You may have already seen some of these circling on social media? Reworkings of some of the most famous artworks in modern times! We were so impressed with this Coronavirus-isolation-inspired art, we spoke to the man behind it all! Graphic designer/video producer Charlie Clinton works for Radio X, where he was commissioned to produce these ‘Quarantine Covers’. He previously worked for his hometown football club Millwall and luckily (given his current workplace) has a big passion for music. He has even included a very cool quarantine playlist for us, give it a whirl!
What are your work experiences so far?
I started off in graphic design back when Adobe Fireworks used to be a thing, making Bebo skins for my school mates! Eventually, I ended up working as a multimedia producer at Millwall Football Club, which included a lot of design work. I used to work on all different manner of projects but I think my proudest was working on the 1993/94 25th anniversary kit prototype and logo designs. My nephew was in the print ads and launch video, so a nice moment for my family. I’m actually a video producer day-to-day, but I always try and keep the graphics side of it included somehow!
How did you begin working at Radio X?
I started at Radio X last year, I love the music on the station and it was the right time to move on, so I thought I’d try my luck! I turned up to the interview in what was essentially a three-piece and got laughed at in my interview by my now boss for being, at the time, the most-overdressed person in the building. Fair to say I’ve learnt from that lesson.
Is it a requirement to know all the words to Country House and own an Oasis t-shirt?
I have an enormous passion for music, I can’t function properly if I don’t have music on the go – from the second I wake up to until just before I go to sleep I usually have music playing (unless I’m editing). Haha it’s not essential to know those things at all, I don’t know/own either of those things! I mean it helps for me to know random things like the guitarist’s name from DMA’S, or who an artist’s favourite artist is, but that’s purely beneficial from a work-perspective. I’ll tell you what, I’ll make a playlist for you, yeah? Cool. I’ve just discovered Noise Artists though, never that.
For a brief like this, do you have much control over which album covers you re-imagined?
Yeah absolutely – I started off by re-making famous film posters, then my colleague told me to do some album covers, so that’s how that started. We put a comment in the first post on the Radio X Instagram and asked what people wanted to see us do next. I’ve got a list of about 20 albums to choose from now. I’ve done other genres though; Kanye West – Late Registration and The Streets – Original Pirate Material are to name a few. Whenever I get the free time I just have a look online and see what would look the most interesting re-imagined.
Which is your favourite design?
I think my favourites are the Abbey Road one and the Gorillaz one, they were the most fun. The hardest ones were by far Definitely Maybe and Original Pirate Material, purely down to the amount of detail. I’ve also done a Banksy and The Last Supper, which won’t please my Nan. The Clone Stamp tool on Photoshop has done me absolute wonders.
They have gone down very well with fans, have you seen any reaction directly from the music acts?
Yeah we’ve had some great comments – as long as they enjoy them I’ll keep making them. We haven’t had any reaction from the music acts yet, but it looks like we’re in lockdown for a while longer yet so you never know!
COPING WITH THE CRISIS
How are you coping in the current crisis? Do you find being stuck indoors inspires you or has the opposite effect?
I’m lucky in the way that almost all of my work entails me being at my computer, so the days aren’t too arduous at the moment. But being stuck indoors has definitely inspired me to take on new things, I’m currently learning how to mix and master audio using Ableton, so there are some positives to being stuck at a computer all day. I definitely need a new pair of glasses though, my eyes are killing me.
Do you have further coronavirus-themed projects?
I’m not sure about any further projects yet, it’s about trying to find the right tone, we don’t want to be seen as making light of what is essentially a serious situation we all find ourselves in. But if it’s something that will give people a slight lift then absolutely. Definitely some more re-works coming though.
Do you listen to music when working?
All the time, I’m listening to Crazy P – Heartbreaker as I type these answers. Some people find it a distraction but I’m the opposite. It helps me tune out what’s around me and focus on what I’m doing. My neighbours almost certainly hate me though.
What are your career ambitions? An art exhibition, a book?
An exhibition of Quarantine Covers once this is all over would be nice wouldn’t it? A bit like how @Coldwar_Steve did his perhaps? Maybe we can sort it for charity… I’ll leave that one to you, yeah? [Editor – watch this space!]
If you like these Quarantine Covers, check out our feature on Bands FC, which creates football-style badges and kits for all your favourite bands.