Graphic artist Shepard Fairey may have become a household name through his signature “Hope” posters for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, but Fairey’s latest collaborator is a rock legend rather than a political candidate. Fairey is reuniting creatively with Neil Young, who’s asked him to create paintings representing all 11 songs on his new Crazy Horse album, titled Americana.
Young wasn’t asking Fairey to take his album and go wild with artistic interpretations, however. As Fairey explained to the New York Times, he submitted multiple mockups of artwork representing each song on Americana, and Young picked his favorites.
If Young’s song choices for Americana are any indication, Fairey’s paintings are bound to be at least a little patriotic. Young described the album of reworked covers, per Rolling Stone: “A very young choir of children plays with Crazy Horse [on the album]. They’re songs we all know from kindergarten, but Crazy Horse has rearranged them, and they now belong to us.” This includes traditional folk songs like “This Land Is Your Land” and “Oh Susannah,” a video for which Young recently premiered.
“God Save the Queen,” for example, is Young’s take on a British anthem that served as inspiration for “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Thus, Fairey’s painting is of the Queen and Betsy Ross sewing British and American flag together. With the exception of one painting – representing the song “Clementine,” which is available through the NYT – Fairey’s musical interpretations of Americana have yet to be seen. But they will be, through forthcoming music videos and set design in Young’s upcoming concerts. It seems art collectors will be among the only people to see the works up close and personal, as Fairey’s Americana paintings will show for exactly one day at a private show next month at the Perry Rubenstein gallery in L.A. Then they will be sold.
This isn’t the first time Young and Fairey have worked together, either. Last year, Fairey – who honored Young in his May Day series in 2010 – created artwork for Young’s Bridge School Benefit, commemorating the concert series’ 25th anniversary.
The full tracklist for Americana, which will be released June 5, is below.
- “Oh Susannah”
- “Tom Dooley”
- “Gallows Pole”
- “Get a Job”
- “Travel On”
- “High Flyin’ Bird”
- “She’ll Be Comin ‘Round The Mountain”
- “This Land Is Your Land”
- “Wayfarin’ Stranger”
- “God Save The Queen”
–Jillian Mapes, CBS Local