Run the Jewels’ striking album artwork by Timothy Saccenti wins Best Art Vinyl Awards

US hip hop supergroup Run the Jewels’ third album winning cover design was art directed by Timothy Saccenti.

This year’s winning album artwork, as announced at the Best Art Vinyl Awards in London tonight, is US hip hop supergroup Run the Jewels’ third album cover. As decided by the public, the winning design features a striking image of two gesturing gold hands. Art directed by Timothy Saccenti,the piece follows on from the original drawings by Vice art director Nick Gazin used on previous Run the Jewels records.

Coming in second is illustrator Edward Steed’s work for Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy, and a captured light installation for the front of The Vessels' The Greatest Distraction album, by Leeds studio Split.

The nominated album covers for the 13th Best Art Vinyl awards were announced at the end of last year, including Gorillaz’ Humanz, Beck’s Colours and Queens of the Stone Age's Villains. The 50 nominated records have been on tour across the UK and Europe in various art galleries.

Timothy Saccenti has worked in music design, specifically photography, for artists such as Flying Lotus, Lana Del Ray and A Tribe Called Quest. 

Timothy is a director and photographer living in New York City. As well as contributing to spots for Nike, Diesel and Audi, his not for profit work includes campaigns for Oxfam and at the African United ‘We’ve got your Back’ Ebola awareness campaign.

Run the Jewels, founded in 2013 by producer EL-P and rapper Killer Mike, explain the concept in this description given to the Best Art Vinyl Awards. 

"For us, the RTJ1 hands were about 'taking what’s yours' – your world, your life, your attitude (seen here). The RTJ2 hands were wrapped in bandages, signifying injury and healing, which for us represented the growth in ideas and tone of that album.

"For RTJ3 the bandages are off, the chain is gone and the hands have been transformed into gold. For us this represents the idea that there is nothing to take that exists outside of yourself. You are the jewel."

Run the Jewels released their first studio album as a free digital download in 2013.

Last year’s winning album cover (seen here) was for The Last Shadow Puppets’ second album Everything You’ve Come to Expect, created by illustrator and designer Matthew Cooper. We caught up with him after the win to find out the idea behind it.

This years winners will feature in exhibitions in London, Barnsley, Hungary, Italy and Germany. They're currently being held in The Vinyl Cafe in London’s Kings Cross.

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Illustrator Edward Steed’s cartoons are normally seen in The New Yorker, but after US singer-songwriter J. Tillman, aka Father John Misty, wrote an email asking Edward to design his record sleeve, the project came to be.

Father John Misty wanted a scene to go alongside four different-coloured skies, so Edward drew small individual scenes, "satirical in tone but not literally referring to the lyrics", he told Surface magazine. The overall theme is the “absurdity of human life on earth."

His illustrations can be explored in more detail on the official site for the album.

The third winner, electronic post-punk Leeds band Vessels’ latest album artwork, was designed by local creative studio Split as a large-scale installation of laser lights.

Read about how this installation was created by Split