Paul Simonon is a Brixton boy, born in 1955
In 1966 he moved, with
his mother and stepfather,
to Italy where he acquainted himself with the
Old Masters in the art galleries of Florence, Siena and Rome
Before leaving secondary school in London, Paul won a scholarship
to the Byam Shaw School of
He left Art school with fellow dropout Mick Jones.
The Clash was formed after a meeting with manager-to-be
Paul was the band's image creator and was responsible for
the artwork from clothing to album covers
After years of touring, the death of a close friend and the
birth of Paul's first son, he decided to give up the guitar
and re-adopt the paintbrush
His career as an artist was cemented with a first sell out
exhibition and collaboration with Damien Hirst for
the Scottish National Gallery
been more than fifteen years since Paul Simonon played bass
with The Clash.
But those years have not been wasted as the former punk pin-up has
committed much of his time to establishing a new career as an artist.
latest exhibition, "From Hammersmith to Greenwich",
is a series of paintings which focus on the Thames, making
it the principle influence on the city.
The pieces capture the river at various points on its course, which
Simonon has carefully chosen.
Speaking exclusively to BBC London about his labour of love,
he said: "I spent months and months of the last five years, really,
traipsing up and down along the Thames and I 'd see a spot - and
if I felt it might have some potential I'd spend a day or two drawing
Festival Hall, Waterloo - (detail) oil on canvas
by Paul Simonon
But with Simonon’s punk past standing as a key reference
to his fame, it might have been presumed that he would end up producing
conceptual work to be shown alongside the BritArt elite in
Simonon explained his decision: "It would be obvious for me to
do conceptual art and I think I've done it already with smashing
bass guitars and whatever - I consider that as conceptual."
critics are acknowledging his skill as a more traditional painter
with his ability to portray a "sense of space and light"
, describing the latter as "that kind of hard light we have in
Among the London views to feature in his exhibition are Battersea
Power Station, The Festival Hall, Waterloo Bridge
and even The Millennium Wheel.
So the ex-punk has successfully made the transition from
one role to another - featuring in glossy magazines as an artist
as well as being seen at hip parties - but the question remains:
is he ever likely to return to music?
Simonon said: "To be honest I've got to the stage now where I
just want to paint - I've done my time with the music"
Paul Simonon's From Hammersmith to Greenwich continues
at Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, 38 Bury Street, St James's SW1 - Tel:
020 7930 6422