Published May 22, 2019Lawrence "Larry" Carroll — a painter best recognized for creating the cover artwork for Slayer's iconic Reign In Blood — has died. News of Carroll's passing was confirmed yesterday (May 21) by Cologne art gallery Karsten Greve. He was 65.
"He leaves behind an intimate and melancholic body of work, a unique testimony of both a creative and deconstructive time," the gallery wrote in a statement. "For Lawrence Carroll, creativity lay within a lengthy process of concentration and contemplation: he constructed an intimate connection with his work until it, in effect, slowly revealed itself to him."
Carroll — who also created the cover art for Slayer's 1988 LP South of Heaven, 1990's Seasons in the Abyss and 2006's Christ Illusion — began working for the thrash metal icons in 1986 after getting a call from producer Rick Rubin.
"Not many art directors were lining up to ask me to illustrate the next Aerosmith or Sting album," Carroll recalled to Revolver in 2010. "I think they were afraid of what they would get. I was always told my work was too dark for most folks. So Slayer was a good fit for me."
Of his first commissioned piece for Slayer, Carroll added, "If I remember correctly, they didn't like the cover I did for Reign In Blood at first. But then someone in the band showed it to their mother, and their mother thought it was disgusting, so they knew they were on to something."
Carroll's Slayer covers were mixed-media works.
"The materials I use are often acrylic, oil, and collaged photocopied drawings," he explained to Revolver. "I often make drawings and then photocopy them on a Xerox machine, something I have been doing since the mid '70s. I enlarge and multiply them if needed. Now they have Photoshop, [but] what I was doing was much more organic and physical. I still prefer this to the computer."
Carroll's work has been collected and exhibited by museums such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York; the MOCA in Los Angeles; the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum of Trento and Roverando; the Vatican Museums in Italy; the Stuttgart City Gallery in Germany; and the Museo Cantonale d'Arte in Lugano, Switzerland.
Carroll's final solo exhibition, dubbed Moments, will open at Galerie Karsten Greve this Friday (May 24). Read our Essential Guide to Slayer over here.