les membres du groupe et leur univers

Stanley Donwood

Stanley Donwood, de son vrai nom Dan Rickwood, est un artiste,  web-designer, auteur connu en particulier pour sa participation étroite avec le groupe Radiohead. Il a récemment sorti quelques ouvrages présentant son travail personnel.

Il s’est occupé du graphisme de tous les albums de Radiohead depuis 1994, à savoir de leur couverture, du livret (ainsi que du livret caché de KID A) et depuis 1996-7, du design régulièrement renouvelé de l’étonnant site officiel http://www.radiohead.com.

Sur son site personnel, http://www.slowlydownward.com/, Stanley Donwood publie (et vend)  également des dessins et de courtes histoires.

L’enfance de Dan R.

Dan Rickwood est orginaire de l’Essex, une région un peu oubliée au paysage plat et gris… typiquement anglais. A l’origine de sa passion pour l’art, Selon lui, on trouve un mélange de cette ambiance, de son goût de la contradiction (faire de l’art pour ne pas faire comme les autres), et puis quelques « hallucinations » :

Q: Would you be able to tell us a bit about your background? Fine art and graphic? How did the relationship between you and Radiohead develop?

I was born in Essex, a typical English county north of London, and I became a typical representative of that bleak region. Essex is essentially a flat land that slopes almost imperceptibly into the grey waters of the North Sea, and the people of the county can frequently be seen standing on our crumbling sea defences, staring silently out at the mudflats. It is not a place that the Tourist Board mention often in their paens to the variegated beauty of Britain.

When I was quite little I vaguely remember drawing pictures of flat horizons, drawn again and again on layer after layer of tissue paper, and then glued together. These ended up looking like a sort of foggy nothingness. And I drew huge housing estates on lengths of discarded computer printout paper. Later, I managed to bluff my way through art college mainly by staying out of the way of the tutors. I didn’t much care for art, but it was definitely preferable to most of the other options available to a teenager from Essex. I think any graphic sensibility I might have dates from an afternoon when I ate a quantity of liberty cap mushrooms and had a sort of vision.

— Royal Magazine / janvier

Les influences de Stanley Donwood sont alors nombreuses, et subversives (elles le resteront !) :

Influences I can’t remember what or who i liked when i was at college. maybe Hieronymus Bosch and Andy Warhol. now, i can’t remember either. but ill write some names that come into my head. david shrigley, g sus, john constable, banksy, cex, miss kitten, gerald kersh, antonia bird, werner herzog, michael nyman, chuck palahniuk, haruki murakami, andy goldsworthy, richard brautigan, mutoid waste company, iain sinclair, banana yashimoto.
— Idea / juillet 2002

 

Thom & Stanley, la rencontre

Stanley Donwood et Thom Yorke se sont connus quand ils étudiant l’art à l’Université d’Exeter (Stanley y sera de 1988 à 1991). Pour Stanley, Thom était alors :

Mouthy. Pissed off. Someone I could work with.
— Interview with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke / Guardian Unlimited, 18 juin 2006

Thom lui raconte :

I met him first day at art college and he had a better hat and suit on than me. That pissed me off. So I figured I’d either end up really not liking this person at all, or working with him for the rest of my life.

Lien : IAmA Atoms For Peace, Thom Yorke & Nigel Godrich AMA,

IAmA Atoms For Peace, Thom Yorke & Nigel Godrich AMA / 18 February 2013,

Les deux hommes s’entendent bien parce qu’ils partagent les mêmes opinions politiques qu’ils revendiquent dans des actions directes : peinture sur les routes, photos explicites…


There’s plenty at this point to ponder for anyone seeking to draw a connection between Yorke’s increased politicisation and Donwood’s involvement with the group.

« Hippy idealist » and « art dreamer » are two phrases used to describe him by one friend of the band.

For his degree show in 1991, Donwood put together a series of photographic screen prints of policemen at the poll tax riots attacking protesters.

