1



Billy Childish

  • English artist
  • Born December 1, 1959

Billy Childish (born Steven John Hamper, 1 December 1959) is an English painter, author, poet, photographer, film maker, singer and guitarist. Since the late 1970s, Childish has been prolific in creating music, writing and visual art. He has led and played in bands including the Pop Rivets, Thee Milkshakes, Thee Headcoats, and the Musicians of the British Empire, primarily working in the genres of garage rock, punk and surf and releasing more than 100 albums. He is a consistent advocate for amateurism and free emotional expression.


We are not actually in charge of life, yet behave as if we are the masters of our own destiny. The realization of this fact is quite a hard one. The ridiculousness of our pomposity and presumption can only result in anger or humor.




I've always liked New York, as I like towns with an edge and New York has a European feel, so when I came to play music here in the '80s it was a surprise to me.




I'm not trying to achieve perfection. I don't like this forced control people have over work.




I'm going to get a pair of wire-snips, and I've also started a new campaign to have blank CDs on jukeboxes so you can play the silence.




I've not been an admirer of contemporary music since punk rock went off the boil in 1977, but once a year I'll listen to 'Spiral Scratch' by the Buzzcocks, or 'Hippy Hippy Shake' by the Swinging Blue Jeans. Otherwise, I can put up with Chopin or shakuhachi flute in the background.




I coined this term 'freedom thru limitation' back in the '90s because I was sick of art being treated like pop, because of this boring 'anything can be art' theory.




I did not like prizes at school. I didn't like tests or exams, or the 11+, or O-levels. Later I hated B.A.s and M.A.s. The reason I hated them is that I don't like being tested, failed or falsely praised by anyone.




I like feeling at home and knowing people. I like talking about ideas and being friendly.




People could live very happily without the Turner Prize, but they could not live without real communication and emotion.




A moustache to a man is the same as a fringe is to a woman. When you've got it, you want to grow it out; when you've grown it out, you want to cut it.




Failure is fantastic, because you meet yourself and get to know your limitations. This is how I express myself, and I can't do it any other way.




Being a fan of authentic Dada, I find today's art - what I call 'Bankers' Dada' - mind-numbingly dull. The most challenging work I've seen of late is by The British Art Resistance. Their document, 'A Call for Heroes in an Age of Cowards', is apt in these days of witless chancers.




I think that the mythology of Van Gogh's life, and the beauty of his paintings, is unstoppable.




I've dubbed myself as an amateur, not because I work in different field, but because I do what I do for love.




I make sure I make a painting - that's my job. And I cook the Sunday dinner.




I don't spend a lot of time working if I can help it.




I liked drawing and painting, because the only failure would be to listen to the doubters who wanted me to stop drawing and painting because 'you aren't going to make a living doing that.' I liked looking in art books at the work of painters.




My favourite things are jokes, friendliness and feeling comfortable.



1