Vaughan Oliver Bio
Vaughan Oliver was a British graphic designer based in Epsom, south of London. Oliver was best known for his work with graphic design studios 23 Envelope and v23. Both studios maintained a close relationship with record label 4AD between 1982 and 1998 and gave distinct visual identities for the 4AD releases by many bands, including Mojave 3, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, The Breeders, This Mortal Coil, Pale Saints, Pixies, and Throwing Muses. Oliver also designed record sleeves for such artists as David Sylvian, The Golden Palominos, and Bush.
Oliver began working for 4AD in the early ’80s after meeting the independent label’s owner, Ivo Watts-Russell, forming a working partnership that would endure for thirty years.
Oliver’s design studios, 23 Envelope, consisted of Oliver and his original photographer Nigel Grierson, who together created the artwork for almost every 4AD release up to 1987. After Grierson left 23 Envelope in 1988, Oliver continued to work for the label under the studio name v23, where he collaborated with Simon Larbalestier, Marc Atkins and many others.
As an artist and graphic designer, Oliver was credited with establishing the visual identity of 4AD as a record label, and worked on a number of instantly recognisable sleeves, including Pixies’ ‘Surfer Rosa’ and ‘Doolittle’ album covers. He also worked on designs for the likes of Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, and Dead Can Dance.
Vaughan Oliver Age
Oliver was born on 12 September 1957, in County Durham, United Kingdom. He died on 29 December 2019. He was 62 years old.
Vaughan Oliver 4AD
Usually referred to[by whom?] as “mysterious” and “ambiguous”, Oliver’s album art helped to shape 4AD’s aesthetic. The mysterious qualities in his album art were inspired by Salvador Dalí, a surrealist painter Oliver admired during his college years. 4AD is a cult indie label that was prominent from the 1980s well into the 1990s. Oliver created album art work for bands such as Pixies, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and The Breeders. Although Oliver worked exclusively with 4AD, occasionally he would do work for a few non-music related clients. He had an influence on the post pop-punk music industry, inspiring hundreds of artist to be different, mysterious and explorative. During the early years of 4AD, the bands didn’t have a consistent genre, Oliver’s work gave the bands a cohesiveness within their visual language.
Vaughan Oliver The Pixies
Oliver’s work with the Pixies is probably his most memorable. The Pixies produced five albums Surfer Rosa (1988), Doolittle (1989), Bossanova (1990), Trompe Le Monde (1991) and Indie Cindy (2014). Oliver designed all of these albums. Oliver had created The Pixies Minotaur boxset in 2009. The box set consists of all five albums and a book, all of which Vaughan Oliver designed. As Oliver was creating the Pixies album covers throughout the years he had managed to keep consistency within them all, a continuous look.
Vaughan Oliver Death
Vaughan Oliver died on December 29, 2019, at the age of 62. Adrian Shaughnessy, a graphic designer, writer, and publisher who co-edited the 2018 collection Vaughan Oliver: Archive, announced the death in a statement on Twitter. He wrote, “Desperately sad to announce that Vaughan Oliver died peacefully today, with his partner Lee by his side. Great loss of friend and design hero. Vaughan Oliver (1957—2019.”
Desperately sad to announce that Vaughan Oliver died peacefully today, with his partner Lee by his side. Great loss of friend and design hero. Vaughan Oliver (1957—2019.
— Adrian Shaughnessy (@AJWShaughnessy) December 29, 2019
4AD paid tribute to Oliver in a statement: “We are incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Vaughan Oliver; there was no-one else like him. Without Vaughan, 4AD would not be 4AD and it’s no understatement to say that his style also helped to shape graphic design in the late-20th century.
“The label’s first employee, he designed his first sleeve for the Modern English single ‘Gathering Dust’ in 1980 before going on to create iconic works for the likes of Pixies, Breeders, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, Lush, Pale Saints, TV On The Radio, Scott Walker and countless others. The Guardian said his designs were “abstract, dreamlike, elegant” and they weren’t wrong, he gave both us as a label and our musicians an identity and a voice.
“We will miss you Vaughan and our thoughts are with your family and friends. We were blessed to know you and will forever be thankful for all you did.”
Vaughan Oliver Cause of Death
Vaughan Oliver’s cause of death was not revealed.