Simon Shackleton, who played alongside Thom in university band Headless Chickens, remembers their association. « They were both very involved in all sorts of forms of direct action. One time, we took over the vice chancellor’s office and stayed there for a few days. We did all sorts of road painting. Painting massive slogans on roads and putting different road markings up. »

— Mojo / Août 2003

 

Après l’obtention de son diplôme, Stanley enchaîne les petites boulots ingrats…

was born in essex, england. thirty-three years before some aeroplanes flew into the world trade center, new york, america. my hometown was a small town where nothing much happened. i didn’t know about anywhere else so i stayed there for nearly twenty years. once i left i did not return. i have had many horrible jobs. the worst one was cleaning huge pots that were used for boiling pork. i do not eat meat which made this task more repellant than it could have been. the best job i had was window-cleaning. we had a van and didn’t work very hard. i liked seeing inside other people’s houses. i worked on many farms. bailing hay was pleasant but hard work. i was lucky enough to get into college but i didn’t work as hard as i should have. i didn’t realise that until i left and it was too late. i have always wanted to write and draw so thats what i did at college. i made books. after college i did more terrible jobs. in my spare time i made posters to put up around the city and sneaked about at night with a pot of paint and a brush.

i painted pictures on derelict buildings. when i had children i moved away because there was a lot of heroin around. in the city where i still live i became an unpaid artist in residence at a cyber cafe. the cafe closed so i took over the building became a designer. but i lost money and had to find other work.
— Idea / juillet 2002

 

Et justement, vers fin 1991, alors qu’il a monté un spectacle de cracheur de feu avec un ami, Stanley va recroiser Thom ainsi que les futurs membres de Radiohead, qui s’appellent encore « On A Friday » et  vivent tous ensemble dans une petite maison louée à Oxford. Il a même été un moment envisagé que Stanley ouvre un concert à la Jericho Tavern pour le groupe, mais pour des questions de sécurité, ça a été annulé :

 I first met Radiohead when they weren’t called Radiohead and they were sharing a small house in Oxford. I was hitch-hiking around England with a mate called Jim, and we were busking a fire-breathing show. We had a plan to support the band at a pub they were playing in, the Jericho Tavern, but the landlord prevented us. He was worried about the fire risk, which was a pretty reasonable concern. Firebreathing is a terrible way to make a living really; you risk getting pleurisy, setting fire to your clothes, and your breath smells like an oil refinery. I’m glad I gave that up.
— Royal Magazine/ janvier 2007
Stanley collabore avec Radiohead

Stanley s’est parfois montré ironique : s’il a commencé à collaborer avec Radiohead, c’est parce que son nom a été tiré dans un chapeau…

er yeah. radiohead phoned loads of ’artists’ who were on the dole and i got my name picked out of the famous ’sorting hat’. since then ive blackmailed them into letting me do more and more stuff. i mean otherwise i would have gone to the press with tons of made-up scandal.
— source inconnue

En réalité, il n’en est rien. Evidemment, Thom a eu envie de travailler avec un artiste qu’il connaissait bien et dont il partageait totalement les opinions politiques. Première forte collaboration : la pochette pour My Iron Lung en 1994. Stanley a alors 24 ans, il est fauché… mais ça va sonner pour lui la fin des petits boulots !

by a stroke of luck a friend from college phoned me and asked if id like to work on a cover for a record his band were releasing. the record was ’my iron lung’ and the band were called radiohead. fortunately radiohead became successful and i was able to continue working with them. (…) this is much better than cleaning pots used to boil pork.
— Idea / juillet 2002

Pour Stanley, ça ne sera pas facile… heureusement, la technologie va le sauver !

Anyway, some time later (years? I don’t remember) Thom phoned up and asked if I wanted to try making a record cover for a single, which was called My Iron Lung. It took months to do it, because I didn’t really know what I was doing, at least as far as the technology went. Since then I’ve got quite a lot better. At least, I like to think so.
— Royal Magazine / janvier 2007

Radiohead_-_My_Iron_Lung

ensuite, Thom va lui demander de créer la pochette de The Bends :


Thom called me and said ‘Do you want to have a go at doing the record sleeve?’
I was so poor I’d have done anything, after a series of disastrous low paid jobs, » Donwood remembers. « I got a CPR mannequin and filmed it on an old-fashioned video camera with a video cassette in it. It all went a bit mad after the success of the album but I’d had a baby daughter so that eclipsed it a bit. I was 24 at the time and the first person I knew to have a child.”
source:  http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/stanley-donwood-on-the-stories-behind-his-radiohead-album-covers#kRj4K8LXsWVvf0z8.99
— NME / 27 septembre 2013

