Do you remember Iron Maiden posters? If you’re a heavy metal child of the 80s, you probably do. I’m willing to bet that at one time you not only spent hours staring at the cover of the latest Iron Maiden LP, you also went out and bought a poster or three.
Iron Maiden posters were the epitome of cool when I was younger. My friends and I would buy one and spend hours looking for the little hidden extras, the Easter eggs, which were contained within. Legendary artist Derek Riggs (www.derekriggs.com)
Contained within almost every painting were little hidden treasures, commonly referred to as Easter eggs, due to the fact that they were hidden, and we were searching for them. Amongst the hidden goodies the reaper lurked somewhere in the background. There was also the fly. Eddie, Iron Maiden’s mascot, was obviously in every poster. Riggs’ signature was another that was hard to find, and then there was the odd symbol that looked liked ancient hieroglyphics.
It was a fascination that bordered on obsession. Sitting at a friend’s house who had a poster hanging on the wall, would yield long conversations of “Did you find this or that yet?” And you didn’t want to be the one who hadn’t found anything, which meant, at a minimum, you had to spend quality time with the artwork. If you didn’t have posters, you’d best study the album covers.
Nobody does this anymore. No band bothers to be this creative with their artwork and album covers. Even Maiden has slipped a little. For their latest disc, A Matter of Life And Death, I spent a good hour looking for the hidden extras in the cover, and guess what? There weren’t any. Man, was I ever disappointed.
I know Derek Riggs didn’t paint this one, but still, I was hoping for something. It’s great artwork, for sure, but it’s not the joy of when I was younger. Nothing could compare to the excitement and rush that I would feel when I discovered the secret Easter egg, especially if I was the first kid on my block to find it.
Iron Maiden and Derek Riggs were pioneers of their time. Riggs would complain sometimes, because the paintings took months to complete, but it was worth the many hours that he put into it, at least it was to me. I appreciated his work and felt so much joy staring at the beautiful crafted masterpieces. That alone should make an artist feel like the journey was worthwhile.
I hear that Iron Maiden may have a new CD out late next year. While I anxiously wait to hear the new music that they are crafting, I also can’t wait to see the new artwork. Now that they are speaking with Derek Riggs again, perhaps he’ll be back on board to create the next album cover. If he is, I’m hoping for a lot of Easter eggs hiding in the mix. I’ll be sure to carve at least four hours out of my day for some art appreciation.
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