One of the things I miss about vinyl is the packaging. Coming home, breaking the seal, putting the record on and then holding and reading the lyrics and looking at the images was a real visceral experience. I still try to replicate this experience with CD's but it's just not quite the same. I've always felt the cover to be an integral part of the music epxerience. The first Ed Unitsky cover I saw was on a Tangent CD, but the first of his projects that really capitvated my attention was Manning's "One Small Step", so I thought why not find out a little more about this amazing artist. By the way, you can check out plenty of Ed's work at his official web site www.edunitsky.net

Jerry Lucky: It’s probably a question you’ve been asked hundreds of times…but what were your early inspirations for becoming an artist?

 

Ed Unitsky: I have been doing artwork since I was a small child.  Every thing seems to evoke some kind of inspiration.  Sometimes it can be the silliest thing, like the face I see in the cloud formation.  Salvador Dali also has a great influence on my early and present inspiration.  Roger Dean also has been a great inspiration to me.  Roger is an iconic cover artist.  He also inspires me to persevere in my endeavours. 

 

JL: What about any formal training…did it help or hinder your personal visions?

 

Ed: I haven't had formal training so I guess it hasn't helped or hindered me. 

 

JL: I’m a big fan of the sixties psychedelic posters and have quite a large collection from San Francisco…Victor Moscoso once said the more he did the opposite of his formal training the better and more psychedelic his posters became. Is there a parallel in your case?

 

Ed: I haven't had any formal training, so I don't know that I can compare myself to this.  My creativity is inspired by something I can't explain.  But, I do think sometimes some one can have great credentialed formal training and still not have that something special in their artworks.  Great artistry is a God given gift. 

 

JL: Your work has a very surreal quality to it…the back of the Seeing Red CD, The Tangent, Manning…there is a hyper realism to disparate images juxtaposed next to each other…where does that come from?

 

Ed: Each of the concepts required an artwork piece that expressed the concept of the album.  Robert Farmer's Seeing Red simply asked for a man saddened by the state of the world.  I think I captured that in the photo collage for him.  I like to think of my artwork as music on canvas. 

 

JL: What was your first musical project?

 

Ed: 2002 Flower Kings CD Album.  This was followed by the 2003 Tangent release on Inside Out Music in Germany and the USA.

 

JL: Your bio says in 2002 you sent some of your work to Roine Stolt of the Flower Kings…But what were you doing before 2002?

 

Ed: I was doing commissioned murals, airbrushing, paintings, ceramics, creating signage and banners for companies, and many other artistic endeavours.

 

JL: What prompted you to send your work to the Flower Kings?

 

Ed: I have always loved music - and I thought some of my artwork would be a good fit for Roine.

 

JL: You do a lot of prog covers…is that a style of music you’re partial to?

 

Ed: I love most styles of music of course!  Progressive Rock is one of my favoured styles.  I also enjoy classical, melodic, indie, rock, and many others styles.  There are only a few styles of music that I don't like.

JL: How do the commissions come together? I guess I’m interested in the actual process.

 

Ed: Initially, people make an inquiry.  We determine what they have in mind, the volume of exposure, the type of packaging they want, their budget, etc.  The project is then quoted, licensed, advances paid and then the creative process begins.  Many times, we have artwork that is already created that will work for the situation.

 

JL: What’s been your favourite project so far?

 

Ed: This is a difficult question.  Each of the projects is so different and has favourite aspects to them.  I enjoy very much each project as it gives me the canvas to create something unique.  I think my favourite part is to create something unique and special for each project. 

 

JL: Have you ever done something you thought was brilliant only to have the band or artist not like it?

 

Ed: This occasionally happens.  Not everyone's taste is the same.  My art is my art.  And occasionally, the band doesn't quite know what they want either. 

 

JL: Any thoughts about having to display your art in CD format versus the old vinyl albums?

 

Ed: I think there are many people who miss having the old vinyl albums.  This is of course a much better presentation for my artworks.  I very much miss them.  There was something unique and special about them that gave the music something extra.  I think many people have fond recollections of unwrapping the cellophane and putting that nice shiny vinyl album on the turntable and sitting back and looking at the cover while they listen.  It was a total sensory experience.  

 

JL: What’s next on the horizon for Ed Unitsky?

 

Ed: I am in the midst of doing Licensed Artwork for the Flashback - Mystic Orchestra tour production.  I had finished their Logo early this year.  It is a large project and an exciting project. My artwork is going to be part of the merchandised material and some of it a featured part of the Pink Floyd special effects section in the show production. It is scheduled in 53 cities, and from there perhaps more ... its great music that I love and I think my artwork suits this show perfectly.

 

JL: Ed, I’m a great admirer of your work. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat. 

 

Ed: Jerry, thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you today, it has been my pleasure.

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Ed Unitsky
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