Manifestation - Unused

Sign of the Crow - Cover Art Alternate

Credits:  hand / boy - Kuwait, February 2016;  backgrounds - cracks in dirt, Kuwait, January 2016

The longer I had to think about the clips of songs I had from the album, the more art I thought of. So Spiderboy is not caught in the web, but hanging down from it like a marionette. The background is cracks in the ground that often formed as the dirt dried after a rainfall.

I never thought how hard it would be to find a model, to get someone to let me take a photo of them. People take photos with their friends all the time, but ask someone to lay on the floor with their limbs outstretched... So, introducing, Norberto Contreras as Spiderboy!

The only thing I am disappointed with is that the spiderweb is not real. I have several photos of spiderwebs, but couldn't successfully separate them from their backgrounds. So I had to draw it in.

Herd of Instinct - "Manifestation"

Manifestation - Front Cover

Credits:  trees - Ft. Lewis, WA, May 2015;  sky - Kandahar, Afghanistan, March 2006;  grass - my house, Sacramento, CA, January 2009;  path - Goa, India, October 2007;  crows - Goa, India, October 2007;  door - East Grinstead, England, September 2015

David told me he saw Sign of the Crow as "an inn sign with a picture of a black crow on it (probably full of highwaymen or smugglers!)" So I imagined these 17th or 18th century travelers deciding to leave the dirt road and walk through the woods. A couple of ideas crossed my mind which seemed to cliche—the travelers come out of the woods to a a field with tall yellow grass, a wooden fence, a scarecrow. It needed to be more mysterious—how about a clearing in the woods? Now, what to put in the clearing? I was stumped and have to give credit for the door idea to a friend at work. That night, laying in bed, I was able to see the whole image clearly with the path, the door attached to nothing, the light...

I had photographed the trees a few months earlier for another piece. It took quite a long time to separate them from the background. And then some had shadows, some had strong sunlight, I apparently had a smudge on my lens causing a glare... I did all the foliage separately.

The grass is my yard just after I bought my house. I was taking pictures all around because I was excited to be a homeowner.

I needed pictures of crows. There seemed to always be crows around where I lived in WA, large ones. Except now that I needed photos, they had all disappeared. So those are not crows. They were actually sort of dark gray and tan.

After searching my photos, I found a couple of doors which would have been acceptable, but not really good enough. Luckily, I had a trip to England planned and was sure I could get good photos of old wooden doors there.

This picture was originally very colourful with even the mist blue-tinted, but I thought it looked too much like a fairy tale and not foreboding enough. I thought it needed to be darker and more austere. Removing most of the color really changed the whole context of the image.Type your paragraph here.

David Cross Band - "Sign of the Crow"

Sign of the Crow - "Sign of the Crow"

Sign of the Crow - "Starfall" Alternate

Manifestation - Back Cover

Credits:  sky - Cape Perpetua, OR, July 2015;  tufa - Lake Mono, CA, November 2012

David contacted me saying they wanted to release a single of The Pool on 5 July. It was 23 May, so, time crunch. My problem was, I had just recently completed a couple of images with a pool in them and I needed to come up with something different. My first idea was to have a close up of hands cupping water with the reflection in the water the hands were holding show a sky, trees, etc. Sort of like the sleeve for Paul McCartney's Mull of Kintyre. But Spiderboy already had a close up of a hand.

I was thinking it seems the person in the song could step out of his normal dreary life by diving through the pool and on the other side everything would be beautiful. So I conveyed that by everything being black and white with the reflection in colour. I first had a totally different sky in the reflection, but it was too distracting.

The rock formations in Lake Mono, CA are called tufa and occur when calcium in the very salty lake combines with fresh water from underground springs. This is where the photo of the “splashless diver” in the gatefold of Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here” was taken. I combined several photos then had to separate the rocks, the reflections and the water.

Sign of the Crow - "The Pool"

Sign of the Crow - "Spiderboy"

Sign of the Crow - "Starfall"

Galleries - Current Art

angel stephens

Credits:  trees - Ft. Lewis, WA, May 2015;  sky - London, England, September 2015;  path - Goa, India, October 2007;  crows - Goa, India, October 2007;  door - East Grinstead, England, September 2015;  beach / rocks / branches - Coquille Point, OR, July 2015


I made a second version of Sign of the Crow just to give David a choice. Where else other then the beach could I put a door leading to nothing?

Sign of the Crow - Cover Art

Credits:  sky - Jaipur, India, October 2007;  desert - Lake Powell, UT, December 2012;  mountains - near the Wave, AZ / UT, December 2012;  meteors - Paul McCartney concert, San Francisco, CA, July 2010;  fire - Three of a Perfect Pair Camp, NY, August 2014;  craters - airfield bunkers, Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, January 2008

Towards the end of December 2015, David contacted me saying he was making a video of Starfall and would I do some art to be shown in it? I like the ambiguity of is the fire and smoke coming down from the sky from a meteor, or is it rising up from the ground from cracks in the earth's crust?

According to Richard Palmer-James, the lyrics concern a post-apocalyptic world either redeemed from, or bereft of, human existence. What is left over when all of us are gone? I was thinking of a Dr. Who episode where they travelled to the end of the universe.

This piece was actually rather simple to make, but I think the simplicity is appealing. I did have to work carefully on the colours and the spacing of the fire pits.

Manifestation - Back Cover Alternate

Sign of the Crow - "Rain Rain"

Credits:  house - Radcliff, KY, May 2012;  sky - London, England, September 2015;  water – Snoqualmie, WA , August 2014;  tree - Ft. Hood, TX, October 2015

Originally, David had only asked me to make the cover and I didn't plan on making any other art for “Sign of the Crow.” But one day the idea for Rain Rain just came to me and I think it fits the lyrics well.

Looking through all my photos, I didn't have a suitable tree so I spent a couple of days walking around looking for one. In my mind, the water was a very specific share of blue—actually the colour of the car on Peter Gabriel's first album. The rain drops are all cookie-cutter cut-out from the same water as the puddle so each one is actually different.