Arturo Vega, painter and graphic designer best known for his logo for the Punk band The Ramones, has died at the age of 65. Vega also designed some of their early album covers, as well as the now iconic logo for the bands T-shirts at their concerts. The design was inspired by the US Presidential seal which caught his eye, after a trip to Washington DC. Vega was never paid royalties for the design, which he sold to Sire records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros music. The T shirts sold in the millions and Vega never benefited from the intellectual property, an ongoing thorn in his side till the end.
Vega was considered the fifth member of the Ramones. He toured extensively from the 1970s until the end, in the US, Canada, the far east and Europe. I met him originally in Canada when he was tour manager and lighting technician for the band. He always had a visual flare. His loft in NY was a hangout for the Ramones and was also the home to Dee Dee and Joey and various hangers on. He was a generous, kind and loyal friend to many.
Arturo was also a talented painter who leaves a legacy of painting behind. His last years were devoted to creating his own brand of Pop influenced text based paintings, working along a similar line to Ed Ruscha.
Arturo was last in London presenting an oral history of the Ramones at Tate Modern during the Merge Festival in 2011. I taped his presentation which lasted 2 hours. One day I will edit it and post. – PC Robinson June 2013
Photo: © Alex Ogg courtesy of Artlyst 2013