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The Classics – The Interview: Jim Debarros, Part 2

Describe your thoughts when you were first introduced to Super Cat’s project?  Were you familiar with him prior to his US release?

I wasn’t aware of him but I knew that dancehall was becoming popular because someone else was working on Shabba Ranks. I don’t recall a specific feeling about the music but I remember our first meeting at Sony Music. We spoke a bit about what he wanted for the cover and getting new photos for press. It was a little hard for me to understand him because his accent was thick. I kept asking him to repeat himself. Hopefully he wasn’t too annoyed with me.

Were you at all a fan of reggae and or dancehall music?  What were your initial thoughts after listening to some of his records?

I was probably a ‘casual’ fan of reggae. I listened to Bob Marley and the Wailers of course, but I wouldn’t say I was an enthusiast or super knowledgeable. At the end of the day, I didn’t need to be a fan personally but I did need to know what Super Cat’s fans liked about him and what were their expectations for the artist. Read the rest of this entry

The Classics – The Interview: Jim DeBarros, Part 1

While researching for album cover designers for the reggae edition of The Classics I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to find one, as most of the designers/illustrators that created work for the classic Reggae and Dancehall albums were based in Jamaica and the contact info on the albums was either non-existent or dated.

Needless to say, I stuck to my guns and discovered a graphic designer by the name of Jim Debarros who essentially created the identity for Super Cat’s first US releases, in addition to many notable album covers for some of music’s most renowned artists/groups.  Check out Part 1 below:

Many NYC designers say that their borough and or NYC had an almost inherent influence on their attitude or style.  Being that you’re from Brooklyn, would you say the same applies to you?  If so, how?

Certainly in my case I would say that’s true. I grew up across the street from Pratt Institute. My earliest friends were the children of architects, illustrators and designers. Our neighbors were former Pratt grads and they were an influence not just on me but the neighborhood itself. Tom Feelings, Ted and Betsy Lewin, Walter Steinhilber and many others were familiar to me and present either as people I could see and talk to or witness their work firsthand.  

Did your upbringing and or family-life have an effect on how you developed creatively?  If so, in what ways?

I would say my family was always supportive. We had art in the house and we were exposed to many things. Whether it was a visit to a museum or just friends who work in jewelry or pottery my folks allowed me to see that there were many possibilities. I should add that my father was an advertising executive with Doyle Dane & Bernbach so he was regularly engaged in the creative process as it applied to television commercials. Read the rest of this entry

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