The late Belgian painter Guy Peellaert (1934-2008) was once called the “Michelangelo of Pop Art” for his amazing photo-realist style. Famous for his iconic album covers for David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and It’s Only Rock and Roll for the Stones, Peeleart was also noted for his legendary million-selling coffee-table book, Rock Dreams, a collaboration with British rock writer writer Nik Cohn. Rock Dreams featured 125 paintings by Peellaert of rockstars ranging from Frank Sinatra to Lou Reed in (often lurid) fantasy settings. It was something you’d see often in head shops in the 1970s. Many of the paintings are owned by Jack Nicholson.
Rock Dreams is a special favorite of mine. I’ve had a copy since childhood that I got from the Columbia House Record Club when I joined for a penny. One day in the late 80s, I came across a huge pile of hardback copies at the Strand Bookstore in NYC for $1 each. I bought the entire stack and gave them out as Christmas presents that year. It’s one of the best art books I’ve ever, ever seen.
Less well-known are Peellaert’s sexy 60s posters for Paris strip club The Crazy Horse Saloon (I used to have a few, but the tube they were kept in got lost during a NYC to LA move) and his books The Adventures of Jodelle (one of my most prized possessions) and Pravda with its title character based on gorgeous Francoise Hardy. (“Jodelle” had been modeled on French pop singer Sylvie Vartan). Below a super cool “Pravda” animation that Peellaert did in 2001 featuring a soundtrack by The Rolling Stones, Missy Elliot and Joy Division.
Even less well-known is the animated opening credits for Peellaert did for 1967’s Jeu de Massacre. (He also did the poster, too, obviously). Revel in New York describes it like this:
Two cartoonists meet a playboy who lives out the fantasies created in their cartoons. He hires them to create a new comic strip. As they work on the new strip, the playboy begins to live it out. Unfortunately, the new strip deals with murder.