If you’ve been spending more time on Instagram lately (same), you may have had the good fortune of coming across a new project from Raleigh creative Cameron Laws: PPE my LP.
The concept: Fashion a mask onto the album cover of your choice, then share it. In a matter of a couple weeks, Cameron’s posted nearly 140 album covers, many of them from others.
The emailed interview below has been condensed for length.
Raleigh Convergence: How did you come up with the idea for this project? What were some of the things you considered in getting it started?
Cameron: I suppose that I have Willie Nelson to thank for this one! Like a lot of folks in creative roles, I’m working from home and my main role of curating art and music festivals is in a holding pattern.
I’d wanted to come up with a project, because I find a lot of joy in making things and I needed that more than ever! I was also limited to the items I had on hand.
The initial idea was to put paper masks on the people featured in artwork hanging in my house, but it so happened to be Willie Nelson’s birthday, and I’d woken up with the intention of putting Red Headed Stranger on the turntable to celebrate.
The portrait cover of that album and this idea came together so organically, and with the help of some folded magazine scraps, PPE my LP began!
Not only has it been a great connective creative outlet, but it’s made me rediscover a few old favorite albums, too.
RC: Many other people have jumped on board in making their own PPE My LP art. Do you have a favorite in any category?
Cameron: It’s impossible to choose! I love vinyl, and I also like to think about the artists behind these albums, and why they chose whatever album cover art they did.
To then add the idea of a music lover choosing a particular album from their collection to interact with is also really fun. Sure, it’s a sort of silly thing to do, but I do like to think about all of those creative choices coming together.
READ MORE BEHIND THE ART: The story behind the John Prine mural
RC: Why are you making art now? What’s the motivation behind doing something like this in this moment?
Cameron: Frankly, my days quarantining were starting to run together, and I was looking for a daily creative task outside of my role at Artsplosure.
I also really wanted a project that other people could participate in from their own homes, just to foster a sense of connection in these distanced times. We’re in the middle of a very serious, scary, and stressful global situation, and I wanted to bring in a little levity to lessen that weight that I’m sure we’re all feeling every day.
While I’m a big believer in the fact that general productivity is not a way to quantify self-worth, I sincerely find a lot of joy in seeing the real-life results of an idea — even if that idea is putting miniature masks on my albums.
Personally, I’m trying to get better at working through the part of the creative process where I rapidly shift from “this is such a fun idea, I love this!” to “this is so stupid and no one is going to get it and I’m wasting my time.”
I think most creative people feel that way, and it can be hard to work through. I can’t say this is a super serious project, or even that I’m a very ‘serious’ artist/person, but it’s been surprisingly rewarding to just put it out there each day, and to have had so many people reach out to tell me that following it or participating in the project has brightened their day. That’s all I could hope to accomplish in these wild times.
READ MORE ART: Tiny Street Art Project
RC: I know you love records. Why?
Cameron: I like vinyl because, as obvious as it sounds, it’s such a tangible thing that gives us the otherwise intangible experience of music.
Real people sat down with real instruments and equipment and recorded this album, and to have a physical representation of that, from just holding the record to the fact that a needle is hitting varying grooves to reproduce what those artists made — it’s just pretty wild!
Not to mention that so much of our daily lives exist in such an opposite way. Most of our communication and media is experienced through our devices now, so I like having this one very real version of a medium to experience.
RC: How can other people get involved in submitting their own?
Grab some scrap paper and an album and get crafty! Then just post it to instagram and tag @ppemylp. I try to post at least one submission a day.
Cameron Laws is an artist, musician, and active member of North Carolina’s creative community via her own work and through her role as program director at Artsplosure. A proud daughter of rural North Carolina, Cameron currently lives and works in Raleigh. You can find more of her work on her instagram at @ms.unsuitablepet, #neverperfectalwayspurty, and kingsnakecreative.com. Explore her new project at @ppemylp.