Front and back images of project example by CJ Mitchell. Mixed media printed images on copier paper, watercolor, glue, cardstock.
Front and back images of project example by CJ Mitchell. Mixed media printed images on copier paper, watercolor, glue, cardstock.

A Digital Record

By CJ Mitchell, Community Access Manager

Technology has changed the way that we listen to music today. Most people listen to music through a streaming service like Spotify, Amazon, or Apple Music. Now, it’s easy to access music through an app or download it to your phone for listening. The exhibition Jacolby Satterwhite: Spirits Roaming on the Earth incorporates a record store, bringing back the pleasure of buying a  new album. The artist created the album Love Will Find A Way Home (2019) with musician Nick Weiss using cassette tape recordings of his late mother, Patricia. He transformed these recordings into hypnotic electronic melodies you might hear in today’s music. While the songs are used in Satterwhite’s artwork, you can also enjoy them as standalone music. The album art includes a cover image, inside sleeve, liner notes, and track titles.  In this activity, you will be an artist who creates an album cover that includes facets of yourself in its presentation. 

Ages: Grades 4–12+ (9 years–Adult)

Time It Takes: 60 minutes +

What We Are Going To Do: 

  • Design
  • Draw 
  • Collage 

You’ll Need: 

  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers 
  • Images (printed, magazines, etc.)
  • Paper
  • Glue 
  • Printer to print digital templates

Before We Start: 

Let’s look at a few images of Jacolby Satterwhite’s PAT’s Record Store. Inside the record store is a listening station that holds the records titled “PAT,” with headphones for listening and a bench for sitting. 

Jacolby Satterwhite, PAT’s Record Store (installation view and details), 2021. Vinyl mural. Photo courtesy Dusty Kessler.

 Photo courtesy CAM staff.

Think About:

  • How would you design your album? 
  • What would be your theme and title for the album?
  • How might the theme of the album include your characteristics or personality?
  • How could you incorporate yourself in the art and design of the album?
  • Is there anyone you might want to collaborate with to create your album?

Art Activity:

1. Begin by printing out the template for the record album and cutting it out.

2. Fold the template on the dotted lines.  Remember to fold inward so that when it is glued, the solid and dotted lines will not be seen.

3. Apply glue to the two side tabs, then fold in and press firmly so that the two sides stick together. Make sure that the album cover can still open.

4. Now decide how you will execute your album cover.  I have decided on a plant theme for my album. For this example, I started with collage. Images were printed out along with pages from magazines. I am using the outline of a photograph of myself to incorporate myself in the collage.

5. I continued to work filling in the area and the front of the album, using the outline of the photograph as a point of reference.  This will vary depending on the mediums used for creating your album cover. 

6. Next add the title of the artist and the album. It can be drawn or printed out.

7. Now work on the back cover of your album. Feel free to use the same or new mediums. This side of the album will have a list of the songs or tracks that would be on your album. 

8. Finally, consider using watercolor paint on both sides, filling in some of the white space. You might want to add a layer of mod podge to help the collage stay flat, though this is not necessary.