Music to My Eyes: Q&A with Augustine Kofie

Q. When you think of records, what is some of your favorite album artwork & what do you love the most about it?

Emerson, Lake, Palmer, TARKUS, Cotillion 1971

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Initially I was taken by the illustration by Willam Neal, not having a clue on what it meant, nor the sounds that would resinate from the plate. My first taste of progressive rock and I have been paying attention ever since. 

Grover Washington Jr, Mr Magic, Kudo 1974

It's a photo based cover of Grover Washington coming up out of a pool. Super candid, but it just works along with a simple layout. That album is pure magic. 

Organized Konfusion [The Extinction Agenda] 1994  &  Company Flow, Funcrusher Plus, Rawkus 1997

Matt Reid aka Mat Doo of Dooable Arts/ Everything is Dooable handled the artwork on both of these amazing albums. His work frequented The Source as well as Rap Pages in the early 90's in article illustrations. Personally, he smashed it on The Extinction Agenda artwork. So personal and heavy. 

A great artist and a great loss, RIP.

Company Flow, End To End Burners... Krazy Kings Too, Rawkus 1997

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There seems to be a pattern here. Company Flow truly cared for their visual component as well as the audio side for their releases. 

The incomparable graffiti style master PHASE2 blessed the cover with a ball point pen to vintage graph paper illustration thats as deep as the songs themselves. 


Q. What do you think is so fascinating about vinyl from an art & design standpoint?

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In a world where music packaging has become smaller and digital, the ephemeral component of a 12" vinyl plate and printed cardboard packaging in large format is refreshing, tried and true. 


Q. What is the basis or common thread in most of your art & design-work, & how is it part of your design?

I'm always in search of balance with shape and form, giving movement to organization. 


Q. What five records changed your life & what do you remember the most about them?

OC Smith, Sounds of Goodbye, CBS 1969   &    KMD, Mr. Hood, Elektra 1990

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I didn't start getting my own true collection going till the early 90's. Pretty much all the records I listened to as a youth were my parents collection. When I got into sampling and digging for breaks I started to go through their selection. I completely bugged out when 'Sounds of Goodbye' started playing. It was the Original sample source for KMD's Peach Fuzz, one of my favorite albums from my youth. The simple fact that my Mom had this record since I was a child was a revelation to me.

Miles Davis, Bitches Brew, Columbia 1970

Who doesn't have this on their list?  This album came my way by recommendation from a certain female student I was crushing on from my high school days by the name of Paula Patton [yes, the actress]. Somehow she gave me her phone number even though we barley ever spoke in school and she told me of her love for Jazz and this album specifically. When I finally bought the album and gave it a listen to many years later I was floored. Experimentation and progressive jazz changed my perspective. I don't even need to speak about the cover by Mati Klarwein

Tomita, Bermuda Triangle, RCA 1979

My Dads record. This cover scared the shit out of me as a 6-8 year old kid. At the time I was into watching "In Search Of..." with Leonard Nemoy and I was into the strange and unknown, but yeah... the moon devil with a heart inside of a triangular waterfall bugged me out. The album itself has a spooky feeling as well, especially since the entire thing is based on electronic music, and yes... the record itself is a salmon color.

The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, California Soul, World Pacific Jazz 1969

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My Dads record, again. This is most likely the first cover song I had knowledge of [California Soul]. The album alone is so chill and grand at the same time. As a child I always felt a connection the to cover photo, as it was shot at the Santa Monica Park Peninsula, a place that was not to far from where I grew up on the west side of Los Angeles.

If you haven't, visit Kofie's site for more of his work, he's also on Instagram where he shares his work-in-progress, and be sure to follow his Facebook page for events, prints and other appearances.