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Derek Boshier attended the Royal College of Art in London, alongside David Hockney, Allen Jones and Peter Phillips, graduating in 1959. The boredom of the previous few years of National Service in the Royal Air Force had been alleviated by reading the works of Marshall McLuhan. During his college years, his work was didactic, commenting on the space race, the all-powerful multinationals and the increasing Americanisation of English culture. After graduating, he spent a year travelling in India on an Indian government scholarship.
He appeared with Peter Blake, Pauline Boty and Peter Phillips in Pop Goes the Easel (1962), a film by Ken Russell for the BBC's Monitor series. Boshier later played the role of John Everett Millais in Russell's television film Dante's Inferno (1967); his girlfriend Gala Mitchell played Jane Morris.
Never one to allow his message to be governed by any particular medium, at the 1964 The New Generation show at the Whitechapel Gallery he exhibited large shaped canvases with vibrant areas of evenly applied colour. In subsequent years he has used metal, coloured plastics, even light, the materials of the commercial sign maker, to create three-dimensional objects. Also he has experimented both with books and film.
Boshier now lives in the United States. Social commentary has once more become a major element of his work tackling head on subjects that have strong political overtones such as gun control, police brutality and once again, the multinationals - this time on home turf.
He is a visiting lecturer at University of California Los Angeles School of Arts where he teaches drawing.
- Derek Boshier Works on paper, a retrospective 1955-2003 [Catalogue of the exhibition held at Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery 2003] Utah.
- Derek Boshier: New Paintings, Chemical Culture Series [Catalogue of the exhibition held at Flowers East 2008] London.
- Extreme Makeover [Catalogue of the exhibition held at Flowers Gallery May 9 - June 14, 2008] New York.