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Billy Childish

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Chatham (Kent), GB

Birth year

Lives in
Chatham (Kent), GB

Works in
Chatham (Kent), GB

Representing galleries
Lehmann Maupin - Chrystie St.


Billy Childish was born in 1959 in Chatham (Kent), GB, where he still lives and works. He is a painter, poet and musician. Works by the artist have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art), London; White Columns, New York; and, most recently, at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham.

 After leaving secondary school at age 16, Billy Childish worked at the Naval Dockyard in Chatham as an apprentice stonemason. Initially denied an interview to the local art school, he produced hundreds of drawings that gained him entry to St. Martin's School of Art. Childish's defiance to authority led to his eventual expulsion from art school in 1981. Childish then embarked on an artistic, odyssey exploring a broad range of worldly themes including war, history, social protest, as well his own experiences of alcoholism, and the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Over the last 35 years, Childish has gained a cult status world-wide; In addition to writing and publishing over 40 volumes of confessional poetry and 5 novels, Childish has recorded over 100 LPs, and painted many hundreds of paintings. Billy Childish has had solo and group exhibitions internationally with recent solo exhibitions in New York, London, and Berlin. In 2000, Childish was included in British Art Show 5, which toured throughout four cities – Edinburgh, Southampton, Cardiff, and Birmingham – and featured artists Tracey Emin, Liam Gillick, and David Hockney, among others. In 2010, Childish was the subject of major concurrent retrospectives at the ICA in London and White Columns in New York, curated by Matthew Higgs and Richard Birkett. The artist lives and works in Kent, United Kingdom.  

Profile Photo: Brian David Stevens



Born Chatham, Kent, England, 1959
Lives London, England



1977 Medway College of Design, Kent
1978 St. Martins School of Art, London



2013 all apparent achievements and misdemeanours are non defining, Neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany
paintings that change the universe like digging in the gutter with a broken lolly stick, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY.
animal totems lying poets and other mundane renditions in paint, International Art Objects, Los Angeles, CA.
2012 Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea
L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London, United Kingdom
Dockyard Museum, Chatham, Kent, United Kingdom
Neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Germany
Frozen Estuary and Other Paintings of the Divine, Hoxton Arches, London, United Kingdom
2011 I am the Billy Childish, Lehmann Maupin, New York, NY.
2010 Billy Childish: Unknowable but Certain, ICA, London, United Kingdom
White Columns, New York, NY.
L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Neugerriemschneider Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2004 Simon Finch Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Handing the Loaded Revolver to the Enemy: Homage to Vincent Van Gogh, Aquarium Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2003 L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1999 Metropole Arts Centre, The Leas, Folkstone, Kent, United Kingdom
1995 Cubitt Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1994 Cubitt Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1990 Westwerk, Hamburg, United Kingdom
1988 5 Dryden Street, London, United Kingdom
1986 De Media, Belgium, United Kingdom



2012 I Followed You into the Water, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, NY
2011 On Shuffle, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, NY
2010 Infiltrations, L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2009 I Am the Good Artist, L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom
With or Without God, L-13 Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2000 British Art Show 5, City Art Centre, Edinburg, UK; Collective Gallery, Edinburg, UK; Dean
Gallery, Edinburg, UK; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburg, UK; Inverleith House – Royal Botanic
Garden, Edinburg; UK; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburg, UK; Stills, Edinburg,
UK; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburg, UK; John Hansard Gallery, Southhampton, UK; Millais
Gallery – Southhampton Institute, Southhampton, UK; Southhampton City Art Gallery,
Southhampton, UK; Centre for Visual Art, Cardiff, UK; Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK;
Ffotogallery, Cardiff, UK; National Museum & Gallery, Cardiff, UK; Birmingham Museum and
Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, United Kingdom
1992 The Kelly Family, Esther Schipper Gallery, Cologne, Germany
1991 Galerie Spaarkrediet, Belgium



