Legendary US rock band Pixies release their hotly anticipated new album Head Carrier today, and next week artwork for the record by long-time collaborator Vaughan Oliver will go on display for the first time at the 2016 Northern Design Festival in Newcastle.
Born in Sedgefield, County Durham, Oliver studied at Northumbria University (then Newcastle Polytechnic) and is best known for his iconic covers for albums by influential artists such as the Cocteau Twins, Throwing Muses and, of course, the Pixies, with his striking cover for their 1989 album, Doolittle making the Guardian’s list of greatest record sleeves of all time.
He explains, “Working with the Pixies over the last 30 years has always been full of natural inspiration for me as art director and designer. Their lyrics are packed with strange and wonderful imagery and their music delivers all on a visceral salver.
“With their last album I started collaborating with Ian Pollock who was able to bring characters in the songs to terrible life. Charles (Pixies’ creative lead otherwise known as Black Francis/Frank Black) gave me a bag full of lyrics and briefed Ian and myself with plenty of space to interpret. Charles likes the fact that his work goes through my filter and also Ian’s. Ian spewed out his art. I commented, guided and myself and Joshua Price (my current intern form University of Greenwich) collaged the package together. Joshua added some wooden lettering he’d designed and shot so it was all very collaborative.”
Visitors to the Festival will be able to see artwork for the deluxe album set alongside work by nine other internationally renowned designers at the Assembly House on Westgate Road in Newcastle as part of graphics exhibition, Where Do Ideas Come From? Split across ten themes including Pattern, Process, Typography, Pop Culture and Visual Puns, the exhibition features the work of leading graphic designers and image makers presented alongside unique insights into their inspirations and creative process.
As well as Vaughan Oliver, whose work spans music, fashion and film, Where Do Ideas Come From? will include witty double-take images by award-winning international artist, Noma Bar; Prototypes by Chrissie Macdonald – inspired by her interest in kinetic devices and inventions, particularly fictional ones in films from her childhood like Weird Science, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and E.T.; WallpaperSTORE* Packaging Design by A Practice for Everyday Life; Maps by typographer Alan Kitching highlighting places he has lived, worked and visited, offering a very personal journey; and a series for Cass Art pads by Pentagram’s Angus Hyland where each cover is used as a space to ex- plore the medium that is intended to be used on that particular pad. The exhibition is supported by Newcastle creative agency, JUMP.
Where Do Ideas Come From? is one of eight exhibitions at this year’s Northern Design Festival – a showcase of the best in contemporary design by leading northern, national and international designers across graphics, furniture, fashion, illustration, architecture, ceramics, textiles and lighting. Ranging from Turner Prize winners to some of the UK’s hottest emerging makers, it features work by more than 65 designers and architects, plus a programme of special events, tours and talks including the inaugural Design NOW symposium on 7 October.