Today work of art is, at least to me, a great example of how varying interests can come together and lead to one thing, in this case the art of Peter Cross, a British illustrator of album covers and children’s books, among others. I first became aware of Peter Cross in the late 1970s. I was a huge fan of the music of early Genesis (up until around Duke) and was enough of a music geek that I also picked up solo works by members of the band. Anthony Phillips was a founding member of Genesis and its original guitarist (along with Mike Rutherford) though the most famous Genesis is alum is undoubtedly Pete Gabriel. Anthony Phillips left after the second album due to crippling stage fright, though he also wrote fan fave Musical Box which appears on Nursery Cryme, the band’s third album. After leaving Genesis in 1970, Phillips studied classical guitar and appeared on other people’s recordings from time to time before releasing his first solo album, The Geese and the Ghost, in 1977. The album cover featured beautiful art by Peter Cross. I was, and remain, a huge fan of art that’s very, very detailed, the sort of art you can look at for days and continue to find new things. So I was almost as excited by the cover art as the music when Phillips second solo effort appeared in 1978. Wise After the Event also featured another Peter Cross cover. A couple of years later I was working as a record buyer for the now-defunct chain Record Bar. A friend who worked at Jem Imports in New Jersey — and who knew I loved Peter Cross and Anthony Phillips — gave me a print of Wise After the Event signed by both Cross and Phillips, and it still hangs in our hallway.
A few years later, a children’s book was published called Trouble For Trumpets and Cross did all the illustrations for it, apparently taking seven years to compete the 30-page book.
It’s a fabulous book, a story about war, but it’s the art that really makes it for me. There was also a sequel a few years called Trumpets in Grumpetland and it’s equally wonderful. Unfortunately, both are out of print and quite expensive if you can even find one used.
But that brings us back around to beer. I was recently searching for new art to feature in this weekly series of Beer In Art, when I discovered that Peter Cross is still working and is represented online by Chris Beetles Art Gallery. Better still, he’s done several works recently involving beer. So I’m thrilled to be able to share one of my absolute favorite illustrators, Peter Cross.
Beer Garden is a watercolor originally done for a greeting card.
Beerkats, a watercolor spoof of Meerkats also for a greeting card.
And lastly, Beerstalker, a pen and ink drawing.
In addition to Peter Cross’ Wikipedia page, there’s also a short biography and an interview on Anthony Phillips’ website. And can see more of his artwork at Chris Beetles Art Gallery