Illoshow - Zachariah Mathre

Posted by Betty Taylor on

Illoshow 3: Remix is a showcase of album art re-imagined by local artists, designers, and illustrators. Curated by local illustrator and designer James O’Brien, Illoshow 3: Remix provides an unexpected take on both iconic and obscure album art seen through the lens of various Twin Cities artists. Each participant was asked to choose an album as a starting point, and was given the option to use the existing artwork in their concept or to change it completely.

Zachariah Mathre

Your design covers the original album cover completely. Did you use the original artwork for inspiration? If not, what did inspire your design?

I was given the album by my mother, from an old stash of records she keeps in her garage. We flipped through the box for a long while, as she recounted to me the memories that came with each album. The album cover was very basic - just a photo of the artist - and not very interesting, but I was inspired by the image my mother created, of her childhood home shared with 11 brothers and sisters, of red shag carpets and smoke stained wallpaper. The idea of this aged, dated pattern covering the walls of her room struck me in particular, and I set out to recreate it.

Is this your typical art style or are you doing something different?
I generally work as a figurative illustrator, so I rarely do more decorative imagery. 

What did you find most enjoyable when you were working on this piece?
I do all of my work digitally now due to time constraints, so it was refreshing to get back to working with physical media. 

What did you find challenging about reinterpreting an existing piece of art?
I think it’s challenging only if you adhere to strictly to the previous artists ideas. In my case, the album cover was more abstractly related to the memories my mother had of her childhood, making it easier to re-imagine the piece.

What did you learn in doing this project?
I would say I relearned how freeing it can be to lose some control in a piece. Working digitally, every step of the process of making work is controlled and easy to undo. When I paint that control is lost to some extent, but is replaced with the ability to stumble upon happy accidents, upon new solutions. 


What is your relationship to vinyl as a music format?
I have never owned a vinyl record in my life, but last Christmas I spent some time at a large farm Airbnb. The owners had a massive collection of records, and I spent several hours just listening. Having grown up with iPods, I was struck by the clarity of the sound, of how raw it felt. I loved it. 


What have you been listening to lately?
I have had the Moonlight soundtrack and Plastic Beach by the Gorillaz on repeat for the past month. 

See more of Zachariah’s work at

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