Chatham, b.1959

Billy Childish

Billy Childish is known for his introspective, autobiographical, and deeply emotional paintings, writing, and music. After leaving secondary school at age 16, Childish worked at the Naval Dockyard in Chatham as an apprentice stonemason. Initially denied an interview to the local art school, he produced hundreds of drawings that gained him entry to London’s Saint Martin's School of Art. Childish's defiance of authority led to his eventual expulsion from art school in 1981. Since then, Childish has gained something of a cult status worldwide, writing and publishing five novels and more than 40 volumes of confessional poetry, recording more than 150 LPs, and painting several hundred works. Through all of these disciplines, Childish addresses social, political, and personal issues such as war, protest, his turbulent childhood, and his struggles with...

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Biography

Billy Childish is known for his introspective, autobiographical, and deeply emotional paintings, writing, and music. After leaving secondary school at age 16, Childish worked at the Naval Dockyard in Chatham as an apprentice stonemason. Initially denied an interview to the local art school, he produced hundreds of drawings that gained him entry to London’s Saint Martin's School of Art. Childish's defiance of authority led to his eventual expulsion from art school in 1981. Since then, Childish has gained something of a cult status worldwide, writing and publishing five novels and more than 40 volumes of confessional poetry, recording more than 150 LPs, and painting several hundred works. Through all of these disciplines, Childish addresses social, political, and personal issues such as war, protest, his turbulent childhood, and his struggles with addiction. While his confessional poetry and music explore these issues with startling honesty, Childish’s paintings are more subtle. His subjects are often drawn from his environment or are people he knows or admires: birch forests, self-portraits, a lone figure in a pastoral English landscape, and his wife as a reclining female nude. Childish works quickly and intuitively, making spare marks on raw canvas that leave much of it visible. He identifies with artists who worked outside a group or movement, intrigued by their outsider roles in society, such as Vincent van Gogh, Kurt Schwitters, and Edvard Munch. Labeling himself a “radical traditionalist,” Childish has a reverence for traditional oil painting yet has resolutely resisted any connection with a particular group or artistic movement.

Childish attended Medway College of Design, Kent in 1977 and Saint Martin’s School of Art, London in 1978. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at Rochester Art Gallery, Kent, United Kingdom (2016); Opelvillen Rüsselsheim, Frankfurt, Germany (2016); White Columns, New York (2010); and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2010). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include BILLY CHILDISH, HARRY ADAMS and EDGEWORTH JOHNSTONE: Our Friend Larionov, Pushkin House, London (2014); Paintings Sweet Paintings, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aache, Germany (2014); and British Art Show 5, City Art Centre, Edinburgh (2000).

Artworks

7

cave, 2019

Related Categories

21st Century Art / Abstract and Figurative / Art of the 2010s / Autobiographical Approach / Charcoal / Charcoal on Linen / Daily Life Experience / Dreamlike Imagery / Face/Body (Human Figures) / Fairytale Imagery / Figurative Painting / Figures in Nature / Floral Painting / Flowers/Plants/Trees / Fluid Brushstrokes / Forests/Mountains / Landscape Painting / Leisure/Vacation / Lyrical Expression / Nature / Oil and Charcoal on Linen / Oil on Linen / Oil Paint / Oil Painting / Painting / Political Issues / Rhythmic Expression / Riverscape/Seascape / Short and Quick Brushstrokes / Social Issues / Socio-political Issues / Still Life / Surrounding Environment / Unconsciousness/Subconsciousness / Versatile Talents

Curriculum Vitae

Education

  • 1978

    St. Martins School of Art, London

  • 1977

    Medway College of Design, Kent

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2020

    remember all the / high and exalted things / remember all the low / and broken things, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

  • 2017

    mountain view house, Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas, TX

  • 2016

    Billy Childish in Print (A Survey), Rochester Art Gallery, Kent, United Kingdom

Group Exhibitions

  • 2016

    Our Friend Larionov, All-Russian Decorative Art Museum, Moscow, Russia

  • 2015

    Das Unendliche im Endlichen. Romantik und Gegenwart, Kunstsammlung Jena, Jena, Germany

  • Future Seasons Past, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

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Curriculum Vitae

The artist CV shows the details after 2000s.
To access the artist’s full CV, please click the download button at the end.

