Storm Thorgerson

b.1944 - d.2013

Storm Thorgerson is the most significant album cover artist in history. His immensely creative, surrealist designs for hundreds of iconic album covers from the late 1960s until his death in 2013 rank as some of the most famous and deeply resonant imagery in the world, creating a far-reaching symbiotic relationship between music and art that is unsurpassed in its genre.

Born in Potters Bar Middx in 1944,  Storm attended the Cambridge High School for Boys along with Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and Syd Barrett. He was also a friend of David Gilmour during their teenage years. He went on to get a degree in English & Philosophy from the University of Leicester, and then earned a Masters Degree in Film & Television from the Royal College of Art in London.

In 1968, Storm established the London-based graphic design studio Hipgnosis with his creative partner Aubrey Powell (Po), beginning with the psychedelic cover for A Saucerful of Secrets for the British band and their old pals from school, Pink Floyd. Specializing in creative photography and working in conjunction with a collective of talented designers and artists including George Hardie and Colin Elgie, Hipgnosis went on to create nearly every album cover for Pink Floyd, as well as many notable covers for Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Yes, Peter Gabriel, 10CC, Renaissance and Al Stewart among hundreds of others.

This iconography--which includes Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, Presence and In Through the Out Door; Genesis’ Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering; and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Ummagumma, Wish You Were Here and Animals--has become immensely famous and has established the art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis as among the most instantly recognized and beloved imagery on the planet.

Hipgnosis operated until 1983, when the firm dissolved. Storm and Po continued their design and film production work both independently and together with their video production company Greenback Films. Storm created short and long form video and film projects, including six short films for Pink Floyd that were screened at concerts during the band's 1994 world tour and a documentary on the Hubble Constant called The Rubber Universe. In the mid-1990s Storm founded StormStudios with designer Peter Curzon, and continued to work with many talented artists creating many more album cover images and unique marketing designs until his death in 2013.

Storm published many books on his artwork, beginning in 1977 with his collaboration with renowned album cover painter Roger Dean, titled “Album Cover Album Volume 1” and continuing with "Hands Across The Water" - Wings Tour USA. Photographs by Hipgnosis (1978), The Work of Hipgnosis - "Walk Away René" (1978), Mind Over Matter: The Images of Pink Floyd (1997), Eye Of The Storm: The Album Graphics of Storm Thorgerson (1999), Taken By Storm: The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson: A Retrospective (2007), For The Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis (2008), The Raging Storm - The Album Graphics of StormStudios (2011), Riding Along in my Automobile: The American Cars of Cuba (2012), The Gathering Storm - A Quartet in Several Parts: The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson (2013), among others.

Storm’s artwork has been exhibited around the globe in major gallery and museum exhibitions. SFAE hosted several solo-exhibitions of his work.

Sadly, Storm passed away after a long battle with cancer on April 18, 2013, surrounded by close friends and family. Beloved by many, and an especially good friend to us, he will be greatly missed.