Daniel Gunkel: What Makes Great Art?

ds106 Album Art - Daniel Gunkel

Assignment: The ds106 Album Cover assignment is one I never gave much thought to until I noticed such great stuff coming from so many students this semester. I think Bryan N. started the ball rolling with Smicropus several weeks ago, and just today I noticed Keiko’s brilliant Left to the Politicians featured on the assignment page. When I saw Alison’s By Any Other Name, I realized I could delay no longer and must make one of my own.

What is most appealing to me about this assignment is how through the use of pulling together a few random items, it is possible to create something that can be attractive and meaningful. The assignment directs you to draw the artist name from one random wiki page, the album title is derived from a page of random quotes,  and the image from a random Flickr page of recent interesting images.

Process: I followed the steps as directed to get Daniel Gunkel who happens to be a German soccer player and the quote (last four words from the final quote). It turns out the quote is from Ward Jenkins. For the image, I cheated a little. We were supposed to choose the third one but I didn’t think a Red Ferrari would work (now that I rethink, it could have been pretty good). Instead, I used Praline3001’s CC licensed image from Flickr of this New Orleans street musician which was adjacent to the Ferrari on the page.

Once downloaded (the trick for downloading images from Flickr seems to be to view them in all sizes and select the one of your choice to download), I opened it in Pixlr and applied an inverted pastel effect with the setting of 4. I don’t know what that means, but I like the softened feel it gave to the image. I then added the text. I used a 30 point Adobe Caslen Pro in semibold italic font for the album title and a 60 point Academy Engraved Plain LET for the artist’s name.

All together it took less than 30 minutes.

Story: Well as many of you know, I used to work in radio. One of the high points of the job was interviewing musicians and bands when they would come to perform in my town. To do a good interview, it’s important that the interviewer is familiar with the music and knows something about the artist.

Such was not the case when I was sent to the Roadway Inn in Waldport, Oregon to conduct a recored interview with Daniel Gunkel on his 1992 Oregon Coast Tour. I listened to his album “What Makes Great Art?” on my Walkman cassette player as I took the bus from Lincoln City to Waldport. The music was a fairly standard a standard blend folk guitar and harmonica with lyrics about struggle and solidarity. I was expecting to meet some older hippie guy from the sixties with a flowing white beard like the guy on the album cover.

I was totally shocked when I got out of the bus and was met by Daniel himself standing near his limo with the whitest smile I’d ever seen. He allowed me to record the interview as we rode in the limo back to Lincoln City for his concert. He was a thoughtful and humorous guy not afflicted with a superstar-type ego. He actually owned a company in the midwest that manufactured chocolate cookies. Music for him was more of a hobby than a career. The only question he wouldn’t answer was when I asked him who was the guy on the album cover. I never could figure out why.

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