‘Kid A’ cover artist discusses influence and the creative process
The artist behind Radiohead’s “Kid A” cover discussed his creative process and what influenced his work on the album.
- READ MORE: Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ – Songs from the album ranked in order of magnitude
Stanley Donwood – along with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke – is co-hosting a new London art exhibit based on the group’s upcoming reissues of “Kid A” and “Amnesiac”.
Taking place from October 5 to 19, the exhibition – titled “How to Disappear Completely” – will be held at Christie’s headquarters.
Speaking to Christie’s about his work with Radiohead, Donwood revealed some of the influences that inspired the album covers and the unfolding of the creative process.
“It’s pretty rare that a band is as interested in their visual representation as they are in the music,” Donwood said of the group’s interest in the physical presentation of their album.
He explained that he was asked to move into the studio during the recording of ‘Kid A’ so that his paintings could “respond to the developing mood of the album.”
Donwood is selling six large-scale paintings he created for “Kid A” in the upcoming exhibition, as well as drawings, lyrics and digital art made around this time in the band’s history. The Dystopian Landscape series was produced during the period 1999-2001, and closely related to the final cover and cover art for ‘Kid A‘.
We are delighted to partner with @radiohead @thomyorke present works of @StanleyDonwood who created the cover for #RadioheadUnpublished albums since The Bends in 1996. The paintings will be featured in October in First Open: Post-War and Contemporary Art. pic.twitter.com/MSOaR7lTYh
– Christie’s (@ChristiesInc) September 20, 2021
Asked about the dark nature of some of the paintings, Donwood said it had a lot to do with how he felt at the time.
“I had a lot of things in mind with the ongoing conflict in the former Yugoslavia and the death toll,” he explained. “It was some kind of cataclysmic power existing in the landscape.”
Yorke has previously stated that he and Donwood were “obsessed with triangular mountains” and “had visions of pyramids flying above us.” Donwood developed further.
“We started using the computer to shrink the geology into itself and to exaggerate the mountains and gorges,” Donwood said, “to populate the landscape with stalking creatures like pylons that had come to life, with behemoths. half-finished cartoons and floating red cubes, aerial pools of blood.
Earlier this month, Radiohead and PlayStation announced a new “virtual exhibit” themed on the band’s upcoming reissues.
Details were scarce on the release, but PlayStation described it as “an upside down digital / analog universe created from original artwork and recordings to commemorate 21 years of ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’. by Radiohead Coming in November 2021.
A triple album reissue ‘KID A MNESIA’ will be released on Radiohead via XL Recordings on November 5th.
Two art books by Yorke and Donwood listing visual works created during the ‘Kid A’ / ‘Amnesiac’ era will also be released on November 4.