The Album Art of Mozelle Thompson

Published On November 6, 2014 | By Nuria Marquez | The Arts

Mozelle_posterRenowned African American illustrator, Mozelle W. Thompson was born in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1926. After moving to Garfield in high school, it was clear that Thompson’s talents lay in his creativity and artistry. He would later become one of the most prolific visual artists of his time.

He began working as an album illustrator in 1944, and 45 years later, he had created at least ninety different album covers. In 1967 he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his cover art. Thompson’s imagery adorns albums from the likes of Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Gerry Mulligan, Hank Williams, and Jimmie Rodgers.

In the forty-five years since his death, his legacy has been forgotten. Currently, there is no representation of him in his hometown of Pittsburgh where he grew up and worked alongside Andy Warhol, Mary Shaw Marohnic, and George Heppenstall. Local DJ, J. Malls is working to change that with an exhibit to honor Thompson this November.

10487663_10152100859147581_1618613329_nThompson’s work features album and magazine covers, theatrical posters, and pieces in the New York Times. His LP Covers from 1953-1969 will be on display at Most Wanted Fine Art. This retrospective exhibit will include the opening ceremony on Saturday Nov. 8 from 12pm to 6pm along with art-making activities and a reading of Thompson’s children’s book Pumpkinseeds.

The retrospective will open Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. to coincide with November’s Unblurred. The opening reception will be on the following day and features the Roger Barbour Jazz Quartet as entertainment.

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