Oliver Revives Lost Art

Best known for his emotive sleeve designs for bands such as Pixies and Cocteau Twins on the independent music label 4AD – and more recently Scott Walker and TV on the Radio – graphic designer Vaughan Oliver and his studio, v23, have influenced a generation of designers and music fans alike

In a new exhibition in Kingston upon Thames, entitled Slightly off the Ground, Oliver presents a personal selection of his poster designs, from early works with 4AD (including work for The Breeders, Lush and His Name is Alive) through to more recent work for the likes of 10 Speed Racer on Red Flag Records.

Oliver has designed the exhibition with long-term collaborator Chris Bigg and it will be soundtracked by a selection of music by the very acts that much of the work was designed to help promote.

For Oliver, the show represents a chance to showcase work which used to be part of the everyday environment. “When I first started designing posters, the streets were alive with cutting edge work designed for the independent music scene,” he recalls. “Posters by Peter Saville, Neville Brody, Malcolm Garrett, Martyn Atkins and C More Tone vied for your attention. As that period gave way to a cleaning purge by city councils and a creeping conservatism in the music industry, a vibrant skin was peeled away. A new generation of designers were denied a public canvas. The art of graffiti replaced ink on paper.”


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