Artist Assistants

There was absolutely no creative input at all...as we did our daily penance - Jake & Dinos Chapman


There’s an ongoing controversy of sorts regarding who does the work in Art? The Artist’s Assistant is all but invisible. I wanted to explore this and had started this in preparation for a launch at Oxford ArtWeeks. Then Stewart Jeffries wrote in The Guardian (23/03/13)

But what’s most striking about the artist-assistant relationship is how it is airbrushed from public consciousness. Behind every great artist might well be a highly skilled team of assistants, but that truth is suppressed for fear of shattering our illusions: the lone-genius myth helps sales, and is partly what gives an artwork its mystique.

I was certain that I could play with this theme and adding other ideas along the way:

  • Scale – The subject versus the Artist
  • Completion – when is a work finished?
  • Fake ‘Art’ i.e. Paint by numbers. Even Andy Warhol played with this one…

The finished pieces typically show one or more figures in the process of completing a Painting using numbers as their guide. Additional physical supports are sometimes added. Current subjects are:

  • Paris
  • London
  • New York
  • Horses
  • Van Gogh’s Sunflowers
  • Van Gogh’s Starry Night
  • Pandas
  • Elephants
  • Seashore
  • Lighthouse

I am complementing this over time with creating original panels of blue outline and numbering at very large scales. The final expression will be a 50x scale size substrate with a human sized figure (real or not) as a work in progress subject to suitable event or location.

Any comments on this project or if you are interested in discussing a suitable venue for the large-scale work please Contact me.


Status: Ongoing. Made to order
Size: Standard size framed with gallery 38mm stretchers approx 460 x 360 mm (18 x 14 inches)
Price: £90 (+shipping)
Year: 2012+
Website: Not yet. 


I have also been using miniature people for a series of quite different explorations in the landscape. These are being presented on other Project pages. See:
Lilliputians at Work
Microworlds – Figures in a Landscape