In this initial layout I was working with a distant planet, a war aftermath environment , and an
Arcade game cabinet for a game called Otero War, in which the deco on the cabinet reflects the
surrounding area.

FIRST PASS

Matt'a concept for having the deco imitate the environment was a
great thought. Over time however the team moved to minimize the
cabinet within the image, as you will see.
So, I put together my first pass, very quickly done in photoshop, using elements of earlier illustrations and creating the landscape, featuring the Arcade game 'OTERO WAR' showing the scene itself as the deco on the game. As much as I liked this version, the clients desired that I minimize the Arcade game itself. This version eventually gave way to some more dynamic versions, utilizing Large battlebots as seen sketched here.


THE MOVE TO BATTLE BOTS



One of my favorite paintings from the retro era
was this piece that I did for PC Games Magazine
in February 1990. It hangs framed in my
studio to this day.
The Battlebots were derived from Matt's enthusiasm regarding the PC Games magazine cover I had done back in 1990. He was intrigued by the imagery of the giant abandoned Cyborg football player I had done for their sports games review edition.

The Battlebots were laid out as aftermath forms. The band wanted to create a feeling of desolation, along with impending destruction, hence the Tidal Wave I created in the background.


This is my fist version for an appearance of the Bots. The
Arcade cabinet was still prominent, and I liked the
upright posture of the dead Bot, like a tank that
ran out of gas
Here you see Bot version 2, which came to be the final
position, and you can see the Arcade beginning to be less
important.



The Final Front album art reveals the downed Bot cradling a weapon on his left arm, as in the sketch, and color roughs, and as seen here, however Matt asked for the weapon to be removed, aiming for a less aggressive image.

I had always had in mind arming the Battle bot, and proceeded to build out his arm mounted laser weapon, which
I had originally had in the sketch, although smaller. The client team however, probably correctly, were concerned about the image seeming to be overtly war-like, and asked me to remove it: easily done in photoshop.

THE NAME GAME...


The Days of Thunder style of lettering ended up succumbing to the
use of the Pre existing angular logo mark that Caveman has used
for a couple of years. It's a handsome, clean, and techy look that
really sets off the illustration.



THE FATE OF THE ARCADE:


The Arcade was finally consigned to being a very buried element, but still holds a
prominent position, and is difficult to overlook. It now acts as what we call a 'second read'.
This term refers to an element that is discovered only in close examination of the art, often to the delight
of the viewer.
THE FINAL ART COVER FOR 'OTERO WAR'

The mood is complete, as the fallen 'Bot lies destroyed but still his EM powered eyes glow even in death, while in the background an approaching maelstrom pushes a titanic tsunami toward the war torn metropolis. The half buried, battered Arcade cabinet awaits its impending destruction. Will the band escape its fate, trapped in the clutches of
Otero?

THE FINAL BACK COVER

SHOWS THE BAND ESCAPING THE GAME AND THE DESTRUCTION

And finally the Band escapes the Otero War aftermath, running for their lives, true game style, from the onrushing apocalyptic tsunami!!  GAME ON!!

IT WAS A TOTAL BLAST… what a way to make a living!!



CATCH THE VIBE from CAVEMAN: OTERO WAR, at these spots:

Soundcloud….

Spotify….his one was a blast, and working with the band to get them exactly what they wanted was really special.


THANKS FOR DROPPING BY,
AND CHECK OUT
CAVEMAN'S
OTERO WAR 

                       Dropping June 17th!! 








1 comment:

Unknown said...

So awesome. Love the album and the artwork -- nice little read too.

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