From album covers and music videos to high-profile editorial and brand campaigns, over the past three decades, David LaChapelle has photographed some of the greatest musical artists of our time, including Travis Scott’s recent double platinum album, Astroworld.
LaChapelle designed and photographed the carnival-themed album cover artwork, an homage to the now-shuttered amusement park in Houston, and conceived of the large scale inflatable golden sculpture depicting Scott’s head, complete with gilded dreads.
The result is a nostalgic visual take on what Scott envisioned Astroworld to be an auditory roller coaster experience of his music. The result is a visual continuation of a metaphor that’s woven throughout the project, adding depth, duality and perception to what Astroworld is all about.
‘Travis Scott and LaChapelle. A match made in album artwork heaven!’
The golden figure of Scott’s head marking the entrance to his otherworldly title amusement park inspired interactive experiences at iconic outdoor locations and concert tour events around the globe, in addition to highly anticipated custom tour merchandise. A massive replica was spotted outside of landmarks nationwide including the famous Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, Times Square in New York City, and various locations in Houston, Atlanta, London and Paris..
As the the world’s most influential music media brand reaching key executives, tastemakers, and millions of fans, Billboard is the ultimate authority on music. It came as no surprise when Billboard’s expert art and photo teams anointed LaChapelle’s work on Astroworld “Album Cover of the Year,” beating out Ariana Grande, Cardi B, and Kanye West for the top honor.
Pushing the boundaries of what album artwork can achieve, LaChapelle’s cinematic photographs inspired a multi-channel viral sensation within hours of their release, with over 20 million fan-inspired memes incorporating the now-iconic sculpture into pop culture references and locations all over the world – and even the moon – and earning writeups from HighSnobiety, Heavy, and Bustle.
Taking over Houston’s NRG Park, the inaugural Astroworld Festival – a celebration of hip-hop and Houston culture that drew 40,000 fans and prompted the city to name Novem – ber 18th “Astroworld Day” in Scott’s honor – re-invigorated the die-hard millennial fan base and heightened the impact of the collaboration. Scott accepted the proclamation recog – nizing him as an ambassador for the arts, education, and youth initiatives at Houston’s city hall. In addition to headlining performances from La Flame, Post Malone, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd, Sheck Wes, Virgil Abloh and more, legends Bun B, Slim Thug and Paul Wall graced the main stage with an unexpected Houston All-Stars performance.
‘What makes AstroWorld unique outside of the music lineup is the actual carnival elements of the festival and the historical nostalgia that is unique with the city of Houston.’
Celebrating the one-year anniversary of Astroworld’s release, Scott followed up with an extremely limited edition release of a box set alongside more merchandise, including a golden mask. The Super Deluxe Album featured a glow in the dark 8” tall 3D printed model of the iconic golden head, available only from Scott’s website in a hand-numbered collection of 250. Twisting to open revealed an Astroworld CD and circular credit booklet in the base.
To celebrate the success of his Astroworld tour, Scott commissioned a jeweled replica of LaChapelle’s inflatable head sculpture, along with other pieces featured in his tour set on a roller coaster-inspired chain, from the prolific and esteemed hip hop jeweler, Eliantte, as a gift to himself. The custom piece, worth $450,000, contained 150 carats of VS diamonds and over 1,000 grams of gold.
‘DAVID LACHAPELLE THANK U FOR BRINGING ASTROWORLD TO LIFE WHATS IN STORE I CAN’T WAIT,’
Using his cinematic style to imagine a nostalgic scene that pays homage to Houston’s original Astroworld, LaChapelle brought Scott’s otherworldly amusement park to life with the conception of the large-scale inflatable golden sculpture depicting Scott’s head, complete with gilded dreads. LaChapelle modeled the inflatable after a portrait of Scott making the same open-mouthed expression, inspiring its placement as the funhouse entrance in both daytime and nighttime scenes and creating two wildly different – and successful – approaches to Scott’s Astroworld.
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