It was 1999 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers invaded
designer Lawrence Azerrad’s office at Warner Records while Azerrad and the band
worked on the cover art for their seventh album, Californication.
“They pretty much camped out in my office for a number
of weeks – (singer) Anthony [Kiedis] would basically use my office as his and
sit behind me on the couch and check in with me,” said Lawrence.
It all started with a dream: guitarist John Frusciante’s had
visualized a place where, as Lawrence remembered, “the water was in the
sky and the sky was in the water,” and the band wanted to use that idea for the
On top of that, recent changes to the band’s lineup had
inspired a vision of Lawrence’s own:
“I wanted it to [look] very much like a classic rock record
– you know, John Frusciante was back and Rick Rubin was producing it. That’s
why the type is all small on the top – I wanted it to feel like a classic rock
Being able to create a cover that matched John’s dream was
trickier than expected and technology – or, really, the lack of technology – was
“Remember, this was before Google Image,” said Lawrence.
To find the perfect pool, they had to physically audition
swimming pools by driving and checking them out in person. They kept the photos
of the different pools in “this old fashioned physical binder of locations,
[that were] run over to [our] office by messenger” and referred to this binder until
they were able to find the right one. As it happens, that pool belonged to the
parents of one of Lawrence’s childhood friends.
But while the literal adventure stopped there, the metaphorical
one continued on: creating the collage of the pool and sky was, again, trickier
than one would envision it to be today.
Due to the limitations of Photoshop at the time, Lawrence
would mock up the cover in Photoshop on his own computer, and when he and the
band were happy with the product, he would hand it off to these designers who
specialized in creating movie posters who would create a “higher res version of
the photo composition” to be used for the actual cover.
“They came back [with the higher res cover] and there was
this type of atmosphere that made the cover a little more realistic with some
kind of haze in the water on the horizon and Frusciante saw it and was like
‘No, no, no, no’ – he wanted that flat solid [look],” said Lawrence.
“In that day and age, we relied on more printouts and comps
rather than just reviewing [the cover] on screen – you’d make a physical
version [of the cover] and cut it out and put it in the jewel case, and the
machine at Warner was a color copy and… the colors on those, at least then,
were a lot more saturated than it would be in 4-color process, which is how
they would print an album package.
“They showed us the artwork separated for 4-color process –
preparing it for print – [and the] blues typically dull down compared to what
it is [otherwise]. Long story short, John was really disappointed; [he] was
actually at the lightbooth with us when we were looking at the prints and he
didn’t understand why it wasn’t the same blue that I had been showing him this
whole time. So the printer guaranteed… a special blue ink for the blue of the
sky because it was what they promised to do.”
Ironically enough, with all the hubbub about the color of
water in the sky, the striking orange color in the pool came much more smoothly:
“[it was] a happy accident… that is a photo of a flaming red sunset, but it’s
naturally that color.”
Reflecting on the process, Lawrence said, “it strikes me as
anachronistic now, but I guess that was before people were really [in] power
using Photoshop on an individual level.”
“It was a different time and a different era,” he added.
I just figured I’d put this here :) even if I end up not pursuing game design as my college major, I’ll still be learning and creating no matter what! (I’m actually working on a visual novel type thing right now…but that’s another story.)
“Books pepper the apartment, but most are housed in two libraries, one of which is dedicated to art and photography. It also features a Palms lounger by Dutch designer Frans Schrofer and the painting Any Number of Preoccupations by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.”
Dr. Kenneth Montague’s Toronto loft in ‘dwell’ magazine
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Name: emily Time/date: uhuh 5:10pm on 18/18/2015 Last thing I Googled: probably mojo shoujo Birthday: 01/10/96 Gender: demigirl (she/they) Height: 5′7″ haha Favorite colors: blue, purple, and green One thing that makes me happy: my otps and friends :0 Favorite movie: it’s like a tie between Rise of the Guardians, the HTTYD movies, Tangled, and Big Hero 6 Last book I read: Sapphique Most used phrase: “shion voice:disgusting” or “kyun no” (both directed at vishies) but also “ok but–” when i want to start discussions haha Beverage of choice: Dr. Pepper Dream job: character designer or animator :0 Ten people I’d like to learn more about: uhuhuhuhuhuh idk, anyone can. tell your followers i call you ;)