Kings of Leon meet the King of Neon
The story behind Mechanical Bull’s album art.
Kings of Leon released their long-awaited sixth album this week, Mechanical Bull. The album cover art, a collaboration between acclaimed art director Brett Kilroe and photographer Dan Winters, features a neon mechanical bull sign by pop artist Todd Sanders.
Kilroe, whose notable album art includes Alabama Shakes and The Strokes, originally approached Winters with the early idea of working in neon. “I immediately thought of Todd,” said Winters. “He’s not only an artist whose work I really admire, but there’s also a natural friendship. He’s one of those creative collaborations I’ve relied on time and time again.” Sanders and Winters have a rich history of working on editorial pieces for Esquire, Fortune, and GQ, among others.
Said Sanders of the project, “Anytime I get to work with Dan, I know that it will be a really interesting project. A mechanical bull has an interplay between technology and nature. Neon, both as an element and medium for art, has that same dynamic.” Winters and Kilroe collaborated with Todd from early concept, to sketches, to the final pattern and artwork.
“Working with Todd on the making of the Mechanical Bull album cover was both refreshing and inspiring. Todd’s commitment and passion for his work is nothing less than incredible. It is rare to find artists like Todd that have such genuine love and honor for the process of making art.” Said Kilroe of the project. Kilroe, in partnership with Winters, followed the making of Sanders’s Mechanical Bull in this short film featured on the Kings of Leon website.
The 5′ x 7′ piece is now at home with Kings of Leon in Nashville. As for making more, says Sanders, “That’s it. This was a one-of-a-kind for this album. I make art that one day your kids will fight over. I have a feeling this one may cause a war.”
More information about Sanders’s work, which starts at $5,000 for open editions and $15,000 for custom pieces, can be found at RoadhouseRelics.com.
About the artist:
Todd Sanders specializes in vintage-inspired neon pop art. Educated in the original techniques of sign making, each of his works is made by hand and without the use of computer-aided design. Sanders’s gallery and studio, Roadhouse Relics, is based in Austin, TX. More information can be found at RoadhouseRelics.com.