2011 “The Stonemason,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London
“Paraffin Van” (Also published under the title ‘I Fuckt Frida Kahlo’ as a Faber and Faber lookalike.)
“Forgotten Letters: An Anthology of Dyslexic Writing,” R.A.S.P., London
“Dwang 3,” Tangerine Press, Tooting
2010 “Dwang 2,” Tangerine Press, Tooting
“Colour Blinds Music Deafens Taste Burns My Throat and the Poets Massacre,” Tangerine Press, Tooting
2009 “Selected Poems: Penguin Classic “Art” Edition,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London
“The Uncorrected Billy Chyldish,” Tangerine Press, Tooting
“Unknowable but Certain,” Blackheath Books, London
“Dwang 1,” Tangerine Press, Tooting
“The Hedonist’s Guide to Life,” Filmer Ltd, London
“Penny-Ante: Three,” Los Angeles
“Punk Fiction: An Anthology of Short Stories Inspired by Punk, Portico, London Nineteen Raptures,” NB Publishing, London
2008 “Gods Fantastic Colours” - Hand stamped covers. Note: some copies appear with different titles and different author and publisher: 'Art War, Man Taken from Guts' and 'Insolunce in the Face of Art' being examples.
“Where the Tiger Prowls Stripped and Unseen,” The Aquarium, London
“Old 4 Legs,” The Aquarium, London
“This is My Shit and it Smells Good to Me,” The Aquarium, London
2007 “the idiocy of idears,” L-13 Light Industrial Workshop, London
2006 “The Edgier Waters,” Snowbooks Ltd, London
2005 “A River Anthology,” Urban Fox Press, Chatham
“Bagazine No. 1,” X-Ray Book Company, Ventura
“9 Stories of the River Medway Recounted in the Language of Idiots for People of Little Discernment.”
“The River be My Blud: Medway Poems 1980-2005,” Urban Fox Press, Chatham
“The Man with Gallows Eyes - Selected Poetry 1980-2005,” The Aquarium, London
2004 “The 1st Green Horse God has Ever Made,” Urban Fox Press, Chatham
“Knite of the Sad Face, Chap Book,” The Aquarium, London
“Sex Crimes of the Futcher,” The Aquarium, London
2003 “Calling Things by Their Proper Names,” Hangman Books, Chatham
“The Boss of All English Riters,” Hangman Books, Chatham
“Evidence Against Myself,” Hangman Books, Chatham
2000 “Chatham Town Welcomes Desperate Men,” Hangman Books, Chatham
1999 “I’d Rather You Lied” Selected Poems 1980-1998, Codex Books, Hove
1997 “Notebooks of a Naked Youth,” Codex Books, Hove
“A Terrible Hunger for Love: Unpublished poems 1982-84,” Hangman Books, Chatham
1996 “In 5 Minits You’ll Know Me: Selected Poems 1985-1995,” Sympathetic Press, Long Beach
“My Fault,” Codex Books, Hove
“This Purile Thing,” Imprint 93, Compiled and Edited by Matthew Higgs
1995 “Big Hart and Balls,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1994 “Poems to Break the Harts of Impossible Princesses,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“Days with a Hart Like a Dog,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1993 “Hunger at the Moon,” Sympathetic Press, Long Beach
“Trembling of Life, Damaged Goods,” London
1992 “Poems of Laughter and Violence: Selected Poems 1981-1986,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“The Hart Rises,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1991 “Like a God i Love all Things,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1990 “The Deathly Flight of Angels,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1989 “Death of a Wood,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“The Silence of Words,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“En Carne Viva: Poemas 1984 – 1988,” Spanish/English, Stultifera Navis, Barcelona
“Admissions to Strangers,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1988 “Maverick Verse,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“Cannon Fodder,” by Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Trans. K. De Coninck and B., Chyldish, Hangman Books, Rochester
“The Girl in the Tree,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“To the Quick,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1987 “Companions in a Death Boat,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“Conversations with Dr. X,” Black Hand Distribution, Rochester
1986 “Monks Without God,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1985 “Poems Without Rhyme, Without Reason, Without Spelling, Without Words, Without
Nothing,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“Tear Life to Pieces,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1984 “Poems from the Barrier Block,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1983 “The Unknown Stuff,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“Nothing Can Stop This Man,” Hangman Books, Rochester
“10 No Good Poems of Slavery,” Buggery, Boredom and Disrespect, Hangman Books, Rochester
“Will the Circle be Unbroken,” Hangman Books, Rochester
1982 “7 by Chyldish,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Prity Thing,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Big Cunt,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“You Me Blud N Knuckle,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Black Things Hidden in Dust,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
1981 “The First Creacher is Jellosey,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“2 Minits walk from 10am,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Back on Red Lite rd,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Book of Nursry Rhims,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Bo-Pug: The Six Tails,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
1980 “Shed Country Paintry + Poeming,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“The Dog Jaw Woman,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Fracture Clinic,” Bill Lewis
“The Medway Poets,” Cheapo Publications, Chatham
“Billy Chyldish in Merz England No. 1,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“The Man with Wheels,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Mertz in Chatham,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“The Cuckoo’s Cuckoo,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Kinda Garten,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
1979 “Goat Gruff,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Hack Hack,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“The Arts and General Interest,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“The Kray Twins Summer Special,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Fab 69,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
“Bostik Haze,” Phyroid Press, Chatham
1977 “Chatham’s Burning,” Phyroid Press, Chatham



2005 Billy Chydlish Is Dead
2004 Brass Monkey
2003 Shooting at the Moon
2002 The Flying Mustache
1993 Cheated
1983 Quite Lives
1980 The Man With Wheels

Recent Exhibits

Billy Childish participated in these exhibits:

Mar, 2016 Imprint 93
Whitechapel Gallery
Sep, 2015 flowers, nudes and birch trees: New Paintings 2015
Lehmann Maupin
May, 2015 Sweet Sixteen
China Art Objects Galleries
Phoenix Gallery, Exeter
Jan, 2015 Horizon
Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong
Nov, 2014 Brown Bag Bingo (Play Bingo, Win Art!)
Block 336
Click here to see all exhibits for Billy Childish
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