is an accomplished artist who has had his paintings displayed
all over the world. To Genesis fans; however, he is best known
for the creation of classic Genesis album covers like Trespass,
Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot.
World of Genesis sat down for a quick chat with Mr. Whitehead
on July 25, 2001 to talk about his recent Italian exhibition,
his work on the Genesis album covers, his current projects
PW: Well, the reason that didn't happen, was because I moved
to The States. In those days around 1974, there wasn't any
FedEx, there wasn't any e-mail, we didn't have a lot of the
things we have now. Long distance telephone calls were very
expensive and there wasn't even fax machines. So, moving 8,000
miles to California kind of made it very hard to work
You got involved with the Armando Gallo book as well. How did
that come about?
of Genesis: I understand that you recently re-created the
album artwork for the
three Genesis album covers you designed. What made you decide
to take on that task, and what happened to the
originals were stolen from Charisma (Records). When Charisma
was sold to Virgin (Records), and the staff of Charisma got
wind of the sale coming down, they just looted the place. So,
no one knows where the originals are. They just
Well, the originals were stolen from Charisma (Records). When
Charisma was sold to Virgin (Records), and the staff of
Charisma got wind of the sale coming down, they just looted
the place. So, no one knows where the originals are. They just
Actually, someone challenged me to do it (recreate the original
paintings), I never thought
of doing it myself.
I had this show in Milan (Italy), and they said, "Do you
think you could recreate them?" and I said, "I never
ever thought of doing such a thing, but I'll give it a shot!" I
did Foxtrot first, because I figured Foxtrot was the most
difficult... and I kind of enjoyed it! It was kind of funny!
...Like Deja Vu.
WOG: Did you
rely heavily upon your memories of the original, or did you
work straight off of a copy of the LP cover?
PW: We knew each other in London. We had worked together on
the Genesis covers. He'd taken a lot of pictures of them.
Then, we re-met over here.
WOG: Did you
have a favorite of the three album covers you did for Genesis?
PW: My favorite? It's probably Nursery Cryme. It just
works very well with the music. It fits perfect. It's the
right color, the right vibe...
WOG: Since the advent of your website, your work
certainly seems to have gotten much more attention in the
Genesis fan community. Have you noticed an increased interest
in your work since creating the site?
PW: Yeah. I'm sure you know, there's a network out there for
practically everything. So, it's kind of grown from one thing to another. I
mean, I've been doing lots of music festivals and things, particularly
Progressive music festivals, all over the world.
PW: I used the album cover. I just copied it, basically.
WOG: Can you tell me about your recent exhibit in Italy and if
you're planning any more exhibits in the near future?
PW: It was kind of an interesting show. It was at a museum in
Milan. The guy who put it together was originally a dealer in
comic book art, and he'd done very well.
He thought the next
step from dealing and trading in comic book art was guys like
me who had done either book illustrations or record covers. He
was a Genesis fan, so he asked me, and I agreed to do it. It
was a very nice show.
WOG: How Did you originally get chosen to do the covers of
those Genesis albums?
I'll go to one, and then I'll meet someone at that one, and
they say, "Oh, we're having a festival in France" or
"We're having a festival in Mexico" or whatever...
and they ask me, "Would you like to come to that?"
So, it's all been kind of fed by the Internet. We're amazed!
We sell our stuff out of Nevada here in America, but it's
amazing where the orders come from! It's just unreal!
WOG: So, would you say that fans of your work and the band
have responded well to the Genesis related merchandising on
PW: Yes. Well, there wasn't any at all to begin with, and
suddenly there's this sort of esoteric merchandise available.
People like what we do. We do quality stuff as well.
WOG: Are there plans to create more Genesis related items to
buy on your site in the future?
I was Art Director of a magazine called Time Out in
London. I had an art show in the West End of London, and John
Anthony, who was the producer of Genesis, saw my work and
thought it was a match for them. He felt we had the same kind
of vibe. So, he said, "Come and meet the guys and see if
you get on. I think what you do would be great for the cover
of one of their albums."
PW: We're looking at different products. I've always tried to
do stuff that other people don't do, but everybody seems to
WOG: Are you
planning any new exhibitions in the near future?
PW: Yeah. It looks like I might be doing another art show in Venice
(Italy) in September. We're just kind of finalizing that now.
WOG: Were you
surprised when the band came back to you do the album cover of
a second album and, eventually, a third?
No, not really, because it worked so well. It was a great
collaboration! I went and stayed with them while they wrote
some of the tunes and rehearsed and so on. So, it was a good
how did it work? Were your paintings based upon the lyrics
that you heard Genesis writing or did they look at samples of
your work and say, "I feel strongly about this
You see, by me doing that show in Milan, I shipped 50 paintings over there.
So, having got the paintings over in Italy, it's easier to put shows
together there. I went to Venice last time I was there, and I made a great
connection with a gallery so, it looks like that's going to
WOG: Any plans for a U.S. exhibit?
I don't know. To tell you the truth, there doesn't seem to be
a lot of interest in my work in America. It's not as much as
in Europe or other parts of the world. It's strange. I think
America has a very strange attitude about Progressive music.
It's considered a very obscure, fringe kind of music.
WOG: Did you have any new projects in the works?
PW: No, really what happened was, I was there while they were
writing and rehearsing. So, I'd hear the lyrics and over
breakfast or dinner we would throw ideas around. It was a
collaboration... It was a great collaboration!
WOG: When the
time came that the band did the Selling England By The
Pound album in 1973, were you disappointed that Genesis
didn't continue that collaborative effort?
Album Covers For Trespass (1970), Nursery Cryme (1971) and Foxtrot (1972)
PW: Actually, I'm working on a kid's book, which I would like
to let people know about. That's something I've never done
before. I showed a few of the pictures in Milan, and it was
very well received. It's quite a challenge.
WOG: Any idea when that will be released?
PW: We were hoping by the end of the year, but it's taking me
a lot longer, because obviously I had distractions. If I could
just sit down and work on that, it would probably take about a
month, but I just have to do it when I have the time. It's
called The Grippity Gru, and it's about a bad tempered
little boy. I'm
also working on some album covers. I'm working on one now for
a band called Éclat, a French Progressive band (the album is
called Cry For The Earth). I just finished the new
cover for Leorme, an Italian Progressive band (the album is
WOG: Will the book be available on your website?
PW: Yes. It's going to be a book with a CD. At the
moment, we're trying to get Peter Hammill to read the book.
He's tentatively agreed, but he's hard to nail down,
thanks to Paul Whitehead for granting this interview. For more
on Paul's work or to purchase merchandise featuring his work,
go to the official Paul Whitehead website,