12 September 1980 |
Bournemouth, Dorset, England
|Education||Poole College, Painting and Printmaking, Bretton Hall College|
|Notable work(s)||A Pounding Outside Poundland, HappyCloud, Kurt Lied, This land... Was built for you and me|
|Movement||Pop Art, Contemporary Art|
|Patron(s)||Philip Niarchos, David Roberts, Langen Foundation|
Stuart Semple (born 1980) is a contemporary British artist and curator, based in London and Dorset. Known for his large scale canvases incorporating text and found imagery, Semple's practice addresses ideas sparked by immersion in popular culture and combines contemporary figurative painting with pop art.
Life and career
The Art Newspaper reported on Semple signing representation with Next Management in 2013 although he claims he still works independently and directly with galleries. A 2007 solo exhibition saw $1 million sales within the first five minutes and a recent London exhibition had presales to a Foundation of $1 Million.
In 2005 Semple was appointed to the Design and Artist's Copyright Society creators’ council. He opened the new North Light centre for Art and Design at Bournemouth & Poole College in January 2012. Semple has spoken at The ICA, The Institute of Ideas, CultureLabel, Amnesty and Jerwood Visual Arts for his digital activity. In 2011 and 2014 he presented for the BBC's Art & Design series In 2014, it was reported a major gallery had failed to pay him for a show which had been very successful.
Semple had a sudden near death experience in 2000 following an allergic reaction which he disclosed in an interview a decade later with Liz Hoggard of The Evening Standard for the first time. Semple referenced the event in an artwork; "This is the flatline of my ECG showing where I officially died, my vital signs zeroed completely." Semple identifies the experience as the catalyst that motivated him to dedicate his life to making art and becoming active in promoting access to creativity and it's benefits.
In 2012 Stuart was the first artist to release a body of work called "EXIT" on iTunes that was commissioned to be a fully digital experience. His desire to create and distribute this series via iTunes was so that it could be directly accessed affordably in every household worldwide which built on his exploration of the internet and accessibility to contemporary art. Stuart Semple's appropriation of digital mediums put him in The Guardian's Ten Best Art Auctions alongside Damien Hirst, Ai Weiwei and Edvard Munch.
In 2014 Stuart Semple represented the British Program for The Night at The Museum festival, releasing thousands of HappyClouds over Moscow.
Stuart Semple has sent "Happy Clouds" up into the sky over London, Milan, Dublin and Moscow initially in direct response to the recession and also in a bid to highlight and spread happiness worldwide. "I know at times like this it’s easy to make creativity a low priority, but I want to show on a very human level that an artistic idea might be able to do something important, even for a fleeting moment." "I don’t see why we couldn’t spread the happy clouds around the world a bit.”
Eric Bryant debated Stuart Semple and contemporary Pop Art in a seminal ARTnews feature 50 years after Richard Hamilton had defined the movement. "While earlier generations of Pop artists exhibited a similar love-hate relationship with consumer culture and glamour, this group takes on fear and violence." Semple's relationship with current culture, politics and imagery has put him at the forefront of the next generation of debate, where artists now tackle the current climate of fear; "his often disturbing, even sinister works also feature guns, pills, and frequent references to suicide." In being categorised within Pop Art, Aidan Duane debated in The Irish Times how his work brings it up to date.
There is a real intelligence at the heart of his art. On the one hand he clearly embraces the throwaway, famous-for-15-minutes soundbite culture of celebrity and distraction. On the other, he stops it in its tracks, recasting its giddy imagery in the slow, fixed medium of paint. He might seem to celebrate it, but he actually doesn’t quite trust the world of mass production and communications. His work implies a conviction that there is, or perhaps there better be, something genuine, something real, beyond the glam facade of throwaway culture.
In 2013 Stuart Semple talked to Josh Spero about his career and influences as part of The ICA's Culture Now series. In 2007, when interviewed for Trebuchet Magazine, Stuart described how his early experience of pop influenced his approach to art "When I was growing up in the 80s these things (cultural icons) were – I don’t know if it’s quite right to say they were aspirational, but they certainly gave me my first feelings of something larger. But as you get older you get more jaded so now when you look back at these ‘nostalgic’ things, you have lost something. Here I’ve tried to look at them again in such as way as to rediscover that sense of feeling"
In 2013, the Suspend Disbelief exhibition wanted the public to question their relationship with reality and the way we all, in a multitude of ways, suspend belief to survive. That in order to be fully entertained by a movie or a magic trick or certain kinds of media, you need to pause your belief in it as a fiction. The idea that in order to live at all we need to suspend our disbelief in the fact we are dying.
