GREY ORGANISATION / TOBY MOTT
DE LA SOUL, 3 FEET HIGH AND RISING ALBUM COVER STUDY, 1988
Black and white photographic print (12 by 12 inches) with Posca paint pen art work on acetate overlay bearing the band and album name with floral design motifs, adhered with small pieces of tape to each side, stamped "Grey Organisation" along lower right margin, and "1988 Grey Organisation" on verso; light discoloration to tape, some minor warping to paper (possibly inherent).
3 Feet High and Rising (1989) was the debut album of De La Soul (the trio comprised of Kevin "Posdnuos" Mercer, Dave "Trugoy the Dove" Jolicoeur, and Vincent "Pasemaster Mase" Mason, with vital contributions from producer DJ Paul "Prince Paul" Huston). The album was a critical and commercial success, "an unprecedented assemblage of sound... offering a world as richly imagined as anything American pop has ever produced" (Pitchfork).
Tommy Boy Records engaged the British art collective Grey Organisation to develop the album's aesthetic, one defined by a bright, neon palette, and a pop-art sensibility. In his essay, "Hip Hop in The Daisy Age" Art Director Toby Mott stated that they set out to "move away from the prevailing macho hip-hop visual codes which dominate to this day," describing the album design process as follows:
"We have come up with the 'Daisy Age' visual concept. De La Soul visit our loft where we lay them down on the floor facing up, their heads making a triangle. We photograph them whilst hanging precariously off a step ladder, one idea being that the cover would not have a right way up. CDs have yet to be the dominant musical format so the vinyl album sleeve is our most effective way of making a statement. We layer the brightly-coloured hand drawn flower designs made with Posca paint pens on acetate over the black and white photographic portrait print, which is rostrum camera copied... "
The present album cover study features all the major design elements of the final version, with minor variations in color and text placement.
Toby Mott + the Grey Organisation, "De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising," http://hypergallery.blogspot.com/2012/11/de-la-souls-3-feet-high-and-rising-by.html
Courtesy Toby Mott