Illustrated Tapes 074: Bubblegum Storm

Curated by Kieran Blakey
08.09.20

spoti.fi/35hkvRW



Sequenced playlist, made to be played and enjoyed in order.

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Kieran is an illustrator from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, currently living and working in Leeds.

Hiya Kieran! Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

I wanted my tape to be a love letter to all the music which has helped get me through lockdown. A high-octane bubblegum storm not meant to be taken seriously, other than in its ability to give you a good time. Music which gets you pumped, jumping, dancing, singing, rocking and makes you forget you're not cool for enjoying it. No pretence, just fun, bright, and trashy verified bops. Let’s get crazy, baby, and pour our chips with 90s inspired gravy. 

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

Since the tape has such a warm, carefree tone I wanted to similarly draw what makes me happy as an illustrator (nature, owls, flowers etc.) and link that into a balmy colour palette. I do almost all my commercial work digitally using Photoshop and a simple Wacom tablet which really helps me rework the piece and add lots of little decorative elements (although sometimes to the point of excess). Little bits of eye candy to go along with all the ear candy.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

I really like weird and fun album covers, those are always the ones which stick out the most in my mind. Pom Poko especially always have really fun and creative album art.

“Leg Day” – Pom Poko
2019, Self-released
Artwork: Erlend Peder Kvam



Knock Knock – Smog
1999, Drag City


One of my favourites is the art used for Alt-J’s most recent album Relaxer which utilised screenshots from the PS1 cult classic ‘LSD: Dream Emulator’, which is a really bizarre game where you have to navigate through various dreamscapes with no direction or advice given. I’m a huge fan of big polygons and stretched textures so the whole aesthetic is right up my alley.




Relaxer, “In Cold Blood”, “3WW”Alt-J
2017, Infectious Music
Covers: Osamu Sato

What did you listen to growing up?

Growing up I was torn between the musical influence I gained from my parents, and the emo wave which was taking my school by storm. So basically, lots of Dolly Parton and My Chemical Romance.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

I’ve been listening non-stop to Rina Sawayama’s latest album SAWAYAMA and was meant to be seeing her in September but will hopefully now catch her sometime next year (2021 is the one). I’ve also been listening to a lot of Masakatsu Takagi to help wind down at the end of the day while I cook/clean/sort my life out.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

My current practice is primarily focussed on editorial illustrations exploring science, health, fitness and mental wellbeing. It’s an incredibly exciting time professionally but I’m also exploring more sewing and craft-based projects in my free time. I love the act of creating a 3-dimensional product and enjoy working outside of my laptop.

Where can we find you?

︎ kieranblakey.co.uk
︎ @_zendog

Cheers Kieran!
Mark