Call for Artists: Phonygraphs, Real Art

imagined album cover for Billy Kirkha by artist Mark Todd

Billy Kirkha, “Don’t Go to Hell Without Saying Goodbye,” imagined by artist Mark Todd

You’ve said it–or maybe just thought it or heard it said–that would make a great band name.

All those free-flowing word combinations, pop culture references, and Google-ready made-up taxonomies are ripe for the plucking. Why, a couple of industrious kids could load up on word salad, pick up some guitars, and launch themselves into the world with the great debut record that blasts from sunny-day convertibles, thumps through neon-lit nightclubs, or drifts lazily into moody art film soundtracks. They just need someone to help them on their way.

Like brother Rob Tyner told us, the future’s here right now, if you’re willing to pay the price. This is the time for that great band to release their magnum opus and it is up to you to bring it into the world. The price is merely your imagination.

imagined album cover for Joseph War & Friend by artist Mingering Mike

Joseph War & Friend, “As High as the Sky,” imagined by artist Mingering Mike

Call For Artists!

We are, as they say, putting the band back together. Or, at least, we’re giving you the opportunity to give musicians that never were the chance to live for the first time on the walls of a real, live record store.

Pittsburgh Orbit is teaming up with The Government Center for its first ever art show and we’re here to spread the word that the clock is officially ticking for you to get your entry in.

Phonygraphs is looking for the greatest albums by bands we’ve never heard of. Smooth jazz? Hip-hop? Polka? Hell–why not all three at once?!? You’re making it up, right? Let’s party!

What we’re looking for: Imagination! Humor! Beauty! Absurdity! If you’ve ever thought, that looks like a band photo, well, it’s time to get that band out of the garage and onto the album (cover) they so rightly deserve.

album cover for "Rat On!" by Swamp Dogg featuring the artist riding a giant rat

Swamp Dogg, “Rat On!” (Elektra Records, 1971)

Submission Guidelines

  • The artwork is meant to imitate record jackets. Your piece must be for the front cover of a fictional album by a non-existent artist. Submissions for, you know, “real bands” will be rejected.
  • Pre-submission deadline: Sunday, April 26, 2020. Use the Submit link, below, to show us your interest by sending a preliminary sketch/concept of what you’d like to do for real.
  • Notification of acceptance by Sunday, May 3, 2020. Following this, we’ll deliver a prepared 12×12 plywood board.
  • Dimensions: Artwork must be 12″ x 12″ (one foot, square)–no more, no less–delivered on a plywood board that we will supply. (Unless you really want to supply your own materials.) This is the size of a vinyl record jacket, which you’re imitating.
  • Artists may work in any media they like, as long as it meets the size specifications (above) and is able to be hung on the wall of the record store/gallery’s exhibition space.
  • Artists are free to submit multiple different album covers if you’re really motivated, but know that we’ll only have the wall space for a relatively small number.
  • If selected, you must be prepared to deliver the final ready-to-hang artwork by Sunday, May 23, 2020.
  • Artists need not reside/work in greater Pittsburgh, but if you do live elsewhere, you’ll need to supply your own materials and pay for shipping the artwork.

Submit (via Google forms)

imagined album cover by artist Dead Galaxy

“Brain-Washed Kid Busking on Holograph Street” imagined by artist Dead Galaxy

Other Notes

  • The work will be hung in The Government Center record store (East Ohio Street/North Side) for several weeks. There will be an opening reception on the evening of Friday, May 29 and visitors who can’t make the opening will be able to see the art at any point during regular store hours.
  • We’ll be doing everything we can to make the show look good, but entrants should be aware that The Government Center is not a full-time art gallery and therefore the exhibition area, lighting, etc. will not be gallery-perfect.
  • Artists wishing to sell their work may set their own price and will keep 100% of the sale. You can work out all those details with the purchaser. The Government Center is generously donating their space with no gallery fee/percentage; Pittsburgh Orbit is doing this purely for the love of art and will be taking no money.
  • Unsold artwork will be returned to the artists to do with as they will.
imagined album cover for The Worrywarts by artist Mark Todd

The Worrywarts, “I’m Not So Sure About This,” imagined by artist Mark Todd