Stanley Donwood's artwork graces nearly every hard copy of Radiohead music I own. If he made cover art for live bootleg MP3s, I'd have gigs of that, too. I interviewed him about his collaborations with Thom Yorke once, for Silicon Alley Reporter magazine back in 2000 -- wish I could find the article online now. Mr. Donwood says today:
I'm doing another series of prints, this time for Banksy's site. You've probably heard of Banksy; he's done loads of graffiti all over the world. He gave some monkeys in a zoo pieces of cardboard with 'I'm a celebrity - get me out of here' written on them.
Anyway, his site features prints from loads of people, such as 3D, Jamie Hewlett, David Shrigley, and one of my favourite artists ever, Gee Vaucher. So I'm pretty pleased to be associated with the site, and I'm doing some different work to that on my own site.
To start with there are four new prints, but I'm planning to add another six or so over the summer.
Buy the new prints here. Above: Such a Pretty House; originally made by Stanley Donwood and, ahem, "Dr. Tchock", for the cover of the Radiohead single No Surprises, from the album OK Computer.
Update: The Silicon Alley Reporter article from 2000 isn't online anymore, but I found my email interview transcript! I asked a lot of annoying questions, but Donwood was patient and generous. This was just as Kid A was being released; Donwood had collaborated with Radiohead, Shynola, and Chris Bran to make a bunch of super-short little online promo videos for the record, which they called "blips," instead of doing full-song-length MTV-style videos. Begin excerpt:
Stanley Donwood: heloxeni
XJ: Where are you based?
SD: hidden away in the oxfordshire countryside i also work in london and bath
XJ: How did you meet and begin working with Radiohead?
SD: met thom at college. began working with radiohead in er um 1994 i think my first thing was the cover for my iron lung then the bends etc etc
XJ: Can you give us an idea of how you and Thom typically collaborate or exchange ideas with regard to your visual work? And with regard to his songwriting?
SD: we drink a lot and then argue. thom stares with a mystified expression while i attempt to explain my debauched notions eventually we go out to the pub and glare morosely out of the window at the rising floodwaters
XJ: What are some of the sources and inspirations for the iconography in your work?
SD: kid a is a very agoraphobic record. everything is far away. so landscapes. the music makes shapes and colors that i tried to use i like old paintings of battles where the aries look like jewels scattered on mud but close up are performing a ballet of atrocity the paintings were started during that horror in bosnia so my feelings about that found their way in. fire. fields. i had an idea of an empty battlefield when everyone had gone. sort of metaphorical, if thats not too annoying kid a was the constant soundtrack/inspiration though.
red pools -- an idea stolen from a book by alan moore and bill sincowitz [not correct spelling] called brought to light they used swimming pools filled with blood to count those killed directly/indirectly by the CIA since WW2. average body holds a gallon. biggish swimming pool holds 50,000. lots of pools. i used them as swimming pools for pyramid hotels
XJ: I read somewhere that before their scheduled release date, a number of the "blip" videos you guys did for Kid A were "hacked out of a server at EMI." How did you feel about that?
SD: i fucking love it. emi reckoned they had a secure server - theres no such thing. they wanted to do some kind of pokemon style blip collecting thing but it didnt work as far as im concerned once we finished the blips they were free to gentically reproduce wherever they liked
XJ: How would you feel if a Radiohead fan created a new, totally unauthorized short video out of the "blips" you created with Radiohead for Kid A?
SD: id be very happy. there should be no copyright on the net. its our last/latest free place. steal what you like and use it to make great things
XJ: Who is Doktor Tchock?
SD: he is an intastella selecta who lives in the house of the stars has been known to visit planet dearth during artistic emergencies.
I still believe Kid A is one of the greatest records of all time. And it's funny, but my sound-memory of everything on the album is all mashed up with my visual-memory of Donwood's corresponding artwork. I cannot think of either without the other.