Once dubbed “Beardsley in blue jeans”, the artist Alan Aldridge, who has died aged 73, created some of the most enduring pop imagery of the 1960s and 70s. His illustration of the Who on their second album A Quick One (1966) was a distinctive period piece in which huge song titles swirled out from the musicians’ instruments and earned him a Grammy nomination. His poster for the 1966 Andy Warhol film Chelsea Girls, featuring the naked 16-year-old model Clare Shenstone adorned with suggestive artistic enhancements, was a notorious tour de force that briefly threatened to get Aldridge arrested on pornography charges.
He later formed a close working relationship with the Beatles and their Apple Corps company, and one of his best-known projects was The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics (1969), which featured Aldridge’s reality-warping artistic interpretations of such songs as Yellow Submarine, Nowhere Man and A Hard Day’s Night. A second volume was published in 1971. Aldridge was appointed “His Royal Master of Images to their Majesties the Beatles” by John Lennon. His catalogue was further embellished by posters for the Rolling Stones and the sleeve for Cream’s album Goodbye Cream (1969).
He enjoyed perhaps his single greatest success with The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast (1973). Inspired by a William Roscoe poem from 1802, the book combined Aldridge’s fantastical anthropomorphic illustrations of insects with William Plomer’s verses, and won the Whitbread children’s book award. Aldridge’s illustrations provided the basis for an animated short film the following year and he provided the sleeve artwork for Roger Glover’s concept album of the same name.
By: Adam Sweeting
Source: The Guardian