Prominent artist Overton Loyd, a Landmark Forum graduate best known for his cover art on George Clinton’s Parliament albums, spoke recently to students at California State University, Dominguez Hills, about what it takes to invent one’s future and fulfill on one’s potential. His lecture was written about by the CSUDH Bulletin in March. Excerpts are printed below:
Lecturer Urges Students to Reach Their Full Potential
Artist Overton Loyd inspires with his success despite a future seemingly without possibility
By Landon Morris, March 26, 2008
With mp3s, iPods and flash drives, this generation is too young to remember vinyl LPs and their creative album covers. But earlier this month the Communication Department’s graphic design class was taken back in time by industry icon and creative illustrator Overton Loyd.
Loyd, an artist best known for creating the cover art for George Clinton’s Parliament album Motor Booty Affair, lectured to about 25 students with a message to inspire them to rise to their full potential.
Loyd met Clinton in the early ’70s and by 1977 he had illustrated a comic book that was included in Parliament’s Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome. The book portrays an epic battle between characters Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk and Starchild, which echoes the lyrics in the songs on the album.
Back in the ’60s as a kid, Loyd was told that there wasn’t a place for black comic characters. He didn’t give up. Because of hard work and determination he began selling his commercial and abstract art, airbrushing and fine art using black characters. Loyd was the featured caricaturist on the game show Win, Lose or Draw and in 1982 he won a Billboard award for Best Use of Computer Graphics for George Clinton’s Atomic Dog video.
During his lecture Loyd focused on what he calls funkentelechy, the combination of the word funk (music elements of jazz, blues and soul with a heavy bass line) and entelechy (a vital force that directs an organism toward self-fulfillment), which he translates into potential.
“What do you want to become when you grow up?” asked Loyd, 54. None of the communications students gave an answer.
He responded, “It’s all right not knowing because your real future is undiscovered, waiting to be invented by you.”
Loyd went on to say that P-funk helped him understand his future. P-funk, coined by Clinton, means dancing in the face of no possibility. As an 8-year-old kid growing up in Detroit, Loyd dreamed of being an artist and having his own art show but never in a million years did he see himself lecturing before an audience of students.
“I don’t have a college degree and never went to school but here I am standing before this class,” said Loyd.
The last thought Loyd left this generation of students to think about was that George Clinton not only inspired the hip/hop, rap and R&B generation, he inspired urban contemporary art, such as graffiti.
“There’s strong developing evidence to suggest that the DNA for today’s urban contemporary art evolved during the P-funk era,” he said.
Said Loyd, “Just start drawing your future because your past has already been traced.”
To see more of the art of Overton Loyd, check out his website.