BLOOMSBURG - Endless Records and Endless Hats, a music and clothing store, has a lot more going on than its explicit and seemingly exhaustive name suggests.
Located in the Moose Exchange building, Bloomsburg's not-for-profit arts and culture hub, Endless Records is hosting its third annual Cover of a Cover exhibit this month through Nov. 16.
The exhibit features album covers that have been reinterpreted and reimagined in multiple mediums by local artists. Each piece is displayed side-by-side with the original cover in the Moose Exchange's Stairwell Gallery.
The vase at left, designed by Melissa Matthews of Bloomsburg, is a recreation of Santana’s “Marathon” album, original at right.
Inspired by a gallery in San Francisco, the exhibit has grown in popularity and submissions since it began two years ago, but the bulk of the pieces still come from art students at Bloomsburg University under the tutelage of Sue O'Donnell, associate professor of digital art.
"The Cover of a Cover show is a great experience for my students," said O'Donnell. "The concept of re-interpreting an album cover allows the students a lot of latitude to use their imagination, not only in their response to the original cover art, but also to the music."
Citing the accessibility and affordability of the exhibit, O'Donnell continued, "For many of my students, the show represents the first time they will have had their work seen in a public exhibition."
The works on display range from exact replicas of LPs to less literal, more imaginative redesigns in the form of beadwork, jewelry and even pottery.
One entry this year is from Melissa Matthews of Bloomsburg, whose interpretation of the Santana album, "Marathon," which features dark Greek figures foregrounded by a blazing orange fire, takes the form of a vase.
"The vase idea is one of two entries I have this year," said Matthews. "The idea came from sorting through record albums and as soon as I saw Santana's album, I knew it was one that I wanted to do this year. I bought an old ugly pink vase from the Salvation Army and did layers of paint creating what looked like the Greek marathon runners on the cover of the album."
Matthews' use of a simile understates her achievement. Her vase is so carefully crafted and so primal that it could just as easily be confused as the inspiration for the original album artwork.
Another artist, Luann Gilliland, who had been a fan of the exhibit for some time, now has her work featured in the gallery. Gilliland, a jeweler, submitted a few necklace/earring sets, one of which was inspired by the Iron Butterfly album, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," evoking the aesthetic of the cover through its color palette instead of replicating it exactly.
"The album cover features a photo of the band from a concert and in the background are two giant psychedelic orbs floating about their heads. As soon as I saw these orbs, I knew I had beads in the inventory that would translate into this album cover."
On the event itself, Gilliland said, "It touches a wide range of people. The art mediums used are as varied as the artists themselves.
Twenty people can look at the same album cover and they will come up with 20 different interpretations of that cover. That's the beauty of art!"
The Moose Exchange is located at 203 W. Main St., with operating hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, during which the Stairwell Gallery is open to the public.
Photos of past Cover of a Cover exhibits are available for viewing on the Endless Records Facebook page.