In 1980 he became the first employee of the label and developed his first cover for a modern English single “Gathering Dust”, after which he created iconic works for Pixies Breeders, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, Lush, Pale Saints, TV On The Radio, Scott Walker and many others. But he was eager to apply his visual eye to music, and later claimed that during his training in a small town “the local record shop was an art gallery for me”. “After a chance meeting with 4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell, Oliver became the label’s only staff member in 1983. The Mountain Goats, who hired Oliver to create several album covers after his contract with 4AD, called the artist “an integral part of the label’s identity. His characteristic, somewhat abrasive, somewhat experimental, somewhat obscure and seductive covers decorated almost all of the label’s albums until 1987, thanks to his work with photographer Nigel Greerson as 23 Envelope. After retiring from 23 Envelope, Oliver worked at studio v23 and was a 4AD artist, working with David Silvian on albums such as The Secrets of the Beehive. “I’ve never had to take anything literally – except Monkey Gone to Heaven – and even this song is about something completely different: an ozone hole. “Trademarks” is a favourite cover of “Cocteau Gemini”, “The Breeders”, “This Deadly Spiral”, “Lush” and many others. Only Vaughan William Oliver. Thank you for your beauty, friendship, hard work and madness. After studying in Newcastle, Oliver moved to London in the 1970s to work in packaging design. Unit Editions, published in 2018 in The Archive, is Oliver’s collection of essays; a selection can be found on the v23 Cargo Collective page. The design of the CD covers of artists such as Cocteau Twins and Pixies has been an ideal complement to the music and has inspired and influenced generations. It has been exhibited throughout Europe, in Tokyo and Los Angeles as well as in the 20th century Victoria and Albert Gallery, where his work is part of a permanent collection. Without Vaughan the 4AD would not have been the 4AD, and it is important that his style also influenced graphic design in the late 20th century. Vaughan was the main author of the design style of 4AD, which was developed in the eighties and later. Oliver enjoyed full creative freedom and worked closely with the members of the group, especially with the Black Francis of the Pixies.
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