Born in Dorset in 1980, Stuart Semple became an artist after a traumatic near death experience at the age of 19 whilst studying Fine Art at Breton Hall in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Since 2000 Semple has enjoyed a successful artistic career in which he been the subject of 15 international solo exhibitions. He has featured in over 40 group shows and major public art projects.
In Stuart Semple’s works, the emotional and spiritual impact of mass culture on the individual are re-imagined with a playful, exuberant and sociological language.
Semple’s hybrid compositions often comprise of disparate appropriated and found elements which he weaves into alluring surfaces that encapsulate a deep critical analysis of contemporary culture. His world is one of low-culture internet trash, 90s nickelodeon colour palettes. indie music, obscure music videos and cultural theory straight out of the 60s Frankfurt school.
Working across painting, film, public art, sculpture and installation, during the past 16 years Semple has bought a unique voice to the issues facing his ‘millennial’ generation particularly through his perspectives on anxiety, the impact of technology and the image world itself.
Semple’s work has been the subject of a number of major international solo exhibitions which include, ‘Fake Plastic Love’, Truman Brewery, London (2007). ‘Pop Disciple’, Aus18, Milan (2008), ‘Everlasting Nothing Less’, Anna Kustera, New York (2009), ‘The Happy House’, Morton Metropolis, London (2010), ‘It’s Hard To Be A Saint In This City’, Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong (2012), ‘Suspend Disbelief’, The Heritage Rooms, London (2013), ‘Anxiety Generation’, Delahunty, London (2014) and ‘My Sonic Youth’, Fabien Castanier, Los Angeles (2015).
Semple came to public attention in 2009 through his public art project ‘HappyCloud’ in which he released thousands of smiley faced clouds made from soap and helium from Tate Modern towards the city of London. A public art project that has since been repeated in Milan during Salone De Mobile, Moscow & Dublin. Other public artworks have included ‘Jump’ for the City of Melbourne in which he installed a giant inflatable bouncy sculpture in Federation Square and last year ‘My Happy Place’ for Coventry Center for Contemporary Art.
Semple regularly participates in curated group shows, fairs, biennials and charity projects, through which his works have been exhibited at ICA, Victoria Miro, The Goss-Michael Foundation, Sotheby’s, Sammlung Fide, The Fine Art Society, Torrance Art Museum, Pallant House, and the Museum of Art and Design, NYC.
As a keen collaborator he has worked on several artistic projects outside his usual practice with partners including Moncler, Bulgari, Selfridges, Placebo, The Prodigy and Umbro.
His works have been featured across the media in Modern painters, The Guardian, Time Out, Independent, Observer, Vanity Fair, BBC news, i-D, Blue Peter, Tatler, Esquire, Italian Vogue, Elle, Dazed & Confused, Evening Standard, The Metro, Harpers, The Sunday Times, South China Morning Post, The Week and several other publications.
Semple regularly speaks on his art, mental health and artists’ rights and has appeared at the ICA, Frieze London, The Royal Drawing School, Jerwood Space, Oxford University, Royal College of Art, Central St. Martins, Denver Art Museum and Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Stuart has also written for The Guardian, Huffington Post, Phoenix Magazine, Who’s Jack and held a regular column in Art of England for several years. He has also presented the BBC’s Art & Design learning series ‘Bitesize’.
In 2011 Stuart Semple became an ambassador for Mind, the mental health charity where he initiated a creative therapies fund. He curated a fundraising exhibition at the Old Vic Tunnels featuring works by Tracey Emin, Matt Collishaw, Sarah Lucas and the Chapman Brothers amongst others, the exhibition launch was co-hosted by Stephen Fry and Lord Melvyn Bragg. The fund now supports creative therapies thought England and Wales. In 2015 he went on to to produce the Amazon bestselling book ‘My Happy Colouring Flip Book’ to further support the fund.
Stuart Semple now lives and works in Dorset, England.