Bob and Roberta Smith, the pseudonym of artist Patrick Brill (OBE) was born in 1963 in Reading. He graduated from the University of Reading before living and working in Rome, New York and Wensleydale. He graduated from Goldsmiths with an MA in Fine Art in 1993. Known for his use of typography, Smith creates colourful slogans on banners and placards. His work reflects his political stance, particularly in regard to ‘the importance of creativity in politics and education’ and is often created in parallel to his activist campaigns. In 2013 he formed the Art Party as a means for artists and organisations to debate the concerns ‘about the Government diminishing the role of the arts and design in schools’.
Bob and Roberta Smith has exhibited his work extensively particularly in Europe and the US. Make Art Not War (1997) and Letter to Michael Gove (2011) are commonly considered his best-known works. In June 2021, in collaboration with Tate and Peabody he unveiled the ‘Thamesmead Codex’ at Cannons Retail Park. After a year of interviewing the local community, Smith transformed their conversations into 24 painted placards that sit next to a series of paintings in which he illustrates Thamesmead as it may appear in a dream. ‘Together they reveal the often-hidden stories behind a community: fascinating pasts, surprising presents and hopeful futures’. He was elected a Royal Academician in 2013 and is Associate Professor at the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design and London Metropolitan University. He hosts Make Your Own Damn Music on Resonance FM and also performs with the Ken Brasley Playboy band.
Banner image courtesy of the artist.
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