Depuis, radiohead a fait appel à Stanley pour toutes les pochettes du groupe !

fortunately radiohead became successful and i was able to continue working with them. because of that i sometimes get work from other people.
— Idea / juillet 2002

 

Quoiqu’il en soit, Stanley a toujours essayé de faire coïncider ce qu’il ressentait en écoutant la musique avec son travail graphique :

there are lots more but in sitting here just thinking and nothing much is coming out. Radiohead my attitude when i work with radiohead is to try to hear the pictures in the music. that sounds stupid but its the only way i can explain it. the best thing i can think of is how i felt when kid a was finished. it was as is i hadn’t done anything at all. my hands were guided by the music. maybe i didn’t think at all. it sounds so crazy but i hope you understand. listen to music and close your eyes while you have a pen in your hand and a piece of paper on the table. let your hand be moved by the music. when the song is finished open your eyes and see what you have done. i like to think that the pictures i draw for each record are a reasonable interpretation of the music i hear. thom and me work next to each other telling each other what we like and don’t like. when we finally agree on a picture thats pretty much how it ends up. we make a lot more pictures than we need then choose the best ones.
— Idea / juillet 2002

 

L’artiste explique qu’il s’inspire évidemment des émotions qu’il ressent à l’écoute de la musique, mais aussi des endroits…

Over the years that have passed I’ve worked rather closely with the band; and I’ve seen the recording process and how it works in different locations. Place seems to have a profound effect on how songs are filtered. Recently we’ve been working in a derelict stately home in Wiltshire; I’ll be listening closely to see if that place has any perceptible effect on the recording.

I listen to a record a lot whilst it’s being made and I’m making the artwork that will accompany it. It’s hard to make art in silence. Well, it is for me, anyway, and the music has a pronounced influence on how the images end up, the sort of energy used to create them, composition and so on. My hope when making artwork for a record is to create something that weirdly enhances the music, something that affects the way you hear it. I stress the word ‘hope’ in this case.

— Royal Magazine / janvier 2007

 

Le succès deviendra plus que notable avec la pochette d’Ok Computer, pour laquelle il teste une nouvelle technique :


At the time of ‘OK Computer’ Yorke spoke about how important the artwork is to the music. « If I’m shown some kind of visual representation of the music, only then do I feel confident. Up until that point, I’m a bit of a whirlwind”. Aiming for a colour scheme of “bleached bone”, the artist tried out a new technique. “We did ‘OK Computer’ on a computer with a tablet and a light pen. We had this rule when we couldn’t erase anything. It was great,” he says. “I’m trying to write another book and I’m going to do that on a type writer because then I can’t delete it.”
— NME / 27 septembre 2013

Il y a notamment une collaboration étroite avec Thom.

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

— Silicon Alley Reporter / 2000

okcomputercoverblank

Il y a notamment à cette époque une collaboration étroite avec Thom.

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
— Silicon Alley Reporter / 2000

 

Un Thom qui aime bien se cacher derrière des pseudos, notamment Dr. Tchock,The White Chocolate Farm, Tchocky :

Q: Dr. Tchock? Tell us a bit about this fellow…ha. If I’m correct, that is Thom Yorke’s alias. Tell us a bit about collaborating with him in a fine art setting. He is a musical genius. How does that correlate into your collaborations?

Thom Yorke’s alias? Yes, I’ve heard that too. Stanley Donwood is one of his other names, according to some people, so perhaps you’re interviewing him. The best way that I can put it is that Dr Tchock isn’t Dr Tchock and Stanley Donwood isn’t Stanley Donwood. The reasons why we have adopted these pseudonyms has nothing to do with being on the wrong side of the law, being on the run, or attempting to avoid paying tax.

Working with the Doktor is okay. What happens is, I do some artwork and then he fucks it up. But then I fuck up what he’s done. Then he fucks up what I’ve just done even worse. So I try to completely fuck up what he’s done. In the end we sort of agree to disagree. Over the last year or so I’ve realised that I am a perfectionist whose natural inclination is to make things neat. I detest this tendency within myself. I have also noticed that Dr Tchock has tendency to smash things up, throw them around the room and then regret his rashness. I think that together we ameliorate the worst in each ot

— Royal Magazine / janvier 2007

 

En 2000, pour Kid A, Donwood produit une série d’illustrations avec des paysages de montagnes et des ours mutants.

