The album covers Cal Schenkel designed in the ’60s and ’70s may not be as iconic as, say, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But they’re close, and arguably stand as far better art. Among then: Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits, and We’re Only in it for the Money by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.
Born in Philadelphia, Schenkel relocated to the West Coast and began his career as a freelance designer with a specialty in album cover art after only a year at the Philadelphia College of Art. He had a hand in many of Zappa’s best-known cover images—others include Uncle Meat, Hot Rats, and Just Another Band from L.A.—but in recent years has been working more as a painter and print-maker, showing his work internationally.
That work will be on display at the Firecat Projects gallery at 2124 N. Damen, starting today through Aug. 20. Schenkel will chat about his art with WBEZ at 3 p.m.