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 Clashs 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 Lowrys cult status and influences, 30 prominent artists have produced a new art work interpreting his famous 1979 album cover for The Clash. Celebrating Rays 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 Rays 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 illustrators of the past four decades.
Lowrys association with the music press began in the 1970s, 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 bands official war artist.
Lowry was invited to design the sleeve for the bands third album, London Calling. Lowrys concept involved using one of Pennie Smiths rejected, out of focus shots and borrowing the pink and green lettering from Elvis Presleys 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 Lowrys 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 Clashs career. The Idea Generation Gallery stages a retrospective of Rays extraordinary career and celebrates the life of this unique artist.