Get into the Groove

The Playful Art Series that Repurposes Unwanted Vinyl

Despite the ceaseless advance of digital music cannibalising most forms of physical media, vinyl is a format that just refuses to die. Records have now taken on a special place in the cultural consciousness giving them an unmistakable allure. Perhaps that’s what makes design veteran and trained photographer Daniel Tolhurst‘s Vinyl Art so appealing. “You have to handle vinyl with care, almost reverence,” says Daniel.

Stevie WOnder
The Clash Bankrobber
Elvis Costello - Chelsea
Perhaps a little bit surprising then that 18 months ago Daniel started cutting up records to make artwork that responded to that particular song or album: “I’d seen people making clocks from old records and I thought there was not a lot of thought going into it and I could do something more creative,” he explains. In Daniel’s defence, the vinyl he uses are usually now beyond the pale as a functioning record, so it’s really more like a process of artistic upcycling.

After friends kept remarking on the initial pieces he had on his wall, Daniel was convinced to start making more of them to sell. His designs show a great compositional eye, a fastidious level of precision and they’re often tinged with a nice sense of fun. One such example comes in a recent commission Daniel did: “The broadcaster Jeremy Vine wanted one – His favourite singer is Elvis Costello and knowing that he is a Chelsea season ticket holder – it seemed the obvious choice was ‘I don’t want to go to Chelsea’ cut into the Chelsea FC badge.”

The Who
We managed to get Daniel to take a few moments out from digging in the crates to tell us more:

The Plus: How did you get in to making Vinyl Art?
Daniel Tolhurst:
Having been a collector of vinyl (I’m not precious about it – I love music, I play them) I have a few bands that I’m really into (Sex Pistols, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Queen) and I had a stack of records gathering dust in the loft and I wanted to do something with them to display them. I’d seen people frame sleeves of albums but I wanted to do something more creative.

Sam Cooke Cupid
TP: What was the first record that you ever bought?
I’m almost ashamed to say it was Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney. I remember going to my local Woolworths and getting it for 50p!

Dylan - Lay Lady Lay
TP: What’s the one piece of vinyl you’d love to own?
I used to collect all Queen’s records, on vinyl, CD, 12”, the lot. But I never got the blue 7” single of Bohemian Rhapsody released in 1978 with only 200 made. One recently sold on Ebay for £9,000!

Buddy Holly
TP: Why do you think records have such an enduring appeal when other physical forms of media are dying out?
Vinyl is so much more tactile than CD. The album sleeves, artwork, the centre labels are so much more interesting than a generic silver CD. To me they also bring back memories of rushing to my local record shop at the weekend. Playing one side, until the end and then having to get up, lift the needle up, turn the record over and play… imagine that! A bit different to today’s digital music and Spotify where everything is available at a click of a button. If you don’t like it – skip it! It seems a lot more disposable today.

Black Sabbath
TP: Do you have any other creative projects you’d like to tell us about?
So far I’ve really concentrated on 7” singles but I’d like to do more collage work. I’ve seen other artists do some really interesting stuff with vinyl and would be nice to do some one-off pieces and maybe an exhibition of some sort in the new year.

Beastie Boys - You Gotta Fight for your Right to Party
AC_DC - You Shook Me All Night
John Lennon - Give Peace a Chance
Led Zep - Comminication Breakdown
Pink Floyd