Stanley Donwood

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Stanley Donwood
Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood The Universal Sigh 2011.jpg
Stanley Donwood (left) with Thom Yorke in 2011
Dan Rickwood[1]

(1968-10-29) 29 October 1968 (age 52)
Essex, England
EducationUniversity of Exeter
Known for
  • Painting
  • Graphic design
  • Drawing

Stanley Donwood (born 29 October 1968) is the pen name of English artist and writer Dan Rickwood. Since 1994, he has created all the artwork for the rock band Radiohead, with singer Thom Yorke. He also creates artwork for Yorke's solo albums and Yorke's band Atoms for Peace, and book covers for nature writer Robert Macfarlane.[2]


Stanley Donwood and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke met as art students at the University of Exeter.[3] Donwood said his first impressions of Yorke were that he was "Mouthy. Pissed off. Someone I could work with."[4] Yorke wrote: "I met him first day at art college ... I figured I'd either end up really not liking this person at all, or working with him for the rest of my life."[5]

Yorke asked Donwood to produce the cover art for Radiohead's 1994 single My Iron Lung, beginning a working relationship that has continued for all Radiohead's art and promotional material, as well as Yorke's solo albums and work with Atoms For Peace. Yorke is credited alongside Donwood under the monikers "The White Chocolate Farm", "Dr. Tchock", "Tchocky" or similar abbreviations.

For Radiohead's 2000 album Kid A, Donwood produced a series of mountainous landscapes and a series of images centred on mutant bears. Its follow-up, Amnesiac, used a crying minotaur as its avatar. Donwood cites Caspar David Friedrich and Hieronymus Bosch,[3] as well as time spent in war museums and mountain landscapes as influences in its bleak, post-apocalyptic style.

In 2002, Donwood and Yorke won a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for the Special Edition for the album Amnesiac. Donwood's writings have also been used in his Radiohead album artwork, and frequently on Radiohead's official website.

Nine acrylic on canvas paintings, inspired by Paula Scher's map paintings, provided the basis for 2003's Hail to the Thief's look, creating maps of war torn cities like Kabul and Grozny out of brightly coloured blocks with politically charged words or phrases.

In 2006, Donwood began creating and selling large screenprints. In an interview with, he explained it as an effort to reconnect with the process of print making and as a means to share his art in a larger format than the small, low quality prints in album cover and insert art, "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."[6]

In 2006, Donwood's exhibition, "London Views", consisted of a series of fourteen lino prints of various London landmarks being destroyed by fire and flood.[7] The prints were exhibited at the Lazarides Gallery in London that represents the artist. The prints were also used as the cover and insert art for Thom Yorke's solo album, The Eraser.

In November 2006, Donwood exhibited the original paintings and other artwork done by him and Yorke for Radiohead albums, at Iguapop Gallery in Barcelona.[8] The exhibit focused on Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief as well as a companion art book called Dead Children Playing which was produced, credited to Donwood and Tchock.

In May 2015, Donwood opened an exhibition of Radiohead artwork, The Panic Office, in Sydney, Australia. Yorke composed an original soundtrack for the exhibition.[9]

Six Inch records[edit]

In late 2006, Stanley Donwood, along with Richard Lawrence, launched an independent record company, Six Inch Records. The label released three albums, with three hundred and thirty three copies of each release.[10] The CDs were packaged by hand into sleeves that were six inches square. All mechanised operations – printing, cutting and scoring were carried out using a 1965 Heidelberg platen press. On 18 February 2009, Donwood announced on the Six Inch Records blog that the online shop was to be closed, as there were no more records to sell. He wrote: "Six Inch Records is no longer a going concern, and there will be no more musicians signed, records made, events held."[11]


  • (1998) Small Thoughts – printed on eleven circular cards, housed in a tin
  • (2001) Slowly Downward: A Collection of Miserable Stories (ISBN 978-0954417734)
  • (2002) Catacombs of Terror! (ISBN 9781507204900)
  • (2003) Tachistoscope
  • (2005) My Giro – unpublished eight chapter story
  • (2007) Dead Children Playing – with Thom Yorke (ISBN 978-1844671700)
  • (2011) Household Worms (ISBN 978-1906477554)
  • (2012) Holloway – with Robert Macfarlane and Dan Richards
  • (2014) Humor (ISBN 978-0571312436)
  • (2019) Stanley Donwood: There Will Be No Quiet (ISBN 978-0500-02298-6)
  • (2020) Bad Island


  1. ^ Hasty, Katie (15 June 2006), Donwood Dresses Up Thom Yorke Solo Album, Nielsen Business Media, Inc, retrieved 11 April 2012
  2. ^ "The art of Radiohead: sleeve designer Stanley Donwood on the 'rude topiary' concept too crazy for Thom Yorke". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b Jardin, Xeni (16 August 2005), "Radiohead artist" Stanley Donwood's prints online, Boing Boing, retrieved 7 March 2009
  4. ^ Interview with Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Guardian Unlimited, 18 June 2006, retrieved 23 October 2009
  5. ^ IAmA Atoms For Peace, Thom Yorke & Nigel Godrich AMA, Reddit, 18 February 2013, retrieved 3 January 2014
  6. ^ Stanley Donwood: Radiohead's Artist Interview, retrieved 7 March 2009
  7. ^ "London Views". Archived from the original on 24 June 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  8. ^ Radiohead's 'sixth man' reveals the secrets behind their covers, Guardian Unlimited, 22 November 2006, retrieved 6 March 2009
  9. ^ "Thom Yorke produces new music for Australian exhibition of Radiohead artwork | Music News | triple j". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  10. ^ Hemingway, David (March 2009). "Talking Head". Record Collector (360): 13.
  11. ^ Donwood, Stanley (18 February 2009), Six Inch Records Web Log – 18.02.09, archived from the original on 23 March 2009, retrieved 8 March 2009

External links[edit]