This August 11, Gustavo Adrián Cerati Clark would turn 61 years old, and as we do not want to forget that this day one of the best musicians in Argentina and Latin America was born, we want to remember him not only with his music, but also with the iconic art of three of his albums: Amor Amarillo, Bocanada and Fuerza Natural.
Yes, they were not his works, but here they will realize that not only was he good at creating melodies and writing songs, there was also a visual artist within him who contributed some ideas to the creation of his covers. Not for something did he enjoy drawing since he was a child and then decided to study Advertising at the University of El Salvador, in Buenos Aires.
We start with what is considered his first solo album, although its creation took place in a period of rest of soda Stereo, in which songs like I take you so that you take me, Lisa and Bajan, cover a single by his idol Luis Alberto Spinetta stand out.
In this, the art was in charge of Gabriela Malerba and Alejandro Ros; the first a designer who, in addition to working with Cerati, also did the same with soda Stereo; and the second, a graphic designer who also collaborated with Bersuit and Spinetta.
Amor Amarillo was launched on November 1, 1993, and initially, according to The nation, it was considered a disc with a rare design: a minimalist yellow and orange cover, where the title did not appear and Gustavo’s last name appeared only in the upper right margin.
On the back of this, was a photograph of Cerati taken by Alejandro Kuropatwa, a famous photographer of Argentine musicians who also had artists such as Charly García and Fito Páez.
Regarding this design, Alejandro Ros came to comment: “At that time, as Soda Stereo continued to exist as a group, there was not much scandal to be done. Even the company was afraid that the release would make people think that the band was breaking up. ” And yes, the rumors of a possible divorce were increasing and later they would become reality.
Finally, in the book Cerati in the first person, Gustavo says this: “’Visual silence’: with this image the image of the album is summarized. Reach the stripped, but as a product of great complexity. It looks like those discs that contain the entire spectrum of colors and that, when turned at high speed, they turn white. In this case, yellow ”.
We continue with what, perhaps, is one of Gustavo’s most emblematic albums for his songs and his cover. And is that who could forget that profile photograph of Cerati, where her figure blends with the blue in the background and a cloud of smoke rises from her mouth.
Well who captured this image was Gabriela herbstein, Argentine photographer and visual artist who, according to Third, He had already worked with the musician on the presentation of the album Canción Animal and on a photo session with his then wife, Cecilia Aménabar.
Cerati surely loved her job, since for her second solo album, she called her to take care of the cover. Then she thought of being inspired by Bob Dylan and David Bowie records, but already in the photo session, an important and magical moment happened.
After a while of taking some tests, Gustavo asked her if they could stop to go smoke, she said yes; when she saw him exhaling the smoke of some Soft Jockey, the idea came up.
She asked him to start expelling smoke to take some photos, but there came a time when it was so dense that she told him to stop, that he couldn’t focus; Gustavo jokingly asked him: “What if the smoke is in focus?” That phrase, which at the time went unnoticed by Gabriela, would later become the name of one of the songs.
Finally, Gabriela says that in the session Cerati always behaved flexible and attentive to what she wanted. This is how she told it to Rolling stone: “Gustavo was the ideal student, he was the perfect student… Very detailed, very aesthetic. I threw a slogan at him and he immediately got on ”.
Finally, we have the latest Cerati album, one that left us great songs like Magia, Rapto, Sal, Convoy and Deja Vú. In this album, the art was in charge of the Rock Instrument Bureau studio, founded in 2005 by Roy García and Sebastián D’Ovidio.
According to Infobae, Gustavo once stated that the cover of Fuerza Natural was created with vinyl in mind: “The idea was to make a certain tribute to the Hipgnosis-type covers, from the era of rock covers. Put a discordant or mobilizing element in a supposed real context ”.
Yes for Sopitas.com, also came to comment that the strange horseman who appears on the cover flying over La Défense, in Paris, France, It was with the intention of creating something that broke with the schemes, but it was also an idea that was born by the influence of a movie that he liked.
“At first, it was a bit that, the triumph of natural force over a more artificial situation. Later, that character began to emerge from a movie that I saw called Special “, said Cerati.
“There is a moment when (the character) talks to his friends in a comic book store and says to each other: ‘What makes a man different from a superhero?’ And one of the friends replies: ‘ the superhero is the one who manages the natural forces’, and just when I heard that, everything began to close; see where things come from, ”he commented.
This is how the cover of his latest album was born; a combination of vinyls, ideas that we could compare to magical realism, and a comic movie that came out in 2006. The rest was in charge of the designers and the photographer Nora lezano.
First we have the cover of Siempre es hoy, which is a painting made by Diego Gravinese, who, according to Gustavo, is a hyperrealist artist who projects photographs on canvas and begins to make oil strokes. And then the art of Here we go, who was in charge of Ezequiel de San Pablo.
These are all the covers of Cerati’s albums, and with which it is verified that the Argentine musician was not only committed to the songs he created, also with the visual art of his albums, because although he did not intervene directly, he was interested in contributing his ideas and also respecting the work of the artists.
Perhaps many think that the art of an album always takes a back seat, but it works as a complement to the music that the artist or the band makes. It is simply inevitable to think of Unknown Pleasures, by Joy Division, without that pulsation; talking about The Velvet Underground and Nico, without remembering the iconic banana that Andy Warhol painted; or listening to Puente without recalling Gustavo Cerati expelling a puff of smoke.
* With information from La Nación, La Tercera, Rolling Stone, Infobae and Cerati in first person