Education

  • 1978

    St. Martins School of Art, London

  • 1977

    Medway College of Design, Kent

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2020

    remember all the / high and exalted things / remember all the low / and broken things, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

  • 2017

    mountain view house, Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas, TX

  • 2016

    Billy Childish in Print (A Survey), Rochester Art Gallery, Kent, United Kingdom

  • the house at grass valley, Carl Freedman Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • Opelvillen Rüsselsheim, Frankfurt, Germany

  • 2015

    billy childish at cactus garden, Galleria Paolo Curti / Annamaria Gambuzzi & Co., Milan, Italy

  • flowers, nudes and birch trees, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

  • at segantini’s hut, neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany

  • 2014

    Pushkin House, London, United Kingdom

  • edge of the forest, Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong

  • 2013

    darkness was here yesterday, Carl Freedman Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • all apparent achievements and misdemeanours are non defining, neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany

  • paintings that change the universe like digging in the gutter with a broken lolly stick, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

  • Animal Totems, Lying Poets and Other Mundane Renditions in Paint, International Art Objects, Los Angeles, CA

  • 2012

    Billy Childish. Frozen estuary and Other Paintings of the Divine Ordinary, Part II, Hoxton Arches, London, United Kingdom

  • Billy Childish. Frozen estuary and Other Paintings of the Divine Ordinary, The Gallery: No.I, The Smithery, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, United Kingdom

  • Billy Childish. Strange Bravery, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea

  • L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London, United Kingdom

  • Neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany

  • 2011

    I am the Billy Childish, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

  • 2010

    Works on paper, L-13 Light Industrial Workshop and Private Ladies and Gentlemen's Club for Art, Leisure and the Disruptive Betterment of Culture, London, United Kingdom

  • Billy Childish, the soft ashes of berlin snowing on hans fallada's nose, neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany

  • Billy Childish. I am their damaged megaphone, neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany, Art|Basel 41, Basel, Switzerland

  • Bomb grammar/writings, editions, ideas, Maison de la Poesie, Basel, Switzerland

  • Billy Childish: Unknowable but Certain, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, United Kingdom

  • White Columns, New York, NY

  • 2009

    High Atlas, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Christ Church University, Canterbury, United Kingdom

  • 2008

    I Fill All Of Your Dreams, The Aquarium L-13, Clerkenwell, London, United Kingdom

  • 2004

    Simon Finch Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • Handing the Loaded Revolver to the Enemy: Homage to Vincent Van Gogh, Aquarium Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • 2003

    L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Group Exhibitions

  • 2016

    Our Friend Larionov, All-Russian Decorative Art Museum, Moscow, Russia

  • 2015

    Das Unendliche im Endlichen. Romantik und Gegenwart, Kunstsammlung Jena, Jena, Germany

  • Future Seasons Past, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

  • The Islanders, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, Denmark Horizon, Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong, China

  • Blue Pink Black, Carl Freedman Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • 2014

    Paintings Sweet Paintings, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany

  • BILLY CHILDISH, HARRY ADAMS and EDGEWORTH JOHNSTONE: Our Friend Larionov, Pushkin House, London, United Kingdom

  • St. Moritz Art Masters, St. Moritz and Engadin, Switzerland

  • 2012

    I Followed You into the Water, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

  • 2011

    On Shuffle, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY

  • A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, Galerie Reinhard Hauff, Stuttgart, Germany

  • 2010

    Infiltrations, L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • Polemically Small, curated by Edward Lucie-Smith, Charlie Smith, London, United Kingdom

  • 2009

    I Am the Good Artist, L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • With or Without God, L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • 2000

    British Art Show 5, City Art Centre, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Inverleith House – Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Stills, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; John Hansard Gallery, Southhampton, United Kingdom; Millais Gallery – Southhampton Institute, Southhampton, United Kingdom; Southhampton City Art Gallery, Southhampton, United Kingdom; Centre for Visual Art, Cardiff, United Kingdom; Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, United Kingdom; Ffotogallery, Cardiff, United Kingdom; National Museum & Gallery, Cardiff, United Kingdom; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, United Kingdom; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Filmography

