Black Uhuru + Sly & Robbie - Taxi Trax
Tabou1 records, a French reggae label working with Sly & Robbie, was recommended to me by photographer Adrian Boot. They were seeking a designer for the collaborative project between Black Uhuru and Sly & Robbie titled "Taxi Trax". As I had previously worked with both Black Uhuru and Sly & Robbie, it was great to reunite with them and work on their music.
Unfortunately, shortly after starting the project, Robbie passed away, causing a delay of almost a year. The project's brief was to create a hard, gritty cover image, so I collaged several of Adrian's photos together and combined them with images of rusty old metal sheets to achieve the desired effect.
Black Uhuru - Live at Soledad Prison 1982
During discussions with Guillaume from Tabou1 about the project, it was discovered that he had film clips and stills from the actual performance at Soledad prison. I saw an opportunity to make the project unique and collectable by utilizing augmented reality.
Guillaume liked the idea, so I went ahead and created a sleeve with trigger images
inside the gatefold alongside a retro design for the cover image. The triggers images activate clips of the various live performances while the cover an animated promo clip for the whole album created by Ravi Swami.
Gregory Isaacs - IKON
This project came to me via Dave Robinson - my old MD at Island Records and the man behind Bob Marley's Legend campaign. We discussed many options but decided to model this compilation in the same vein as Legend cover. We got in touch with photographer Adrian Boot who had taken a perfect studio shot of Gregory and a wonderful panoramic shot of Kingston town JA lit up at night.
It seemed like a good idea to strip the two together and when doing so the overall image just naturally worked. The back cover again was compiled in photoshop from a series of shots that Adrian had taken of Gregory performing on stage. Again it was just something that worked. The album is still due for release at some stage but I couldn't wait to feature it on my site.
Island Reggae Greats
This was a compilation series of the greatest Reggae artists on Island. Originally this had been packaged in the states but the sleeves were very dull and cheap looking. So I decided to repackage and commissioned the very best illustrators and painters in the UK to create images based around each artist and their story. I also got the artists to create large canvas some of which were huge. We launched the series in an up market London gallery which was a huge success. The above image was created by Paul Wearing for the 'Strictly for Rockers' compilation. We printed it as a T shirts which became hugely popular. Celebs like Boy George were seen wearing it and we ended up selling them in top stores around the UK. A big Jamaican T shirt company also produced them and they became the best selling T shirt in the whole of the West Indies.
Illustrated by Cathie Felstead
Illustrated by Brian Grimwood
Illustrated by Christopher Brown
Illustrated by Ian Wright
Illustrated by Paul Leith
Illustrated by Paul Wearing
Illustrated by Donna Muir & Sue Huntley
Illustrated by Sue Curtis
Illustrated by Paul Leith
Illustrated by Ian Pollock
Illustrated by Ashley Cole
Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra - Minnie The Moocher
One of my favourite videos. Recreating the Cotton Club in a London Club. Choosing a small venue in central London, we were fortunate to secure its use on the condition that everything would be cleared by the time they opened in the evening, adding a thrilling sense of pressure to the endeavor. The intimate size of the location proved advantageous, as it didn't require a large crowd to fill it. Embracing the theme of the Cotton Club, the event became a spectacle of costumes, featuring the talented IDJ's who mesmerized the audience with their magic. The radiant Robin Grimes took on the role of 'Minnie,' her smile radiating a priceless charm. The production was flawlessly orchestrated by Tracey Josephs. I vividly recall the moment when Chris Blackwell, calling from New York, shared his reaction after watching the video. With bated breath, I anxiously awaited his response, relieved and elated as he expressed being utterly blown away.
The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra - Debut album
This project offered a unique challenge. The orchestra comprised numerous talented individuals, necessitating a lot of space for their portrayal. Inspired by the mesmerising landscape imagery of renowned photographer Richard Haughton, we embarked on a collaborative journey. Together, we selected the picturesque shores of Brighton Beach with its captivating stony beaches as our canvas. Our vision was to skilfully manipulate the colours, infusing the artwork with an artistic allure that would captivate the viewer's gaze.
Dean Fraser - Redemption Song
A Serendipitous Encounter: From Sketch to Reality. Inspired by the idea of capturing streaking light off a saxophone, I had initially envisioned it for the remarkable sax player, Manu Dibango. However, as time went by, his presence in London remained elusive. Then, one fateful day, I received a call informing me that Dean Fraser would be in town, presenting an opportunity to use this idea for his upcoming album cover.
