© Ernie Cefalu, Pacific Eye & Ear
In tribute; Ernie Cefalu…
In the dawn, as in awakenings, I often lay awake in bed with thoughts streaming in my mind as waterfall, constant in its cadence, its flow, its effervescent shimmer and destiny.
And so it was on this sunlit summer’s morning that I awoke to thoughts of dear friend and associate Ernie Cefalu, an exceptional illustrative artist who, along with a celebrated team of illustrators, has created a vast portfolio of remarkable images in his renowned album cover art for over four decades now. It fascinates me how my initial waking thoughts will influence or shape the remainder of my observations and activities for the day and oftentimes those waking thoughts will also form the basis for what I might write in the course of my day as well.
First waking moments usually begin with that all too familiar haze of vision and focus and as the cobwebs clear I will often experience an immediate thought or perceptual image and in those early moments of the day I get a strong sense of compelling that virtually draws me to the keyboard and draft paper where I capture the essence of those rising moments of visualization.
Thoughts of Ernie Cefalu will always conjure up bold and beautiful images of his tremendous, iconic artworks yet one of the most compelling of his designs frequents my wondrous moments of conscious and subconscious, that being the ethereal and splendored symmetrical image of two angels in exacting reciprocity bowing reverently in the serenity of prayer.
Not long ago I came across the beautiful image of reference presented (above) at the beginning of this writing and suitably transcribed beneath that image is one of numerous versions of Psalm 23, which in biblical terms of reference founds its origins within ‘The Gospel According to John’. Herein is the New American Standard (1971) version of the psalm…
The LORD, the Psalmist’s Shepherd.
A Psalm of David
From the New American Standard (1971)…
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil; for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
Thou hast anointed my head with oil;
My cup overﬂows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
The story behind Ernie Cefalu’s creation of the artwork for the tremendous music score for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, a 1970 release by Decca /MCA Records, music by renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by gifted lyricist Tim Rice, is captured in Rock Pop Gallery’s Cover Story Interview in which Ernie Cefalu relays the story of the inception of this magnificent design.
When one examines and interprets the words within the psalm, the serenity, assurance and great sense of fulfillment a parallel experience is drawn with Cefalu’s striking, beautiful image of symmetrical angels bowed gracefully in prayer. The powerful correlation between words and images cannot be understated as each may stand unequivocally alone yet fully compliment each other without compromise.
Ernie Cefalu built a high profile career of remarkably successful artistic achievements in a highly competitive industry. Through the linked interview I marvel the two Cefalu quotes including “I’m a firm believer in two basic truths…the first is that it’s not how you run the race, it’s how you cross the finish line” and “actions speak louder than words”. In a sense this writer truly embraces the notion that we are the makers and bearers of our own destiny.
The late 1960’s through the 1970’s brought tremendous change in terms of artistic creativity, personal expression and experimentation and a broadening sense of conceptual realizations that ultimately transcended from an image visualized to an artistic rendering with powerful, sustaining creative genius that would have iconic and historic significance that was timeless. And so it has been for Ernie Cefalu, one of the premiere illustrative artists of our time.
As a writer the inception of my own published renderings most often manifest through images in my thoughts, especially those that frequent my waking moments on any given day. As a creative our own personal makeup embraces visualizations and interpretive expression. The journey is often intense yet fluid in its motion and transcending divergence as an eventual and tangible perceptual and/or visual entities.
The embodiment of souls through images and words, the emotional and spiritual connection, the deeply personal interpretations of their meaning and how the individual relates in terms of responsive correlation with their own feelings, perceptions and consequential actions are bold analysis of causal effect when it comes to the illustrative arts. And when it comes to the artisan treasures of one Ernie Cefalu the personal connection is immeasurable.
© Don MacIver 2013; All Rights Reserved
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