Jesse Marinoff Reyes ( Jesse Marinoff Reyes Design, Maplewood, N.J.)
A Happy 90th Birthday remembrance to the Beat Generation icon and one of the great post-war American writers. The impact that Kerouac—and the Beats—had on both American literature and pop culture goes beyond what I can relate here and has already filled volumes of cultural criticism.
Put another way, Village Voice emeritus photo editor, the late Fred W. McDarrah, no stranger to the beats (as he had documented the café scene in Greenwich Village as it was happening), once challenged me to cite what immediate influence the beats had on literature. My reply, “No Jack Kerouac? Then no Bob Dylan, no Jim Morrison, no Paul Simon, no John Lennon, no Lou Reed, no Tom Waits, no Patti Smith . . .” He ceded my point.
Here are a selection of book covers and one LP—from Kerouac’s time and later, with a few by Yours Truly.
Atop An Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings
Penguin Books, 2000
Design: Jesse Marinoff Reyes (b. 1961)
Illustration: Marc Yankus
Art Director: Paul Buckley (b. 1965)
Collage artist Marc Yankus was provided with Kerouac’s actual passport photo to use in the composition. This volume collects Kerouac’s mostly pre-beat writing. I tried to reflect that with the design and direction of the illustration, shooting for more of a 1940s, post-war feel.