I’ve know Jacob Smigel through the creative community for close to 20 years. I was lucky enough to meet him as a touring musician when I was running The Trunk Space in Phoenix AZ. In addition to music, Jacob and I share a mutual love of abandoned media, he’s curated the release of a few recordings in the found sound genre in addition to his own music projects.

We recently reconnected via instagram. A fan of my collages, Jacob invited me to create the art for his first new album in a decade, which you can purchase here: “If I Were Me“.

If I Were Me by Jacob Smigel
Jacob Smigel’s “If I Were Me” with collage by JRC. 2020
small corn
Corn, original collage by JRC

Jacob was drawn to my collage “Corn”. When I started brainstorming imagery for the package, I initially thought to make a companion piece to it for the cover, including another rider in a rural setting. It turned out to be a bit outside what he was looking for. After listening to early demos of the songs, and more discussion about what he saw in my art, I started pouring over the 1940-1960 graphic design and production art that had filled a lot of my collages the past few years.

initial sketch for the cover of the album that came to be “If I Were Me”

This was where our esthetic overlapped. I made a number of pieces free associating the mood and lyrics I heard in his songs, with the stacks of magazines and books in my archive. You can see a fair number of these elements were repurposed, or didn’t even make it into the finished package.

Jacob also wanted images that evoked office/computer lab settings. We found old books online that he ordered and scanned so that I could make digital collages from them. These wound up the basis for the cover image. Below are many variations on the design that was finally settled on, which in the end had to be simplified a bit more to work with the squarish format of a CD cover.

Finally, Jacob provided me with a few picture of himself and his family to create the official artist’s portrait for the album (there’s a little “easter egg” on the cover too, if you look for it).

Working with Jacob on this was amazing, we had a strong back-and-forth through the whole process. He knew what he wanted, but at the same time let me explore my style, and surprise him with flourishes and left field ideas. This project drew imagery from me that I would have never gotten otherwise. “If I Were Me” is a very strong album, made with the help of the band Deer Tick, it is rich with its creator’s voice, providing a great foundation to work off of. You should go get a copy, either digitally or on CD.