Behind the cover

Art Director Ryan Olbrysh shares his inspiration for the Weekly’s hair metal cover

Eyeliner and inspiration, courtesy of Circus magazine.

Between the years of 1984 and 1988, you could say that I had an affinity for hair metal. Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Poison, Whitesnake, Cinderella, The Scorpions ... I was into it all and had the T-shirts to prove it. There was something about the big hair, the makeup, the spandex, the studded wristbands and the attitude that appealed to a Catholic school kid who had to wear the same navy blue pants and powder blue dress shirt every day.

And back then, if hair metal was your thing, Circus was your magazine. When’s the new Twisted Sister album coming out? Is Tommy Lee really going to do a drum solo upside down? Does Bobby Blotzer prefer Aqua Net pink or blue? What does Don Dokken put on his toast? I wanted to know, and (even when I didn’t) Circus told me.

When tasked with designing a cover to accompany Josh Bell’s feature on hair metal in Las Vegas, I knew immediately that I wanted to play off of the old Circus magazine covers, with their splashy color panels, bold text and multiple photos of hairy dudes. Thanks to eBay I was able to procure a mint-condition issue from 1988 to use as reference, and I went about designing my cover tribute to Circus magazine. I hope you enjoy the result. (And yes, I can still name all five original members of Ratt without Googling it.)


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