W Records Teams Up With James Joyce To Design Limited Edition Vinyl Box Set
W Records has reached over 10 million streams to date, taken home a Clio Award for Music, and are very proud to celebrate with the release of our limited-edition W Records Vinyl Box Set designed by British artist and graphic designer James Joyce. His work has been shown internationally, including Banksy’s Dismaland in 2015. Joyce’s iconic creations bring to life rebellion, fun, and glamour – a perfect depiction of W’s introduction into the record label industry. We caught up with Joyce to learn more about his inspiration behind the box set, his travel experiences, and the interwoven relationship that music and art will always have.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY RESIDE?
I was born in Wolverhampton, in the Midlands, UK. I’ve lived in London for the last 25 years.
MUSIC AND ART HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CONNECTED, IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF VINYL LPS YOU HAD ARTISTS LIKE ANDY WARHOL DOING THE ARTWORK FOR VELVET UNDERGROUND, AND ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE FOR PATTI SMITH. WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES GROWING UP?
I was a child of the 80’s and whilst my taste at that age probably wasn’t very refined I do remember my older sister having LP’s like Duran Duran Rio with artwork by Patrick Nagel, The Human League Dare cover and Grace Jones Island Life/Nightclubbing by Jean Paul Goude, the art and design on those sleeves made an impression. Later on through my teens and into art college I became very interested in designers like Peter Saville (Joy Division / New Order ) and Vaughan Oliver (Pixies / The Breeders) and of course Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground and Rolling Stones covers. There are so many.
DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHEN YOU’RE CREATING AND IF SO WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES?
It depends, when I need to think I can’t have distractions, but when I know what I’m doing and I just have to make the work or do a task then I’ll listen to music. I listen to all sorts but electronic music is probably played the most in the studio.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME AN ARTIST OR DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW FROM AN EARLY AGE THAT WAS YOUR CALLING?
I don’t recall a specific moment of inspiration but yes I think I always thought I’d be an artist of some sort. As a kid I enjoyed making comics, drawing portraits of pop stars and drawing band logos. It’s the one thing I excelled at in school and I was encouraged from an early age, so I hate to think what I might be doing if I hadn’t followed my talent.
DO YOU TRAVEL OFTEN? IF SO, DOES TRAVELING INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
I like to try and switch off when I’m away, but I do think any new experiences can influence your thinking if you let it. I remember the first time I went to New York on a college trip being very inspired by the city as a young creative student. I think any kind of culture clash is interesting.
W RECORDS VINYL BOX SET THAT YOU DESIGNED TAKES US BACK AGAIN TO ALBUM ARTWORK. WHAT WAS YOUR THINKING AND INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR CONCEPT?
I had to create an image that could work primarily on the cover and also as variations throughout the inside packaging. I arrived at this mouth image as an icon whereby you can change the object inside it and keep consistency throughout. Wanted to get away from using the classic red lips so I used contrasting colours on each mouth but kept the colour palette consistent through each design. I mean, the mouth has been used a thousand times before on record sleeves. It’s one of those icons that can just keep on being reinvented and repurposed, and has the ability to communicate rebellion, fun, sex, glamour, decadence, all in one simple icon.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO SAY TO ASPIRING CREATIVES AND ARTISTS?
It’s not an easy path to take doing your own thing, but if you’re good at it and you really want to do it then stick with it. Hard work, ambition, and determination tends to pay off in the end.