  • 2005

    Billy Childish Is Dead

  • 2004

    Brass Monkey

  • 2003

    Shooting at the Moon

  • 2002

    The Flying Mustache

Residencies

  • 2011

    Chatham Dockyard, Kent, United Kingdom

  • 2010

    Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, United Kingdom

Publications

  • 2013

    “Billy Childish: painting that change the universe like digging in the gutter with a broken lolly stick,” Koenig Books, Ltd, London

  • “Boxed Set 2013,” Koenig Books, London

  • 2012

    “Frozen Estuary and Other Paintings of the Divine Ordinary,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London

  • 2011

    “The Stonemason,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London

  • “Paraffin Van” (Also published under the title ‘I Fuckt Frida Kahlo’ as a Faber and Faber lookalike.)

  • “Forgotten Letters: An Anthology of Dyslexic Writing,” R.A.S.P., London

  • “Dwang 3,” Tangerine Press, Tooting

  • Brown, Neal, “Billy Childish: a short study,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London

  • 2010

    “Dwang 2,” Tangerine Press, Tooting

  • “Colour Blinds Music Deafens Taste Burns My Throat and the Poets Massacre,” Tangerine Press, Tooting

  • “Love the Art Hate,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London

  • “The Soft Ashes of Berlin Snowing on Hans Fallada’s Nose,” Neugerriemshneider, Berlin

  • 2009

    “Selected Poems: Penguin Classic “Art” Edition,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London

  • “The Uncorrected Billy Chyldish,” Tangerine Press, Tooting

  • “Unknowable but Certain,” Blackheath Books, London “Dwang 1,” Tangerine Press, Tooting

  • “The Hedonist’s Guide to Life,” Filmer Ltd, London “Penny-Ante: Three,” Los Angeles

  • “Punk Fiction: An Anthology of Short Stories Inspired by Punk, Portico, London Nineteen Raptures,” NB Publishing, London

  • 2008

    “Gods Fantastic Colours” - Hand stamped covers. Note: some copies appear with different titles and different author and publisher: 'Art War, Man Taken from Guts' and 'Insolunce in the Face of Art' being examples.

  • “Where the Tiger Prowls Stripped and Unseen,” The Aquarium, London “Old 4 Legs,” The Aquarium, London

  • “This is My Shit and it Smells Good to Me,” The Aquarium, London

  • 2007

    “the idiocy of idears,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London

  • 2006

    “The Edgier Waters,” Snowbooks Ltd, London

  • 2005

    “A River Anthology,” Urban Fox Press, Chatham

  • “Bagazine No. 1,” X-Ray Book Company, Ventura

  • “9 Stories of the River Medway Recounted in the Language of Idiots for People of Little Discernment.”

  • “The River be My Blud: Medway Poems 1980-2005,” Urban Fox Press, Chatham

  • “The Man with Gallows Eyes - Selected Poetry 1980-2005,” The Aquarium, London

  • 2004

    “The 1st Green Horse God has Ever Made,” Urban Fox Press, Chatham

  • “Knite of the Sad Face, Chap Book,” The Aquarium, London

  • “Sex Crimes of the Futcher,” The Aquarium, London

  • 2003

    “Calling Things by Their Proper Names,” Hangman Books, Chatham

  • “The Boss of All English Riters,” Hangman Books, Chatham

  • “Evidence Against Myself,” Hangman Books, Chatham

  • 2000

    “Chatham Town Welcomes Desperate Men,” Hangman Books, Chatham

Bibliography

  • 2016

    Kessler, Ted. “Billy Childish,” Q Magazine, August.

  • Fleming, Amy. “Billy Childish: musician, painter and poet,” Financial Times, 15 April.

  • 2015

    Schultz, Charlie. “Billy Childish: Lehmann Maupin,” Modern Painters, December.

  • “Goings On About Town: Billy Childish at Lehmann Maupin,” The New Yorker, 5 October.

  • Siegel, Robert Anthony. “I Just Paint,” the Paris Review, 14 September.

  • 2014

    Mathieson, Frankie, “Billy Childish on Creativity,” AnOther Magazine, 21 August.

  • Lam, Apple, “Dots and dashes,” The Standard HK, 2 May.

