Aubrey Powell

Aubrey Powell (b.1946)

Photograph by Andy Mabbett [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

A British artist, whose career began in 1965 when he secured a job in London as an assistant scenic designer, creating sets for the television series Z Cars, Dr Finlay’s Casebook and Emergency Ward 10. He and Storm Thorgerson shared a flat in South Kensington and co-founded the Hipgnosis studio during 1968. At one point, they also shared the flat with Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd), whom Powell attributes the creation of the company’s name. Syd had scrawled in ball-point pen the word HIPGNOSIS on the door. Linking ‘hip’ (pertaining to a cool subculture) with ‘gnostic’ (esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters ) and the noun ‘hypnosis’ (an artificially induced trance state resembling sleep characterised by heightened susceptibility to suggestion).

Over the next fifteen years Hipgnosis gained international prominence for their surreal photo-designed album art. Key work includes the 1973 cover design for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon; work for Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, The Alan Parsons Project, 10cc, Styx, Bad Company and Yes.

Following the demise of Hipgnosis, he formed Aubrey Powell Productions in 1985, shooting music videos, long form music-based films and television commercials. In 1989 Aubrey Powell was made creative director for the Paul McCartney World Tour, and was retained exclusively by Paul McCartney to direct and produce music video and concert film footage.

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