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Simon Underhill

My work features characters derived from my constant doodling that comment on the isolation and fragility of the human condition. These vulnerable figures occupy a space alien to themselves. Many of the characters are without dignity and are undertaking bizarre rituals outside of social conventions that leave them exposed emotionally and pßåhysically to the voyeurs gaze. I try to create a surreal comic underworld that is corrupt but also innocent, funny and tragic. Sometimes the characters have religious overtones, others suffers from physical deformities and imperfections. I think its far more fun to allude to a more ambiguous meaning in my work. I created two selections of illustrations for the String Republic last year, Ugly Angel and Toothpaste, both designed to represent the darker, twisted yet vulnerable side of the human psyche. Hopefully this is something that everyone can relate to, at least on some subconscious level.


I love the process of drawing and this is always the initial stage of the images that I produce. I collect books of cuttings and drawings, which I select from to suit the project that I am working on. I also love the use of serendipitous textures and images, which I collect from random sources. My favourite creative tools are a photocopier and a sketchbook. This is all mixed up digitally to create a range of final variations. I like to bounce between the physical and digital workspace. Sometimes my work retains an idiosyncratic, hand-drawn quality. Others times I may stick hand-drawn sketches through Flash and use the Optimise facility to produce digitally random alterations.


I draw inspiration from a variety of experiences. As I child I was obsessed with comics and textbook illustrations and cartoons. As student Constructivism and Futurism fascinated me and this was a large influence on my work. I am also really into Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Kurt Schwitters. I feel that we are living in a creative revolution and there is so much good work being produced at the moment it makes my head spin. I love a wide and varied selection of contemporary artists including Andy Smith, Eduardo Recife (Misprinted Type), Andrew Rae and Luke Whittaker to name a but a few.

Simon Underhill