Thursday, June 12, 2008

George Clinton's Funky Drawers: Pedro Bell

The new issue of Indiana Review features art from the original P-Funk cover artists, including Pedro Bell, who may be the most well-known and controversial. I'm not sure how to describe his designs, but usually they are kind of kinky and weird and grotesque and funny. Kind of like P-Funk itself.

This cover was from Funkadelic's The Electric Spanking of War Babies album (1981). Okay, so basically that looks like a space penis with a naked woman inside being spanked. I'm not sure what more I can add, except that this cover ended up getting heavily censored by Priority records.


This is from the Hardcore Jollies album (1976). This album is funky and weird and bluesy and spacey, kind of like the cover. The title track, with it's refrain, I can hear my mother call, is freaky when you take a look at what's actually going on on the cover.


This cover is from Funkadelic's , Standing on the Verge of Getting it On album (1974). According to an interview Bell did with Rocktober magazine, his designs seem to be influenced by Funkadelic, but he was never "told" what to create. Bell writes about his influences on his Myspace page:
My favorite books growing up were Genesis and Revelations, which somehow inspired me to become obsessed with science fiction. This led me to become fascinated with machinery, and subsequently, automotive technology. Though my teenage interest in sports cars may have been typical, my rabid studies of the infamous car customizer Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (who combined cartoon and horror imagery with automotive design) profoundly affected my outlook on life. When my high school art teacher told me that my painting projects followed a surrealistic theme I looked up Salvador Dali, and went on to study other artists and movements (especially Dada).
For this issue of Indiana Review, Bell contributes, Motherhood in Red, Black, and Green, that he did in his pre-P-Funk period. If you look real close, Bell uses this really cool pointillist technique in this painting that uses all kinds of little dots and circles. Now, I may be tripping, but I wonder if the Afroed woman in this picture is at all related to the ones that keeps popping up in all these covers.

So how did the art of P-funk affect hip-hop art? Well, take a look at Pedro Bell's work and compare it to art from Outkast's Stankonia, Southernplayalisticadilacmuzic, and Aquemeni albums.



FYI: If you want to get your hands on a copy of Indiana Review's funk feature, you can now order it online.

***Update: Check out Misstra Knowitall's interview with Pedro Bell

3 comments:

Sandra Ann Hunter said...

Pedro bell is one of my best friends, and he is ill and has been in Provident hospital, in Chicago, for awhile. Pedro can be contacted at funkshido@yahoo.com, and he needs to hear from his fans.

GEO CLINTON DID NOT PAY HIS PEOPLE. PEDRO NEEDS HELP!

You can contact me at sandrahuntermsmc@gmial.com or sandrahuntermsmc@yahoo.com

PLEASE LET JOHN PEDRO BELL KNOW THAT YOU GIVE A FUNK!

Sandra Ann Hunter said...

JUST HIT UP PEDRO WITH GOOD NEWS @ funkshido@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I am one of your people, Misstra Know it All, since you have been kind enough to be supportive of Pedro Bell. The man is a genius --- not only in art, but in depth of thought. He is not only well-read, he has a depth of understanding that is impressive.