Stanley Donwood

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Stanley Donwood
Stanley Donwood The Universal Sigh 2011.jpg
Stanley Donwood in 2011
Dan Rickwood

(1968-10-29) 29 October 1968 (age 54)
Essex, England
EducationUniversity of Exeter
Known for
  • Painting
  • Graphic design
  • Drawing

Dan Rickwood (born 29 October 1968), known professionally as Stanley Donwood, is an English artist and writer. Since 1994, he has created all the artwork for the rock band Radiohead with their singer Thom Yorke, plus Yorke's other projects. He has published three collections of short stories.


Rickwood uses the pen name Stanley Donwood; he said: "I like to separate the person I am at home washing up, vacuuming, picking up the kids from school and so on from whoever Stanley Donwood is."[1]


Donwood and the Radiohead singer Thom Yorke met as art students at the University of Exeter.[2] Donwood said his first impressions of Yorke were that he was "Mouthy. Pissed off. Someone I could work with."[3] 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."[4]

Yorke asked Donwood to produce the cover art for Radiohead's 1994 EP My Iron Lung. Donwood was not a fan of rock music, and said he took the work because he knew Yorke; he said in 2015: "[Radiohead] wasn't my cup of tea at all. Now they have seen sense and are a lot more electro. I like their stuff now."[5] With Yorke, Donwood has since provided artwork for all of Radiohead's releases and promotional material.[6]

Donwood works as Radiohead record, allowing the music to influence the artwork.[7] In 2002, Donwood and Yorke won a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for the special edition for the album Amnesiac.[8] Donwood contributed to Kid A Mnesia Exhibition, a 2021 interactive experience with music and artwork from Kid A and Amnesiac.[9] He also creates artwork for Yorke's solo records and Yorke's bands Atoms For Peace[6] and the Smile.[10]


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.[11] The prints were exhibited at the Lazarides Gallery in London. The prints were used as the cover and insert art for Yorke's first solo album, The Eraser (2006).[citation needed]

In November 2006, Donwood exhibited the original paintings and other artwork done by him and Yorke for Radiohead albums, at Iguapop Gallery in Barcelona.[12] 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.[citation needed] In May 2015, Donwood opened an exhibition of Radiohead artwork, The Panic Office, in Sydney, Australia. Yorke composed an original soundtrack for the exhibition.[13] In 2021, Donwood designed a Radiohead-themed Brompton bicycle to be auctioned for the charity Crew Nation.[14]

In October 2021, Donwood and Yorke curated an exhibition of Radiohead artwork at Christie's headquarters in London. Donwood auctioned paintings and other artwork he created for Radiohead's 2000 album Kid A.[15]


Donwood has published three collections of short stories: Slowly Downward: A Collection of Miserable Stories (2001),[16] Household Worms (2011)[17] and Bad Island (2020).[18] Donwood also contributed stories to The Universal Sigh, a free single-issue newspaper created to promote Radiohead's 2011 album The King of Limbs.[19] In 2019, he published a memoir about his work, There Will Be No Quiet.[20]

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 333 copies of each.[21] 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 that Six Inch Records had closed.[22]

Other work[edit]

In 2006, Donwood began creating and selling large screenprints. In an interview with AllMusic, 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."[23]

Donwood has created book covers for the nature writer Robert Macfarlane.[24] In 2021, he collaborated with Macfarlane on an edition of Thomas Hardy's poems published by the Folio Society. Donwood provided the illustrations for the poems selected and introduced by Macfarlane. Donwood's illustrations were exhibited at the Jealous Gallery in London in 2021 and the Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle in Durlston Country Park in 2021.[25][26]


  • (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
  • (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
  • (2021) Fear Stalks the Land! — with Thom Yorke (ISBN 978-1-83885-736-3)
  • (2021) Kid A Mnesia Art Catalogue — with Thom Yorke (ISBN 978-1-83885-737-0)


  1. ^ Hasty, Katie (15 June 2006), "Donwood Dresses Up Thom Yorke Solo Album", Billboard, Nielsen Business Media, Inc, retrieved 11 April 2012
  2. ^ Jardin, Xeni (16 August 2005), "Radiohead artist" Stanley Donwood's prints online, Boing Boing, retrieved 7 March 2009
  3. ^ McLean, Craig (18 June 2006). "Interview with Radiohead's Thom Yorke". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "How the artwork of Radiohead's The Bends was created". Far Out Magazine. 21 March 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Edmonds, Lizzie (25 March 2015). "Stanley Donwood: 'I didn't like Radiohead but they're OK with computers'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ a b "Stanley Donwood". Eyestorm. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2007.
  7. ^ "Inside the artwork: Radiohead art collaborator Stanley Donwood talks 'In Rainbows' and LP9". DIY. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  8. ^ "2001 Grammy Award Winners". Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  9. ^ Yorke, Thom; Donwood, Stanley (18 November 2021). "Radiohead explain the story behind the creation of its Kid A Mnesia Exhibition, out today on PS5". PlayStation.Blog. Retrieved 19 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Kreps, Daniel (20 April 2022). "Radiohead side project the Smile set release date for debut LP A Light for Attracting Attention". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  11. ^ "London Views". Archived from the original on 24 June 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  12. ^ Radiohead's 'sixth man' reveals the secrets behind their covers, Guardian Unlimited, 22 November 2006, retrieved 6 March 2009
  13. ^ "Thom Yorke produces new music for Australian exhibition of Radiohead artwork | Music News | triple j". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  14. ^ Abram, Stefan (28 April 2021). "Custom Bromptons designed by Foo Fighters, Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem and Phoebe Bridgers in charity auction". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Radiohead's Thom Yorke is co-curating a Kid A artwork exhibition". NME. 22 September 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Stanley Donwood - Slowly Downward: A Collection of Miserable Stories". Rough Trade. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Stanley Donwood - Household Worms - Paperback". Rough Trade. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  18. ^ "Stanley Donwood interview: 'I don't know why people think I'm a paranoid recluse'". Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  19. ^ "Read the Radiohead Newspaper". Pitchfork. 28 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  20. ^ Dazed (9 October 2019). "Inside the world of Stanley Donwood, the artist behind Radiohead's universe". Dazed. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  21. ^ Hemingway, David (March 2009). "Talking Head". Record Collector (360): 13.
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ Stanley Donwood: Radiohead's Artist Interview, retrieved 7 March 2009
  24. ^ "The art of Radiohead: sleeve designer Stanley Donwood on the 'rude topiary' concept too crazy for Thom Yorke". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 October 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ "The Folio Society - Collected Poems by Thomas Hardy". Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  26. ^ "Art Exhibition: "The Uncanny Scenery of a Dream"". Wessex Museums. Retrieved 30 May 2022.

External links[edit]