Realising that my chance to create the envisioned photo had arrived, I swiftly enlisted the talented photographer, Mike Prior, who was available for the afternoon shoot. Given that the shot required a double exposure and we were shooting on film, we relied on Polaroids as our only reference, and the idea looked like it was going to work. When the film was finally processed, our anticipation turned into sheer delight as the final results exceeded our expectations.
AWARE.ZONE - Reggae T's
The iconic interlocking Rastas design was expertly illustrated by the amazingly talented artist, Paul Wearing. I commissioned Paul to create this captivating artwork for the album cover of 'Strickley for Rockers'. Little did we know that this design would transcend its original purpose and become a wildly successful T-shirt. In fact, I was informed that it became the best-selling T-shirt in the Caribbean, garnering widespread popularity.
Sly & Robbie - Boops
Capturing In-Camera Magic: This remarkable cover photograph was masterfully taken by the renowned photographer Brian Griffin. Employing a clever technique, a sheet of glass was suspended in front of Sly & Robbie, and water was artfully poured onto the glass, resulting in captivating natural distortions. Brian's ingenuity always found a way to create enchantment through the simplest and most unexpected methods, leaving us in awe of his artistic prowess.
The 'One Love' T-shirt holds a special place in my heart, as it was a personal design crafted by collaging images from a photo shoot I had with Ann-Marie from Amazulu. As for the Ska T-shirt, it marked my first assignment for Island, and I was awe-struck when they printed up the shirts and saw both Bob Marley and the Island football team proudly donning them.
Sly & Robbie
Collaborating with the talented photographer, Mike Prior, we embarked on a styling session to elevate the visuals. With a touch of artistry, we added a smoke machine and positioned Sly & Robbie in front of the studio warehouse lift shaft. Immersed in the rhythm of their own album playing at full blast, their energy ignited, and they effortlessly unleashed a series of dynamic moves. Mike skillfully captured these captivating moments, immortalizing the raw intensity and artistic synergy between the musicians.
Sly & Robbie - Boops
Directing this vibrant video in the heart of London was an exhilarating experience. To bring the narrative to life, we brought over the talented Jamaican actor Carl Bradshaw, renowned for his roles in "The Harder they Come" and "Third World Cop," to portray the character of Boops with his signature irrepressible style. Sly and Robbie, as exceptional performers, exuded an undeniable bond that was both cool and filled with a playful spirit. The video resonated with audiences and achieved resounding success, rejuvenating Carl's career and reminding him of his enduring impact in the industry.
Sly & Robbie - Fire
Another Opportunity to Direct: Sly & Robbie's Video as Trouble Funk. The setting for this production was beneath the iconic Westway in West London. While capturing the exterior shots, we encountered some challenges with a few disgruntled locals who took offense to our presence. There was a tense moment when a barrage of bricks and stones came raining down upon us. However, once the situation settled, we proceeded to film various scenes reminiscent of a film trailer, including a sizzling performance in a hot and sweaty warehouse. To enhance the visual dynamics, I employed two cameras: one mounted conventionally on legs, while the other roamed freely, infusing the video with an edgy aesthetic.
Beauty's only skin deep
Set them free
54 46 What's my number?
Bonnie & Clyde
What is life?
Tear it up
State of emergency
Aswad - Don't turn around
This marked my first No.1 record, and to complement the cowboy theme embraced for the single cover, we ventured to Almeria, Spain—a renowned filming location for countless Spaghetti Westerns. Choosing Super 8 Cameras, we aimed to capture a nostalgic holiday footage aesthetic for the video. Alongside me was the delightful Vanessa, who portrayed our love interest, and together, we immersed ourselves in the experience, relishing every moment. For the second part of the video, we transitioned to London, where we were fortunate enough to borrow the exquisite apartment belonging to Paul Rutherford of Frankie Goes To Hollywood fame.
Aswad - Give a little Love
This video was shot in South of France: Amidst the scenic beauty of St Tropez. However, unforeseen circumstances threatened to derail the project. Due to a mix-up, hotels were not booked over the Easter weekend, leaving us stranded. To make matters worse, the weather took a turn for the worse, and relentless rain persisted over days. Adding to the challenges, my producer abruptly abandoned the production and returned to London. Yet, against all odds, on the final day of our stay, the sun emerged from behind the clouds, providing a glimmer of hope. Seizing the opportunity, we rallied together and managed to shoot the entire video in a single day. The tale of these misadventures holds the potential to be a remarkable comedy film in its own right.