The artist behind the iconic sleeve art for Pink Floyd’s The Wall has opened up about his work with the seminal psychedelic rock band, revealing how he came to design the artwork on Roger Waters’ kitchen table.
Gerald Scarfe was working as a political cartoonist when Pink Floyd asked him to come on board. Apparently, he was “befuddled” by the band’s decision to hire him, especially considering he had very little experience working with bands. Nevertheless, his eye-catching work went on to define Pink Floyd’s legendary 1979 rock opera.
In a recent interview, Scarfe described how the process was much more rushed than he’d been used to: “I had to create all the characters – the wives, the mother, the teacher and all these semi-cartoon figures – very quickly because the album was coming out,” the artist said.
“The band were in the South of France and I kept flying down to meet them. I actually designed the album cover on Roger’s kitchen table,” he continued. “The live show was incredibly ambitious, with my original illustrations turned into inflatable puppets. Then we did the film, which was tough and very difficult.”
Scarfe is set to publish a book of illustrations for Floyd’s 1979 album entitled The Art of Pink Floyd: The Wall. It will be released in November in a coffee-table book format, presented in a beautiful sleeve designed by Scarfe himself and packed with photos, drawings, and designs that will incorporate The Wall artwork as well as new and previously unseen material.
Elsewhere in the interview, Scarfe explained the creative process behind the sumptuous illustrations: “As a virtual artist, The Wall was fascinating for me because there was so much to dig into and explore. All the images were out of my head. Roger was the originator, but my drawings were my translations of his visions.”
“He had his own views, but he accepted what I did” Scarfe continued. “It was a strange marriage really, but we became very close friends,” he said, before adding: that he was “amazed” by how long his artworks have endured in the cultural imagination.
“Looking back, I’m amazed that it has become what it has. It’s an iconic piece of work and I’m proud that allying my visuals to their sounds seemed to work.”