Sights & Sounds Presents Wilco: ‘Summerteeth’ by Eric Ellis

Eric Ellis

This week’s Sights & Sounds wallpaper is for Wilco’s album Summerteeth and was created by Eric Ellis. Summerteeth came out in the spring of 1999 and marked the beginning of what I think most people would classify as the Wilco sound. There was a lot going on during the recording of this album as well, like Tweedy’s drug addiction and the recording of Mermaid Avenue with Billy Bragg. But I think it’s possible that the struggles that were going on personally with the band is what gives it it’s sound. This was an album that I had heard years later, but there are so many great tracks on this album, my favorites being How To Fight Loneliness, When You Wake Up Feeling Old and In A Future Age. Of course, there are the mellow tracks that get me feeling deep and sentimental.

As for the wallpaper Eric did an amazing job summing up the relaxing feeling of summertime. He’s also created not one but four different iPhone versions of the wallpaper, selecting certain pieces of the illustration to highlight. Be sure to check them all out. Here’s what he had to say about his wallpaper:

To I have to be honest and say that I have never actually listened to Wilco, and specifically not this album Summerteeth, of which my drawing was supposed to represent.

It’s not that I have purposefully avoided their music, in fact based on what people tell me, I think I’d enjoy it. It’s just one of those things that I haven’t gotten around to yet, like backpacking through Europe or having a dog. But life is long, and I’m in no hurry.

My drawing is about me really, and the various things I do. If this drawing were a book, it would be autobiographical. But I think it relates to the Wilco album in that all of things I am doing in my drawing, I could be doing while listening to Summerteeth too. I suppose I could have listened to the album on repeat, trying to sort out a concept or derive some meaning from a lyric but I thought I would try something a little less obvious.


10 Comments Sights & Sounds Presents Wilco: ‘Summerteeth’ by Eric Ellis

  1. Chris December 1, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    why do you keep getting people to make wallpapers for albums they’ve never heard before? i was really excited for this project, but it’s turning out pretty lame.

  2. Bobby Solomon December 1, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    @Chris – Because some people do like these albums? Just because it’s not what you like doesn’t mean it’s lame. I could say the fact that you don’t know or like this means you’re pretty lame, right? haha…

    There will be plenty more bands from around the world and hopefully you dig ’em!

  3. Will December 1, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    @Bobby – I think what Chris is saying is that the designers don’t know the albums.

    “To I have to be honest and say that I have never actually listened to Wilco, and specifically not this album Summerteeth, of which my drawing was supposed to represent.”

    Wouldn’t it be better if the designers could pick they’re favourite album or one that means something to them?

  4. Bobby Solomon December 1, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    @Will & Chris – In a perfect world, yes, but I don’t think that’s possible for every band and every album. I should have had the artists listen to each album before designing them, that definitely makes sense.

    This is still relatively new idea so feedback like this is great, thanks Will. Sorry for the confusion on my part Chris!

  5. Will December 1, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    The idea is a great one and I already like the wallpapers that have come out so far. My wallpaper is virtually always one I find on this website or through the links posted.

    Keep up the good work, also the redesign really works, loving the new look.

  6. M December 1, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    I agree with Chris. This wallpaper has absolutely nothing to do with the sound of the album. I knew the designer hadn’t heard it before I even read the quote. Having him do it without hearing the album simply just doesn’t make sense.

    I hope YHF and GiB turn out better. (I don’t really care for SBS or WtA). It’s a great idea and Wilco is one of my favorite bands, but I’ve been pretty disappointed by the output so far (especially this one).

  7. Chris December 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    Will was correct, I’m a big Wilco fan and was just disappointed to see that most (all?) of the wallpapers done in this series have been by artists who aren’t familiar with the albums they’re assigned. I do dig the art, but none of them so far have been a reflection of a Wilco album. Instead, they’ve all been reflections on the assignment.

    I love the site and the re-design is great, by the way. Looking forward to seeing more great stuff here in the future.

  8. Chris December 2, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    edit: Just the last two were reflections on the assignment. The first one, my favorite, was done by an artist who knew the source material well.

  9. Eric E. December 3, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Although I suppose I could have turned this assignment down, what with my having never listened to the album and all, but I thought it would be more fun to try something out any how.

    I don’t agree that the drawing needs to be such a direct reference to the album and its music. Call is creative license I suppose, but I don’t think its my job to try to put to paper the ideas you have in your head while you listen to Wilco. Its like reading a good novel that later becomes a movie, it will never live up to what you’ve created in your mind. I think it’s better this way, by totally negating the music, I’ve made something entirely separate and new.

  10. M December 5, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    Eric- It’s a really nice image, good work on it. But for us Wilco fans, it’s not what we were expecting.

    I think the assignment should draw directly from the album and its music–more along the lines of the Radiohead wallpapers that were done some time ago. I would agree that most people are disappointed when a good novel is adapted poorly into a movie (see: Harry Pooter, Da Vinci Code), but I would argue that people are going to be even more disappointed if the people who make the film never even read the novel. After all, that’s who you are selling this to, the fans of the novel/album.

    I would also argue that making a novel into a film is not impossible (see: No Country for Old Men). In the same way, an image can speak a lot for an album. Summerteeth should be a lot more melancholy. I might even classify it as more of a “winter album” despite its title. The person who does YHF has their work cut out for them with so many sounds in there, and GiB has a lot to work with (maybe a Cherry Ghost?).

    Yes, you’ve created something entirely separate and new, and it looks great. But it’s just not what we were expecting.

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