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Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Union Cafe art print, signed by Emily Young

Limited Edition of 25 Giclée prints on A2 photo rag paper, hand-numbered and hand-signed by Emily Young 

Artist signed print
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Emily Young is a long-time collaborator of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and partner of founder Simon Jeffes who sadly passed away in 1997. Spanning over 24 years, Emily painted their iconic and very recognisable album covers, offering a glimpse into their magical world. We are delighted to exhibit a collection of these original paintings and, in particular, the cover of the band’s final studio album Union Cafe from 1993, which will be reissued on December 11th of this year — all to celebrate the life and legacy of Simon, and to commemorate 20 years since his passing.

“Simon and I would sit together with a glass of wine, and we would talk throught what his vision was for the next album cover.

He would say things like: “It’s a room. There’s a thunderstorm outside, dark and threatening. Sprayed on the wall, rough, like graffiti, is the title of the album, just done, still wet, the person is still there who painted it. The conductor is conducting the sound waves: there’s a little monkey with a fish. Someone is playing the piano. There’s a woman, dancing, maybe she’s throwing a fish in the air — using a broken heart. There are people outside the door, watching.”

And of course the Proprietor of the Penguin Cafe, the giant penguin, is always somewhere there, not that involved with what’s going on, but present. So then I would do a drawing or two, we’d talk more, finalise the ideas, and then I’d start painting. Once I’d started, Simon left me to it. I’d do them quite fast. It was a really enjoyable creative relationship, a lot of fun, a satisfying collaboration. I thought of the album cover paintings as illustrations — they were very different from my own work at that time. I wanted them to be very literal just like illustrations for a children’s book. I wanted to honor Simon’s vision and imagination in as straight forward a way as I could. ”