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London Calling Top UK Artists Dedicate Work to Iconic Rock n' Roll Cartoonist
The Clash, London Calling© Ray Lowry.
LONDON.- The Idea Generation Gallery in support of the Ray Lowry Foundation presents a unique exhibition paying tribute to the life and works of iconic illustrator, Ray Lowry. Manchester born, Lowry began his career drawing for Punch Magazine, International Times, OZ, NME and Private Eye creating a cult following for his celebrated illustrations and cartoons. Most famously, Lowry created the unforgettable art work for The Clash’s seminal 1979 album, London Calling. Followed by many devoted fans Lowry and his work has been cited as an influence by a broad spectrum of artists from John Squire to Arthur Smith, Keith Allen to Paul Simonon and Tracey Emin to Humphrey Ocean.

Underlying Ray Lowry’s cult status and influences, 30 prominent artists have produced a new art work interpreting his famous 1979 album cover for The Clash. Celebrating Ray’s work and career the artists have looked at how Ray influenced their art as well as the personal influence he had on their artistic output. All the new works will be exhibited for the first time alongside a retrospective of Ray’s work. The original sketches, designs and ideas for the album cover, private sketchbooks, personal letters and previously unseen photographs, paintings and more will be on show. This showcase gives a personal insight into the mind and work of Ray Lowry and reveals the motivations behind one of the greatest illustrator’s of the past four decades.

Lowry’s association with the music press began in the 1970’s, most notably with the NME for which he produced pocket cartoons, strips and a wide variety of illustrations. As a true rock n’ roll fan, he met the Clash at a concert at the Electric Circus whilst they were supporting the Sex Pistols on their infamous Anarchy in the UK tour. A friendship began, and he was invited to accompany the Clash on their 1979 US tour during which Joe Strummer dubbed him as the band’s “official war artist”.

Lowry was invited to design the sleeve for the bands third album, London Calling. Lowry’s concept involved using one of Pennie Smith’s rejected, out of focus shots and borrowing the pink and green lettering from Elvis Presley’s debut album. He superimposed the album title on a photograph of Paul Simonon smashing his base guitar on stage during a concert at the Palladium in New York. In 2002, Q magazine voted Pennie Smiths image as “the best rock ‘n’ roll photograph of all time” with Lowry’s sleeve coming ninth in a poll by the same magazine of the greatest album covers of all time.

In his life Ray published three collections of his drawings – Only Rock and Roll (1980), This Space to Let (1986) and Ray Lowry – Ink (1998). He also illustrated several books including A Riot of Our Own, an account of the Clash’s career. The Idea Generation Gallery stages a retrospective of Ray’s extraordinary career and celebrates the life of this unique artist.

The Idea Generation Gallery | Ray Lowry | London |

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