I’m very pleased to reveal my cover art for Brummie legends UB40’s forthcoming single entitled ‘Gravy Train’. I’m no caricature artist, so this threw me well outside my comfort zone! Another one of those perfect collaborations where our politics aligned. I’m looking forward to seeing if any of the villains in the piece notice that we’ve been tagging them in the artwork, and whether we manage to offend anyone over the next few days.
Below is the initial ink work I used as a basis for the piece. It was felt that it needed to be more broad in it’s satire of the global gravy train, so I added Putin, Trump and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia from other sketches. I removed some elements for juxtaposition and balance, having tried numerous characters, it became clear that the piece would look overworked and too crowded. For me it was all about the smaller details, like the flag at half mast in memory of the victims of brutal austerity, the shackles on the Bank Of England representing the money made by this country through the slave trade, and my personal favourite, the wheat kernel in Theresa May’s naughty mouth. There’s a few more, see if you can spot them all!
I wanted to produce this in the style of a cartoon you might find in Punch or Private Eye, and tried to keep the digital editing to a minimum to stay true to the original ink work. There have been many comments online about how people are switching off to UB40 because of the politics behind both the track and the artwork, which I find laughable given their history. It strikes me that it is the duty of artists, and the purpose of works like this, to act as a check on the powerful, to provoke debate, and I hope I’ve helped to facilitate that, given the political climate in the UK and the world at large.
Release for both the single and the album ‘For The Many’ is scheduled for Friday 15th March.
Check the link for more info: https://listnin.co/GravyTrain