Only Artists

Only Artists is a series which takes its title from the first two sentences of The Story of Art by the renowned art historian E. H. Gombrich: 'There really is no such thing as art. There are only artists.' There is no presenter, just two artists - from different disciplines - discussing creative questions, processes or decisions. It's up to them.


0101Grayson Perry And Naomi Alderman20170405

The Turner Prize winning ceramicist Grayson Perry asks the computer game creator and novelist Naomi Alderman whether computer games can be called art.

0102Naomi Alderman And Chi-chi Nwanoku20170412

What's it like to make your art in the moment?

Novelist and writer Naomi Alderman asks classical double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku what it's like to create your art live on stage, rather than nicely tucked up with a laptop.

Only Artists is a new series which takes its title from the first two sentences of The Story of Art by the renowned art historian E. H. Gombrich: 'There really is no such thing as art. There are only artists.' There is no presenter, just two artists - from different disciplines - discussing creative questions, processes or decisions. It's up to them.

0103Chi-chi Nwanoku And Yinka Shonibare20170419

Double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku meets the artist Yinka Shonibare in his studio.

The Only Artists conversation continues, as leading double-bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku meets the artist Yinka Shonibare, to find out how he draws on his own identity in his work.

Producer Alex Mansfield.

0104Yinka Shonibare And David Adjaye20170426

The artist Yinka Shonibare meets international architect Sir David Adjaye.

The artist Yinka Shonibare meets international architect Sir David Adjaye, to consider how architecture can shape the world for the greater public good.

David Adjaye's most notable recent building is the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, which was opened by President Obama in September 2016. Since then, well over a million people have visited. David Adjaye reflects on the creation of a building which had to act both as a monument and a museum, and reveals the important role water played in his thinking, partly influenced by the words of Martin Luther King.

He also discusses how his travels throughout Africa have influenced his ideas about the fundamental role of buildings within specific landscapes and climates, and reflects on how the political power of architecture can establish a civic or national identity, using the long history of Rome as an example.

Producer Clare Walker

With original music by Brian Eno.

Series in which two artists discuss creative questions. The artist Yinka Shonibare meets international architect Sir David Adjaye.

0105Sally El Hosaini And Iain Sinclair20170503

Series in which two artists discuss creative questions.

The cultural conversation continues: this week the film director and screenwriter Sally El Hosaini meets the writer Iain Sinclair.

As a film-maker Sally records the city at one moment - so what techniques does Iain use to document his surroundings and their changes over decades?

Sally El Hosaini was born in Swansea, the daughter of a Welsh mother and an Egyptian father. Her first feature film, My Brother the Devil, won the best screenplay award from the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and numerous international prizes. Sally herself received the Best Newcomer award at the 2012 London Film Festival. My Brother the Devil charts how two brothers are drawn into gang crime in East London, where Sally has lived for for more than a decade.

The writer Iain Sinclair was born in Cardiff. Since the early 1970s, his work has focused on London and its surrounds. From his home in Hackney, he has almost obsessively walked the city's changing streets, recording details and finding patterns. For his much-acclaimed book London Orbital he followed the route of the M25 motorway on foot. He has said that his next book - The Last London - will be his final word on the capital.

Producer Alex Mansfield

Original music by Brian Eno.

0106 LASTIain Sinclair And Keggie Carew20170510

Writer Iain Sinclair meets artist Keggie Carew to talk about her book Dadland.

Writer Iain Sinclair meets artist Keggie Carew to talk about her book Dadland.

Before turning to writing, Keggie made a career as a conceptual artist, painting, running a studio space and a shop called "theworldthewayiwantit". Her first book, Dadland, won the 2016 Costa Award for Biography. It describes her long and complex investigation into the life of her father Tom, a World War 2 hero who parachuted behind enemy lines into both France and Burma, set against his decline into dementia towards the end of his life.

Original Music by Brian Eno

Produced by Alex Mansfield.

0201Keggie Carew And Richard Hawley20170621

Artist and biographer Keggie Carew meets producer and singer-songwriter Richard Hawley.

Artist and biographer Keggie Carew travels to Sheffield to meet the producer and Mercury Prize nominated singer-songwriter and guitarist Richard Hawley.

They meet at Yellow Arch Studios, where he has recorded all his albums, and talk about the way in which the city of Sheffield has inspired his work. Keggie and Richard also muse on the subject of time; how his songs often seem to stretch it, why he decided to go slow, and the importance of sharing time with their fathers towards the end of their lives.

