Stuart Semple - photo credit Tom Medwell

Stuart Semple

United Kingdom 1980


Stuart Semple
Stuart Semple
United Kingdom
October 12, 2015
Aya received her MA in English Language and Literature in 2012. She likes dancing, traveling, cycling and spending time with her pets.

Stuart Semple is a contemporary British artist and curator, born in 1980 in Dorset. At the age of 19, he became an artist after a sudden near death experience due to an allergic reaction. At that time Semple was studying Fine Art at Vbreton Hall in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. He is known for large-scale works which incorporate text and combine contemporary figurative painting with pop art. It bears similarities to Richard Hamilton’s Pop Art. His works are ambitious and emotive, featuring eye-catching use of color and composition, which often contradicts his recurring themes of art history, spirituality and alienation.

Art of Stuart Semple

Stuart Semple - A Love Song's Not Enough, 2015, news like believe work 2011 facebook text
Stuart Semple – A Love Song’s Not Enough, 2015

The Beginnings

He was born in Bournemouth, Dorset and studied Advanced Art and Design at Poole, and Painting and Printmaking at Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire. Semple’s family had an influence on him becoming an artist. His grandmother was also interested in painting and had books about Impressionism, which Semple read and copied in his childhood. Seeing Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the age of 7, when he went with his mother to the National Gallery, was a turning point in his life.
In 2002 he had a near death experience, following an allergic reaction, and claims that the experience motivated him to dedicate his life to art.
In 2004, he met art dealer Anthony d’Offay who convinced him to move to London and set up a studio in East End. In 2007, he had a solo show with $1 million sales within the first five minutes.

Andy Warhol 80th Birthday Banana, 2008

Stuart Semple - Andy Warhol 80th Birthday banana, 2008, news like work 2011 just
Stuart Semple – Andy Warhol 80th Birthday banana, 2008

Using the Potential of the WWW

From 1999 to 2002, while he was recovering, Stuart created around 3000 artworks and sold them via eBay. It brought him his first solo show at London’s A&D gallery in 2001. He was one of the first artist who used the potential of the internet in promoting his art. He created an online community on eBay and posted drawings every night.

His wish to create and distribute the art via the Internet and make it accessible to everyone, led to Stuart’s 2012 release of a body of work called EXIT, which was planned to be a fully digital experience. It was released on iTunes, making Semple the first artist to do so. It was accessed for an affordable price by anyone in any part of the world.

He produced a new series of five websites-artworks and sold them on eBay in 2015, thus making possible for digital art to be bought, sold and viewed using hosting.

Guaranteed Return 25K, 2009

Stuart Semple - Guaranteed Return 25K, 2009, news believe work 2011
Stuart Semple – Guaranteed Return 25K, 2009


In 2010, on the night of General Elections, Semple hosted the opening night of his Happy House exhibition in his studio. The BBC spent the day reporting live from the studio. With the series of Happy House works, his goal was to warn the public about the possible outcome of the country’s financial situation and its policies towards culture. It was a direct response to the recession, and an attempt to make people happier, even for a fleeting moment, and highlight how important creativity is.
In 2013, during the UN’s first International Day of Happiness, Stuart got a medal at The House of Lords. Semple nominated Marilena Borgna and May as his Happiness Heroes. He revealed The Independent his secret to happiness – his son makes him truly happy.
In 2014, Semple released thousands of Happy Clouds over Moscow, the performance which could be also seen in Italy, Ireland and Australia. The artist represented the British Program for The Night at The Museum festival.
In 2015, he published My Happy Colouring Flip Book, an anti-stress and creative therapy coloring book for adults. It was also aimed at raising funds for the Mind creative therapies fund.

Semple’s Paintings

Stuart Semple - Pictures Came and Broke Her Heart, 2015, work 2011
Stuart Semple – Pictures Came and Broke Her Heart, 2015

Stuart Semple and Pop Culture

Fifty years after Richard Hamilton defined Pop Art movement, Eric Bryan debated Semple and contemporary Pop Art. He stated that Semple and the new generation of artists now tackle the theme of fear and violence. He talked about his relationship with pop culture, after Warhol, in Vogue Italia. In 2007, in his interview for Trebuchet Magazine, Semple said that cultural icons gave him the feeling of something larger, the feeling that he tries to rediscover in his works. In 2013, as part of The ICA’s Culture Now series, Stuart discussed his influences with Josh Spero.

Mixture of contemporary figurative painting and pop art

Left Stuart Semple - Technicolor and Hiroshima, 2014, Right Stuart Semple - Erased Cool-Aid, 2014, facebook text just
Left: Stuart Semple – Technicolor and Hiroshima, 2014 / Right: Stuart Semple – Erased Cool-Aid, 2014

Effecting Social Change: Semple’s Campaigns

Stuart Semple has supported many activist campaigns. He is a supporter of Amnesty International. He produced works for the Freedom of Expression Campaign. In 2011, he was appointed an Ambassador for mental health charity Mind. Within the organization, Semple started the Creative Therapies fund, launched together with Stephen Fry and Melvyn Bragg. He also curated the exhibition and auction Mindful.

