samspratt‘s sketches and alternative cover for Janelle Monae’s “Electric Lady,” album cover.
PITCHFORK: What were some of your visual inspirations? SAM SPRATT: It was a pretty random palette: Afrofuturism, Androids, uniformity, Mod sorority, a little Prince, a little Donna Summer, a little MJ, a bit of Egypt, a hint of punk, and some cheesy 80s sci-fi. But it wasn’t until several weeks in– upon hearing some of the new tracks, actually– that I was able to bring all of these disparate ideas together.
Every visual inspiration he mentioned, I see VIVIDLY, because all of those inspirations definitely make up Janelle’s image and Cindi Mayweather’s way of expression.
Hasan, who you might know as one of the correspondents from The Daily Show, has created a beautiful and hilarious show coming in October highlighting vignettes from his life, growing up as a Muslim in white suburbia in what he calls the New Brown America, and navigating religion, tradition, and race to get to where he is now in comedy. We’ve worked closely on and off for a couple months on a number of scenes where he described memories and feelings from his life to me and I did my best to paint them. This particular moment highlights probably two of the biggest themes from his show (and life): both isolation and hope.
The Space Age Artwork Behind Logic’s New Album, ‘The Incredible True Story’
To see more of Logic’s photos and Sam’s artwork, check out @logic301 and
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For the cover of his second record, The Incredible True Story, Logic (@logic301) had a specific image in mind. So he recruited Sam Spratt (@samspratt), who he collaborated with on his debut album, to help bring it to life.
“Sam will give me exactly what I want, but sometimes make it better,” says Logic. “I just rap. This dude is the artist.”
The 25-year-old emcee was looking for an image that a) encompassed the record’s futuristic plotline and b) was inspired by a still from Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou — a wide shot of the film’s main characters sitting front and center in a submarine. Logic had come across the photo by accident after opening a book dedicated to the director.
“I swear to God, I took a book and I opened it — and it opened to that picture,” he says. “I was like, wow, this is amazing.”
After relaying the information to Sam, the artist got to work, creating something that felt true to Logic and the album’s storyline, which takes place in 2065 after Earth has been deserted and what’s left of humanity lives in a space station.
“A lot of it was just creating a still from a movie because the album itself is a cinematic experience,” says Sam, “and the art needed to reflect that.”
The final piece, which takes place inside a ship, has 12 characters, with the rapper sitting in the middle, along with members of his team and characters in the record’s story positioned next to him. (If you look closely, you’ll be able to see Sam himself peeking out from behind the shadows.)
“He was able to create a ship where, not everybody but damn near everybody that made this album what it was, was part of the cover,” says Logic. “And yet, because of the color of the flight suit, it draws the eye straight to me, straight to the middle, straight to what the consumer is looking for.”
Now, the finished cover isn’t just on the album, it’s been slapped on the side of a giant tour bus that Logic has been traveling across the country in, surprising his fans and playing them a few cuts from the new record.
“I’ve noticed every single place I go, the music is a big part of it, but the biggest part is the message and the actual lyrics. It’s an era where everybody is talking about the beat and the melody. So to know that they love the beat and the melody, but they [also] love the message, that is what drives them to listen to it, is insane. That’s why I’m excited.”
Apparently my 10 year high school reunion is this weekend. While too busy to go, it did prompt me to do a deep dive through some old art from a decade ago during my last semester of Walton high school (as well as some truly harrowing photos of me as an angsty teenager). At that point I didn’t even know that I wanted to be an artist (or if that was even a real job) – but a deep fear of any career relating to math, an obsessive desire for self-improvement, and 10 years of drawing shitty drawing after shitty drawing, it eventually clicked enough that I understood that human faces didn’t look like … that.
Now, I don’t wanna sell the whole generic motivational idea of: “SEE anyone can make it, just work really hard, look at me” line of thinking as I had/have numerous advantages that others do not – with what I look like, where I come from, what I believe, or what I was told I can reach for, never being an impedance. That being said, for any young person reading this that hasn’t been lost to cynicism yet: Man I hope you get the chance to try to do something you love. I hope you have the opportunities you should and people that tell you that you can. I hope that the only barriers for your success are talent and hard work – because that shit can be built even when everything else seems broken. And if the barriers you face are bigger than that, I hope you overcome them against the odds, working harder than I had to even when you shouldn’t have to, just so that the world gets to see what you can do too.