We spent the weekend celebrating the 10th anniversary of Arcade Fire’s Funeral, and we weren’t the only ones. Billboard’s tribute included an interview with Tracy Maurice, the artist behind the album’s cover art. Maurice — who also did Neon Bible’s cover art and that much-shared Funeral mural in Brooklyn — shared early drafts of the artwork, which you can see up above. She also told the story of the artwork’s creation:
Along with some then-unreleased Arcade Fire tracks, the band shared “a few reference images and some old birth and death certificates” to communicate its prevailing themes: childhood, death, and reflection of the past and future. Both [Win] Butler and [Regine] Chassagne had lost grandparents during the recording process, so Maurice had been trusted with a project that came from a deeply personal space. Even so, the artist’s own articles — photographs, musicsheets, prayer cards, valentines, and illustrated books from the early 1990s — fit the theme and inspired the final product, which she painted onto the pieces of a wooden planter.
“I wrapped the wooden pieces all up in the towel to protect them and rode my bike over to their place to show them,” she remembers. Then we had to try to scan it so we could send it to Merge but the pieces of wood were too large to have the art sit flat on the scanner. We had to saw them down to make it fit. It was ridiculous, but it worked.”
Maurice also talked about serving as stage and lighting director during Arcade Fire’s earliest shows in support of Funeral:
Just after Funeral’s release, Maurice accompanied the band on a 20-city North American van-powered tour as stage and lighting director. “I remember blowing up drawings that I did at Kinkos, painting them in the hotel room, mounting them to foam core and then hoisting them up behind the stage at night,” she says. “It was pretty low tech, but had a certain sensibility that we were all into.”
She goes on to discuss her approach for the Neon Bible artwork and the Brooklyn mural. Read the full interview at Billboard.