‘Vinyl Faces’ campaign puts a local spin on album covers

By Bradley Turcotte – 

Forget doodling band logos or lip-synching into hairbrush microphones in attempts to emulate your musical idols.

The Wellington West BIA’s Vinyl Faces campaign pays homage to Canadian artists and welcomes the Junos to Ottawa by inviting local businesses to insert themselves into album covers of current and former nominees.

Employing the optical illusion of forced perspective, participants have expanded the covers of albums by k.d. lang, Brian Adams and Amanda Rheaume, among others.

The brainchild of Jamie McLennan, a partner and designer at Character Creative studio, Paul Simon’s self-titled 1972 album ignited the spark that became The Art of Posing Behind an Album Cover.

While spinning through his vinyl collection with his wife, Jamie noticed Simon’s album cover outfit resembled his wife’s parka, leading to a tongue-in-cheek picture. The couple shared their creation on social media, garnering extremely positive responses. Several Vinyl Faces followed and the project caught the attention of a teacher at his daughter’s school, leading to a workshop for students.

Wellington West BIA Executive Director, Zachary Dayler, scrolled through the students’ Vinyl Faces and collaborated with Jamie to welcome the Junos to Ottawa through neighbourhood businesses.

“Not everybody’s going to get out to the Junos,” explains Zachary. “What it does is enforce and encourage the idea that great music starts and happens in neighbourhoods like Wellington West. These musicians have played in local restaurants and have played the smaller gigs. For us it’s all about encouraging the idea to get out there and explore your city.”

From Alannah Myles sitting sassily at Hintonburg Public House to Tegan and Sara agape amongst abstract art at The Great Canadian Theater Company, Kitchissippi businesses amped up their creativity to take part.

Laura Twiss and Tonia Weber, of Twiss and Weber fashion boutique, are children of the ‘80s and chose Loverboy’s 1981 album Get Lucky. Jamie admits he was secretly hoping the designing duo would pick this album.

“We remember the album cover and the scandal it caused,” reminisces Laura about Get Lucky, which features crossed fingers and a posterior wrapped in tight red leather. “Absolutely everyone at school talked about it.”

Interpreting the project differently at first, Laura and Tonia ran across the street to St Vincent de Paul to secure appropriate pants and staged the most buzzed about photo, says Jamie.

As for this year’s Juno nominees, Laura votes for KAYTRANADA, nominated in the Breakthrough Artist of the Year category.

“His sound has a heavy beat with listenable lyrics,” explains Laura, adding she listens to the Montreal-based artist while working out at Anytime Fitness.

The campaign acts an opportunity to bulk up your playlist with new music, something Zachary calls a “sweet spin” on Vinyl Faces as he hadn’t heard Coeur de Pirate’s Roses, an album Victoire Boutique brought to life, before the project.

Jamie notes exposure for Canadian artists and highlighting “awesome independent businesses” are organic by-products of his mission of “making people smile.”

“The soundtrack from these people is playing in the ear buds of everyone as they wander through neighbourhoods,” adds Zachary. “It’s a fun way to visualize the soundtrack of our lives.”

To view the Vinyl Faces from participating businesses go to wellingtonwestvinylfaces.ca.

The Juno Awards take place at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday, April 2.


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