About Derek Curtis
Derek Curtis was born in Slough, England and completed his BA (Hon's) in Fine Art at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design in June 2000. Curtis then spent two years as a guest student of Professor Timm Ulrichs at the Academy of Art in Münster, Germany. In 2002 he was awarded a Woo Foundation Graduate Bursary.
He is an artist who explores in a humorous and playful manner the way nature and the natural world, in which we consume and live, is represented through today’s contemporary society. The ideas for his artistic practice evolve from the use of everyday materials used in conjunction with cultural or art historical references. His work takes the forms of Paintings, Sculptures and Installations.
Curtis sculpture work has a playful quirky appeal, from 2 metre Trojan carrot made out of felt to exploding plastic rabbits and drunk, soft toy pandas. This use of non-traditional high art materials continued in his paintings, initially inspired by some fake wood and brick Rauschenberg wallpaper (from the German town of Rauschneberg ) these provide interesting sources for creating paintings, thus producing a fake of a fake. Also being a play on the famous quote of the American artist Robert Rauschenberg, of working in the gap between art and life. The gap between painting and wallpaper. This then made Curtis question the medium he was using from Traditional high art materials of paint on canvas, to more everyday materials like his sculpture work. His painting evolved to using household gloss paint on to Aluminium panels.
From 2003 all Curtis’s paintings have been made using household gloss paint on aluminium, the reflective quality of the surface exaggerating the impact of the bright, seductive colours employed – inviting viewers to enter the playful realm, where fictional characters act out contemporary narratives in glorious Technicolor.
Curtis exhibits regularly Internationally and has had artwork in over 50 exhibitions. Recent solo shows include “Time Waits for no one“, Kunst Raum, Essen, Germany (2013), "The Magic Kingdom Isn't Working" Artworkspace, London (2011), “The Hunt“, Charlie Dutton Gallery, London (2010), “Animal Magic” Galerie Ruth Leuchter, Dusseldorf, Germany (2009), with group exhibitions including “Small Wonders“ at Galerie Goltz, Essen Germany (2016) , Nave Gallery, Turin, Italy (2009), Jill George Gallery, London (2009) and Royal Academy of Art (2007).
He has also co-curated Exhibitions Co-curating group exhibitions “The English Way" and “Heartlands" in London and Hereford, involving funding, installing, transport, marketing for the shows. Curtis also worked as Project Co-ordinator on “Kurt Schwitters in England“, at Ambleside, Cumbria. Was also involved helping to set up, run and document the international conference on the German artist.
Curtis has also worked on charity art projects as one of the participating artists on “BMW KunskAdventskalender” in London and Cologne. Created a painting with the German actress Martina Gedeck and also donated some of his work for auction. The overall project raised €250,000 for children's charities. He also worked as student Co-ordinator for Casa Blue-West in Minsk Belarus which was a culture exchange program working with Belarussian/German students to organise an exhibition competition to construct a rehabilitation centre for the “Children of Chernyobl“.
Other projects include being the Financial Director of Casa Grande Artisan Pasta Ltd, the first organic dried pasta manufacturer in the UK. Involved in financial aspects of the company, raising £25,000 from investors and also working on brand design, marketing and sales, including selling direct to Amazon online food store, Planet Organic high street shops as well as a national distributor. Curtis was also responsible for the whole brand design of the company.