"Fedex" at mygnrforum posted this:
Hi guys, some time ago I contacted Ryan Corey (Chinese Democracy's art director) by email. I sent him several questions involved with his work on the album. He´s a cool dude because he replied the email and answered all the questions (he even ask for an opinion related to the finished work).
I want to share it with you. There are some interesting facts. Here we go!
1- When did you start working with the art of the album?
We only started working on this project shortly before its release. We had a bit more time to focus on the cover, but once that was decided, the rest of the package had to be completed in a matter of days. (I was only allowed one long night to complete 99% of the work).
2- Did you have a call from Axl or the management team? I mean, how did the relationship start?
We had a lot of meetings with Axl's management, but no direct contact with him at all. He's pretty reclusive.
3- About the work. Did you receive clear work instructions? Did you have freedom in the creative process?
Axl had the bike photo to begin with. My understanding was that he had had it in mind for the cover for a couple of years prior to the album's release. So we had pretty clear instructions that that photo was going to be on the cover. We did many different cover options and eventually Axl settled on the one that was released. After that it was more about figuring out what the rest of the pieces should look like in accordance with the aesthetic of the cover and how to work in all the photos of the band members, lyrics, etc. within the pages allotted. Then there were some very specific instructions as to where some things should appear and the inclusion of the paintings that appear in the booklet etc.
4- Maybe you're not a GNR fan, but this album was surrounded with mystery through the years. What did it mean for you to do this job? I mean this was Axl Rose's comeback.
I was aware of the magnitude and the mystique surrounding this project, so I felt proud to be able to be a part of it; I knew that a lot of people would be anticipating this record. At one point the album art leaked to the internet before its release and that was almost a big fiasco. How has the art been received by GnR fans? Do they like it or no?
(I like it, but I told him there are mixed opinions about the artwork)
5- How about the alternative covers? There are plenty of them online, some of them are supposed to be fake, but the “red hand” cover is shown in the Smog site as an original piece of work. What is the story behind the different covers? Which is your favourite one? The bicycle or the hand?
The only two covers I know about are the bicycle and the red hand, both of which were officially released by Geffen. After the bike package was out, Axl wanted to do a special "art edition" that featured art that he personally selected from various sources. That turned out into a completely alternate package and I think was only a very limited release. As far as the covers are concerned, it's hard to chose one or the other. Maybe it's because I had stared at the bicycle for so long that it was refreshing to look at something different. And I like the red hand because I think that artist does interesting work. But the bicycle has good traits as well.
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