Producer Clare Walker.


Two artists discuss creative questions.


Two artists discuss creative questions.

Comedian and painter Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) meets designer Steven Thomas, whose work includes the lavish interiors for the renowned Biba fashion superstore in London in the early 1970s - acclaimed by one newspaper as 'the most beautiful shop in the world'.

His other clients include Paul McCartney, who commissioned Steven and his design partner Tim Whitmore to create his London headquarters. Steven remembers the freedom he was given to create a retail world unlike any other, and reflects on having the confidence to say yes to creative opportunities - regardless of experience. He also outlines his belief that the pressure of a deadline and some moments of zen-like calm in the midst of a busy office can lead to the best ideas.

Producer Clare Walker
Original music by Brian Eno.


Two artists discuss creative questions.

The designer Steven Thomas meets the modern day surrealist Nancy Fouts. Nancy has been an avid collector of everyday objects since she was young - from stuffed birds to crucifixes, false teeth, insects, board games, coins, plastic toys and much more.

In her art, she often brings these objects together in surprising combinations. A stuffed budgie perches on the bar of an electric heater, an opened purse bares its teeth, a rifle is painstakingly covered in hundreds of rose thorns. Each piece is crafted and executed with precision. Nancy's home is meticulously organised - with her work on the walls, her studio in the basement, and countless cupboards full of her collections.

Producer: Clare Walker.

0206 LAST20170726

Two artists discuss creative questions.

The modern surrealist Nancy Fouts meets Rob and Nick Carter - an artist duo who are also husband and wife.

Rob and Nick work with new technology, light and photography. Realising that most gallery goers only spend seconds looking at an artwork, they make us slow down by creating three hour films in which Old Master paintings and drawings are digitally re-imagined: a Sleeping Venus breathes and opens her eyes; a frog slowly decomposes; and the insects round a vase of flowers from the Dutch Golden Age begin to fly and crawl as the blooms flutter in the breeze. Rob and Nick Carter are the only living artists to be shown alongside the Old Masters at the renowned Frick Collection in New York.

Their recent work includes Oak Grove, nine identical full-size tree stumps, cast in bronze. They are based on a drawing from 1600, and created using 3D printing along with bronze casting, to reproduce every detail of the bark and wood. The stumps are currently arranged in a circle in Kensington Gardens, London, where visitors can sit, climb or play on them.

Producer Clare Walker.

0301Kerry Andrew And Sarah Hall20171108

Musician and composer Kerry Andrew travels to meet the novelist Sarah Hall.

0302Tom Morris And Miles Chambers20171115

Tom Morris, director of Bristol Old Vic, meets Bristol's poet laureate Miles Chambers.

0303Eimear Mcbride And Viv Albertine20171122

Novelist Eimear McBride meets musician and author Viv Albertine.

0304Rose Wylie And Stewart Lee20171129

Painter Rose Wylie meets comedian Stewart Lee.

0305Angus Jackson And Nadine Shah20171206

Theatre and film director Angus Jackson meets singer-songwriter Nadine Shah.

0306 LASTJonathan Yeo And William Orbit20171213

Painter Jonathan Yeo meets music producer William Orbit.

The portrait painter Jonathan Yeo meets the music producer William Orbit.

Jonathan Yeo's subjects include David Attenborough, Malala Yousafzai, Grayson Perry and numerous Hollywood stars. He has also been an official General Election artist, and has painted Tony Blair, David Cameron and Charles Kennedy.

Musician and composer William Orbit has won worldwide renown for his work as a music producer, most notably for his recordings with Madonna. Other high-profile collaborations include work with Blur, U2 and Britney Spears, along with albums he has released under his own name. He began by setting up his own studio, with equipment bought from a nearby junk shop.

Series producers Alex Mansfield and Clare Walker.

0401Mark Haddon And Tai Shan Schierenberg20180228

The writer Mark Haddon meets the portrait and landscape artist Tai Shan Schierenberg. They talk about the connection between painting and short stories, capturing the English landscape and creative flow.

Mark's best-selling novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time has won numerous awards and become an internationally successful play. Most recently he published his first ever collection of short stories called The Pier Falls.

Tai Shan Schierenberg won the National Portrait Gallery's Portraiture Award in 1989, and the Ondaatje Prize in 2011. His works hang in the National Portrait Gallery and notable sitters include the Queen with Prince Philip, Seamus Heaney and Stephen Hawking.

Producer: Clare Walker.

