Contemporary Art

Stanley Donwood /   Dan Rickwood

United Kingdom 1968

Stanley Donwood
Dan Rickwood
United Kingdom
November 27, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Stanley Donwood is the pen name of English artist and writer Dan Rickwood. Donwood is known for his close association with the British band Radiohead, having created all of their album and poster art since 1994.

After graduating from the University of Exeter, Donwood worked as a freelance artist in Plymouth, England. In an interview he said the word ‘artist’ was “just the most convenient way to describe myself on application forms for unemployment benefit.”

he met a  Radiohead front man Thom Yorke on univesity, and 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. His work on Radiohead’s albums and all associated artwork has gained him worldwide recognition. His evocative and haunting imagery has helped to create one of music’s most distinctive brands.

In 2006, Donwood began creating and selling large screen-prints. 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.”

Same year, Stanley Donwood, along with Richard Lawrence launched an independent record company, named Six Inch Records. On 18 February 2009, Donwood announced on the Six Inch Record blog that the shop was to be closed, as there were no more records to sell.

Donwood likes to explore and question, society, sexuality, war, conformity and politics in his art. His work combines deep personal and political emotions with modesty and humor. He is obsessed with a nuclear apocalypse, Ebola pandemics and global cataclysm. Growing up in England in the 80s, a time when advertising was being considered seriously as anything resembling an art form, he was very influenced by it whilst simultaneously resenting and hating commercialization.

He has written and published a number of books. His first was called ‘Slowly Downwood’ and was a collection of stories which he claims “were all part of a self-administered therapy, as I had gone a little mad.” His collection of short stories, ‘Household Worms’, he described as “an idea stocking filler for the slightly deranged” and reportedly it proved very popular with people who drink in pubs. He has said that he finds writing and making art mutually exclusive, claiming, “it is possible – even likely – that I will never write again. Unless I stop making art.”

Donwood prefers creating things manually and enjoys the process of print making, “I don’t really enjoy making artwork on a computer because it doesn’t seem like I’ve done anything.”  He has exhibited to an international fan base in galleries across the world, including London, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Rotterdam. He exhibited an 18 foot long linocut of Los Angeles being destroyed by fire and flood and meteor storm at Shepard Fairey’s gallery in Los Angeles.

Stanley Donwood  lives and works in Bath, England.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Pastiche, parody and piracyThe Cob Gallery, LondonGroup
2014London Art FairTAG Fine Arts, Islington, LondonGroup
2013Stanley Donwood - Apocalypse Boutique Hang-Up Gallery, LondonSolo
2013Ink_D Group Show On Nowink_d gallery, BrightonGroup
2013Atoms For PeaceINSA, Camden Town, LondonGroup
2012Stanley Donwood - Occupational Hazardink_d gallery, BrightonSolo
2012Voor eeuwig de jouweSCHUNCK* , HeerlenGroup
2012Voor eeuwig de jouweStadsgalerij Heerlen, HeerlenGroup
2012Stanley Donwood: Lost AngelesSubliminal Projects, Los Angeles, CASolo
2011The MinotaurLazarides Gallery, LondonGroup
2011European Bailout showPost No Bills Gallery, Venice, CAGroup
2011The Art of MappingTAG Fine Arts, Dover Street, LondonGroup
2010Stanley Donwood. Red MazeSCHUNCK* , HeerlenSolo
2009Stanley Donwood -Printed Papersink_d gallery, BrightonSolo
2009Summer Group ExhibitionJoshua Liner Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009August Group ExhibitionJoshua Liner Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009EL CHUPACABRAWeapon of Choice Gallery, Bristol, UK Solo
2008Stanley DonwoodBTAP (Beijing Tokyo Art Projects) - Tokyo, TokyoSolo
2008I LOVE THE MODERN WORLDTokyo Gallery + BTAP, TokyoGroup
2007Department of Reclusive ParanoiaVIPs Gallery, RotterdamGroup
2007If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By NowLazarides Gallery, LondonGroup
2006London ViewsLazarides Gallery, LondonGroup
2006Dead Children PlayingIguapop Gallery, BarcelonaGroup
2001The Communications DepartmentWilkinson Gallery, LondonGroup
1998No DataWatershed Media Centre, BristolGroup
1997No DataF Stop Gallery, BathGroup