Collections and Exhibitions

Semple’s works are featured in many private and public collections, such as David Roberts Foundation in London, United Kingdom; Niarchos Foundation in Athens, Greece; Getty Collection in South Africa, and sammlung FIEDE / Aschaffenburg.

The artist has exhibited his works widely – in Europe, China and the USA, in biennales, major art fairs and exhibitions. Not only an acclaimed visual artist in his thirties, Semple is also a curator, whose projects include London’s Anti-Design Festival with Neville Brody, Mindful at the Old Vic tunnels and different international group exhibitions.

He is represented by Fabien Castanier Gallery.

Stuart Semple works and lives in London and Dorset.

All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015My Sonic YouthFabien Castanier, Los AngelesSolo
2015My Happy PlaceCoventry Centre of Contemporary Art, The Pod & Millennium ScreenSolo
2015Ghosts: How We Live in the FutureFine Art Society Contemporary, LondonGroup
2014Anxiety GenerationDelahunty, LondonSolo
2014The Macmillan De’Longhi Arts ProgrammePallant HouseGroup
2014Bad BoyNew Arts Projects, LondonGroup
2014Night At The MuseumMoscowGroup
2014First FortnightDublinGroup
2013Suspend DisbeliefThe Heritage Rooms, Victoria House, LondonSolo
2013Every Now And Then I Fall ApartART13, LondonSolo
2013ArticulateVictoria Miro, LondonGroup
2013The CloudDe Meerse, NetherlandsGroup
2012Everlasting Nothing LessGalleria UNO+UNO, MilanSolo
2012It’s Hard to be a Saint in this CityThe Space, Hong KongSolo
2012JahresringeSchloss Wiesen, GermanyGroup
2012Group ShowFIEDE Collection, GermanyGroup
2012AKA PeaceICA, LondonGroup
2012EchoesFine Art Society Contemporary, LondonGroup
2012London Art FairFine Art SocietyGroup
2011Polemically SmallCharlie Smith, LondonGroup
2011MindfulOld Vic Tunnels, LondonGroup
2011Re:DefineGoss-Michael Foundation, DallasGroup
2011Art HK11Hong KongGroup
2011Polemically SmallTorrance Art Museum, CaliforniaGroup
2011MOMACGloustershire, Roberta Moore ContemporaryGroup
2011DesirePortman Gallery, LondonGroup
2010The Happy HouseMorton Metropolis, LondonSolo
2010The Metal BallMuseum of Arts and Design, New YorkGroup
2010Art HK10Hong KongGroup
2010Kate Brandt PinkUniversity of Wisconsin – MilwaukeeGroup
2010Nobody gets to see the Wizard. Not No One Not No HowAnna Kustera, NYCGroup
2009Lipstick VogueThe Cat Street Gallery, Hong KongSolo
2009Everlasting Nothing LessAnna Kustera, New YorkSolo
2009Born To RunTerminal Crociere, BariSolo
2009Scope Art FairMiamiGroup
2009Gold RushRoberta Moore Contemporary, LondonGroup
2009Group ShowPavilion of Art & Design, LondonGroup
2009Art HK09Hong KongGroup
2008Cult of DenimSelfridges, LondonSolo
2008Pop DiscipleAUS18 Gallery, MilanSolo
2008Group ShowRuby Green Foundation, NashvilleGroup
2008Signal 8The Cat Street Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2008Art KessarisMykonos, GreeceGroup
2008Next Art FairChicagoGroup
2008Art HK08Hong KongGroup
2008RomanceKowalsky Gallery, LondonGroup
2008Group ShowBergamo Arte Fiera, BergamoGroup
2008Urbanity on PaperAnna Kustera Gallery, NYCGroup
2007Fake Plastic Love part ITruman Brewery, LondonSolo
2007Fake Plastic Love part IIMartin Summers Fine Art, LondonSolo
2007Do You NomiAUS18 Gallery, MilanGroup
2007Art MiamiMiamiGroup
2007Multiples 1Architecture + Design Museum, Los AngelesGroup
2006EpiphanyMartin Summers Fine Art, LondonSolo
2006I’ll Be Your MirrorPrimo Alonso Gallery, LondonGroup
2006Group ShowXiclet Gallery, Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao PauloGroup
2006I’ll Be Your MirrorIndependents Biennial, LiverpoolGroup
2006Irresistible PaintA&D Gallery, LondonGroup
2005Post Pop ParadiseSKIT, LondonSolo
2005Art of Love 2005Oxo Gallery, LondonGroup
2004International ArtExpoMexicoGroup
2003Pop CultureBeatrice Royal, HampshireGroup
2002Stolen LanguageThe Art of Nancyboy A&D Gallery, LondonSolo
2000Nancyboy PaintingsPause, LondonSolo
2000Nancyboy PaintingsBLU, BournemouthSolo