Flying Lotus – Pattern+Grid World Album Cover Review (w/ Theo Ellsworth Interview)

The album cover for Flying Lotus‘ latest EP, Pattern+Grid World, features a close-up portrait of one of Portland illustrator Theo Ellsworth‘s intricate, feathery characters. With an album title like Pattern+Grid World, Flying Lotus certainly could have taken the artwork into any number of stereotypically “cool” directions, but instead, he chose to go with the soft rippling drawings of Ellsworth. And from this was born mutual inspiration, with artist inspiring musician and musician inspiring artist.

Below, we spoke briefly with Ellsworth behind his process of creation. You can also read our previous interview with Ellsworth here.


How did you get the gig to design the Flying Lotus album cover?

He read my comic Capacity a while back and wrote me. He originally asked me to do art for an earlier album, but I had too many deadlines to juggle at the time. There was something about him and his work though, and I kept wishing I could’ve done it. So when he contacted me about his new EP, I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t heard his music before he originally contacted me, but he’s one of my favorite musicians now.


How did the creative process go? Did you have rules/ideas to work with, or did you go off of your own feelings?

We talked on the phone a couple times, and he sent me links to some of my art that reminded him of what he was picturing. It felt like we were pretty much on the same page right away, and it just flowed from there. Warp Records sent me a copy of the unmastered EP and I played it a lot while I worked. It really gave me the sense that the music was the atmosphere that dictated the imagery.


Are you working on any other music-related art in the near future?

Flying Lotus and I are actually talking about some future collaborations. Nothing I can quite talk about yet, but if it all comes together, I’ll be pretty excited.


Read our more in-depth interview with Ellsworth about his work.

Above: A poster designed by Ellsworth that came with the EP.


Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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13 years ago

love love love this album cover!


[…] an interview for Redefine Mag regarding the process of making the illustration, Ellsworth explains that after a few phone calls, […]

Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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