CHILDISH, Billy

Billy Childish   British 1959-

Billy Childish is an English prolific poet, author, musician, photographer, filmmaker, guitarist, painter and a ‘Stuckist’. Childish left secondary education at the age of 16, an undiagnosed Dyslexic, and started training to become an apprentice Stonemason. As a prospective student lacking the necessary entry qualifications, due to his dyslexia, Childish was accepted into art school on the strength of his paintings and drawings. He did a foundation year at Medway College of Design (now the University for the Creative Arts) in 1977–78, and was then accepted onto the painting department of Saint Martin’s at St Martins in 1980, but was expelled in 1982 for refusing to paint in the art school. At Saint Martin’s, Childish became friends with Peter Doig.  Doig later co-curated Childish’s first London show at the Cubit Street Gallery. Childish was a “major influence” on the artist Tracey Emin. He met Emin after his expulsion from Saint Martin’s when she was a fashion student at Medway College of Design. Childish has been cited as the influence for Emin’s later confessional art. Childish has exhibited extensively since the 1980s, and was featured in the British Art Show in 2000. In 2010, a major exhibition of Childish’s paintings, writing and music was held at The ICA London, with a concurrent painting show running at White Columns Gallery in New York.

In October 2012, alongside Art Below, Childish presented his work at the exhibition ‘Art Below Regents Park’ in Regent’s Park Tube station to coincide with Frieze Art Fair,  one of the most important international contemporary art fairs that takes place each October in London. Since then has had many exhibitions over Europe and the UK, several shows at the Carl Freedman Gallery in Margate. Carl Freedman, another ex-partner of Tracy Emin.

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