Behind the Artwork: Wild - Sean Feucht
What can I say, this album is incredible and if you haven’t streamed or pre-ordered it yet — I recommend you do so as soon as you’re done reading this blog — it’s truly an album for such a time as this.
Up to this point, I wasn’t familiar with Sean Feucht’s music (other than songs he’d written or co-written on with our Bethel Music team), so when I was assigned this album I was excited to get to know Sean, to see his take on creativity, and to help steward his vision for this incredible record.
For context, Sean Feucht joined our Bethel Music worship collective in 2015 when they moved to Redding to join Bethel Church. Prior to Wild, Sean had released 16 albums independently alongside his missional organisation Burn24/7 Global, so in the initial art and creative conception I wanted to create something timeless, that pointed toward his legacy, while confidently looking ahead to the future.
As with any new project that our Bethel Music creative team gets tasked with, one of our designers is assigned to the project and begins to creatively dream what visual narrative this project could take on. For Wild, I functioned as both the Art Director and designer for the entire project — side note, this was an interesting process as our Creative Director changed half way through.
In the creative direction for Wild, I knew that I wanted to portray the strength and honor of Sean’s amazing missional legacy, while somehow tying in the fact that this is a live worship album. In May 2018, Sean and a team from Bethel Music went to Iraq as part of our partnership with Sean’s organisation Burn24/7 to bring aid and share the love of Jesus with Iraqi refugees. On that trip, our Bethel Music creative team was capturing film and photography for both an upcoming documentary about Sean and his album artwork.
Once the team returned from Iraq, I was given all the footage and photography to start piecing together what could become the artwork for the cover and subsequent album promotion. I had two visual directions that I wanted to present to Sean; “live at Bethel Church” and a more documentary-esque “live from Iraq” option.
These two starkly distinct concepts were designed with that direct contrast in mind — the tension of a live worship recording in the USA and the great commission, calling us to the nations and “the least of these”. What does it look like to visually hold these two aspects of our worship together?
After meeting with Sean and our leadership team, it was decided that we’d pursue the last idea (although the first “live worship” concept was a strong contender), changing the title to simply “Wild”, swapping out the kids running for the black and white portrait from concept 3, and removing the gritty paper texture — the inner 90s kid in me was sad to see this go!
One fun fact about this album cover - the portrait on the front isn’t real - it’s a photoshop-merged of two different photos taken by Rachel in Iraq. The original portrait of Sean was absolutely captivating, but it was portrait with no background/scenery, so I merged another wide-angle photo from the same location that allowed me to tell the visual story of that location.
As soon as I’d merged the photo and placed it in the album cover frame, I knew it was the cover. It encapsulated everything I wanted to communicate about this album — and about Sean’s heart; confident, peace in the storm, inner strength and resilience, plus for anyone who knows Sean this is such an accurate representation of his worshipful heart posture. I met with Sean and our leadership team, showed them the new cover and it was approved on the spot!
In the end, the cover that you see today is a creative hybrid of all the other concepts, with fonts and images moving from concept to final artwork. I’ll leave you with a sample of the full packaging for Wild, I pray you’re inspired and encouraged in your own creative journey.
Much love friends, keep creating and keep in touch!