The Dr. Future record sleeve was the initial springboard for the development of an assortment of identity imagery. The record is (in the artist’s words) a “imaginary musical” of images and characters without a clear narrative arc, but with lyrics that encompass free verse, tin pan alley rhyme and bluesy repetitions that became incantory with repeated listenings.
At first I was tasked with the album cover and I picked up on sort of a blurry science fiction future history undercurrent that reminded me of the original Westworld film, Planet of the Apes and genre sci-fi dystopian pulp and film poster imagery.
Lee asked me to create sleeve artwork for the singles, urm, emphasis tracks: Dr. Future to the Rescue, Anxiety and Countertransference.
There are also repeated references in the lyrics to psychiatry (Lee's day job) most directly in a song titled Countertransference. I spent considerable time swiping through images, looking for ones that related but could also stand on their own.
Despite the album's at times chilly soundscapes, some of the songs have a real warmth and humanity and even vulnerability to them. I needed to try to find a place for those themes in the artwork too.
Lee was so enthralled with the results that he requested ’title cards' for each and every song to be used for social media marketing and on web streaming players.
I think these three have the most impact:
The found imagery — mostly from non-comm stock but with a couple elements of paid — refer to and hopefully reinforce the themes and/or specific lyrics in each song, however abstractly, although there is a through-line of motifs and visual treatments that emerge from the album's spacey noir vibe that hopefully pulls everything together as a series.
The Overture is an instrumental, but hey, it’s literally the overture to ‘side two’ of the record. Thus, literal stage curtains for an imaginary musical. (Let’s hear it for displacement maps.)
If you’re fortunate enough to have followed Lee’s quixotic pop music career so far, you will appreciate how utterly un-Lee Feldman it is to use his wordmark as a brand stamp across everything. (It's there on all of the images, on a couple you might need to look more closely.) Somehow Lee agreed to let me do that.
Listen to Dr. Future at your favourite streaming service: https://ffm.to/drfuture