3 January 2012
Last updated at 17:53
US indie band Bright Eyes have won the Art Vinyl prize for the best album artwork of 2011. The wall of flames that adorned their eighth record, The People's Key, was created by graphic designer Zack Nipper. Although you cannot see it in this image, the record came in a painstakingly-created iridescent foil sleeve, that folded out into six panels.
The stark black-and-white imagery of Cults' eponymous debut album took second place in the prize. The photograph captures band members Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin during one of their trademark dynamic performances. It was designed by Dave Bett and Jeannette Kaczorowski.
The rural scenes depicted on Bon Iver's second album were drawn by American contemporary artist Gregory Euclide. Reflecting the record's rustic roots - the songs are all named after geographical locations, some real, others imaginary - Euclide used natural elements from his surroundings in the etching, including pieces of pine cone and snow from a nearby forest.
Washed Out's album Within and Without took fourth place in the prize. Musician Ernest Greene fell in love with the photograph, by Martien Mulder, after seeing it while on tour in Australia. "I really like the idea of voyeuristically looking into a very intimate moment," he told Baeble Music last year. "That's kind of how I think about the new record - a glimpse into some of the things I was dealing with at the time."
The artwork for Kasabian's fourth album, Velociraptor!, was designed by Argentinian artist and fashion designer Aitor Throup. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, his front cover was a kaleidoscopic collage of guitarist Serge Pizzorno. Inner sleeve images included hand-drawn sketches of singer Tom Meighan and one of the album's titular lizards.
The Escher-style cover for The Strokes' comeback album Angles was designed by relatively-unknown Belgian artist Guy Pouppez, who died in 1993. The mind-bending picture is thought to date from the late 60s.
Seventh place went to the Fleet Foxes' album, Helplessness Blues. The psychedelic sleeve was created by Seattle-based artist Toby Liebowitz, who said it represented "memories and patterns in people and in relationships". She told the Proxart website: "I wanted to make something that at first glance appeared chaotic and scattered, but when given more time someone would notice these nuanced bits and pieces that really tied the image together as an entire narrative."
Looking at the cover for Cut Copy's Zonoscope, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a film still from Christopher Nolan's Inception. In fact, the surreal photomontage was created by late Japanese artist Tsunehisa Kimura. The band's lead singer Dan Whitford spent a considerable amount of time securing the rights to use the image, which he said reflected the album's combination of "something familiar and something far away and imagined".
The graffiti motif of Coldplay's fifth album, Mylo Xyloto, was partly inspired by the band's attempts to paint their own studio in London. "What we really responded to about street art was the freedom of expression," said Chris Martin, "people turning ugly things into something beautiful". The cover was designed by the Tappin Gofton studio, which previously worked on Coldplay's X&Y cover.
Tenth place in the Art Vinyl Prize went to The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, who commissioned New York portraitist Winston Chmielinski to paint the cover for their second album, Belong. "Sleeve art is such an important and evocative part of our music experience but the designers of these works are often overlooked," said curator Sarah Reeve. "This award gives us a chance to celebrate the creativity behind the sound." An exhibition featuring the Top 50 album sleeves will be seen in the UK, Europe and Australia in 2012.