Michael Hammett's Painted Covers For White Denim

The Austin, Texas artist exploits the visceral quality of paint in his ongoing collaborations with the band.

The album cover for White Denim's "Let's talk abou
The album cover for White Denim's "Let's talk about it"
The part-collage, part-painted covers that White Denim have used for their single "Look That Way At It" and EP "Let's Talk About It" were both created by artist Michael Hammett, who had already collaborated with all members of the band prior to their success as White Denim.

Dazed Digital: How did the collaboration between you and White Denim come about?
Michael Hammett: I think we both saw it as a good opportunity to represent each others work, which we've always had a confident interest in. I've taken part in various collaborations with James [Petralli] for many years now, through music, film, and album art, and besides having been actual work associates with all three of them - darts, backyard BBQ's, and bowling have made a contribution as well.
 
DD: Are you a fan of the music?
MH: Yes, very much so.

DD:  How did you factor in White Denim's music when creating the album and single covers?
MH: It's funny, the cover for the single is actually appropriated from the "Workout Holiday" image (I’m a fan of recycling images by the way), and the "Workout Holiday" cover was cropped out of a larger image intended to be the original cover. I tried to keep things thematic with their "Let's Talk About It" EP, and also arrive at something that expressed the same kind of energetic and spastic yet contained elements that White Denim has to offer. The result of which being a very playful and vibrant in tone.

DD: Will the collaboration continue with White Denim?

MH: Definitely, in some form or another.

DD: Tell us about your own portfolio of your work and how you developed your own style of painting?

MH: The approach I tend to take toward image-making is surprisingly spontaneous. Composition is key, but I'm open to any and all color palettes and subject matter.  I'm definitely influenced by realism and the paintings of old, but also just by the visceral quality of paint itself, how good it looks built up on a surface, caked on or sanded, broken down, abrasive and weathered like old billboards that reveal all those old layers, images juxtaposed among other images of no relevance. I enjoy the very refined technical aspects of painting as well as the very expressive and crude, they compliment each other.

DD: How long have you been painting?  Have you exhibited anywhere?

MH:
As far back as I can remember. It also runs in my family. It became serious a few years out of high school, when the collaborative atmosphere really started to take shape, working summers with my uncle and friends in his Galveston garage. The latest incarnation of that being the Modern Plow Collective. See the video for White Denim’s "Look That Way At It".

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