Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Art of Punk: SINC and Hot Water Music

Scott Sinclair, or simply SINC as he is better known, is a painter, illustrator and video game artist (not to be confused with the British footballer). You’ve probably seen his work, even if you didn’t know who the artist behind it was.

He’s recently (relatively speaking) worked as an artist on the Guitar Hero games and as an art director for Bioshock. Since then he has been involved in the formation of The Molasses Flood – a video game company whose first game, titled The Flame In The Flood, features incredible art of SINC’s creation (he was asked “How would you like to make a game that looks like your personal work come to life?” by the game’s designer) and a soundtrack by Chuck Ragan. I’ve not played the game but it does look awesome judging by the trailer.

The fact that Chuck Ragan is responsible for the video game’s soundtrack is actually no surprise as he and SINC have a long history of working together. After completing his degree in illustration at Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida, SINC became involved with the then blossoming Gainesville punk scene. He painted artwork for the likes of Less Than Jake and Radon as well as other Gainesville bands, but it is his paintings for Hot Water Music that he is most famous for.

The style used for classic HWM albums such as Caution, A Flight And A Crash and No Division is very distinct and I’ve always thought that it is unlike anything else you ever see on punk record sleeves. The artwork makes me think of Picasso – which is definitely not something you’d say about much in the world of punk rock – as SINC uses a sort of cubism in his depiction of character’s faces. The art of Hot Water Music, aside from their last album Exister (designed by Horsebites), simply is Scott Sinclair. I love how they clearly let him do whatever he wanted or use whichever piece he had already created, as they obviously admired and appreciated his artwork. I’m sharing a couple of paintings without the album titles on them but even with ‘Hot Water Music’ and the relevant album title in place, it doesn’t detract from the amazing art. Look how small the text is on No Division (below) – the band was willing to let the artwork speak for itself.

I unfortunately don’t own any Hot Water Music albums on vinyl – mostly because I’m never sure which to buy first (I know that All Ages in Camden has a couple in stock) – but if I did, I think I’d happily have them framed as a series on my wall. They’re great individually but also look awesome together.

I didn’t realise until I started to do a little further research that SINC is also responsible for the design of the classic Hot Water Music logo – I mean, it makes sense really. He’s a very talented man and I hope that if or when HWM decide to make another album that they will work with SINC again – if he’s not too busy making video games anyway!