“This ain’t rock ‘n’ roll, this is genocide”. Belgian artist, painter, illustrator, comic artist and photographer, Guy Peellaert born in Brussels, Belgium on 6th April, 1934. Guy was born into an aristocratic family, but left home at the age of 14. He studied Fine Arts in Brussels and became heavily influenced by Both American and British pop culture, film noir and pulp literature, before making his debut as a decorator for theaters and comic strip artist.
His style was influenced by both Psychedelic Art and Pop Art. He moved to Paris, where he worked in advertising, set design and the Crazy Horse nightclub. His comic strip, Les Aventures de Jodelle, was published in 1966 in the controversial French magazine Hara-Kiri. Jodelle, was modelled after singer Sylvie Vartan. His second comic strip heroine, Pravda, made her debut in 1968 and was modelled after singer Françoise Hardy. In 1973, he collaborated with British rock journalist Nik Cohn on the best-selling book Rock Dreams, which reportedly sold a million copies after it was published the following year. Many of the original artworks were bought by actor Jack Nicholson. After the success of Rock Dreams, Peellaert became perhaps best known for his rock album covers. He designed covers for The Rolling Stones (It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll), David Bowie (Diamond Dogs), Étienne Daho (Pour nos vies martiennes), Lio (Wandatta), and others.
It was the original painting used as the cover for Bowie’s 1974 album Diamond Dogs that caused some concern. The Mullet-haired Bowie original depicted him as a half-human half-dog character which showed the hybrid’s genitalia. Very few copies of this original cover made their way into circulation at the time of the album’s release, thus these have become among the most expensive and sought after record collectibles. Of course the offending genitalia was quickly airbrushed out for the 1974 LP’s gatefold sleeve. Peellaert also designed film posters for films like Taxi Driver (by Martin Scorsese), Short Cuts (by Robert Altman), L’argent (by Robert Bresson), Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire (by Wim Wenders). He also designed programme titles for television shows on the French TV channel Antenne 2 in 1982. He died in Paris from cancer on 17 November, 2008 aged 74.
Beware of the Diamond Dogs! Will they come?