Thom Yorke is a modern Renaissance man. Not only is he the singer in Radiohead, one of the world's leading bands that sound like Radiohead, but it turns out he's also an artist. Can he do maths or science or design buildings like the Renaissance men of the 1400s? No, but standards for Renaissancing are different in 2022.
Art is nothing new for the singer. He's been drawing for years, working most often with collaborator Stanley Donwood, who he met at university in Exeter in the 1980s. Donwood is responsible for all the Radiohead artwork from 1996's 'The Bends' onwards, but their relationship appears to have been at its most fruitful between 1999 and 2001, when the band was working on their now-classic 'Kid A' and 'Amnesiac' albums. The two would constantly send visual ideas to each other - often using something called a fax machine - and in the process managed to create a body of work, mainly comprised of drawings, that's now going on display at 8 Duke Street.
The drawings range from the cartoonish to the macabre, and are often violent, nightmarish and aggressive, but also tinged with silliness and cutesy humour. Unsurprisingly, considering the lyrical content of many of Yorke's most well known songs, the drawings tackle some big, dark, political ideas, with works about management buyouts, money-burning furnaces, sperm monsters and a stick man getting kicked in the nuts.
The show is on for just a couple of days, so book in quick if you don't want to be left high and dry.
'Test Specimens' is at 8 Duke St James, May 25-29, free. More details here.