Stanley Donwood reveals why Radiohead's art is fit to print

Radiohead's 'sixth member', the artist Stanley Donwood, wants to revive newsprint as an artform. He tells Jon Severs why

Stanley Donwood admits that his short attention span means he constantly does things in new ways. But you might expect that from an artist so closely associated with the world's strangest, big rock band: Radiohead.

Since 1996's The Bends, Donwood has produced all of the band's artwork and, just as Thom Yorke and Co push the boundaries musically, so does Donwood in the methods and materials he uses in his art.

Proof comes in his new show, Work On Paper, which started last week in London. It features screen prints of his Twisted Woods series and giclée (ink-jet) prints of a selection of art produced for Radiohead and Thom Yorke's The Eraser. Even in this snapshot, the variety is striking.

Over the weekend the band's new album, The King of Limbs, was made available for download and, naturally, Donwood has a surprise in store for the packaging of the physical release in May. It will be, according to the band, the "First (probably) newspaper album", which will incorporate "many large sheets of newspaper artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradable plastic to hold it together."

Though it is a "new" development for music, the newspaper format is not a new direction for Donwood – papers are a constant of his career. His fascination with the medium began when he worked as a paper boy and found direction later in producing jokey newspapers for festivals.

From 2006, he found a more focused role for the format, using it to promote and explain his work. For example, for a 2010 San Francisco show he produced a special issue of his newspaper, Over Normal.

"I love the tactile nature of the newsprint," says Donwood. "I love the history of Fleet Street (which featured in The Eraser's art), the revolution that was moving type and how it meant that, for the first time, people were able to educate and inform themselves in an accessible way."

In his commitment to the format, of which the new Radiohead LP is the latest manifestation, Donwood is part of a growing movement of boutique news-printing – small-run, micro-focused newspaper publications. The popularity is such that The Newspaper Club prints news for anything from school papers and wedding souvenirs to corporate clients such as Liberty and Wired. Also printing are artists capitalising on the romance of newsprint, and the author Dave Eggers, who started his own bespoke San Francisco Panorama – a 320-page broadsheet featuring art and writing from the likes of Michael Chabon.

People harking back to newsprint in a digital age does not surprise Donwood. For him, papers are archives in a way websites cannot be. "A newspaper is a snapshot; a physical record of how things are. If you turned the electricity off, digital records would all disappear, but newspapers have the physical reality, the longevity, and that's brilliant."

Work On Paper runs to 12 March at The Outsiders Gallery, London, W1

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits