Best Art Vinyl Award 2013: the winners

The cover design for White Lies’ album Big TV has been named the winner of 2013’s Best Art Vinyl Award.

The cover design for White Lies’ album Big TV has been named the winner of 2013’s Best Art Vinyl Award.

Art Vinyl pubished a shortlist of 50 album covers in November and winners were decided by a public vote. Paul Jackson’s artwork for Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s Repent Replenish Repeat came second, followed by Leif Podhajsky’s design for Bonobo album The North Borders.

Big TV features an oil painting by artist Michael Kagan, one of a series he created in 2010 depicting astronauts. Kagan met with the band early last year and says he could tell immediately “how connected they felt to the painting and how important it was for them to use it…there is a nice cohesiveness between all of the images used and the songs and feel of the album,” he adds.

Art Vinyl award founder Andrew Heeps says the public’s choice was a clear indication of vinyl’s popularity as an affordable art form – apparently, more than a quarter of all vinyl records are sold as wall art.

“In an era with a heavy focus on the digital music format, it is interesting to see that the public prefers such a traditional artistic technique as oil on canvas to associate with music,” he adds.

The cover for Big TV, art directed by Gerard Saint and Markus Karlsson, was the only one of the top three to feature an existing image: both Podhajsky and Jackson’s designs were created in collaboration with the musicians whose work they represent.

Jackson’s cover is a visual representation of the act of rapping and the album’s title. Dan le Sac and Scroobius Pip are represented by their favourite animals – a panda and a lion.

“I came up with the idea of them vomiting a whole world of stuff – essentially representing what Scroobius Pip does – vomiting words and ideas into a microphone. The idea seemed visually arresting and interesting enough to turn heads – which to me is what a good album cover does,” says Jackson.

Podhajsky’s cover for The North Borders started out as a traditional ‘clean photo’ like Bonobo’s previous album, Black Sands, he says. “[But] I snuck some more abstract ideas in which I thought could really fit the mood of the album, which Simon [Green, Bonobo] responded to,” he adds.

Podhajsky also worked on the vinyl artwork for single releases from the album including Cirrus, which came with a zoetrope picture disc (a device creating the illusion of movement) and the artwork for Mount Kimbie album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, (below) also shortlisted for the Best Art Vinyl Award:

The shortlist received a mixed response when it was announced in November but each of the winning designs, while disparate, feature imagery that’s both striking and memorable. It’s also the second time a space-themed cover has won the Best Art Vinyl Award – Richard Robinson’s design for Klaxons album Surfing the Void (below), featuring photography by Mads Perch, was the public’s favourite in 2010.

See this year’s full shortlist at

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