Kanye West shared two new songs—"When I See It" and a new version of "Say You Will"—on his official Soundcloud today. The cover artwork for both is a photo of flowers, which if you remember was also used for merchandise sold at West's 808s & Heartbreaks concert in Los Angeles last month. But the history of the image goes beyond that show.
In 1993, Nick Knight and his wife gained access to the herbarium at the Natural History Museum in London, where they have six million specimens of flowers and plants on archive. Knight and his wife went through every single specimen and, in 1997, released a book titled Flora, which included 45 images. In 2012, nearly a decade later, he selected 15 of those 45 photographs for his "Flora" exhibition.
Paired with the exhibition, Knight also released a body of large still-life images, one of which is the artwork West used as the cover for both "When I See It" and the new version of "Say You Will." The still-life images looked like a hybrid of photography and painting. Each one was manipulated by heat and water during the development process, which gave it the visual effect of melting flowers.
Joe Perez, who's been linked to DONDA, posted the artwork on his website this past September and credited Knight as the photographer. West is also listed as the artist and DONDA Executive Creative Director, while Virgil Abloh is credited as DONDA Creative Director, and Justin Saunders of JJJound, Perez, and Nate Brown are all named DONDA Art Directors.
It's certainly great to see not all artists are using stock images as cover art.