Illustrated Tapes 098: Breakthrough

Curated by Fay Andreas
20.02.21

spoti.fi/2ZrEKbt



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Fay is an illustrator from Coventry, currently based in Cornwall.

Hi Fay. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

I made this tape about transformation, it could be seeing a change that has already happened or realising that you need to change something.

The songs I chose are about times when you are re-evaluating your life and seeing it from a new perspective. Some of the songs are quiet and contemplative, while others are more motivating.

It's called Breakthrough because it represents being stuck somehow and not seeing what the solution is, and then finding a way to overcome that. I wanted the mood of the playlist to change from the start to the end, so it starts off with more of a feeling of being stuck or uninspired and it becomes more hopeful and uplifting by the end.

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

I had a really different idea to begin with but when I was choosing the music, I started thinking about the imagery and atmosphere in the songs and I decided I wanted the cover to show that somehow. So I wrote down a list of images and themes in the songs and I made some sketches of them. Some of the symbols are mentioned in the song lyrics and are more literal like the plane, and others represent themes in the songs. I wanted to suggest the feeling of time passing with the match burning and the plane leaving smoke trails.

A lot of the songs I included have this momentum where it feels like time is speeding up or slowing down. I like how the circle arrangement suggests time moving in a loop, instead of a clear beginning and end, just different phases passing in a cycle. To me the eye at the centre makes it seem like the symbols represent memories or different possibilities.

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


Gig poster: X-Ray Spex
Roundhouse, London
1978


Gig poster: Screen on the Green
Islington Green, London
1976


I really love the messiness and energy of punk posters and cover designs, they always seem hand drawn and like someone made them quickly without thinking about it too much. I like that quality in design because it has an immediacy and power. I like how these designs use bright and clashing colours a lot, it can be eye-catching and almost ugly at the same time. And I love how bold and varied the lettering of these designs is too.

Pang – Caroline Polachek
2019, Perpetual Novice
Design: Timothy Luke
Photography: Hugo Comte


A newer cover design I really like is for Caroline Polachek's album Pang. The art and typography seems like it is from a long time ago and futuristic at the same time. All of her music videos and covers have the same style and it feels really otherworldly. The atmosphere of the images is mysterious and beautiful, and I think it looks exactly how the music sounds.

What did you listen to growing up?

One of my older sisters made me a CD with some of her favourite bands on it when I was about twelve or thirteen and that's when I started listening to music a lot. I would listen to her albums of Nirvana, The Ramones, New Order and Green Day. And I listened to some music my mum had like Blondie and Leonard Cohen. I also listened to David Bowie, Bat for Lashes and Björk. I would buy albums because I liked the cover art sometimes and find interesting new music that way, where I didn't really know what it would be like. I miss finding new music that way from just listening to music through my phone or computer more now. 

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

I've been listening to Kelsey Lu's album Blood, and then Planet 1999 and Rina Sawayama who are both on this playlist.

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

I'm working on setting up an online store to sell some prints of my work that should be opening later this month, which I'm excited for as I've been planning to do that for a while.

I also have a weekly art challenge The Lost Brush which I run with Annie Su and Sarah Midori Perry. We've been friends since school and we would meet up and draw together a lot when we could, which we haven't been able to do this last year. We were drawing over video calls in lockdown and it was a really helpful way to stay in the routine of making creative work. That's why we started the account to post weekly photo prompts and get more people involved, to encourage them to keep working and give them ideas for what to make. It's open to everyone and we post a new prompt every Monday, if anyone would like to submit some work.

Where can we find you?

︎ instagram.com/fayandreas
︎ cargocollective.com/fayandreas
︎ etsy.com/uk/shop/FayAndreas

Thanks Fay!
Mark