About the Art. My husband Jay Vigon, a designer/art director was helping his friend Rick Seireeni, a creative director with Warner Bros. Records, on the upcoming Van Halen release "1984." The band had a somewhat nebulous idea having to do with four dancing chrome women. I was known at that time for my photo-realistic airbrush prowess, especially my ability to render shiny metal (a staple in rock album cover art). But the reflective intricacies of four chrome dancers seemed like a nightmare of an illustration, so I declined the job. However, for some reason, Jay took my portfolio over to the band. As Eddie and Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth looked over my work they came across a painting I had done for a more personal project, an angel holding a cigarette. For the group, it was like love at first sight and the rest turned out to be album cover history.

Van Halen was already a world-famous band and their 1984 album was a huge hit. The cover was omnipresent. Posters were plastered up and down the streets of every major city. A rumor soon spread that the angel was David Lee Roth as a baby but that is not the true story.

In reality I had always wanted to illustrate a picture of something that looked photographically real, yet could not actually be real. Since I loved angels--and devils--I thought I would combine the two. I asked my friend if I could take some photos of her two-year-old son, Carter Helm. I styled his hair, gave him some candy cigarettes and after a brief tantrum he became the perfect character.

The image may have been controversial because it appeared that the angel was actually sneaking a smoke behind God's back, so to speak. In actuality, the cigarettes were chocolate candy wrapped in paper to look like the real thing, and Carter, my little model, had devoured every one of them by the end of the photo session.

The illustration still enjoys great popularity and is perpetually ranked among the 100 best album covers of all time by “Rolling Stone Magazine.” An audio interview by Ivan Parrish, from summer 2010 can be accessed on insideheavy.com, and a magazine cover and article by John Scanian, on the making of the Van Halen “1984” album, can be found in the March 2011 issue of the London-based, “Classic Rock” Magazine.


About the artist. Margo Nahas started illustrating album covers early in her career. She did her first cover, Seals and Crofts’ “Unborn Child,” while still attending The Art Center College of Design, in Los Angeles, California. Later, while collaborating with her husband, Jay Vigon, they designed and illustrated over 90 album covers and several hundred logos, including: Van Halen “1984,” Stevie Wonder “Secret Life of Plants,” Toto “The 7th One,” Fleetwood Mac “Tusk,” Doobie Bros. “Farewell Tour,” Quiet Riot “Mental Health” and “Condition Critical,” Rod Stewart “Absolutely Live,” and Bon Jovi “7000˚ Farenheit.”

Specializing in photorealistic airbrush rendering Margo applied her unique style to developing art for the recording industry as well as illustrations for movie posters, magazine spreads, billboards, advertising, and the medical field.

A partial list of clients includes, Warner Bros., Motown Records, ABC, Universal, CBS, Sony, J. Walter Thompson, Chiat Day, Hard Rock Café, and many independent commissions.

Margo currently designs fine jewelry and custom one of a kind resin pieces. Additionally she works with ceramics creating unique decorative frames. Many of her pieces, as well as a select history of her illustrations, can be viewed or purchased on www.margoznahas.com .