I got these huge canvases for what became ‘Kid A’ and I went mental using knives and sticks to paint with and having those photographed and then doing things to the photographs in Photoshop. The overarching idea of the mountains was that they were these landscapes of power, the idea of tower blocks and pyramids. It was about some sort of cataclysmic power existing in landscape. I was really chuffed with it.
source:  http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/stanley-donwood-on-the-stories-behind-his-radiohead-album-covers#yE6UiA5bkIOFRlIH.99
— NME / 27 septembre 2013

Pour Amnesiac, il imagine un autre thème récurrant comme avatar : un minotaure qui pleure. Donwood cite Caspar David Friedrich et Hieronymus Bosch, ainsi que le temps passé dans les musées de la guerre et les montagnes pour expliquer son style quelque peu post-apocalyptic…

En 2002, Donwood et Yorke gagne le  Grammy Award du f »Best Recording Package » pour l’édition spéciale d’Amnesiac.

Régulièrement, des textes de Stanley Donwood figurent dans les pochettes du groupe, ou sur le site radiohead.com

 

9 peintures acryliques, inspirées des cartes de Paula Scher sont à la base du design d’ Hail to the Thief, formant des cartes colorées de ville en guerre, comme Kaboul ou Grozny, agrémentées de slogans politiques

For ‘Hail’, Donwood was inspired by sitting as a passenger in cars – he can’t drive – and observing the words and colours of signs and writing them down. “They have these signs on people’s front lawns which say ‘Armed Response’ which is like way further than keep off the grass isn’t it? It’s like, what? If I go on your lawn you’ll call the…? Oh my god!” Donwood started to see the same bright colours over and over again. “There were using this incredibly limited palette of black, white and five colours and they looked great. I wrote all the words down then cut them up and put them together in rough maps. The artwork were maps of cities that had some relationship with the war against terror. Manhattan, LA, London, Grozny, Kabul.source:  http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/stanley-donwood-on-the-stories-behind-his-radiohead-album-covers#yE6UiA5bkIOFRlIH.99
— NME / 27 septembre 2013

En 2006, Donwood s’est mis à créer des sérigraphes mises en vente. Dans une interview pour antiMusic.com, il explique qu’il y voit un effort pour se reconnecter au processus d’impression et de partage de son art à grande échelle, et dans une meilleure qualité que des petites pochettes : « It’s a way of getting pictures out in the way they should be seen; not as 4-colour litho on cheap paper, but as real pieces of artwork that have a much greater visual impact. »

In 2006,  L’exposition « London Views », à la Lazarides Gallery de Soho, présente une série de 14 linographies avec des paysages londoniens détruits par le feu ou par engloutis par les flots. Ces images se retrouveront dans les artworks du premier album solo de Thom, The Eraser.

En novembre 2006, Stanley Donwood expose les oeuvres originales produites par Thom et lui-même à l’  Iguapop Gallery de Barcelone, notamment les oeuvres de l’époque Kid A, Amnesiac et Hail to the Thief. Un livre d’expo, le »Dead Children Playing  » est imprimé à l’occasion. »

Un des premiers ouvrages d’artwork de Stanley, intitulé comme son site ’Slowly Donward’ est disponible à la vente sur http://www.waste.uk.com/Store/Displ… .

 

 

Ses pseudos Stanley Donwood
Why did you choose the alias Stanley Donwood?

I have collected a number of aliases and pseudonyms during my time here. Stanley Donwood is the one I’ve used for making artwork and writing a certain type of story. I have another for gutter journalism, one for historical research and ghost hunting, one for pulp fiction, and several others that are interchangeable depending on the circumstances. One of my favorites at the moment is an antiquarian and guerrilla archaeologist called Sterling Bland.

Flavorwire / 1 septembre 2010,

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. The thief
    2 octobre 2015 at 14 h 23 min —

    Stanley est en plein trip lacéré anonyme :

    https://instagram.com/p/8TL6tcMNgh/?taken-by=stanleydonwood

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