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Mudvayne Album Artwork Was Inspired by Paul Booth’s Mom

As someone who’s inked Slayer, Pantera and Slipknot, Paul Booth is much better known as one of the premier tattoo artists in the country than as an album cover designer. But when Mudvayne asked him to design their forthcoming self-titled album using blacklight-reactive ink, he was more than happy to oblige, especially given the timing.

“[Singer] Chad [Gray] had this idea of doing a black light concept, and it was within weeks after I had been experimenting with black light,” Booth tells Noisecreep. “I did a photo shoot with my girlfriend where I painted her with black light powder and did a creepy model shoot. I was already on the black light experiment when they called me, so it was a no-brainer.”

The cover illustration came together in about a week, growing from Booth’s appreciation of horror movies — and his mom. “They gave me all the freedom in the world,” he says. “They wanted something black light that was sick and twisted, and kind of crazy ‘from the mind of Paul Booth,’ whatever that is — I’m not sure myself. I had a lot of room to play. We talked about maybe some kind of metamorphosis thing, and mentioned biomechanical, bug-like stuff. I tossed that idea around. I grabbed my mother, because she’s got these great wrinkly old hands, and I photographed her in some shots and started playing in Photoshop with that. Next thing you know, I had almost this tribute to ‘The Fly,’ not necessarily intentionally, but I had about a week to do this, and I’m a big Fly fan anyway, so it just kind of materialized that way.”

Actually, Booth has worked on album covers before, having designed for bands such as Six Feet Under. Being well-versed in the medium, he liked the high concept of artwork that could only be viewed under a black light. “As an album cover artist, I loved the idea,” he says. “I was happy to see a label and band spending more energy on the concept of visual packaging that’s going to make people appreciate the album cover again. With MP3s and everything, kids don’t care so much about the album covers. As a visual artist, I’m all about it, representing the band visually.”

This isn’t something that he’s looking to dive back into though. “I haven’t done an album cover in a while,” he says. “I’ve been doing a lot with video these days. I’m more into the moving picture in that regard now than I was then. For me to do an album cover now, I’ve got to be friends with the band or in a situation where I have the freedom I need, or have something really strike me. I’m not out to be an album cover artist, it has to fit right.”

Mudvayne’s self-titled album will be released on Dec. 22. In addition to the standard jewel case version, there will be a deluxe version that comes with a blacklight and a ‘super deluxe’ version that comes with a larger blacklight and a blacklight reactive poster.

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