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Cover and record design for “The Holy Lyrics”

The Holy Lyrics

Ambitious goals lead to great things. But it’s the follow-through that really counts.

I crafted the album cover for “The Holy Lyrics” by gluing 8,000 tiny pieces of tissue paper onto a flat surface. My technique was to crumple them up and affix them one by one to give them a consistent form and texture.

The intent was to create a much larger image, kind of like how pixels make up a photo.

Stacks and crumpled up balls of tissue paper

The medium: tiny pieces of tissue paper

After testing out some ideas, I found that this medium lent itself well to pattern design. It could even be successful in creating the illusion of woven fabric. This led me to research the world of textiles.

One of my sources of inspiration was Kente cloth, a type of fabric which was created by the Ashanti people of Ghana. They developed dying techniques and a special loom which allowed them to weave brightly-coloured threads together in order to create a variety of intricate patterns. Each colour and design holds its own unique meaning and significance.

Much care goes into the creation of such beautiful handmade pieces. The Ashanti people traditionally reserved such garments for kings and nobility.

Various Kente cloth fabrics Kente cloth fabrics – Photo © Ahiaticourage / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

I sketched out many different geometric patterns and tested different colour palettes. I wanted the cover for The Holy Lyrics to carry its own weight and significance.

The time it took to create such a detailed piece was a sacrifice, like the pieces which devout worshippers make to honour their religious figures and gods. Like the time a musician devotes to honing their craft and creating meaningful art.

Cover design for “The Holy Lyrics” album by Nakiem the God

As a nod to the album name, I printed out the artist’s lyrics onto pseudo-Bible paper. I cut that into tiny squares and crumpled those up like I did with the coloured tissue paper. I used it to spell out the names of the album and the artist.

The total finished surface is 3ft x 3ft (roughly one square meter).

Close detail of cover for “The Holy Lyrics”

Nakiem the God is a clever lyricist. His writing is painfully raw and honest. It’s also packed with brutal punchlines that will have you crying tears of laughter. His raps can be thought-provoking and controversial. One thing’s for sure. He will never leave you feeling neutral.

Nakiem the God performing

Nakiem the God performing

This is one of the most time-consuming projects I’ve ever taken on. But it was a total blast! Amongst other things, I listened to a lot of Ted Talks about dinosaurs, watched a doc about A Tribe Called Quest, and finished the last season of Breaking Bad. I know colouring books are all the craze with adults looking for some relaxation time, but I can’t help but think they might feel even better after crumpling up thousands of tiny balls of tissue paper.