Storm Thorgerson

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Storm Thorgerson
Storm Thorgerson, gallery-at-oxo, July 2010.JPG
Thorgerson in 2010
Birth name Storm Elvin Thorgerson
Born (1944-02-28)28 February 1944
Potters Bar, Middlesex, England
Died 18 April 2013(2013-04-18) (aged 69)
England
Nationality English
Field Graphic designer, music video director

Storm Elvin Thorgerson (28 February 1944 – 18 April 2013)[1] was an English graphic designer, best known for his work for rock artists such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Scorpions, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Europe, Catherine Wheel, Bruce Dickinson, Dream Theater, The Cranberries, The Mars Volta, Muse, Biffy Clyro and Rival Sons.

Early life[edit]

Thorgerson, who was of Norwegian descent,[2] was born in Potters Bar, Middlesex (now part of Hertfordshire), and he attended Summerhill School, Brunswick Primary School in Cambridge, and the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys with Pink Floyd founders Syd Barrett, who was in the year below him, and Roger Waters, who was in the year above him. Storm and Roger played rugby together at school, while Storm's mother Vanji and Roger's mother Mary were close friends.[3][4] He studied English and Philosophy at the University of Leicester, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours, before studying Film and Television at the Royal College of Art, where he graduated with a Master of Arts degree.[5][6]

He was a teenage friend of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and best man at Gilmour's wedding to Polly Samson in 1994.[7]

Career[edit]

In 1968 along with Aubrey Powell he founded the graphic art group Hipgnosis, and between them they designed many famous single and album covers, with Peter Christopherson joining them for their later commissions.[8] In 1983, following the dissolution of Hipgnosis, Thorgerson and Powell formed Greenback Films, producing music videos.

In the early nineties Thorgerson inaugurated StormStudios along with Peter Curzon – a loose group of freelancers. The line up included Rupert Truman (photographer), Finlay Cowan (designer and illustrator), Daniel Abbott (designer and artist), Lee Baker (creative retoucher and designer) and Jerry Sweet (designer) along with Thorgerson's personal assistants, Laura Truman (prints) and Charlotte Barnes, and then later Silvia Ruga (designer).

Perhaps Thorgerson's most famous designs are those for Pink Floyd.[9] His design for The Dark Side of the Moon has been called one of the greatest album covers of all time. Designed by Thorgerson and Hipgnosis, the artwork for the cover itself was drawn by George Hardie,[10] a designer at NTA Studios. Many of Storm Thorgerson's designs are notable for their surreal elements. He often places objects out of their traditional contexts, especially with vast spaces around them, to give them an awkward appearance while highlighting their beauty. To quote Thorgerson, "I like photography because it is a reality medium, unlike drawing which is unreal. I like to mess with reality ... to bend reality. Some of my works beg the question of is it real or not?"[11]

Muse - Absolution cover.

Over the years, Thorgerson and his team designed and released several books about their work. The Gathering Storm - A Quartet in Several Parts was the final book Storm worked on with his team and it was completed just before his death in April 2013. The book was released in September 2013 and includes album covers artwork, photographs, and anecdotes, spanning five decades from Storm's early work with Hipgnosis through to StormStudios. In accordance with Storm's wishes, the studio will continue to work.[citation needed]

Rivals Sons Pressure and Time

In 2013, Prog Magazine renamed its Grand Design Award after Thorgerson. It is now known as the Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award and will be given to the designer of the year's best-packaged product. Thorgerson had won the 2012 award for his continued work with Pink Floyd.[12][13]

Health problems and death[edit]

In 2003, Thorgerson suffered a stroke, from which he was partially paralysed. He was later diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer, which he battled for several years, but which eventually led to his death on 18 April 2013, at the age of 69. After Thorgerson's death, David Gilmour released a statement describing him as "a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on, and a great friend". A post on the official Pink Floyd website called him a "graphic genius".[citation needed] Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason said that he was a "tireless worker right up to the end".[14]

Solo works[edit]

Album cover designs[edit]

For Thorgerson's work with Hipgnosis, see Hipgnosis discography

Music videos[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sweeting, Adam (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson dies aged 69: 'the best album designer in the world'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  2. ^ Storm Thorgerson on Magritte at Tate.org.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2013
  3. ^ Graff, G (February 1998). "The Eye of the Storm". Guitar World. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  4. ^ Turner, Tonya (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson's album covers are works of art". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  5. ^ Hough, Andrew (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson: Pink Floyd album cover designer dies". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  6. ^ Farrell, Charlie. "Storm Thorgerson - Taken by Storm". Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  7. ^ Samson, Polly (2013-04-18). "Best man at our wedding". Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h The photodesigns of Hipgnosis The Goodbye look. Vermillion Hutchinson Publishing Group. 1982 ISBN 0-09-150641-7
  9. ^ a b c "Article on Storm Thorgerson", Q magazine, 1992
  10. ^ The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd's Iconic Album, BBC
  11. ^ Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson, Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, #10
  12. ^ "Design award renamed after Storm Thorgerson". Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Storm Thorgerson Has Grand Design Award Named In His Honour". Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Tributes paid to Pink Floyd album artist Storm Thorgerson". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  15. ^ "Singles Page 8". Storm Thorgerson. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  16. ^ Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd - The Music and the Mystery. London: Omnibus. ISBN 978-1-84938-370-7. 
  17. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (July 1995). "The 30 Year Technicolor Dream". Mojo Magazine. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  18. ^ Stormsight.co.uk

External links[edit]