Pedro Bell was responsible for the Afrofuturism elements that defined the group.
Pedro Bell, the man behind Funkadelic’s most iconic, psychedelic album covers has passed away. Bell was 69 years old. Band leaders George Clinton and Bootsy Collins both confirmed the news with posts on social media.
A cause of death has not been revealed.
Bell started working with the band in 1973 for their Cosmic Slop album. Bell created dense, psychedelic, comedic, and colorful pieces of works that featured aliens, pimps, and rockstars caught up in zany scenarios.
Bell worked with Funkadelic over the next decade, crafting classic covers like Let’s Take It to the Stage and One Nation Under a Groove. In an interview with Juxtapoz, Bell took credit for the Afrofuturism elements that defined the group:
Back in those days George knew nothing about UFOs and stuff. Back then, in the early ’70s, all that space thang came from me.
Later on his life, Bell would suffer financially and healthwise. A profile in 2009 from The Chicago Sun-Times depicted Bell as blind and broke, trying to sell off his original work. In the piece, his younger brother said:
“He should be well-taken care of…He has work that is very famous.”
We lost the Master Mind behind the Graphic’s & Artwork of Funkadelic. Mr. Pedro Bell is an American artist and illustrator best known for his elaborate cover designs and other artwork for numerous Funkadelic and George Clinton solo albums. Thxs for yr service our brother.😲🙏 pic.twitter.com/PsD8TRxlRU
— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) August 28, 2019