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Statement and CV

Daddy only Hits You because He Loves You so much
Blue Woman
Isolation Street
Passenger on a Cloud
Midnight in the Hotel Suburbia (detail)
Statement and CV

Born: 23.7.81, Lewisham, London (real name Stephen Howarth)
Education: St. Christopher's School, Letchworth; Camberwell College of Arts
Fridge Gallery, Brixton; Black Spot, Clapham; Ace of Clubs, Clapham; Oom Pa Pa, Clapham; Rivington Gallery, Hoxton; Worthing Library; Newcastle Arts Centre; Stuckism International, Hoxton
Publications (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

Artist's Statement: It's 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.

Like 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.

Vote Stuckist show 2001
In 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'.

During 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 sold.

The 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 education.

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