A series of prints (available at the easy on the eye shop) developed from vintage record shop sleeves and bags, and other imagery from the era of record shops. These images have been worked on over time with different layers, bringing out aspects of the printing, sleeve wear, typography, and so on. That these ephemeral bags survive at all is something of a wonder, and they are often now the only tangible evidence for a shop existing at all.
Virgin expanded considerably in 1973 with several shops outside London. Sheffield got their first Virgin that year, right on the edge of the city centre shopping area. This print is based on a surviving plastic bag of that time. Virgin later moved to the High Street and then again to a bigger store opposite the town hall. The print uses images of the creased bag for the background to emphasise the ephemeral nature of the item. To see a further selection of Virgin store bags, visit ST33, a site devoted to sleeve art.
I have worked on the Violet May print for some time, but the original versions didn’t achieve the look I was after. In the end I decided to attempt something similar to the other prints of shop bags and it has finally worked for me. I have never found one of these named bags but happily was loaned this by John Ferminger, drummer and archivist!
While many record shops were pivotal destinations at a point in time, once closed all trace quickly disappears. FON and Warp Records are almost legendary names in the city but as time passes it becomes difficult to recall exactly where they were or when the shops opened and closed. For these prints I took surviving bags of the time and blended the images back into a hazy layer to build on this idea of lost memories. Warp of course are still going as a label (and film company) but even their official history is vague about the original record shop.
Bradley’s bag had a great abstract design. For the print I scanned an original 12″ bag, and separated the colours apart. These were then built up again. I like the way the creases and folds survived this process and still give the image an appearance of age and wear. The lettering originally appeared in the centre of the bag but are here taken out to title the image.
The melancholy of many British seaside towns out of season is now exacerbated throughout the year by the increasing number of empty shops. This image has been developed from montaged photographs of the faded vinyl lettering which appeared on the security shutters of Smuggler’s Records in Bridlington, a shop which I used to visit for many years but which is now closed.
Please note that the grey border is NOT on the prints. Prints are 70cms X 50cms. More details at the easy on the eye online shop.