Stuart discusses his practice towards making exhibition like that of a musical recording artist:
Painting in a way is like a recording of a moment, a live moment, where you were what you did, how you physically moved your body. A music recording is the same. I can think of a series of paintings that go together like an album, that make thematic sense that sit together, that's useful for me. I can get a little phrase, or a hook or a melody in my mind. It's an image idea though and I live with that and churn it over, I might draw it or just remember, then I'll get in the studio and put it down. Sometimes I make a little study, I guess that's like a musicians demo of a song. Then I work them into bigger finished things. Collaging is the same as musical sampling. Layers in a painting are like layers in a mix.
In an interview with Doug McClemont he purports to the mimetic industries of mass-production; which has been a running critique in Semple's work. He discussed the "idea of taking the mechanization out the pop stuff. Because I find a lot of it non-emotive." He also alluded more to his studio practice; "I used to paint alone when I had a tiny studio middle of nowhere. It had mice and was freezing. Now I have assistants who help me paint, because I'm doing massive, massive stuff, right now. It's not the same..." In 2014 he discussed his studio routine with The Irish Times explaining how he preferred to be more solitary but market pressures had dictated him to expand his studio. His studio was documented during BBC filming.
In 2010 Stuart Semple spoke for the first time about how his life changed after a near death experience a decade earlier. "Up until that day I was a normal kid, I went to art school, I was like everyone else ... Then I had this awful week when I had a huge allergic reaction, my tongue swelled up so big I could hardly breathe and I found myself in a hospital bed, dying."
2011 Stuart Semple was made an Ambassador for mental health charity Mind. He initiated the Creative Therapies fund within the organisation which was launched by Stephen Fry and Lord Melvyn Bragg with the exhibition & auction "Mindful" that included works from Jake & Dinos Chapman, Matt Collishaw, Tracey Emin, Mona Hatoum, Sarah Lucas and Sebastian Horsley.
Semple recently created a whole body of work and short film for his solo booth at London's art Art13 with all proceeds in aid of the Mind Creative Therapies fund which subsequently started funding projects through the UK.
Semple met with Vince Cable to discuss the impact on artists lives with proposed changes to Artists Resale Right so lower priced sales still counted as it make a difference to younger artists, also for the royalty to pass to their children, saying "The art world should be trying to support and nurture subsequent generations of talent."
Stuart Semple was vocal about the Arts Cuts imposed following the recession making an artwork "The First Cut" which was exhibited in Hong Kong as part of "The British Cut" exhibition, showcasing major contemporary artists latest work and pictured the scene from the demonstration. His 2010 exhibition "Happy House" opened on the eve of the General Election and the opening was broadcast live on the BBC with the works addressing fears of a future where creativity is overlooked. He wrote in The Huffington Post "The creative industries are a massive contributing factor to our economy and across all those fields we desperately need new dreamers." He spoke to the Student Handbook about this "The creative industries count towards a huge proportion of our economy, it’s something like 16% which is nearly as much as banking. It’s short-sighted of the government to put these cuts in place because as a country we are extremely creative, whether it’s advertising, graphic design, film making, fashion; we lead in all these fields".
Semple supported MTV Re:Define exhibition at The Goss-Michael Foundation in 2011 with auction proceeds donated to MTV Staying Alive Foundation which enables inspirational youngsters to fight HIV and AIDS in their local communities. He has also supported the Africa Foundation via Art for Africa with Sotheby's, Macmillan De'Longhi Art Auction at Bonhams and the medical foundation Freedom From Torture's art auction. In 2011 Semple was featured on postcards for the Anaphylaxis campaign and created artworks for the Freedom of Expression Campaign for Amnesty International.
"Deep House Music" was painted for the Articulate exhibition held at Victoria Miro Gallery in 2013 in direct response to moving children’s testimony recorded in South Africa and Rwanda, in aid of children’s art charity Dramatic Need.
Semple took the persona of "Nancyboy" after his near death experience and produced over 3000 works of art between 1999 and 2003 that were sold via eBay each night at a set time creating an early online community and becoming one of the first artists to utilise the internet in their work. In 2002 he had his first major London solo exhibition at the A&D Gallery. It was called Stolen Language – the art of Nancyboy. It incorporated fragments and images that he identified with within popular culture and remixed into a personal narrative consisting of large paintings, screen prints, sculptures, t-shirts and panels. 10 final "nancyboys" were created in 2009 and auctioned once again via eBay with all proceeds donated to the UK charity Mind after his grandmother became diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia.
