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Times/6.23.2013, copyright protected; all
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“David Stone Martin led a period when being a record-jacket illustrator seemed like an endeavor worthy of a substantial artist."
-William Wilson, Art Critic,
Times, 1987 Los
“The saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention, and for Vince Gerard it ended up being the mother of a new gallery in one of
The founder of Jazzartz got the idea for his project when he went shopping for fine-art prints of work by David Stone Martin, who designed more than 400 album covers for Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz and others. Gerard was unable to find any, though, so he began creating them himself— buying albums on eBay, contacting the artist's estate and making digital replicas of original works.
"The thing about David is, he's by far the most highly collected album cover artist in the world," Gerard said. "People collect him all over the world, especially in
Europe and Asia, where there are huge jazz fans. But no
one's ever seen his art beyond the album-cover size."
Until now, perhaps. Jazzartz, which opened in spring in
sports dozens of prints of Martin's work
around its compact space, with many of the original albums propped against the
wall below the replicated images. Upstairs is Gerard's print room. Each of the
works on display is part of a limited-edition series, and any customer who
orders one will receive a new copy — even with alterations, as Gerard is happy
to adjust color schemes or superimpose personal messages. Laguna Beach, CA
The show, scheduled to run through Sept. 15, is Jazzartz's first exhibition and also celebrates a milestone: Martin, who died in 1992, would have turned 100 this year.
His images are often minimalist, with figures depicted in spare ink strokes and two or three colors that wash over the outlines. In a 1987 appreciation, Times art critic William Wilson wrote that Martin "led a period when being a record-jacket illustrator seemed like an endeavor worthy of a substantial artist."
Bridget R. Cooks, an art history and African American studies professor at UC Irvine, said the loose interplay between line and color in Martin's images evokes the feel of the music itself. "It's not a kind of meticulous, measured and regulated sort of stroke," said Cooks, who plans to touch on jazz album cover art in her next book. "There's a kind of ease that goes with the technique of painting in this way."
Due to the considerable interest, Gerard is considering expansion, to
. "People come here from Palm Springs and San Francisco ," Gerard said. "Every weekend,
there will be a couple dozen people who come to look at the stuff and make
purchases. They actually make special trips. Jazz fans are loyal fans." Los Angeles