Artist and designer Philip Colbert, whose surrealist clothes have been worn by Lady Gaga and Rita Ora, brings pop art back to British painting with a new show that comments on consumerist culture, climate change and our appetite for social media.
Scottish born Colbert, who has worked across music, fashion and design, says his large-scale oil paintings interweave art history references with Internet and social media images, such as emojis and like buttons, in bright cartoon-like collages featuring his lobster alter-ego.
“People are consuming art a lot through phones and the computer so I like the idea that those elements are reflected in my paintings,” he said at his at his studio in London, where his latest show is running at the Saatchi Gallery.
His preoccupation with digital media has led Colbert to create a virtual reality world to explore the boundaries of art.
“It’s a language you can create and it can be free from the realities that we, that exist in, in normal life and that’s the beauty of it, the potential freedom.”
Colbert’s work has won acclaim from the world of fashion and music and has been shown in Japan and China, where the opening of his exhibition drew 10,000 people.
“I had my image on skyscrapers, we took over every billboard in every airport in China, we took over (Sina) Weibo, the homepage of Weibo, my artwork and my head sort of popping up for one day, which is insane.”