Young Thug’s ‘PUNK’ album cover: how the work beckons


With every mixtape since “I Came From Nothing” in 2011 and every full album since “So Much Fun” in 2019, improvisation rapper-singer Young Thug has kept an eye on the noble aesthetic. The cover of the album “Punk”, released on October 15 and featuring illustrations inspired by the work of the surrealist painter of Mexican origin Octavio Ocampo, “Forever Always”, is the latest example of the emphasis of influential talent on the visuals.

Ocampo is renowned for a metamorphic painting technique where an image, or dreamlike visual concept, transforms into an image of similar shape or appearance, but entirely representing another concept. Born into a family of designers and focused solely on painting since the mid-1970s, Ocampo uses the principles of surrealist masters such as Salvador Dali – in their fantastic looks at the subconscious – while often juxtaposing incongruous elements or subjects. Like Mexican surrealist Frida Kahlo, Ocampo maintains a personal narrative in her work while dedicating canvas space to the traditions of her homeland and Mexican ethnic totem poles.

Ocampo’s optical illusion “Forever Always” highlights two profiles of aged faces of a man and a woman looking into each other’s eyes with two traditional Mexican figures at rest and a golden goblet (or sacred chalice ) between them. Young Thug completed the “makeover” of his own “Punk” cover with two self-referencing profiles of his own face, pink dreads framing both faces, with young black performers playing instruments and playing with dice.

The artwork for the album “Punk” was performed by Garfield Larmond (@whoisGLP) and Estefano Arellano (@its_fano) and was performed by Japanese artist K2 (@smilecomplexx) and Lil X (@prescribebydoc ), according to YSL PR.

The cover of Thug’s previous album is also a sight to see. According to Genius, the cover of “So Much Fun” uses nearly “1,000 layers and exactly 802 hand-placed thug copies (made up of about 20 different photos of him taken on an iPhone)” to form the rapper’s face.

The first notice that Thug’s “Punk” album cover took its hat off to painter Ocampo’s “Forever Always” arrived in XXL’s list of new online releases for October 14 for the week. And for all of his innovations, Young Thug is not the first contemporary musical artist to use Ocampo’s artwork for inspiration or as an album cover. Cher’s 1989 album “Heart of Stone”, released on the Geffen label, uses an original commissioned Ocampo featuring the singer lost inside the artist’s skull in profile amid a dark background .


About Elizabeth J. Swartz

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