The Insight Behind Coldplay’s Art Exhibition (Interview)
With the upcoming Ghost Stories art exhibition in London, this December, Coldplaying.com takes a detailed look at the artistic side of Coldplay’s endeavors of the past three years and the fantastic people they work with in addition to an insightful interview with organiser of the upcoming exhibition and pivotal figure of Coldplay’s artistic operations, Fraser Scott, the director of Album Artists who will be hosting the forthcoming Exhibition.
For Coldplay’s fifth album, Mylo Xyloto, the band were seeking to find further inspiration after their French revolution influenced theme for Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends. After coining their concept of Mylo Xyloto, a very colourful and graffiti inspired story, they seeked the help of street graffiti artist, Paris, who collaborated the artwork with the band and traveled with them to assert his artistic influence on the Mylo Xylotour. His work had been well documented on the Coldplay Live 2012 DVD behind the scenes clips but the astonishing role he played during the wonderful era of Coldplay’s history did not stop there! In an effort to help the charity which is very close to Coldplay’s heart, Kids Company (who have been affiliated with the band since 2007), they worked with Fraser Scott who showcased the stunning art and raised over $1,000,000 from the public exhibition proceeds, with 100% going to Kids Company.
(Fraser Scott, Paris and Coldplay – Source : AlbumArtists.co.uk) You can view all of the great MX artwork which went on sale to the public in 2013, here.
Coldplay were so impressed and inspired by the charity exhibition that they continued to work with Fraser’s company, collaborating with him and Album Artists for the visual experience of their upcoming album, Ghost Stories, where super talented Czechoslovakian born artist, Mila Fürstová was put forward by Fraser to Phil Harvey (who co-incidentally already knew of her) for the course of their new album era (Picture of Fraser and Mila below).
History should be made once again, when the Ghost Stories artwork exhibition will open this December in London. Everyone who has made all of this possible will be present including Coldplay, Mila and Fraser for the private show on 3rd December with the public viewing during the following four days.
Interview with Fraser Scott of Album Artists
Its with our pleasure to interview the director of Album Artists, Fraser Scott (left) to find out the background behind Coldplay’s artistic workings in addition to his own personal journey within the world of music and art!
Coldplaying.com welcomes Fraser Scott, the director of inspirational art company, Album Artists for a chat about their experiences with Coldplay and upcoming Ghost Stories exhibition, where the proceeds raised will be donated to charity, Kids Company.
Thanks Marc, and Coldplaying for having me. I always watch what you guys are talking about, regarding our shows, so it’s an honour to do this interview.
Please tell us the story of your company. How was it formed? Was there a certain point where everything fell into place?
I’ve been an art dealer for 15 years and got Paul Normansell’s work in GQ which was seen by The Killers who commissioned him for the art for Day and Age. Old colleagues of mine made a limited edition print set of those works and they sold out fast. I thought that was a great idea so I tried for years to get other bands to do it, until finally I met Coldplay backstage at the MTV Awards in Ireland (where I had put on an exhibition) and the first in a series of co-incidences was that Coldplay had released the art for Mylo Xyloto on my birthday (12 August) and they thought an exhibition for it was a great idea, if it was done 100 percent for Kids Company. That was such a huge deal (and best birthday present ever) that I formed the company Album Artists just to handle that first show. I would say things fell into place the day I sold the Mylo wall for £500,000 – that day was the very last day of the Mylo show and it brought the total amount given to Kids Company to over £630,000!
Which charities are you affiliated with and work the most closely with?
For Coldplay everything we’ve done has been for Kids Company, and same with Paloma Faith. But our Backstreet Boys show gave money to the fund for the Hurricaine in New York. We ask the musicians who they want to support, as it’s them who is the reason all the money is made.
Is there a particular moment that has inspired you the most during your time working with Coldplay so far?
Coldplay is my favourite band in the world – the second time I met the band I started to tell them that and Chris interrupted and replaced my last word with “the room”. He then joked I should check out Arlene’s band as “they are pretty good.” So, the whole Mylo experience was a dream come true for me. But because we did so well on Mylo, I got to sit with Phil Harvey and suggest artists for Ghost Stories, which was when the second co-incidence took place – it was crazy, because I’ve worked with Mila for about 14 years now and I’ve even written a feature length movie about her and one of my best poems is about her, so during the Mylo project I once recited the poem to Phil in Kids Company’s garden and told him the synopsis of the film – all well before Ghost Stories had ever been thought of, but then when I was suggesting artists for Ghost Stories, the first artist I suggested was Mila, and it turned out that Phil was already a huge fan of Mila’s and owned a couple of her works. So it was just surreal. Kismet. It was meant to be.
How would you describe Phil Harvey, “The creative director” of Coldplay?
Phil is one of my favourite people in the world. I want to steal Mila’s comment when describing him, which was that she quoted Chris when he said “Everyone needs a Phil in their lives”. Basically Phil is just so decent, intelligent and creative and he is an absolute pleasure to work with. We owe him so much, and so do all Coldplay’s fans, because he brings all the spirit and wonder of the songs into the visuals and stage experience which Coldplay does, in my opinion, better than anyone in the world.
Have you always been a Coldplay fan or was that largely influenced from the time spent with Phil and co?
Your favourite Coldplay song and album?
Viva la Vida.
I love both Rush of Blood to the Head and Mylo Xyloto.
Which is your favourite piece of artwork from Mila Furstova?
At the moment it’s Magic and Ghost Stories side by side.
You mentioned you have worked with The Killers and Paul Normansell (who created the artwork for The Killers album, ‘Day & Age’) previously. How was your experience of working with Brandon and co?
We got Paul the commission by getting him in GQ, but we didn’t work on that project. Paul’s works multiplied many times in value because of the commission and we sold all his art in the years afterwards, which was great. But another company made the prints – which I thought was such a great idea that now we base our business model on it.
Who else would you like to work with in the future?
Florence and the Machine.
What’s your vision for the future of Album Artists? Can you see a long term relationship involving future Coldplay albums?
The music industry is at a point where is needs new revenue and we are a company that can help them to create it in a way that the fans love. So I’ve had meetings at 3 of the biggest labels in the world just this week- the future is bright.
Coldplay are very special creatively and they are very innovative, and it’s a pleasure to work with the team who are professional and lovely, so I hope we will continue to help them in the future, because their music helps me so I like to return the favour :)
For the many fans heading over to London for the exhibition on the 4th December, what should they expect?
We are putting together as many interesting and inspiring works from the entire campaign into the show – we’ve gathered up everything from the 14 months of work (and even before it started), and presented it to Phil Harvey, who together with Mila and I have put together what we hope will be a fascinating insight into the creations of the art for Ghost Stories. So that includes the drawings Mila was working on in response to the lyrics Chris was sending her and the songs the band were sending over, some things that never made the album, and some wonderful surprises I can’t yet mention.
Thank you very much Fraser, you have given us a great insight into the artistic side of the band and the important role of your work. See you at the Ghost Stories exhibition! (Starting from 4th December)
You’re very welcome. As well as the original etchings and sketches that built up to the album art, we have some big surprises at the show, so my team and I look forward to meeting all the fans there.