“Obscure: Observing The Cure” by Andy Vella, one half of Parched Art


Andy Vella is “a professional designer, photographer and artist producing book jackets, corporate identities and conceptual album covers”, and one half of Parched Art along with Porl Thompson who have provided many of the iconic Cure LP covers (including Faith, Head on The Door, Kiss Me and Disintegration).

It all began when Andy, then a teenage student in Worthing, had a chance encounter on a train with Porl Thompson, some-time guitarist in the Cure. The pair would go on to form the Parched Art design company, but not before Andy’s photographs had caught the eye of the Cure’s front man Robert Smith who asked him to design the covers of the album Faith and its single Primary. So before he’d even left Portsmouth let alone completed his MA at the Royal College of Art, Andy was an established designer, and had forged creative partnerships with Thompson and Smith that continue to this day. As he recalls of his work with Smith: “I haven’t been involved with every cover but it would be easier to mention the ones which I haven’t done, which is nice.”

His diverse work with the Cure led to commissions from and collaborations with many other bands and artists, notably Swervedriver, Gene, Pavement, The Warm Jets, The God Machine, Jeff Buckley, Arthur Baker and Vincent Gallo. In the mid 1980s he was taken under the wing of Chris Parry and was put in charge of the creative side of Parry’s Fiction records, before going on to work with the Chicago-based acid house label Desire, where his personal favourite among his many commissions was the cover for the 1988 compilation In the Key of E, which was, it turns out, also a particular favourite of Roger Dean, the artist and designer famed for his own work with Yes and Uriah Heep.


Andy is releasing a book entitled “Obscure: Observing The Cure”, to be published in September 2014.

Fleeting moments… altered faces… unexpected spaces. By turns dreadfully funny, terribly honest, strangely melancholic.  – Robert Smith, 2014 

Andy Vella has been observing Robert Smith and The Cure since 1981. He has designed the majority of the artwork for The Cure’s record releases, either as one half of Parched Art or working solo, and has photographed the band in its multiple incarnations. Obscure is a unique collection of rare and unseen photographs of The Cure in the studio and in performance. This visually stunning and beautifully designed volume has been compiled with the full cooperation and input of Robert Smith, who has also written the foreword.

Format: hardback
Page count: 160 pages
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-905792-44-3
Dimensions: 21.6 x 21.6 cm



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