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Funkadelic album art designer Pedro Bell, RIP

funkadelic-one-nation-under-a-groove

Pedro Bell, the illustrator and graphic designer who did the distinctive cover art for much of Funkadelic and George Clinton‘s output, has died. Cause of death has not been announced. Bell’s artwork is as instantly recognizable as the grooves on albums like 1973’s Cosmic Slop, 1974’s Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, 1975’s Let’s Take It to the Stage, and 1978’s One Nation Under a Groove. “We lost the Master Mind behind the Graphic’s & Artwork of Funkadelic,” wrote Bootsy Collins on Twitter. “Mr. Pedro Bell is an American artist and illustrator best known for his elaborate cover designs and other artwork for numerous Funkadelic and George Clinton solo albums. Thxs for yr service our brother.” George Clinton simply wrote “Rest easy, Sir Lleb!”

From the bio on George Clinton’s website:

What Pedro Bell had done was invert psychedelia through the ghetto. Like an urban Hieronymus Bosch, he cross-sected the sublime and the hideous to jarring effect. Insect pimps, distorted minxes, alien gladiators, sexual perversions. It was a thrill, it was disturbing. Like a florid virus, his markered mutations spilled around the inside and outside covers in sordid details that had to be breaking at least seven state laws.

More crucially, his stream-of-contagion text rewrote the whole game. He single-handedly defined the P-Funk collective as sci-fi superheroes fighting the ills of the heart, society, and the cosmos. Funk wasn’t just a music, it was a philosophy, a way of seeing and being, a way for the tired spirit to hold faith and dance yourself into another day. As much as Clinton’s lyrics, Pedro Bell’s crazoid words created the mythos of the band and bonded the audience together.

Rest in peace, Pedro.

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