Radiohead: ‘Kid A’ cover artist discusses influence and creative process

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“It was about some kind of cataclysmic force present in the landscape”

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The artist behind Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ cover art discusses his creative process and what influenced his work on the album.

  • Read more: Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ – album tracks ranked in order of greatness
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Stanley Donwood – along with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke – is co-curating a new artwork exhibition in London based on the band’s upcoming revues of ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’.

The exhibition – ‘How to Completely Disappear’ – from October 5 to 19 – will be held at Christie’s headquarters.


talking to Christie’s Regarding his work with Radiohead, Donwood reveals some of the influences that inspired the album’s cover and how the creative process unfolded.

Donwood said of the band’s interest in the physical presentation of their album, “It is quite rare for a band to be interested in their visual representation in musical form.”

He explained that he was invited to visit the studio during the recording of ‘Kid A’ so that his paintings could “respond to the developing mood of the album”.

Dawnwood is selling six large-scale paintings created for ‘Kid A’ at an upcoming exhibition, which includes drawings, songs and digital art created around this era in the band’s history. The series of dystopian scenarios was created in the period 1999–2001, and was closely related to the final cover and sleeve art for ‘Kid A’.‘.

When asked about the dark nature of some of the paintings, Donwood said it had a lot to do with how he was feeling at the time.


“I had a lot of things to do with the ongoing conflict and death toll in the former Yugoslavia on my mind,” he explained. “It was about some kind of cataclysmic force present in the landscape.”

York has previously stated that he and Donwood were “obsessed with the triangular mountains” and “we had visions of pyramids flying above”. Donwood elaborated further.

“We started using computers to reconcile the geology itself and raise mountains and valleys,” Donwood said, with half-timbered cartoon behemoths and floating red cubes, with pylon-like creatures coming to life. To populate the landscape, aerial swimming pools of blood. “

Earlier this month, Radiohead and PlayStation announced a new ‘virtual exhibition’ centered around the band’s upcoming reissues.

Details about the release were scant, but PlayStation described it as “an upside-down digital/analog universe created from original artwork and recordings to commemorate 21 years of Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac'”. Coming in November 2021.”

A triple album ‘Kid a Mnesia’ will be re-released by Radiohead through XL Recordings on November 5.

Two art books by York and Donwood listing visual works created during the ‘Kid a’/’Amnesiac’ era will also be published on 4 November.

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