Hugh Syme is a Canadian Juno Award-winning graphic artist who is best known for his artwork and cover concepts for rock and metal bands. He is also a musician and has appeared in some Rush songs as a keyboard player. Syme is notably responsible for all of Rush's album cover art since 1975's Caress of Steel as well as creating Rush's famous Starman logo.
Hugh Syme's cover artwork for Rush's 1981 album Moving Pictures is a visual pun of movers physically carrying paintings, while several songs from the album are connected to motion pictures, with "moving pictures" meaning movies. This second meaning is explicitly shown on the back of the album, where a movie crew is seen filming the scene from the front cover. A third meaning is taken from bystanders who are watching the movers and are visibly emotionally moved by the paintings, making them "moving pictures". The album cover was taken in front of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park, Toronto. The pictures that are being moved are the starman logo featured on the reverse cover of the 2112 album, the famous Dogs Playing Poker painting, and a painting that presumably shows Joan of Arc being burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.
|Rush-Moving Pictures (1981) front cover|
|Rush-Moving Pictures (1981) back cover|
An item from each of Rush's previous eight studio album covers can be seen on the front and back cover of their 1981 live album Exit...Stage Left, though each has been modified in some way. The owl from Fly by Night flies above Apollo, the man in the suit from Hemispheres, who stands next to the woman from Permanent Waves. The puppet king from A Farewell to Kings sits atop a box stenciled with the "Rush" logo from Rush. Next to him is a painting of the Caress of Steel album cover, held by one of the movers from Moving Pictures, with another mover standing behind. Next to this is Dionysus, the nude man from Hemispheres. Behind this scene, the starman from 2112 hangs in the background, next to an "EXIT" sign. This entire foreground scene, shot in Toronto's then-abandoned Winter Garden Theatre, is on the left side of the stage (from the point of view of the artist), thus "Exit...Stage Left".
|Rush-Exit...Stage Left (1981) full cover|
|Rush-Roll the Bones (1991)|
|Queensrÿche-Hear In The Now Frontier (1997)|
|Supertramp-Some Things Never Change (1997)|
|Rush-Spirit of Radio (2003)|
|Dream Theater-Octavarium (2005)|
|Dream Theater-Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)|