R.I.P. Pedro Bell

Pedro Bell the illustrator known for designing several Funkadelic album covers has passed at age 69 from cardiac arrest. George Clinton and Bootsy Collins shared the information on social media and noted his contribution to the band. Bell was responsible for creating the album art for the Cosmic Slop, Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On, One Nation Under A Groove albums and many more. Bell’s style was a perfect fit for Clinton’s psychedelic funk-rock band with all the abstract images that still managed to touch the earth with figures of Black people in outer space.  He told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2009 that his work was “psychedelic from a Black perspective” and that his earliest inspiration came from his Baptist-preaching father’s Bible. The teachings from Revelations led to Bell reading science fiction. He reached out Clinton’s record company in the ’70s and offered his services. 

In the ’80s Clinton hired him to design several of his solo albums including Computer Games and R&B Skeletons In The Closet. Bootsy Collins released a statement to Rolling Stone: 

“The wild and bizarre artwork gave our early audience a sense of seeing the visual side of the music and the language. He had a way of translating and communicating what all the weirdness was about, and that you the consumer really wanted to figure it out, because it truly was otherworldly. Every time the two were done together it would create the One. They there would be another satisfied customer! Thanks to our Captain Draw the Clone Stranger of Artistic Gratification to the Nation, Mr. Pedro Bell. The Funk got Stronger. Your service to this world can never be calculated.”

Bell’s health had been deteriorating for the past nine years and he was receiving kidney dialysis three times a week. He eventually lost his vision and was no longer able to create. No fan of Parliament-Funkadelic can think of either band without thinking of Bell’s art.