The Cover that Wasn't (and the One that Was)
At lunch today Matt suggested we could blog about the Art parts of Beemo. Not one for blogging or staying on one particular thought for more than 78 seconds, I answered "Bell Pepper?" First, a little Art History lesson. As some of you know, I am a marketing professional and a graphic designer armed with a shiny Art degree from UCF. GO KNIGHTS! Design and art have always been major forces in my life and as fate would have it, brought me to Beemo. My first encounter with the Beemo lads was not as a musician. I was hired to design the band's first ep cleverly titled "Beemo". At the time I was playing bass in a few bands and the mighty Quinn (i.e. Sean) took notice of the artwork that I was kicking out for them. Next thing you know I'm a showing up for practice, writing songs and booking gigs. Here's a look at one of the EP covers that never was. We started to kick around ideas for the Wide Awake EP and I had about three different designs in the works. This one made it all the way to the final stages.
The concept evolved from track one, "The Long Sleep," our song about Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle. Set in New York's Catskill Mountains, Rip Van Winkle is the tale of a fine fellow who magically sleeps for a really really really long time and wakes up to a new world full of possibilities. The symbol represents hope (a running theme throughout our songs) and a compass. In my mind this rusted artifact was in Rip's hand when he took that amazing power nap. In this version I left off the "The" in "The Long Sleep" and the weathered background is just an iphone photo of the couch in my home office. Neato idea...you bet...final design...nope. Gee, I hope this blog has a happy ending.
Now here's look at the cover art that made the cut. I liked the idea of focusing on the Rip Van Winkle song. It was fun, upbeat and quickly becoming a crowd favorite at our shows.
I wanted an organic shape with both simple and complex elements that left an lasting impression. Taking the Scandinavian word Beemo, which means wood and trees are made of wood..or at least that is what Matt J. tells me, I landed on a tree. But not just any tree! In my mind this is the exact tree that Rip passed out under. Goofy? Hell yes! Effective? Maybe. Then I read our bio very closely. "...band with mountain music roots." Ah, ha! This bad boy needs gnarly roots that twist and turn clawing their way into Mother Earth. Perfecto! Then I dug into a little art history. I am an African history buff. Took a course at UCF and it forever changed the way I view art.
There are these glass bottle trees that originated from Kongo and slowly made their way into American Folk art. The bottles captured evil spirits and protected the area around the tree. I figured hey, maybe the instruments can have the power to keep old Rip safe and ward off any evil demons who would like nothing better than to turn him into a ham sandwich. As a final touch, I positioned the instruments in the exact same order as the photo on the back of the EP: Dan's guitar, then my bass...you get the idea. I adjusted that same art work to fit a 70ft HD screen at our Izeafest performance. So I guess this blog does have a happy ending.