Writer Mark Haddon meets portrait and landscape painter Tai Shan Schierenberg.

0402Alice Lowe And Toyah Willcox20180307

Director and actor Alice Lowe meets singer and actor Toyah Willcox.

Only Artists brings two artists together to talk about their creative work.

The director and actor Alice Lowe meets the singer and actor Toyah Willcox.

Alice Lowe wrote, directed and starred in the acclaimed comedy slasher film Prevenge, which she made while pregnant. Her work on screen as an actor includes roles in Hot Fuzz, Horrible Histories and the horror parody series Garth Marenghi.

By the age of 20, Toyah Willcox had appeared on stage at the National Theatre, recorded an album and taken a leading role in Derek Jarman's film Jubilee, as the flame-haired pyromaniac Mad. Since then she has acted in more than forty plays, recorded over a dozen studio albums, and appeared in numerous feature films - alongside icons such as Katherine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier. She is currently performing as Elizabeth 1 in a stage version of Jubilee.

Series in which two artists discuss creative questions.

0403Humphrey Ocean And Mark Alexander20180314

Artist Humphrey Ocean meets painter Mark Alexander.

Only Artists brings two artists together to talk about their creative work.

The artist Humphrey Ocean is Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy of Arts, and his portraits of Paul McCartney, Philip Larkin, Tony Benn and Lord Whitelaw are in the National Portrait Gallery. While at art school, he became a member of the band Kilburn and the High Roads, led by singer and songwriter Ian Dury - who was also Humphrey's tutor. Dury was an important influence on Humphrey Ocean's student work, and they remained friends until Dury's death in 2000.

For Only Artists, he meets the painter Mark Alexander. Mark attended art school as a mature student: before that, he had trained as a silversmith, before finding better paid work in factories, where he moved from job to job, becoming a charge hand and then a quality inspector in the aerospace industry.

As a painter, his works include versions of Van Gogh's Dr Gachet, rendered entirely in shades of black, and portraits of Beethoven, following a residency at Beethoven's house in Bonn.

Producer Clare Walker.

0404Shobana Jeyasingh And Hussein Chalayan20180321

Choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh meets fashion designer Hussein Chalayan.

Only Artists brings two artists together to talk about their creative work.

Shobana Jeyasingh is a British choreographer. Born in Chennai, she grew up studying the classical Indian dance form bharatanatyam. She launched her own contemporary dance company in 1988. Past works have explored science, classical painting and urban architecture, working with composers, mathematicians and filmmakers. In 2015 she created a piece, commissioned by the Royal Ballet, that directly challenged the stereotype of the exotic Indian dancer.

For Only Artists she meets Hussein Chalayan at the Place Theatre, the home of the London Contemporary Dance School.

Hussein Chalayan has twice won the Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, and was awarded the MBE in 2006. He was born in Cyprus and moved to Britain with his family when he was 8. From his first graduation collection which he left to decompose buried in a garden, to a coffee table which transforms into a skirt and remote-control dresses, Chalayan is known for his highly creative designs, worn by the likes of Bjork and Lady Gaga. He has made films, had his work shown in galleries and directed and designed a dance piece, Gravity Fatigue, at Sadler's Wells Theatre.
Producer: Katy Hickman.

Series in which two artists discuss creative questions.

0405Maxine Peake And Cosey Fanni Tutti20180328

Actor and writer Maxine Peake meets musician and performance artist Cosey Fanni Tutti.

Only Artists brings two artists together to talk about their creative work.

The actor and writer Maxine Peake meets the musician and performance artist Cosey Fanni Tutti.

Maxine Peake was born just outside Bolton. Her television credits include leading roles in the series Dinnerladies, Shameless and Silk. In 2014 she played Hamlet at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. She has written for radio and the stage, and her play about Lillian Bilocca - who campaigned for better safety in the fishing industry - was part of Hull's City of Culture celebrations.

Cosey Fanni Tutti was born in Hull, and began her artistic career there in 1969, when she joined a subversive art collective called COUM Transmissions. Founded by Genesis P-Orridge, the group staged surreal events or interventions around Hull and beyond. Cosey worked for two years as a model for sex magazines and films to create a show about pornography and the sex industry called Prostitution. When it opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art in 1976, it prompted walkouts, made headlines, and provoked questions in Parliament. Cosey co-founded the industrial music band Throbbbing Gristle with Genesis P-Orridge, Peter Christopherson and Chris Carter. Chris and Cosey later created their own band and now perform under the name Carter Tutti.

Producer Clare Walker.