Billy Childish

Billy Childish (born in 1959) is one of the most productive contemporary British artists. In addition to painting which as he says is his “main job”, he is also a poet, singer, guitarist, film maker and photographer. Though he was close with many members of the Young British Artists (YBAs) group, he never become one. On the contrary, in 1999 Childish co-founded the so-called Stuckism movement as an opposition to conceptual art and Charles Saatchi-supported YBAs. However, he wasn’t an active Stuckist for long and left the group in 2001 although he continues to support many ideas of the movement which grew into an international art movement.

A Short Biography

Childish was born in Chatham, Kent where he currently lives and works. When he was 16, he dropped out of school. After being refused by a local art college for lack of qualifications, he became an apprentice stonemason at the Chatham Dockyard. Rejection by the art college didn’t discourage him from his artistic endeavour and during the six months of his apprenticeship, he produced hundreds of drawings. And these enabled him to enrol into the Saint Martin’s School of Art (today’s Central Saint Martins) in London. However, he never completed the course and was expelled for disorderly behaviour.

While attending the Saint Martin’s School of Art, he became friends with another future prominent contemporary British artist Peter Doig who was later co-curator of Childish’ first show at the London’s Cubit Street Gallery.

An Overview of Childish’ Artistic Career

Childish has been exhibiting his artworks extensively since the late 1970s. His paintings were included in solo and group exhibitions in art galleries worldwide including New York, Berlin and Seoul. In 2000, Childish’ work was included in the British Art Show which is held every five years to present the finest works of contemporary British art.

In 2010, he exhibited at the ICA in London and White Columns Gallery in New York. One year later, Childish exhibited in the Regents Park Tube station during the Frieze Art Fair, one of the most internationally renowned contemporary art fairs that is held annually in October. Most recently he exhibited in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and London.

In addition to creating hundreds of paintings, Childish also published 5 novels and over 40 poetry collections as well as released approximately 150 LPs.