Will Tapply is a Leeds-based illustrator who, as you might have guessed, produces a lot of posters and artwork for the underground music scene in Leeds – as well as for bands and venues further afield. I first came across his illustration work earlier this year when Andrew Cream – a Leeds-based musician himself – released his debut album, Self-Portrait (an album that I reviewed here).
Last week I finally got my hands on a copy of Self-Portrait on vinyl – my fault for not buying it any sooner and simply making do with the digital version only. I was reminded just how much I liked the artwork and figured I ought to put together an Art of Punk on the illustrator, Will Tapply. The artwork looks even better in the flesh, complete with the design on the back of the sleeve as well – something you never see online!
The artwork for Self-Portrait really reflects the lyrical content of the album as it acts as a sort of window, both visually and metaphorically, into Andrew Cream’s life. Lyrically the album is very down to earth (with tracks called First World Problems, Privilege and My New Goal for instance) and the artwork reflects Andrew’s day-to-day life. The first two scenes are ones that I’m sure almost everyone reading this can relate to (although personally I get up earlier than 7.30am!), while the third is more musician specific – but for an album titled Self-Portrait it makes perfect sense.
The style of the artwork for Self-Portrait wouldn’t look too out of place as scenes in a graphic novel, which is definitely a style that I’m a big fan of. Typographically the record sleeve uses friendly handwritten lettering – I almost mistook it for a font at first but on closer inspection (no two Es, for example, are the same) I can tell that it isn’t. Again, the handwritten typography is something that compliments the personal theme of the album.
The handwritten and somewhat friendly-looking typography is something that occurs in his other designs. I feel it makes a change from the rough and rugged style of artwork and typography that is more standard in punk rock. There's plenty of friendly and maybe just a few weird and wonderful characters in Will's artwork too.
Will Tapply also plays in a band called Syslak. He dabbled in animation (using free GIF software and a trial version fo Adobe After Effects – smart) to produce a video for their song Skin. It is most definitely on the more weird and wonderful side of things, similar to the Spoonboy poster above, but is well and truly mesmerising.