Neon Park

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Best known for his longstanding affiliation with Little Feat, artist Neon Park created some of the most provocative and memorable album covers in rock history, charming some consumers and offending others…
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Best known for his longstanding affiliation with Little Feat, artist Neon Park created some of the most provocative and memorable album covers in rock history, charming some consumers and offending others with his surreal imagery, outrageously vivid colors, and daffy wit. Born Martin Muller in California on December 28, 1940, he was raised in Berkeley, as a teen reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road some 13 times; eventually landing in Mendocino, he toiled in a series of dead-end jobs while pursuing a career in art during his off hours. After completing a series of posters for the Family Dog collective's concerts at San Francisco's Avalon Ballroom, Muller was rechristened Neon Park in honor of his affection for shockingly electric color schemes; as the 1960s drew to a close, he also worked on a series of projects for the L.A.-based design company Pinnacle.

Park's drawings for the group Dancing Food so impressed Frank Zappa that he invited the artist to design the cover to the next Mothers of Invention record, 1970's Weasels Ripped My Flesh. The resulting artwork -- depicting a man's face torn apart by an electric hand-held weasel -- was the subject of great controversy, and the Mothers' label, Warner Bros., initially refused to release it; even after the label consented, there were problems with the printer, whose assistant refused to even handle Park's painting. Still, his most fruitful collaboration was with Little Feat, with whom he first teamed in 1972 for the album Sailin' Shoes after meeting frontman Lowell George while hitchhiking. Park's cover -- depicting an anthropomorphic cake with a slice missing between her legs -- remains one of the best-known jacket designs of its era, and in 1991 was named among the 100 best album covers in rock history by Rolling Stone.

Park's relationship with Little Feat continued over the course of successive albums including 1973's Dixie Chicken and 1981's Hoy-Hoy! In addition to painting the jacket for Little Feat frontman Lowell George's lone solo LP, 1979's Thanks I'll Eat It Here, he also designed covers for acts including David Bowie (the 1973 collection Images) and Dr. John (1978's City Lights). Park also created countless advertisements for area radio stations, and contributed to Robert Crumb's notorious Zap comix. Subsequent projects included a series of covers for a Japanese media magazine, animation for a commercial promoting solar power, and a collection of paintings of erotic ducks inspired by the classic pinup art of the 1940s. Park died on September 1, 1993; three years later, Little Feat released the album Live from Neon Park in his honor.