Guess the designer: Secret 7 lets you own a piece of exclusive album art

Can you tell your David Shrigley from your Si Scott, or your Marion Deuchars from your Laura Dockrill? Secret 7″ is back this year with another massive guessing game, pairing tracks from seven mainstream music artists with a slew of illustrators, artists and designers to raise money for Art Against Knives.

Can you tell your Ai Weiwei from your Gilbert & George, your David Shrigley from your Si Scott, or your Marion Deuchars from your Laura Dockrill? Whether you can or can’t, if you want to own some original artwork from one of the above, head to Secret 7″.

The charity initiative is back this year with another massive guessing game, pairing tracks from seven mainstream music artists with a slew of illustrators, artists and designers to raise money for Art Against Knives.

Secret 7″ picked seven tracks (Elton John’s Bennie & The Jets, HAIM’s Better Off, Jessie Ware’s Still Love Me, Laura Marling’s The Beast, Nas’ The Don, Nick Drake’s – Rider On The Wheel and Public Enemy’s Harder Than You Think), printing each one 100 times to vinyl (courtesy of the Vinyl Factory). It then invited artists and designers to interpret them through artwork in their own style, drawing or printing directly onto blank record sleeves.

All of the work will be exhibited at Downstairs At Mother on April 13 & 14. The following weekend, coinciding with Record Store Day on April 20, members of the public will be able to buy their favourite one-off sleeves. Only at the till will the track, and artist who interpreted it, be revealed to the buyer through an inserted certificate.

This year, around 500 artists in total have contributed, with some designing more than one or a series of sleeves. Around 280 of those were chosen through an open submissions system, coordinated with In addition to those mentioned above, the likes of comics artist Simon Bisley, artist and designer Toby Mott, Welsh artist Pete Fowler, illustrator Will Broome and rock photographer Michael Spencer Jones have all contributed. Here are some that have caught our eye (but you can view all work here):

The brainchild of Kevin King of Universal Music, and executed together with designer Jordan Stokes, Secret 7″ raises money for Art Against Knives, which funds creative initiatives supporting young people across London. Last year, it raised £33,500 – among the most in-demand sleeves was one designed by The Cure’s Robert Smith.

Artists are encouraged to “rethink what a record sleeve can be”, says King, and this year’s work includes a fully functioning guitar, sleeves that are three-dimensional, covered in felt (by contributor Felt Mistress, perhaps?), cross-stitched, as well as hand-drawn, screen-printed or graffitied designs.

The project is also accompanied by an online video, which shows the records being pressed at the Vinyl Factory in Hayes.

In addition, Matt(H)Booth has created artwork for a limited-edition print (see detail below for Harder Than You Think and Better Off), that visualises each track as its corresponding soundwave profile. No time like the present for securing a bargain slice of original art – and a nifty tune to boot.

Secret 7″ exhibition is on at Downstairs At Mother (Biscuit Building, 10 Redchurch St, E2) on April 13 & 14, with the buying weekend on April 20 & 21. Visitors can buy records for £40 apiece, and Matt(H)Booth’s prints (seven-colour print) are also be available to buy for £40 on site or online at Art Against Knives from later this week.

The April print issue of CR presents the work of three young animators and animation teams to watch. Plus, we go in search of illustrator John Hanna, test out the claims of a new app to have uncovered the secrets of viral ad success and see how visual communications can both help keep us safe and help us recover in hospital

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