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Woodstock…40 years later

October 12, 2009

woodstock book cover 10.09

I had just graduated high school and was two years into my career as an artist when this concert happened which featured much of the music that was an inspiration for my art. The concert was called “Woodstock“. The year was 1969.

Artie Kornfeld, the creator of the Woodstock music festival, has just released his first book (click for more info) telling the story of this historical concert on it’s 40th anniversary.

Artie, for those not familiar, wrote many of the classic songs of those times such as “Dead Man’s Curve” (with Brian Wilson), “The Pied Piper” and many others. He was also the Vice President of Capital Records for 12 years during the time I painted the album cover for Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind” record.

And more importantly to me, he was responsible for signing Seger to Capital which, had he not, my album cover would not have won the Grammy for Best Album Package 1980, nor would I have had the experience that taught me how to paint the horses which I had no clue how to paint at the time!

So I am honored to have my art used to illustrate this book about the greatest rock concert in history, told by it’s creator. (the upper part of the book cover is from my painting “Good Morning“)

But there’s a whole backstory of how I came to know Artie and how the book cover for “The Pied Piper of Woodstock” came to be.

My good friend Victor Kahn approached me with an idea over 11 years ago. Victor, a graphic designer and writer amongst his many other talents,  had been an admirer of my work.  He thought up the concept of using my images as a visual portrayal for his thought-provoking  spiritual poetry. Hence, The Great Illusions was born. To this day, that site has gotten over 2 1/2 million readers, introducing countless people to my artwork.

Ok, so how does this tie in with Artie’s new book cover? Well, Victor has known Artie since 1967 at which time Victor designed a logo for Artie’s pre-Woodstock venture that was named  “Kornfeld Lang Adventures“. The relationship grew over the years and fast forwarding to 2004, Artie asked Victor to design a new website for him. One solely dedicated to Woodstock. Victor could not get one of Jim’s paintings out of his mind. And that is how Jim’s “Liberty Lives’ came to be on the page of Artie’s site “We’ve all come to look for America”(by Paul Simon). And also how many of Jim’s other paintings came to be on Artie’s site.

So it follows, that when Artie wanted his book cover designed, he called on his friend Victor Kahn. Artie, also a fan of Jim’s work, was struck particularly by Jim’s “Good Morning”. Both Artie and Victor thought it the perfect sky, with it’s romantic overtones and gentle rays beaming down, to represent the free love, peace and harmony aura of Woodstock!

* And one little side note.

I had a silly idea recently, which if I didn’t act on would have  stuck in my head so… I decided to write a song called “The Beach Boys Rule”.

While writing, which, by the way,  my kids wouldn’t help me with because they thought it was embarrassing,  I realized I didn’t know what I was doing, so I called the master Artie Kornfeld to help.

Well, having written or produced most of the songs of the 60s, this brought him out of retirement real fast and quickly he sang some tunes into my cell phone message, and emailed me some lyrics to go with mine, taught me some tricks of the trade and that is all I can say for now.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. almostpenny permalink
    October 13, 2009 1:01 am

    I love woodstock! It’s Amazing!
    Great job Mister!

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