The Nancyboy Decade exhibition was organised by the original collectors who exhibited their early drawings and canvases commemorate to the 10 years.
Semple created a memorial artwork RIP YBA with debris collected from the 2004 Momart warehouse fire. Semple packaged them in 8 plastic boxes under the title Burn Baby Burn. The boxes had slogans in pink lettering, including "RIP YBA", which referred to the Young British Artists, by whom much of the destroyed work had been created. Semple stated that amongst the debris collected there were fragments of Tracey Emin's artwork, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995 ("the tent").
In 2005 Semple produced an exhibition of his works in an abandoned Docklands warehouse in East London, called Post Pop Paradise. Also that year he included a painting into the Saatchi Gallery which included the words "British Painting Still Rocks" as reaction to Charles Saatchi's comments that the YBA artists would be nothing more than a footnote in the history of art.
In 2006 Semple's exhibition "Epiphany" at Martin Summers Fine Art in London questioned the role of religion in modern life in a series of in-your-face paintings that alluded to popular culture, graphic media, advertising and social issues.
In 2007 Semple exhibited "Fake Plastic Love", an exhibition of billboard scale paintings housed within a blacked out environment of East London's Truman Brewery. In 2009 He held his first New York solo exhibition "Everlasting Nothing Less" at Anna Kustera Gallery involving large scale paintings and sculpture.
"The Happy House", exhibited in London 2010 with Morton Metropolis, built on themes explored in earlier collections, but for the first time touched on more personal than cultural and political issues. The private view was held on the eve of the general elections and reported from live on the BBC. His self-portrait 'A Pounding Outside Poundland' captures the moment of an assault.
Solo exhibition "Suspend Disbelief" in London explored ideas of superstition and illusion. Stuart Semple created an immersive exploratory environment with film, paintings and sculpture throughout 15 rooms, where magic tricks were performed by holograms, childhood experiences revisited and he questioned the cycle of life and death within a projection dome where hundreds of flowers perpetually bloom in time lapse. "It’s like life without any death because they never wilt."
In 2007 Stuart Semple co-curated and featured in the 'Black Market' at the Anna Kustera gallery in New York with Just Another Rich Kid. Showcasing their collaborative installation piece 'Team Dream Chaos' depicting a provocative teenage girl's bedroom. Semple has curated exhibitions "Mash Ups, post pop fragments and détournements" at The Kowalsky Gallery in 2008 for the Design and Artists Copyright Society and 'London Loves The Way Things Fall Apart' (2009) and "This Is England" (2011) for Galleria Aus18, Milan.
Semple's exploration of British cultural themes have also been seen in the exhibition "This Is England" (2010) initially held at The Aubin Gallery (which he directed in association with Aubin Wills and Shoreditch House) featuring artists Sarah Maple, Nicky Carvell, David Hancock and Richard Galloway which then toured to Milan.
In 2011 Semple curated the Mindful exhibition in 25,000 sqft Old Vic Tunnels featuring artists including Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tracey Emin, Mona Hatoum, Mat Collishaw, Sebastian Horsley, Sarah Lucas, Barney Bubbles, Liliane Lijn, Tessa Farmer and Stuart Semple. It coincided with a gala dinner at The Imperial War Museum hosted by Stephen Fry and Lord Melvyn Bragg to raise funds for the Mind creative therapies fund and explore the relationship between creativity and mental health.
- 2014 'Happy Cloud', Night At The Museum, Moscow
- 2014 'Happy Cloud', First Fortnight Festival, Dublin
- 2014 ‘Suspend Disbelief’, The Heritage Rooms, Victoria House, London
- 2013 'JUMP', Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia
- 2013 ‘Every Now And Then I Fall Apart’, ART13, London
- 2012 'Everlasting Nothing Less', Galleria Uno+Uno, Milan
- 2012 'It's Hard To Be a Saint In This City', The Space, Hong Kong
- 2010 'The Happy House', Morton Metropolis, London
- 2009 'Lipstick Vogue', Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
- 2009 'Everlasting Nothing Less', Anna Kustera, New York
- 2009 'Everlasting Nothing Less', Anna Kustera, London
- 2009 'Born To Run', Bari, Italy
- 2009 'Happy Cloud', Salone Della Mobile, Milan
- 2009 'Happy Cloud', London
- 2008 'Cult of Denim', Selfridges, London
- 2008 'Pop Disciple', Aus18, Milan
- 2007 'Fake Plastic Love', Truman Brewery & Martin Summers Fine Art, London
- 2006 'Epiphany', Martin Summers Fine Art, London
- 2005 'Post Pop Paradise', SKIT, London
- 2002 'Stolen Language – The Art of Nancyboy', A&D Gallery, London
- 2000 'Nancyboy Paintings', Pause, London
- David Roberts Foundation / London, UK
- Niarchos Foundation / Athens, GR
- Getty Collection / South Africa
- sammlung FIEDE / Aschaffenburg, D
- private collections
Notes and references
- Hayes, David (2013).Financial Times 'Personal style: Stuart Semple', "Financial Times", October 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Fairweather, Shona (2007). Aesthetica Magazine "Stuart Semple 80s Influences & Popular Youth Culture", "Aesthetica Magazine", October 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Bretton Hall press section", University of Leeds, 18 July 2004. Retrieved from leeds.ac.uk, 21 April 2008.
