Hugh Syme is a graphic artist whose name has been indelibly linked to Rush since he did his first work for the band, the cover of “Caress of Steel”. He is responsible for ALL but the first 2 of Rush‘s album cover artwork. He also created Rush‘s famous StarMan logo, though he never imagined the band would use it, nor that it would gain such international recognizably as their main logo. He collaborated with Ian Thomas as both keyboardist and songwriter from 1973 to 1980, eventually leading to his alliance with Rush, as they were both then managed by SRO/Anthem. From that moment on his iconic designs have become the artistic trademark of one of the most seminal bands in musical history. Being a fellow musician, he has also contributed piano and keyboards on 4 Rush albums. Forty-five years later, Rush has retired, but Hugh is still very much involved with the band, overseeing the art side of the 40th-anniversary album series expanded editions.
In 2015, Hugh published a book entitled Art Of Rush, a collection of four decades’ worth of his artwork and illustrations for the group, with previously unseen images and a foreword by drummer Neil Peart. Since 2005’s “Octavarium”, Hugh also started a productive collaboration with prog-metal pioneers Dream Theater. Other musicians he has designed and created artwork for include Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Scorpions, Meatloaf, Megadeth, Styx, Queensrÿche, Asia, Dave Edmunds, Joe Walsh, Earth Wind and Fire and hundreds more.
Sonic Perspectives avid interviewer Rodrigo Altaf sat down with Hugh, and they discussed his method to put together such memorable artwork, his interaction with members of Rush and Dream Theater and some of his other clients, his forays into keyboard playing and much more. Listen to their interesting conversation below and remember to stalk us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to be notified about new interviews and contents we publish on a daily basis.
Slideshow photographs by Hugh Syme