Cosmic Magazine was an Australian music publication which explored pop culture and psychedelic art. Operating between 2019 and early 2021, it was the precursor to companion website The Glitter and Gold. “Cosmic magazine was an unanticipated success,” The Glitter and Gold’s Creative Director Riley Fitzgerald shares. “I started the site in a bedroom in Brisbane, Australia in 2019. Within six months it had been visited by over a million music fans from around the world.”
A Cosmic Magazine logo designed by Dawn Aquarius.
A New Beginning
With resources from Cosmic’s success, Riley Fitzgerald relocated to an office in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. “After this, I fell into a period of deep reflection,” Riley reveals. “I loved the look and feel of Cosmic but at the same time, I wanted to take a broader and more ambitious view on modern culture. We are living in a time of unprecedented change. I wanted to explore the new and exciting things going on in the world right now.”
After no small amount of soul searching, The Glitter and Gold was conceived. “Cosmic was a website paying homage to underground zines of the 1960s while taking a fond look back on some of the classic elements of magazine journalism,” Riley Fitzgerald adds. “The Glitter and Gold is a hybrid brand – a website, journalism studio, and online store with a far reaching view on modern culture.”
Comic artwork ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ by Goldendaze Illustrations.
Looking Back at the Remarkable Artwork of Cosmic Magazine
In order to focus on the new brand, editorial efforts at Cosmic were slowly wound down over a period of several months. But before closing shop, Riley had an idea. “Looking back at all of the Cosmic artwork and archiving it on Pinterest,” he shares, “I thought it would be a great time to take a walk through some of the truly exceptional artists I worked with at Cosmic. I think it is a great time to collect and showcase some of their most spectacular work.”
Pink Floyd themed artwork by Goldendaze Illustrations.
“Dawn Russell is an American artist inspired by Beatles collaborators The Fool and ’60s Californian psychedelia in general,” Riley shares. “I specifically had her in mind for the Cosmic logo and was delighted when she said yes. She is such an easy artist to work with.” Dawn provided artwork for several Cosmic feature articles.
Dawn Aquarius’ artwork for Cosmic feature article ‘Mexican Psychedelia’.
Cris Ruiz is a Spanish artist who makes work as Goldendaze Illustrations. “Her art is truly mesmerising,” Riley shares. “There is a beauty and intensity to it. I always look forward to her pieces. She has even contributed to The Glitter and Gold, designing the brand’s first official logos.” Ruiz’ eye-catching Tame Impala artwork and Pink Floyd themed pieces have drawn the eyes of hundreds of thousands of music lovers to Cosmic Magazine.
Tame Impala by Golden Daze Illustration.
Vincent is a Canadian-based visual artist. “I stumbled across Vincent’s work scrolling through the Tame Impala hashtags on Instagram,” Riley recounts. “It hit me instantly. He is a really talented artist.” Much of Vincent’s work throws back to the decadent elegance of the 1920s. He has a particular affinity for F. Scott’s Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby (perhaps with the modern twist of director Baz Luhrmann‘s 2013 reimagining.) His work has also included musical artists Orville Peck and The Weeknd.
Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker by Vincenzio Art.
“Estudiooscuro is a Barcelona based design collective,” Riley shares. “They really hit it out of the park with an artwork depicting King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard‘s Gizzverse. It truly represents the insanity that band embodies.”
Harley and J
Harley and J is an Australian artist based south of Byron Bay. “I am really grateful an artist of her talent was willing to contribute an artwork to Cosmic so early on,” Riley shares. “In the wake of the #METOO movement, there has been a lot of discussion and revaluation of the work of John Lennon. Can we separate the artist from the art? The more I learn about Lennon the more I find myself returning to that the question. 40 years after his death he remains a catalyzing force in popular music.”
John Lennon and Yoko Ono by Harley and J.
Jake Machen in a UK artist whose work incorporates elements of manga and anime. “I am a huge fan of Jake,” Riley shares. “I think he was signaling Generation Z’s anime fixation to me long before the mainstream media caught on. Sometimes his art has felt, to me, like a mixture between ’80s action movies like Bladerunner and an early issue of Akira Toriyama‘s Dragon Ball.”
Jake Machen’s reimagining of Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerism’.
Tom Magee is a Brisbane artist who designed two striking species for Cosmic. One accompanied an article about sharing music across generations. The other was a piece depicting a psychedelic merging of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and former collaborator Melody Prochet.
Melody’s Echo Chamber and Tame Impala by Tom Magee.
Many of Cosmic Magazine’s most-read articles and news pieces chronicled recent happenings in the world of long-dormant but not quite extinct prog-rock megastars Pink Floyd. “Pink Floyd sprang from the London Underground in the 1960s,” Riley reflects. “Their presence in countercultural UK zines of that era has fascinated me. Then in the ’70s and ’80s, they absolutely dominated popular music. Their partnership with design studio Hipgnosis continues to captivate millions. The enduring popularity of The Dark Side of the Moon and the soap-operatic dispute between Roger Waters and David Gilmour were regular discussion points at Cosmic.” Riley notes one of the first items for sale in the Glitter and Gold’s online store is a copy of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon signed by drummer Nick Mason.
Pink Floyd artwork by Goldendaze Illustrations.
Perth’s Tame Impala were another frequent subject of Cosmic’s editorial focus. “Cosmic was documenting a lot of things that were going on with Tame Impala in 2019 and 2020,” Riley enthuses. “At this stage, Tame Impala was transitioning from indie rock outsider to international pop music sensation. I regularly get positive feedback for Cosmic’s Tame Impala features and Tame Impala news articles. Cosmic has really created some useful information fans will be digging into for a long time.”
Tame Impala artwork by Australian artist Gareth Pearse.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
“King Gizzard have their own in house artist called Jason Galea,” says Riley, “His covers have had such an impact. Like Tame Impala I think this Australian group throws back to some of the things which made the rock era so special. Jake Machen’s artwork is one of my favourite Cosmic pieces. The band’s fans have, however, pointed out to me that the group has seven members, not six. To this, I say one was either eaten by the Beatles-looking Blue Meanie or perhaps himself morphed into that ominous sorcerous-looking being.”
The Glitter and Gold Logo
Elements of Cosmic are not going away. There is continuity between the Cosmic and The Glitter and Gold brands. This is reflected in the Glitter and Gold’s initial logo, designed by Goldendaze Illustrations. “Yes we’re changing,” says Riley, “but a lot of what we have covered on Cosmic will also be cropping up on The Glitter and Gold. Cosmic may yet return as well.”
Tying Present to The Past
Cosmic’s striking tote bags were recently featured in Glitter and Gold photoshoot by Brisbane’s Beth Davis. “The bags were not initially part of the shoot,” Riley shares. “I gave them to the photographer to transport clothing items soon to be featured in the store. She obviously loved something about them. Small moments like these are really rewarding. I put a lot of work into Cosmic and am grateful to know others appreciate it as well. People, I hope, will be uncovering and enjoying the writing and art of Cosmic Magazine for many years to come.”
Moving into the future. The Glitter and Gold recently opened an official online store. It showcases only a few items but Riley assures there are many more very soon to come. “The Glitter and Gold,” he concludes, “is continuing to evolve and take shape. It’s going to be responsive to local needs as well as take a broad view on pop culture as a whole. Not only is it going to document key events in modern culture, it will explore what these say about society as a whole. I look forward to sharing more with you. Until then you can enjoy this artwork in close to its entirety via our Pinterest gallery and the Cosmic website.”