To tell you the truth, I don’t now what came first – my love for Iron Maiden‘s music or seeing Eddie the Head on a t-shirt worn by my good pal Donny. We must have been no older than 7 when I first started to see Donny wearing these crazy awesome rock shirts, fully metalized with their white sleeves. I had been listening to music, but had never seen art work for a band like that before. It seemed to me that every time I saw Donny, be it at school or out and about the neighbourhood, he had another Iron Maiden shirt on. I think it was then when I begged my Dad to buy me an Iron Maiden LP. The rest is history. The first “heavy” band I got into, and I still love those old recordings. I was listening to Killers just the other day.
When Donny and I were in public school, we were in different classes, and I would sneak out of my class every chance I could so I could run down the hall and make fart noises or whatever into Donny’s class. We would laugh our asses off at this. I kid you not, every single time I peaked into that classroom, the rest of the class would be sitting up straight, paying attention to the teacher, and doing their damnedest to get the right answers, but not Donny. Every single time I peaked into that classroom, Donny would have his head down drawing, and drawing like a fucking master. It wouldn’t be long until I realized all that great artwork that Iron Maiden had on their albums and t-shirts was the creation of British, self-taught artist, Derek Riggs. Here’s a bit from the interweb on this hero of metal lore.
Derek Riggs is a contemporary British artist best known for creating the band Iron Maiden’s mascot, “Eddie the Head”.
Riggs is self-taught in his art, both in his traditional painting and in his digital work. He also attended art school, but he was expelled after complaining about the course. Riggs’ most famous achievement is his work with Iron Maiden and his creation of Eddie, the band’s mascot and subject of their album and single covers. Riggs’ first picture of Eddie was originally entitled “Electric Matthew Says Hello,” and was actually painted for a possible punk cover. Iron Maiden’s management came across it while looking through Riggs’ portfolio, and asked him to add hair to the figure to make it look less punk-like. The resulting picture was used for the debut album, Iron Maiden, released in 1980 and Riggs went on to work with Iron Maiden throughout the 1980s and into the 90s, creating many of the band’s famous album covers. In 1992, however, the band decided to accept contributions from other artists for their next album, Fear of the Dark, resulting in much less input from Riggs in recent years.
Riggs has also designed the cover of World’s Only Female Tribute to Iron Maiden, the self-titled debut album by the all-female tribute band, The Iron Maidens, a piece which was inspired by the Killers album, featuring a similar “Kinky Sex Shop” which featured in the Iron Maiden artwork.
He has also worked with Iron Maiden lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson for his album Accident of Birth, Stratovarius for their album Infinite, Gamma Ray for their Power Plant album, Artension on their 2004 album Future World, Gillman on their 2003 album Cuauhtemoc, and with many other bands and companies most of which are featured on his website.
TOP 10 EDDIE’S: artwork by DEREK RIGGS