Friday 8 July 2022

Paul Slater, legend of British illustration, returns for his first solo show after 8 years


CATTO Gallery, 100 Heath Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 1DP Thursday 8 th September – Monday 26th September 2022 Press view/photocall: Thursday 8 th September, 3pm – 4pm

Paul Slater, revered artist and illustrator whose eccentric work has been bought by Heston Blumenthal, Damien Hirst and many others, is preparing to exhibit his first solo show in nearly a decade. His new collection of never-seen-before works will be on display at London’s Catto Gallery this September.

This eagerly awaited event celebrates Paul Slater’s unique place within contemporary British art. During the nineties, his surreal and humorous illustrations were seen and loved by millions on the pages of The Week, The Listener and many other major publications. He created original artworks for the restaurant reviews in The Times and the Daily Express, decorating the pages of national newspapers and magazines as well as prize-winning book jackets, album sleeves and advertisements.

Alongside his commercial work, Slater always painted for himself. His style, a compelling mix of English seaside postcards, golden age American magazine advertising and European surrealism has earned him many awards and legions of fans. Among those to have purchased his works are Andrew Lloyd Weber, Damien Hirst, Richard Branson, David Gilmour and Louis Vuitton. In 2000, he became a Patron of the Association of Illustrators, to which he was named Illustrator of the Year in 1996 and won the Glenfiddich Visual Category Award in 2001 after being shortlisted for several years.

Slater learned his craft via an unusual route. He was raised in working class Burnley with no knowledge of the formal art world except for his father’s caricatures. Inspired by his father’s love of drawing, Slater went on to study at the London College of Art, where he was taught by towering figures of British illustration including Quentin Blake and Sheila Robinson.

Slater’s vivid imagination and immaculate technical detail made his work highly sought after. However, just under a decade ago, he decided to stop exhibiting. Since then, he has worked only on the occasional commission, including murals for the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, Tom Conran's Cow Saloon Bar & Dining Rooms in Notting Hill, and Heston Blumenthal's Melbourne Fat Duck restaurant. This makes Slater's new show with the Catto Gallery his first in more than eight years. It will comprise of around 30 new paintings, each in his absurd and unique satirical style.

Slater says, For the last decade I have been painting non-stop. The ideas just keep on coming, even though I haven’t been exhibiting my work. The approach from the Catto came out of the blue, and I felt it was time to put my paintings back out there again. I'm very excited about it.

Iain Barrett, co-director of the Catto Gallery, adds, We couldn't be more thrilled that Paul accepted our offer to show his work again after so long. Throughout his life, he has gone his own way. His work is weird and dark and funny, but always beautiful – and people love him for it. Paul occupies a unique place in British contemporary art, and we're very proud to give him the showcase he deserves.