23.7.81, Lewisham, London (real name Stephen Howarth)
Education: St. Christopher's School, Letchworth; Camberwell
College of Arts
Gallery, Brixton; Black Spot, Clapham; Ace of Clubs, Clapham;
Oom Pa Pa, Clapham; Rivington Gallery, Hoxton; Worthing Library;
Newcastle Arts Centre; Stuckism International, Hoxton
(poetry): 'Poet, Painter, Pervert' (Coffin Press); 'Noteless
Nocturnes to the Never-Ending Night' (Coffin Press)
Collections: private collections
Other activities: Performance poet - readings at over
30 London venues
a shameless obsession with sex and violence, because they're
the physical manifestations of love and hate, which are the
strongest emotions. It's analysing the the theatre of conflict
and erotica through the fantasies and daydreams of a proud
outsider, who would be unable to relate to the 'real world'
even if he wanted to.
Notes on 'Daddy only Hits You because He Loves You so much':
This painting is examination of child abuse seen through
the eyes of the victim dreaming. The three houses on the left
hand side depict the suburban backdrop as a horrific mundane
landscape where individuality is not easily tolerated and
the bland exterior world hides horrors that can occur behind
closed doors. The three faces on the right hand side depict
the family of the victim as horrific alien creatures. The
central figure represents an avenging angel coming to comfort
the victim and at the same time to destroy all the external
factors that are causing the torment.
much of my work, this painting was painted on a piece of scrap
wood found in a street or skip, and was painted in one sitting
over the course of a single night. In this case I used acrylic,
mixing the paint directly onto the board. They dry quickly
this way and it saves the paint from drying on the palette.
Stuckist show 2001
2001 SP was an exhibitor in the Vote Stuckist show in the
Fridge Gallery Brixton, where Stella
Vine's work was first shown to the public. She bought
the painting Face in the Window (left) by him. A photo
of him with Charles Thomson and Stella Vine is on this
page. SP also took part in the Stuckist
demonstration that year in Trafalgar Square at the unveiling
of Rachel Whiteread's sculpture.
S.P. Howarth v Camberwell College of Arts: I studied
Foundation and stayed on for the first year of the Painting
Degree. At the end of my first year I was failed in all six
assessments and told I had to leave. This was fine by me because
by that time I had already decided to leave.
I was told I had been failed, because I had not done any work.
When I said that I had brought my work in for assessment and
that there were paintings in my space, I was told that they
didn't count as work, because they didn't show development
of ideas. I said that my idea was to paint spontaneously and
express what I felt. I was told that this was not an acceptable
idea in 'contemporary practice'.
my last assesment a tutor asked me why I had painted a certain
picture. "Because I felt like it, " I replied. "Yes,
but WHY did you paint it THIS way?" they probed. "Because
I felt like it" I repeated. "Do you know why you
felt like it?" they asked. "No," I replied.
Tutors would constantly remind me that Camberwell was an 'ideas-based
college' and that I was on an 'ideas-driven course'. However,
when I expressed my ideas in essays, I was asked to re-write
them and tone down my opinions. When I asked why, I was told
it was because the tutors did not agree with the ideas. In
the end I had to ask "so I can only have ideas or opinions
if you agree with them?"
'S.P. Howarth v Camberwell College of Arts' becomes national
news: shortly after S.P. left Camberwell, his work sufficiently
impressed us at Stuckism International, for him to be offered
a one-man show in our basement gallery, prior to our official
launch. The show was called 'I Don't Want a Painting Degree
if it Means Not Painting". Several pieces were quickly
Times newspaper picked up on the story and ran a prominent
item 'Students accuse art college of failing to teach them
the basics' by Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent on 8 July
2002. It also quoted other students. Matthew Robinson said,
"Figurative work was regarded as rather twee... a lot
of the advice and tutoring was incomprehensible." Daniel
Pasteiner said that there was a complete lack of interest
in encouraging students to pursue drawing and painting. Alex
Lumley, the undergraduate programme director at the college,
countered, "It's not a technical training course."
This was followed by several letters to the Times. Shortly
afterwards, the Mail on Sunday, referred to the story and
ran a piece by Billy Childish on the current state of art