For years, Arizona-based artist Daniel Edlen has created show-stopping works of vinyl art. Inventively using records as his canvas, Edlen has redefined “album art” with his painted portraits of iconic singers and beloved bands.
To create each masterpiece, Edlen applies acrylic paint directly onto the record’s vinyl. Stark, black-and-white tones enable each singer’s portrait to dramatically pop from its black background, and delicate, dappled brushstrokes reminiscent of pointillism emphasize the surface’s unique contours. Edlen has maintained this painterly approach for years now, after serendipitously stumbling upon his passion in his youth. “When I was a teenager, I was dividing my free time between art classes and used record stores when something clicked,” he explains on his website. “I took one of my many salvaged and beaten old Sgt. Pepper albums and put brush to groove.”
With an eclectic taste in music and an open-for-commissions approach to his practice, Edlen’s vinyl art collection is composed of a myriad of musical entertainers. Though some of his singing subjects, including Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger, are alive and well, Edlen’s oeuvre often poignantly pays homage to entertainers who have passed—David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday, and Bob Marley are just a few of the singers immortalized by his striking portraits.
In addition to honoring living legends and late icons, Edlen also creates the melodic works to bring people together through a universal love of music. “Music has always been a big part of our identity, cultural and individual,” he reflects. “Sharing that love of music has always made friends out of strangers and created a community. So we gather. And see the music.”