Artistic success isn’t measured in money; it’s measured in eyeballs. As in, how many land on your artwork.
Part of it’s luck, part is talent, and part is timing. Not just the timing of your output, but that of your birth, and the period in which you exist. The quality of stimuli available during your receptive phase. For example, growing up reading comic books drawn by gifted inkers, like Jack Kirby and Neal Adams.
Not only were these men brilliant, they were well-rounded in figure rendering, which showed in their art. A child could access these images easily, in the form of a ten-cent comic book, and get the itch to learn the trade. A form of absentee apprenticeship is forged. The love is passed on.
We get guys like Jim Fitzpatrick.
Until very recently, I assumed that the cover of Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak was drawn by Jack Kirby or Neal Adams. I think I’ve even told people as much. I was 100% incorrect. It’s Jim Fitzpatrick.
Thin Lizzy is an Irish rock band that crossed over to American success in the mid-1970s. Two of their most successful singles are on Jailbreak; the title cut, and “The Boys Are Back In Town”. File both under “hateproof”.
How about those harmonies? That’s Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on “twin guitar”, and Phil Lynott battling hepatitis to knock the vocals into the stratosphere. Lynott isn’t just singing; he’s also playing bass. Another dependable Brian (Downey) provides those thunderous drums.
But come on. “Jailbreak” is even badder.
What a picture that song paints! It’s like a mini-movie, starring Thin Lizzy! Every note and beat is perfection! From my understanding, the band supplied a text story for this album- does it even need one?!?
Okay, give me a second to calm down. This is “Jailbreak” we’re talking about here.
Jim Fitzpatrick supplied the art for several Thin Lizzy LPs. But even if you’ve never seen a Thin Lizzy LP, there’s a terrific chance that you’ve been seeing Jim Fitzpatrick’s art almost every day of your life.
In fact, I’ll bet that more people have seen Fitzpatrick’s portrait of Che than anything Kirby or Adams have done. And yet, it couldn’t have happened without their influence. Through them, Fitzpatrick gained the instinct to choose a specific photo of the Marxist revolutionary, and put the proper chairoscuro touches onto it. And by now, you’ve probably seen it as many times as you’ve seen George Washington, if not more so.
What can I say; they used to put a lot more thought into album covers.