About Dr. Shark and his artwork - background story
Dr. Shark is published illustrator and multimedia designer (an artist – although not the term of his preference) whose artwork encompasses illustrations, albums cover art, comics, cartoons, characters design, graphic prints, graphic design, sound design, video, music, mixed media.
He was pivotally involved in designing music albums covers, posters and promotional material, fanzine illustrations, cartoons, characters and graphic design for small indie label Mr. Montenegro Records (MMR) from Yugoslavia (the city of Novi Sad) in late ‘80s and early ‘90s. His artwork was solely related to collaboration with this label.
Although short-lived, the label (MMR) managed to attract respectable media and public attention with its exciting, unconventional releases of rock ‘n’ roll, garage rock, punk, alternative/indie bands and music. Miro or Mr. Montenegro, the founder of Mr. Montenegro Records, set out to create a label with “straight forward in your face streetwise punk rock” attitude which will be all about releasing great new alternative music and make success on its own terms. His idea was that such an attitude should represent itself visually as well, so he wanted fresh and great quality visual aesthetics rooted in iconography of popular culture greats in rock ‘n’ roll, movies, comics, poetry, literature and that came to life reflected through creative lens, designs and artwork of Dr. Shark.
In the course of time, few bands survived and achieved wider publicity and recognition in Yugoslavia.
Check out the sound of one of the label’s bands – Jackals and their great song ”Big Shock” from their mini album ”From Here to Mexico”. Cover art is by Dr. Shark and it’s available to buy now here.
The label also ventured into publishing activity, starting it up with the fanzine ”021 Calling” (meaning ”Novi Sad Calling”, because 021 is the city’s regional phone area code, and which was obviously also a nod to The Clash’s ”London Calling”). Again, Dr. Shark is credited for visual output of the fanzine with his illustrations, drawings, characters and graphic design.
The things were looking promising, the fans and the media slowly started to notice emerging of new and exciting label releasing fresh and crazy new alternative bands, and there were interesting prospects and releasing deals in store.
Unfortunately, the period of upheaval and disintegration of Yugoslavia took its toll and after several years the label eventually stopped functioning, leaving their devotees with the sour feel of unfinished business.
The label’s releases are extremely rare and hard to find, and they are somewhat of a hidden, long lost little treasures for passionate collectors and fans of obscure alternative/indie, punk and garage rock music worldwide.
One release still can be found occasionally online on auction websites, forums and websites specialized for vinyl and CD releases of alternative/indie/punk/garage rock music, which is The Liberators – Green Limousine EP.
You can check out The Liberators discography on discogs.com website. Almost all cover arts are done by Dr. Shark and those are available exclusively here on his official website!
From The Liberators – Green Limousine EP, this is song ”Elsa”. Cover art is by Dr. Shark and it’s available to buy now here.
Dr. Shark‘s artwork was the label’s visual trademark. His recognizable style with fantastic, dark, tough, naughty and funny characters, strange and humorous twists, absurd, grotesque, urban and cinematic symbolism, enriched and brought fresh perspective to the underground music scene at the time.