Previewed is a look into the cover art from MGMT’s upcoming album release “Congratulations,” due out in stores April 13th, 2010. The art was done by famed surrealist cartoonist Anthony Ausgang, interviewed below courtesy of Daniel Lahoda from JetSetGraffiti.
You are one of the original “Lowbrow” guys and have watched the whole arc of this movement. What are your thoughts on how the scene has evolved?
Lowbrow Art was originally based on a wide assortment of aesthetic insurgencies, like the surf and hotrod subculture. Many of those cultural influences are now outdated and have been replaced by more recent stimulations. For example, the major influence that Saturday morning cartoons had on Lowbrow has been replaced by the new youth culture’s video and computer games. There were also certain orphaned subcultures that were initially attracted to Lowbrow as a good place to enter the Fine Art world. As time passed some of these subcultures, like Graffiti, moved away from the Lowbrow and became their own art movements.
How did you get hooked up with MGMT?
I met Andrew and Ben from MGMT through the experimental musician Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 and Spectrum, for whom I had done album cover art in the past. MGMT was recording “Congratulations” at a mansion in Malibu so I went there a couple of times to hang out and watch the process unfold. Not being a musician I was occasionally left to my own devices so I would sit around and draw on pieces of paper then leave them there when I went home. I got along well with the band and gave them copies of my book, Vacation From Reality. Later, Josh Cheuse, the art director from Sony, contacted me once the recording was finished. The most important thing was that MGMT wanted the “look” of my style of painting and gave me only a few points that I had to hit. Naturally the process took some time but they were always cool with the criticisms. A lot of people who commission a painting only know what they don’t want; fortunately MGMT knew what they wanted and let me do it my way
The complete interview can be read here.