Margo Nahas has designed nearly two dozen album covers over the course of her artistic career, including Van Halen’s iconic “1984” painting. AND…She lives in Iowa.

The Story Behind the “1984” Album Cover

Margo Nahas was already well known for her work with chrome coloring (she designed two albums from Autograph using chrome). Van Halen had requested four dancing chrome women. She knew right away that all the reflectiveness of the four figures would be nearly impossible to complete.

So, she had her husband take a portfolio to the band of other works she had created, and immediately they spotted the angel smoking and said “We want that.”

Who’s the kid?

Her friend’s son, Carter Helm, posed for the photo. She then based one of the photos as the basis of a painting of an angel smoking a cigarette.

In an interview with CBS13 in Sacramento, she said “I took a picture of him, took him candy cigarettes which he proceeded to eat, every single one.”

There have been 17 million copies of the “1984” album sold around the world and counting.

Her Husband Designed the Lettering for Prince’s “Purple Rain”

Margo met her husband, Jay Vigon, at the ArtCenter College of Design in Los Angeles. Together, they have created artwork for 80 over album covers.

Jay helped design the logos for Stars Wars: Revenge of the Jedi, and Prince’s “Purple Rain” lettering for the album and film. He’s also done his share of album covers, including Bon Jovi’s “7800* Fahrenheit,” The Doobie Brother’s “Farewell Tour,” Quiet Riot “Metal Health,” David Lee Roth’s “Crazy From the Heat,” and “Eat ‘em and Smile,” and Lindsey Buckingham’s “Go Insane” among others.

How Did They Get to Iowa?

They were visiting a friend in Des Moines in 2004 and they fell in love with the rural setting of Iowa and they soon moved to nearby Adel. Nine years later they moved to Des Moines where they currently work at Mainframe Studios in the capital city.

Artist Who Created Van Halen's '1984' Album Cover Lives in Iowa

Margo Nahas has designed nearly two dozen album covers over the course of her artistic career, including Van Halen’s iconic “1984” painting. AND…She lives in Iowa. 

 

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