Cover Artwork for “Michael” made by Artist Kadir Nelson

The Press Release for the new album has been released by Sony Music and with it comes a preview of the cover art. It seems to be a final production quality and size of this image, but there may be a backside that is similar in style but different in content.
This artwork has been made by artist Kadir Nelson. It is an oil painting that was created in 2009, shows us some memorable moments and remarkable achievements in Michael Jackson’s life.

It is similar to the album cover for “Dangerous” in that it is a painting and not a photograph and is a montage of scenes and images of Michael Jackson. In fact there is a portion of the Dangerous album cover on the right side with the white mask and one eye. Dangerous was painted by Artist Mark Ryden.

This new album also has a style similar to the cover for the Beatles “Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart’s Club” in that pieces from popart and Michael Jacksons life are interwoven over the canvas.

The image is focused on a large image of Michael Jackson in vintage clothing that appears to be Old English and regal in appearance. The shirt appears to be rich red velvet covering a gold and black design underneath. It is not immediately clear what the gold and black is. It probably is not a suit of golden armor but has that appearance.
The colors and striping are similar to the burial mask of King Tut.
Was the Artist looking to protect Michael in the afterlife?
Surrounding his neck is an Elizabethan Ruff that is fairly small, being not much wider than his face and in a cream color. Above his head are 2 cherubs, one white and one black placing a crown on his head.
It appears the artist is again calling him the “King of Pop”.

On his right hand is the ever present white glove which appears to have white sequins, pearls, or diamonds. Near his shoulders are 2 interesting items. One are bubbles which probably is a reference to Michael’s longtime pet “Bubbles”. Another is a butterfly on his left shoulder which is an orange Monarch Butterfly. If anyone knows the reference that this is about I would be interested in learning it.

Behind him is a variety of images from his musical career and pop culture that he had such an impact on. In the upper right corner are images of newspapers and cameras from paparazzi. Below this are several paintings including a rollercoaster and quite a few animals.

On the upper left is some space oriented objects like the moon, an astronaut placing the MTV flag, and even a UFO.
Below these are several images from the largest fame Michael Jackson achieved such as the clothing he wore during “Thriller”, “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” and him on the cover of “USA for Africa”.
The cover art for “Michael” is truly an amazing piece of Artwork and I cannot imagine the time it took to create. The longer I look at it the more items I see.

Kadir Nelson is an African American artist that has worked for Dreamworks and on projects such as Steven Speilberg’s Amistad and “Spirit: Stallion of Cimmaron”.

What parts of the album do you like the most? What do you think the butterfly and the fish in the bubble means?

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