'Tug of War' (Paul McCartney album)


Brian Clarke's first public collaboration with Paul McCartney was the series of works made for Paul's 1982 number-one album Tug of War. Brian designed the cover, producing an abstract painting in oil on canvas, and incorporated a painted portrait from a photograph by Linda McCartney of Paul in the recording studio, into the cover. By first painting with lithographic ink over Linda's photo through a sheet of film, and then laying atop of it a second layer of film and repainting some of the geometric forms of the oil painting in blue and red transfer dye, and combining these with a base layer photographic print of his painting, so that the three layers appeared to blend together, the effect of shifting depth and transparency could be achieved pre-Photoshop. Brian also designed and fabricated a series of five Tug of War stained glass panels in different colours and treatments, based on the painting. The geometric elements of the painting, which he calls 'reticules', were used in promotional material for the release, incorporated throughout the vinyl and CD booklets by Hipgnosis, and appears on the vinyl labels. The album sold over one million copies in the United States in the year of its release, where it has been certified platinum. In 2021, the British Royal Mail produced a stamp featuring Brian's cover painting and design for the LP.