- Buck, Louisa (2004). Art Newspaper "Bending The Momart Wreckage", Art Newspaper, September 2004. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
- Ruiz, Cristina (2013). Art Newspaper "Move over galleries: artists sign with agents - Stuart Semple joins an agency" "Art Newspaper", February 2013. Retrieved 8th May 2014.
- Hoggard, Liz, (2010) Evening Standard "Stuart Semple 'I'm Afraid To Swallow'", Evening Standard, 28 April 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Westall, Mark (2013). Fast Art Direct "Stuart Semple, Suspend Disbelief Grosses over $1 Million", "FAD", October 2013. Retrieved 8th May 2014.
- "Culture Now: Stuart Semple in Conversation with Josh Spero" The ICA 13 November 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- http://www.londonartfair.co.uk/page.cfm/Action=Form/FormID=58/t=m London Art Fair
- "Amnesty.ie" "MAKING NOISE FOR MENTAL HEALTH TONIGHT"
- "jerwoodvisualarts.org". Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- bbc.co.uk "Art" 20 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- "Artist Stuart Semple in row with assistants who say they weren’t paid"
- Jeffreys, Tom (2011) "Mental Health and Art as Therapy – an interview with Stuart Semple", Spoonfed, 6 September 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Mind.org "Talking about mental health with Stuart Semple", 6 March 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Hazelton, Claire (2012).The Overflown "Coffee With Stuart Semple on Fame, Allergies, Charity, Politics and eBay" 23 September 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2014
- https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/exit-ep/id498261274 EXIT "iTunes"
- http://vimeo.com/40510158 "Vimeo.com" RECORDED LIVE - Stuart Semple Webchat.
- Grafling, Friedrich (2013).NDKS "POP POP POP- Interview Stuart Semple", "NDKS", February 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- http://www.whosjack.org/stuart-semple-1st-artist-on-itunes/ Who's Jack "Stuart Semple 1st Artist On iTunes"
- Hazelton, Claire (2013).The Guardian "The 10 Best Art Auctions" 25 May 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Day Of Happiness "HAPPINESS MOVEMENT TO REACH 100 MILLION PEOPLE FOR UN'S FIRST #HAPPYDAY" 13 March 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- British Council "Stuart Semple Moscow HappyClouds"
- Mulholland, Eddie (2009).The Telegraph "Happy Clouds by Stuart Semple" Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Happy Clouds By Stuart Semple", "[Wallpaper Magazine]", 23 April 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
- Burgess, Kaya (2009). "Storm clouds give way to smileys over London" The Times, 25 February 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
- Burgess, Kaya (2009)."Storm clouds give way to smileys over London" 5 February 2009. Retrieved from canadiancontent.net 1 June 2014.
- Dunne, Aidan (2014) "Stuart Semple, Cloudy with a chance of artistic smiley faces" "The Irish Times", 6 January 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- The Telegraph "Stuart Semple Happy Clouds over London" 26 February 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- First fortnight "Stuart Semple Happy Clouds" Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Bryant, Eric (2007). "Paint It Bleak", Art News, Dec 2007. Retrieved from stuartsemple.com, 6 January 2007.
- Elmer, Kailas (2010)"Above the Line Stuart Semple 10 November 2010. Retrieved from Trebuchet Magazine 1 June 2014
- Khan, Karim (2013). Hunger "THE INTERVIEW: STUART SEMPLE" 28 February 2013. Retrieved from Hunger.tv 10 June 2013.
- Wall Street Journal "Stuart Semple. Suspend Disbelief"
- McClemont, Doug (2007). " Doug McClemont on The Black Market at Anna Kustera, New York", Saatchi Gallery, 25 July 2007. Retrieved from saatchi-gallery.co.uk, 12 November 2007. Link updated 1July 2014
- Frizell, Nell (2013).Ideas Tap "Stuart Semple: Artist and curator" 27 March 2013. Retrieved 27th May 2014.
