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1991.12.20 - Santa Fe New Mexican, Guns N' Roses Picks Work by Local Artist for New CD Cover

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue 3 Mar 2020 - 11:46

1991.12.20 - Santa Fe New Mexican, Guns N' Roses Picks Work by Local Artist for New CD Cover Santa_31
1991.12.20 - Santa Fe New Mexican, Guns N' Roses Picks Work by Local Artist for New CD Cover Santa_32


Guns 'n Roses picks work by local artist for new CD cover

Rock 'n' roll and fine art? Not exactly a match made in heaven. But for Santa Fe artist Kirk Hughey and rock superstars Guns 'n Roses, it works.

Hughey's acrylic painting Ascension is the cover art for Guns 'n Roses compact disk (CD) single Don't Cry. The same painting also appears in the rock group's CD Use Your lliusion as a backdrop for the inside liner notes.

Hughey, a Santa Fe painter whose work also can be seen on the Orchestra of Santa Fe's 1991-92 program, was surprised to be on the cover of a rock 'n' roll album.

"I was surprised to learn that Axl Rose (lead singer for Guns 'n Roses) actually has quite a collection of fine art," Hughey said during a recent interview. "If you look at all of the art work on their albums, they all come from Axl's personal collection."

The saga began in June of this year in Sedoria, Ariz., at Connie Lee's Gallery One.

Rose and his girlfriend were shopping and happened upon the painting at the gallery.

"Axl reportedly said, 'I dreamt this last night' when he saw my painting on the wall," Hughey said. "He told the gallery owner he had to have it.

"His business manager immediately sought me out to buy the painting and get the reproduction rights so that they could use it on the album."

Hughey said reproduction rights are not included in the purchase of a painting.

"It look a lot of negotiating between myself and Rose's business managers and lawyers," Hughey said. "I feel that we made a pretty good deal. We took the high road and they negotiated down a little bit. I'm very happy with it."

The album Use Your Illusion, which has been projected to reach more than 40 million in sales worldwide, has been the top-selling rock album of 1991, according to Billboard magazine.

The single Don't Cry currently is No. 10 on the hit list in America.

Guns 'n Roses, known for their hard-hitting grunge/ rock style. surprised music critics with the softer touch of Don't Cry.

"It's my favorite, song on the album," Hughey said.

The 60-by 40-inch painting, which Hughey finished in 1988, is an "abstract," according to the artist.

"It's a real emotional painting for me, "Hughey said.

With a flying cross moving upward, it signifies a state of transition. The cross is rising up out of the abyss, so to speak. Axl picked a very delicate painting."

Hughey believes that Rose's interest in the painting might be part of a change in the volatile singer's well-publicized riotous and rebellious lifestyle.

"People have told me that he's changing his tune a bit," Hughey said. "Maybe that is the idea behind him picking this painting. The song Don't Cry is a very touching number."

Guns 'n Roses music and Axl Rose's defiant lifestyle doesn't exactly match the atmosphere of the artwork. As Hughey said though, "This maybe is a level of Axl's personality that nobody sees."

Hughey's paintings, which have been shown in galleries throughout the United States, normally feature Western figures such as buffaloes, horses and riders.

His paintings have been shown at the Madison Gallery in New York, Pagan Peterson Fine Art in Scottsdale, Ariz. and the Museum of New Mexico among many others.

He said that all of his paintings are abstract in a certain sense but his recent work, such as Ascension, have been popular lately.

Hughes believes that as far as he knows, that this is the first time a work of fine art has been used for such a popular rock and roll release.

"I'm happy to he a part of this breakthrough," Hughey said.

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