but can they turn you on

Jesse Marinoff Reyes:

TALKIN’ ‘BOUT THE BEAT G-G-G-G-GENERATION: Here’s a small sampling of how Jack Kerouac and the Beat writers were presented in their time, and from the relatively recent past. Dig it man. More inspiration from the archives…

Some of the Dharma
Viking, 1997
Design: Gail Belenson
Photograph: (snapshot) The estate of Jack Kerouac
Art Director: Paul Buckley

---Jack Kerouac----

An oversized jacket for Penguin’s hardcover trade imprint, Viking (née The Viking Press), I always thought my former colleague Belenson’s jazz album cover approach—Blue Note, Impulse!, Prestige, Verve, et. al.—was the way to go, and went that direction myself on Diane di Prima’s Recollections of My Life as a Woman. This was a big reference point for me during my time at Penguin. I thought especially sharp was her attention to nuance with a Tibetan-influenced color scheme, the subtle combination of blues used on “Jack” and “Kerouac,” and the use of typewriter ornamentation from Kerouac’s own manuscript layouts.

Northwest Extra!, Vol. 1, No. 12, April, 1990
Design: Art Chantry
Illustration: Robert Crumb
Art Director: Art Chantry

William Burroughs

Northwest Extra! was a tabloid format, alternative literary periodical (say that three times fast!). It featured comics, lit and film criticism, columns (by the likes of Hunter S. Thompson) and original fiction with illustrations by noted artists. The interior format was anti-design—an interesting choice considering the art director’s pedigree. Although the covers, especially a number of issues featuring portraits of the beat writers by R. Crumb, and designed in stark, bold, black and white, would knock your socks off when you saw them at distribution points like bookstores. A cover as tabloid/poster hybrid—not surprising considering the art director’s pedigree (Chantry being one of the greatest and most influential poster designers ever).

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