Dare Jennings on this Seasons Featured Artist Bob Cato

The featured artist in this, the Spring Summer 2023 collection is renowned American artist and graphic designer Bob Cato. Bob was in fact a member of my family. My sister Kate met and married Bob in New York when they were working in magazine publishing in the 1980’s. As there was no google then to research someone’s history I had to piece together Bob’s extraordinary career from his unassuming anecdotes and the collection of work in his New York apartment.

It was incredible to discover so much of my popular cultural upbringing had his handwriting on them. Through his work at CBS records and United Artists in the 70’s he left an indelible mark on the things that meant so much to me in my youth. As a despondent teenager stuck on my father’s farm I would spend hours studying Robert Crumb’s cover art for Big Brother and the Holding Company’s “Cheap Thrills”. It sent me a beguiling message that there was more to life than driving tractors and chasing sheep.

Many years later Bob would tell me how he commissioned Crumb to do the cover art and in fact dropped the cheque off. Sadly, Crumb was not a fan of the music but that is another story. Bob contributed his graphic vision to many aspects of music and publishing. It was an honour to have known him. The elements that we have used here came from a poster that he gave to me that celebrated his love of Jazz.

You can check out a curation of tracks that Bob lent his talents to on Spotify, Apple Music and Soundcloud now.


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