Back in the day, in the mid to late 1980’s, I was 17, a spotty punk at art school and was always on the look out for ways of making enough money for fags, beer, girls and gigs. One of the things I did was painting leather jackets for the punks and rockers around Sheffield and I regularly had a waiting list of people wanting their favourite album covers painted on their jackets. I obviously didn’t keep any comprehensive records, but I guess I must have done somewhere in the region of 150 jackets over the years. I was forever buying little pots of Airfix enamels and hunting for the smallest brushes I could find!
I did photograph some of them though, and I found a small album with pictures of about half a dozen, taken with a cheap little plastic 110 camera. Not great quality, but they are all I’ve got!
There are several Iron Maiden covers here, and although I painted shed loads of jackets with punk punk covers and logos, I only seem to have photographed these. I think that because of their complexity, these were a bit of a showcase – I even painted a Maiden image on mine to act as a walking billboard (keep reading!) – bear in mind that these were all copied by eye – there was no way to trace onto leather – and this sometimes took as long as the actual painting!
The Iron Maiden artwork by Derek Riggs were arguably the most escapist and detailed of album covers at the time though, so these were very popular but I never painted the same cover twice, much to many peoples annoyance. Now is the perfect time to start harping on about the death of the album cover, but I’ll leave that for another post…
I also did a few skateboards too, but again, only one was recorded on film:
I was also asked to paint on a denim jacket too. This was my first time using fabric paint! I seem to recall trying to use this to score some extra credits at college and so recorded the progress at various stages:
I mentioned my jacket earlier. I had painted several other designs before this one, I think The Damned were on there at one point, but I remember painting over The Subhumans to create this one. Here are the photos when it was freshly painted – and more apologies for the poor quality images!
I had forgotten about my Country Life butter man badge! But here’s a close up of the jacket now, cracked and scuffed and filled with a thousand drunken memories!