Mark deSalvo is a talented painter who is known for his cover art. Growing up, deSalvo surrounded himself with skateboards, punk rock, and art. After completing his art education, deSalvo snail mailed record labels and skate companies. This grassroots approach landed him gigs with the bands in his stereo. He painted the covers for countless legendary punk rock albums.
LIB: How did you get into designing album covers?
deSalvo: When I graduated from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, I immediately focused my attention on the things in my life that most interested me and looked for ways to get my artwork seen by the people that could use me. I sent handwritten letters to bands, record labels, magazine publishers, skateboard companies, etc.
LIB: What’s your creative process?
deSalvo: It always depends on the project at hand, sometimes I might be working to create the vision of an idea that has already been completely imagined, other times I might just have a song or album title given to me to spark an idea, sometimes I’m asked to just come up with something that I think would be cool. In any case, I start with a lot of brainstorming and note taking, followed by some scribbling and loose compositional drawings. If the muses are being kind, some showable rough sketches will emerge. From there I will move into shooting photo reference and dialing in the composition that will be the final piece. On occasion I will do some quick color roughs before moving to the final painting but I usually just rely on my intuition and go with what feels right to me.
LIB: Which pieces of art do you have on display at the Punk Rock Museum?
deSalvo: I was able to collect 38 paintings in total for the show. A lot of them are earlier fan favorites like “Heavy Petting Zoo”, “Let’s Talk About Feelings”, and “Making Friends” and are on loan from their owners. About half of the show are more recent works from the last 10 years or so that I still own or had access to. They are all the original paintings and about half of them are available for purchase. We also made some signed and numbered Giclèe prints of a few of them that are available at the Punk Rock Museum Gift Shop.
LIB: Where else is your artwork displayed?
deSalvo: I frequently show with Punk Rock & Paintbrushes and I had some work in a few local group art shows here in San Diego earlier this year. There was a really fun show in Los Angeles this summer, put together by Sugar Press at Ren Gallery. It featured a who’s who list of fellow artists and professional skateboarders that I was honored to be a part of. You can always see my stuff on www.markdesalvo.fun and follow what I’m up to on Instagram @marmdesalvo.
LIB: What’s your favorite cover art piece that you’ve done?
deSalvo: I’m probably supposed to say something like “They are all my favorites!” as if they’re my children or something but I definitely have a soft spot for the One Man Army “Rumors & Headlines” cover. “Fat Mike Gets Strung Out on Baz’s Quintet” is up there, too.
LIB: What’s your number one punk rock band and why?
deSalvo: That’s way too hard to narrow down! I’ll list 5 I love in no particular order. Bouncing Souls, Rancid, LagWagon, Pixies, Snuff, NOFX, TSOL, 7 Seconds, GreenDay, the Clash, American Steel, Alkaline Trio, Devo, Nirvana, $wingin’ Utter$, and right now I’m really into Track Five and the Codefendants.
LIB: Where can people buy your art?
deSalvo: The Punk Rock Museum has all of my available original paintings and a few prints right now. I’ve done some prints and have more on the way from www.sonicartoriginals.com. My website www.markdesalvo.fun always has available pieces as well as you can start the ball rolling on a commission there. All of my commission sizes and pricing can be found there.
Be sure to make a trip to The Punk Rock Museum to see 38 of Mark deSalvo’s paintings on display.