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Anyone else who'd had a hand in designing what's arguably the most famous album cover of all time might keep a copy of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" both at bedside and, for good measure, blown up giant-size and hanging above the sofa.
Not Jann Haworth who, along with former husband Peter Blake, designed the iconic image of 71 faces surrounding John, Paul, George and Ringo gathered around a marching band drum above a riser of garden flowers.
"I have a kind of bent, beat-up copy of the album that I bought on eBay," Haworth said during an interview from her Sundance home last week.
Of course, the work Haworth did over the course of a handful of gray, rainy days in London went a long way toward getting her art career off the ground, a "calling card" as she puts it. But even the 1967 Grammy Award she shared for "Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts" sits neglected on a studio windowsill.
"Mine's in a very great state of disrepair. I let the kids play with it once, and they left it outside. The edge is a bit chewed, and the top swivels."
So much for resting on laurels. Not that Haworth needs any. The latest exercise in Fab Four repackaging, Wednesday's re-release of all 13 Beatles digitally remastered albums plus "The Beatles: Rock Band" video game, interests her little.
Lounging forever in the shade of The Beatles, much less the '60s as an era, would be lazy. She takes questions about The Beatles with grace, but is quick to mention her work since then. "If I'm only as good as 1967, that's dire," she said.
Derek Boshier, a Haworth colleague in the Pop Art movement of "swinging" London during the '60s, said Haworth was an artist in her own right even before she and her then-husband got a call from The Beatles.
In 1963, she experimented with media that would make art more feminine, making "soft sculptures" of human figures and flowers. Once tagged the "Mom of Pop" of Britain's Pop Art movement, the U.S. daughter of a Hollywood family who lived in England for 30 years has exhibited her work at Spain's Museo del Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Tate Britain in London, and the Galerie du Centre in Paris. Some of her work on exhibition last year at the Salt Lake City Main Library soon will be displayed at England's Wolverhampton Museum of Art, along with some of her earlier pieces from the '60s.
Calling Sundance home »Haworth moved to Utah in 1997 to study American quilt making on a Churchill Fellowship. She and her current husband, Richard Severy, a writer, rent out a ground-floor apartment attached to their house to visiting filmmakers and playwrights at Sundance Lab workshops when they're not spending time on their own work.
"She's been neglected," said Boshier, who designed a famous album cover himself with David Bowie's "Lodger." "Only recently has she gotten proper acknowledgment for her work in the past, and also proper acknowledgement for the work she does now. She really pioneered the feminine aspect in a lot of modern art."
If the "Sgt. Pepper" album cover stood for anything in Haworth's mind, it was a much-needed update and improvement. Gifting her newfound Utah home with one of its best examples of public art, Haworth led a team of local artists in a full-scale mural recreation of The Beatles album on a parking lot wall at 400 West between 200 South and 300 South in Salt Lake City. The finished product was unveiled in November 2004 with an all-new cast of figures Haworth considers far more vital than the original album cover.
"To make the '60s so golden in hindsight is really a mistake," she said. "The stages we've gone through since then, such as greater equality for women and better representation for African-Americans, can't be overemphasized. I remember the days in Hollywood when people would say, 'Oh, black people cannot act.' There are some great people on the original "Sgt. Pepper," but not a lot of people who fought for social change."
"Sgt. Pepper 2.0," appropriately dubbed "SLC Pepper," packs in a maximum cast, including Ellen Degeneres, Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall and Molly Ivins mixed with portraits of Ed Abbey, Coen Brothers, Martin Luther King, Kafka and Garrison Keillor.
A lost art? » Haworth said she gives little thought to the question of whether art for vinyl album covers has suffered since the dawn of compact discs and digital downloading. For that matter, she gives little thought to The Beatles. If there's any album art she admires, it's the vintage covers of Blue Note jazz LPs, and prefers Tom Waits over "Ticket to Ride."
"My mother had a huge collection of Library of Congress records, among which were the recorded sounds of American prison inmates running their tin cups across the prison bars. That, to me, is darker, more rock 'n' roll," Haworth said. "The Beatles were more classical music, really, articulating things in a beautiful manner, which is quite British."
The contrast between America and Britain involves more than just music, of course. Moving back home to the U.S., and making a home in Utah, has helped add more color to her recent work.
"Working as an artist in England almost dumbs down your sense of color. For an artist to move to a place like Utah is almost akin to Van Gogh's famous move to the south of France -- color suddenly comes up."