- Stubbs, Julia (2011).Juliastubbs.co.uk "Stuart Semple studio visit." May 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- "Mind news section", 8 September 2011. Retrieved on 8 September 2011.
-  "Mindful Exhibition"
- Gosling, Emily (2011) "Semple Minds", Design Week, 31 August 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
- Mind.org.uk "The Creative Therapies Fund"
- "Resale Right" Stuart Semple
- "dacs.org.uk" Debate on the Future Economy of Art
- Hutchinson, Jack (2012)"a-n.co.uk" Is anything wrong with the Artist’s Resale Right?
- Millard, Coline (2012)Bloutine Art Info "Dealers and Artists Clash in the U.K. as the Battle Over Resale Royalties Heats Up" blouinartinfo.com, 15 June 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2014
- Witherspoon, Jane (2010). BBC NEWS "Artist Stuart Semple: It's actually quite mental" BBC 5 May 2010. Retrieved from news.bbc.co.uk, 15 June 2010.
- Witherspoon, Jane (2010). BBC NEWS "Stuart Semple collection inspired by 'mental' Britain". 6 May 2010. Retrieved Retrieved from news.bbc.co.uk, 1 June 2014.
- Spero, Josh (2010). "Stuart Semple, Morton Metropolis" "[The Arts Desk]". Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Semple, Stuart (2013)"Huffington Post" "Stuart Semple: Dreams Are Powerful, We Should Be Doing More to Encourage Young People to Follow Them" 27 March 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- Wadlow, Nathan (2013). "The Student Pocket Guide" An Interview With International Artist Stuart Semple
-  "ICA.org.uk"
- Paddle8 "STUART SEMPLE, Deep House Music, 2013"
- Federico, Cherie (2010) Aesthetica Magazine "Stuart Semple Popular Culture and the Aesthetic Discourse" "Aesthetica Magazine" 1 April 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- Mills, Jack (2012)."Wonderland" "STUART SEMPLE: Post Adolescent Idealistic Phase" 14 June 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- A&D exhibition list, "aanddgallery.com". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- Dafydd Jones Archive "dafjones.com". Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- Volt Magazine "Keep It Semple". Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- Robins, Jenny (2010). Amelia's Magazine "THE NANCYBOY DECADE 1999-2009" 17 June 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Edwardes, Charlotte (2004). Daily Telegraph "New art rises from wreckage of warehouse," Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2004. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
- "Artist protests at Saatchi show", BBC online, 5 July 2005. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
- Reynolds, Nigel (2005). Daily Telegraph "Saatchi rumbles protest painting", Daily Telegraph, 6 July 2005. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
- "Artist protests at Saatchi show," The Times, 6 July 2005. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
- Leitch, Luke (2005). "Brit painter in protest at 'banned' Saatchi art", Evening Standard, 5 July 2005. Retrieved from highbeam.com, 2 July 2007.
- "What's On", "Art Newspaper", April 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Gleadell, Colin (2006). "Market news: Mark Rothko, Tyeb Mehta and more...", Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
- Chambers, Christopher Hart (2009). "Stuart Semple: Everlasting Nothing Less" "Flash Art". Retrieved 26 July 2011.
- "Future Modern" "Stuart Semple at Anna Kustera" 11 June 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Cheung, Ysabelle (2012).Time Out "Stuart Semple" Time Out 15 February 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Aesthetica Magazine "Stuart Semple: Suspend Disbelief, Bauer Art Foundation, London"
- "BBC" In pictures: Stuart Semple 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- Coghlan, Niamh (2008) Aesthetica Magazine "Pop Art & Mass Culture Curated by Stuart Semple" "Aesthetica Magazine", 1 August 2008. retrieved 1 July 2014.
- "The Kowalsky Gallery website"
- Kingston University. "London Loves" retrieved from Kingston University website, 11 April 2009.
- Davis, Laura (2010). Elle.com "Exciting New Gallery for Young British Artists", "Elle.com", 21 May 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- Kos Earle, Nico (2011). "Stuart Semple: Open Your Mind", Glass Magazine, 23 September 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Jeffreys, Tom (2011). "Mental Health and Art as Therapy- an Interview with Stuart Semple", "Spoonfed.com", 6 September 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Taken from the official Stuart Semple website
- Anna Kustera Gallery. annakustera.com "STUART SEMPLE Everlasting Nothing Less" Retrieved 1 June 2014.
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