Friday, 16 October 2009

Stanley Donwood (OUGD101)





Stanley Donwood (Pseudonym for Dan Rickwood) is a professional fine artist and album artist for the band Radiohead and has been working with them since 1996. It was his work for the album 'Hail To The Thief' which initially captured my attention and pushed me to pursue his work further. He painted 8 paintings to accompany the album which I like a lot myself. Here they are:

'Pacific Coast'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/DCPimage.html

The above image was actually the album cover to 'Hail To The Thief'.

'Hollywood'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/DCPimage.html

'Santa Monica'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/DCPimage.html

'Manhattan'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/DCPimage.html

'London'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/DCPimage.html

'Grozny'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/DCPimage.html

'Baghdad'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/DCPimage.html

'Kabul'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/DCPimage.html

The 8 images Donwood produced are all overhead, map-style views of cites that were relevant to the current events at the time. For example, 'Baghdad' relates to the Gulf War and 'Grozny' is used in relation to the Second Chechen War which ended a couple of years before.

The words on all the paintings are individual lyrics from the album. As some of the lyrics are about the current affairs of the time relating to the cities mentioned, this makes it relevant.

The album was recorded in Los Angeles and this is relevant to the colours used as Donwood said that when he was out there the only colours he ever saw on shop fronts were, Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Orange, Black and White.

In my opinion all of the factors mentioned above fit nicely together to form a good concept for the images and the fact that these fine art based designs were all done as album artwork shows that the boundaries of Graphic Design are very broad. The images communicate the content of the album through the text and they also produce a unique memorable album design which is important for an album cover in order for people to notice and remember it.

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Lastly, I'm very fond of this piece of work by Donwood which was done to accompany Thom York's (the lead singer of Radiohead) solo album, 'The Eraser'. Here is the image:

'London Views'

This image can be found at: http://www.slowlydownward.com/londonviews.html

The image is meant to work in one long line but it's too big to put on the blog like that! The album cover is the first section of the piece of work. Here it is:

'Thom Yorke -The Eraser'

This image can be found at: http://thelongplay.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/600px-thom_yorke_-_the_eraser.jpg

As I mentioned when typing about The Beatles' Revolver, I am very fond of black and white linear graphics which is why I like this design so much. It is also a lot more hard-edged than Donwood's other work such as the above paintings from Hail To The Thief. This is why I think it works well. The contrast of black and white is usually powerful in an image and if works well to communicate that here.

Cheers.

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P.S. - I thought I would just make a note that I am conscious of the fact that a fair bit of my Design Context blog is relating to my own musical interests and designs that relate to this. This is just influences me a lot.

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