• Harri Lane

I find it pretty crazy that so far I have failed to mention the artist that contributed the piece that set the style for the entire project; the wonderful (on Instagram)

Izzy was one of the first contributors to the project - in an early enough stage where I was able to see how well this piece in particular would work as a branding image for the project - something so iconically associated with Paul Cannell, but with enough of a stylized flair that you can immediately understand the simple initial purpose of this project.

When she produced the piece, she wrote this about it;

'The Screamadelica album artwork is iconic, but it’s a bit angry and hurts your eyes if you look at it too long (I say that with all the love in my heart). When responding to this piece in my own style, I instantly knew I wanted to throw away the stark primary colours, and make it a little softer, as that’s my preferred palette. I chose to round off the edges and translate the red to a pastel pink, so it’s generally more pleasant to look at. While completely changing the look of the piece, I feel as though I still managed to maintain the childlike feel that is what makes Paul’s work so charming to me. Alongside taking the inspiration from Paul’s work, I also looked at artists Beck Carlton and Jean Julien, whose work has that same charm.'

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  • Harri Lane

The information in this post was roughly gathered and researched by myself - but very kindly fact checked and fleshed out by Jeff Barrett of Heavenly Records.

In 1992 Heavenly Records rented some office space on the corner of Monmouth Street and St Martin's Lane. With those offices - they also recieved a shop, which they intended to open up as a record shop. While they were figuring this out - they decided that it would make a great venue for an art exhibition - and so they looked to Paul.

On May 12th 1992 and for an undetermined number of days after (probably 2 or 3) Paul displayed a number of works at the exhibition - titled 'Cannellism - Art Will Eat Itself'

Displayed at this gallery were some of his pieces for Primal Scream, a few childlike drawings, a handful of traditional oils and some more experimental pieces. Below is a gallery of some of these works, some quotes from colleagues and even the list of prices for pieces for sale.

Jeff Barrett ended up purchasing Untitled (Oil on Canvas) (#5) as a gift for his then girlfriend (now wife) - it's still on display in his house.

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  • Jeff Barrett

This is a guest column written by Jeff Barrett, founder of the Heavenly record label - regarded as one of the key British independent record labels of all time. He was the introduction point between Paul and the music industry, and has been extremely helpful in filling some blank spots in the Paul timeline. This is a brief excerpt of what he has told me - and covers him meeting Paul initially.

I met Paul through Des Penney, the manager of the band Flowered Up.

Flowered Up were one of the first groups signed to Heavenly when we started back in 1990.

One day Des told me that, through a friend of a friend ( sadly the memory of who that person was exactly has been lost in time), he had met this artist guy, “a hairy little fella” ,whose paintings he described as being “dark and paranoid” and therefore he'd quite likely have a suitable image for the sleeve of the next FU single which was a song with the title (and theme of) ‘Phobia’.

Des brought Paul round to my flat to introduce us. It was one morning and Paul brought with him a huge artists portfolio - a large envelope stuffed with random sketches and small oil pantings but also a ton of photographs showing larger works, big oil paintings, some that appeared to be the size of a wall of a big room (and indeed they were).

'a Bohemian Pig-Pen'

My first impression was that Paul was a lovely, likeable character. He was a scruffy, dusty lad, a bohemian ‘Pig-Pen’ (as in the C.M. Schultz character from Peanuts). He had a great smile - half curiousity, half mischief. I liked him instantly and Des was right, his work was a perfect match for the band, so much so that cover of the ‘Phobia’ single was a detail of one of Paul’s existing paintings which suits the song perfectly. Paul did have a dark side but it was a depression thing, not a nasty trait, I can’t say that I ever saw or heard Paul do anything nasty, like I say, he really was a sweet man who was always thinking, always doing something, he couldn’t keep still.

Art of any description (pretty much) is interesting to me and to meet an artist who has created work with such purity and who who had travelled from Romford to Acton in the hope of impressing someone enough to have their work featured on a record cover interests me even more. He didn’t come with a sales pitch, he wasn’t about that, he was straight up 100% an artist.

Jeff's record label is now celebrating it's 30 year anniversary - with a book about their history called 'Believe in Magic - Thirty Years of Heavenly Recordings' releasing in November.

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