About Simon English

Simon English is a conceptual artist based in Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK. He trained at the influential Leeds College of Art where he initiated his life-long commitment to Land Art. His works are most often encountered through the landscapes to which they respond and from which they distinctively emerge. For forty years, by sensitively and responsibly fusing art and land, Simon has inspired viewers to contemplate the continual relationships between humankind and landscape. Whilst responding to commissions Simon also initiates independent projects and events that appear intermittently within the immediate landscape surrounding his home.

English has created spectacular, large-scale art works that mark the seasons, react to issues such as changes in agriculture or occasionally for campaigns such as those by Friends of the Earth. A folly designed to be illuminated just by the solstice at the very moment a marriage proposal is verbalised. A vast public burning to witness a field-sized zebra drawn with fire to commemorate the last time in England farmers were to raze the residual stubble from their harvesting. Each work is responsive to art history, ecology and horticulture; and receptive to the elemental characteristics of natural light, seasonality, growing processes and the climate conditions of each site.

Simon develops mathematical, hand-drawn plans that use both aerial and ground perspectives. To transform these preparatory diagrams to panoramic drawings, of mythic proportion to be sited on sloping landscapes, he then uses historic perspective techniques. As the viewer moves through the landscape, abstract lines fall into perspective and so emerge epic silhouettes of men limed on hilltops, overgrown rabbits mown into grassy knolls and great horses clipped into pitched pathways. Materials used include stone, ash, lime, coal dust, hay; as well as natural crop growing processes and the tools of his trade include flame guns, cranes, tractors and helicopters.

Selected works are developed from an aerial perspective and immense symbols transpire from live drawings that monetarily use fire and leave breathtaking images in the residual ash. Witnesses who gather to experience Simon’s unique events may encounter a field-sized zebra, the colour of its stripes reversing out, right before their eyes. Two joyful magpies, with soaring wingspans a whole meadow-wide, may materialise at ground level. The perimeter lines of a brown meadow butterfly, grazed into pasture, may flutter in the breeze.

Simon English has a creative practice which is deep-rooted in understanding how people and place coalesce, how moments become legacies and how the union of art and land may create new horizons from which we may consider our relationships to the planet on which we live.