Check out the drink menu for JAZZ along with a mini retrospective of past The Classics exhibitions.
See you Sun. Nov. 7.
Since the 70’s Tom Nikosey has created some of the most identifiable logos, posters, album covers (and other goods) for some of the most recognizable brands in the world (The Commodores original logo, San Diego Padres, The Grammy’s to name a few)….and he’s not done yet.
As with RAP – the interview (or really conversation) Soul 1 conducted provided more than enough content so I’ll again be splitting the interview in two parts.
Part 1 – enjoy:
Soul 1: For those who don’t know, what’s your name, where were you born and where did you grow up?
Tom Nikosey: My name is Tom Nikosey, I was born in Brooklyn New York, and I went to grammar school, high school, and art school in Brooklyn. I went to Pratt Institute which was an international art school right there in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. I graduated with a degree in communication design and graphic design and illustration and two weeks later, ‘cause I was involved in a rock band all through my youth, I was on a plane with the guys and we were on our way to L.A. to try and make it in the record industry; and here I had a degree in art, go figure. So, when things didn’t work out financially with music, I turned to my portfolio and started working in the graphic industry. I eventually started doing album covers, pretty early on luckily, and then started getting known.
Soul 1: Do you know around what years you started?
Tom Nikosey: I know exactly: I graduated Pratt in 1972 and I came out here (L.A.) two weeks later in June of ‘72, and my first album cover that I worked on was in 1975 and the title of it was “Papa John Creech and the Mid – Night Sun.” It was the very first piece of lettering – I specialize in lettering and logos, and I didn’t realize it then when I started that that was going to be my forte´. I had a strong feeling for letterforms, and people really weren’t creating these dynamic logos at the time and I had this vision that that’s what I kinda wanted to do; make a statement with lettering.
Soul 1: Right.
Tom Nikosey: So, Papa John Creach was the first project I was lucky enough to work on. I was just 24 years – old, trying to ‘make it’, and David Larkham, an English fellow who was designing all of Elton John’s albums at the time, gave me a chance by designing the lettering for Papa John’s album. Yeah, David Larkham and Friends was the name of his design studio. I went around with my portfolio, and he saw that I had a flair for lettering – hand lettering, and again this was before digital and we did everything by hand, he gave me a chance to do lettering for that album and it went to finish and it was my first piece and I got a credit on the record …
Soul 1: Nice
Tom Nikosey: …and I was feeling like a million bucks. I went on to do some more covers after that. He introduced me to Ed Caraeff – an independent photographer/Art Director, (who) was my age, and he was already shooting pictures of rock bands at rock concerts. He would shoot these great photographs then approach the band, sell the band pictures, and they would say, “We wanna use this on our album cover!” So then he started designing album covers. I met him at David Larkham’s studio and Ed needed a designer to work with him independently and so David connected me with Ed and that was the beginning of my career to be honest with you. Ed hired me on “Sergio Mendes and Brasil 77”, Eric Clapton’s “No Reason to Cry,” Cheech and Chong’s “Sleeping Beauty,” “Three Dog Night,” “American Pastime,” the Bee Gee’s “Children of the World” and “Saturday Night Fever,” and what happened was, Ed would give me the photographs, we’d talk about the idea – Ed usually had the idea for the cover, and I would put it all together graphically.
I always had this flair for lettering as well and I had this vision of designing logos that were the main piece rather than a subordinate piece that went along with the photograph. I wanted to embellish a name and make it the central piece. Lo and behold I get a call from an Art Director at Motown, and this is early 1976, and he had seen something that I had done and he wanted to know if I would design a logo for this album by a band called the Commodores. He said they already had one or two albums at the time and he wanted to make sure that the logo stood the test of time.
Still can’t believe its around the corner (Wed. Dec. 2) but here we are at The Classics – Series 2: SOUL.
Been having just as much fun with this version as the first along with giving you guys, both online and off, some cool extras, strong if not stronger content, and if things go my way – my surprise feature will blow minds.
Click the link below for the official press release and I hope to see you there….
Haven’t put on an exhibition in years so it feels good to exercise my creative nugget. Got some good external elements that coincide with this one too so I’m working hard to make sure this project doesn’t disappoint.
Keep checking back for updates….