Each month in 2023, we’re asking a local artist to recreate one of our iconic covers from the past 75 years. For March, we tapped visual artist Andrew McGranahan to reimagine a 1962 cover. You can see his recreation here and learn more about him in his Q&A below:
Tell us about how you found your style and how you honed your skills.
A lot of experimentation over the years. I still don’t really feel like I have a style and I very much enjoy trying new things out. Even if I don’t end up sticking with a style of illustration, collage, or whatever it may be, at the very least I always learn something new along the way.I worked in a handful of offices early on in my career, and though I learned valuable lessons and skills and made some good friends, I found it to be a very stifling environment, creatively. To paraphrase visionary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, “…I need permission to make art?! Artists need to be free!” Of course, like any other freelancer, I exist in a commercial environment where true artistic freedom isn’t exactly attainable, but having the opportunity to work with clients who trust my vision and being able to choose my own projects is enough for me.
What artists do you admire or look up to?
Man, so many, it’s tough to narrow it down. The first artists that come to mind would be Guy Billout, Milton Glaser, Tadanori Yokoo, Philippe Caza, and Mœbius. I’m also very influenced by film. A few of my favorite directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Parajanov, René Laloux, Satoshi Kon, Hayao Miyazaki, and Terry Gilliam.
How do you think your art reflects the Southern California lifestyle? How does living in San Diego play a role in the way your art comes to life?
My wife Ash and I love living in San Diego. There’s such a wide variety of things to do, and we take advantage of them as often as we can, mostly on her days off from Pigment, where she works as the manager [and] overseer of all three of their locations.We love walking in different neighborhoods with our dog Sue (a few of our go-tos are Mission Hills, Point Loma, and Coronado), going to the zoo and Balboa Park, the occasional hike and trip to the beach, and so on. As for “bringing my work to life,” I very much enjoy existing in my own little universe of art and music, endeavoring to maintain an otherworldly feeling in my work, almost as if it’s from another time and place.
What are some of the brands you have enjoyed working with the most and why?
Again, too many to mention. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many incredible bands, music festivals, restaurants, brands, publications, and so on.
What was your big break?
There definitely wasn’t a single big break for me, I’ve been gradually attracting bigger clientele over many years and I’m very thankful that new amazing clients are still rolling in. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of doing work for Sir Paul McCartney and Gucci Vault.
What do you have on the horizon?
A wide variety of posters, merch, album art, beverage labels, and more. I can’t divulge specifics at the moment but I’ll be able to share the projects on social media in the coming weeks/months.
Where do you like to go to get away and relax?
A lot of the time just being able to get off of my computer is enough [laughs]. Watching films (and certain shows) is very relaxing for me and I’ll often find inspiration in unexpected ways, even watching something I’ve seen many times.
Where can people find your work to admire or hire you?
They can find me at @andrew_mcgranahan on Instagram.