  • McHugh, Fionnuala, “Billy the kid,” South China Morning Post, 6 April, p. 26 – 28.

  • 2013

    Sharp, Rob, “REVIEW: Billy Childish, ‘Darkness Was Here Yesterday,’” ArtInfo, 20 September.

  • Dineen, Norah, “What’s left behind, what’s still working well & methods of transcendence: an interview with Billy Childish,” ARTslant, 24 April.

  • Massara, Kathleen, “Billy Childish Interview on Stuckism, Humor and Moustaches,” The Huffington Post, 8 April.

  • Martinez, Alanna, “One-Line Reviews: Pithy take on Gordon Matta-Clark, Elliott Hundley, and More,” ArtInfo, 5 April.

  • Diamond, Jason, “The Art of Billy Childish,” Flavorwire, 4 April.

  • Russeth, Andrew, Michael Miller and Dan Duray, “9 Things to do in NY’s Art World Before April 1,” GalleristNY, 26 March.

  • “Billy Childish: I’ve upset Kylie and Jack White and my name’s in Tracey Emin’s tent,” Metro UK, 11 March.

  • da Silva, Jose, “Interview with Billy Childish,” The White Review, 10 March.

  • 2011

    Wolin, Joseph R, “Billy Childish, ‘I Am the Billy Childish,’” TimeOut New York, 8 - 14 December.

  • “Billy Childish,” The New Yorker, Winter.

  • “I am the Billy Childish,” Whitewall Daily, 15 November.

  • Michaels, Susan, “Billy Childish Talks Van Gogh and His Definitions of the Word ‘Amateur,’” Huffington Post Arts, 13 November.

  • Fateman, Johanna, “Billy Childish,” Artforum, November.

  • “26 Questions for Artist, Poet, and Musician Billy Childish,” ArtInfo: International Edition, 31 October.

  • Russeth, Andrew, “Life After Thee Milkshakes,” New York Observer, 31 October.

  • Bartholomew, Emma, “Cult Artist Billy Childish’s Work to Feature in Hometown Exhibition,” Hackney Gazette, 31 August.

  • Mulvey, John, “Childish Pursuits,” Living.scotsman.com, 11 May.

  • Walleston, Aimee, “Billy Childish Rises Above,” Art In America, 3 January.

  • 2010

    Yablonsky, Linda, “Artifacts | Art Frazle,” The Moment online, 20 June.

  • Tully, Judd, “The Market Cooks at Art Basel, Sometimes at a Simmer, Sometimes at a Boil,” Artinfo.com, 16 June.

  • Russeth, Andrew, “In New York: Opening this Armory Week,” Artinfo.com, 3 March.

  • Guner, Fisun, “Stuck Record,” New Statesman, 25 February.

  • Luke, Ben, “Exhibitions; What Else is New...,” Evening Standard, 26 February.

  • Jones, Jonathan, “Review: Visual Art: Billy Childish ICA, London 3/5,” The Guardian, 20 February.

  • Machell, Ben, “Revenge? That Would Be Childish,” The Times, 12 February.

  • 2008

    Flintoff, John-Paul, “That's Just Childish,” Sunday Time, 12 October.

  • Lack, Jessica, “The Guide: Theatre: Billy Childish: I Fill All of Your Dreams: London,” The Guardian, 15 March.

  • 2007

    McDermott, Leon, “Musician, Artist and Poet - Though He Spurns Those Labels - Billy Childish Explains His Love of a World Long Lost and Why He Doesn't Want to Be Famous,” Sunday Herald, 22 April.

  • 2006

    O’Brien, James, “The Revolution Will Not be Publicized,” Gentlemen’s Quarterly, March.

  • Ribas, Joao, “Billy Childish,” Artinfo.com, 7 February.

  • 2004

    Guner, Fisun, “Billy Childish: We Are All Phonies,” Modern Painters, Spring.

  • 2002

    Mulvey, John, “Childish Pursuits,” The Scotsman, 10 May.

  • 2001

    Johnson, Phil, "Broomhill Art Hotel: sculpture garden and art gallery, Barnstable, North Devon," Art Review, 1 February.

  • 2000

    Hunt, Ian, “British Art Show 5,” Art Monthly, 1 May.