Derek Boshier (b. 1937) is an artist whose curiosity and engagement with the world seem boundless. From living in London in the 60s to the decades spent living in the US, the artist has continuously explored popular culture and the world around him throughout his career, providing both political and playful commentary.
Boshier attended the Royal College of Art in London alongside David Hockney, Pauline Boty, Allen Jones and Peter Phillips in the 1960s. During his studies at the RCA in London, he became one of the first artists of the British Pop Art movement. His work has tackled a variety of subjects from American culture and influence, social media, gun violence, Kpop, consumerism and more. The 84-year-old artist has made works for music groups including David Bowie, the Clash, The Pretty Things and others. He has worked in various media including painting, drawing, film, books, sculpture, printmaking, graphics and now NFTs. Boshier is represented by Gazelli Art House and his work is collected by museums across the world including Tate and MoMA. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and has received awards at international film festivals.
Derek Boshier’s first NFT, NOBODY BEHIND THE WHEEL was based on one of the artist’s drawings, animated by digital artist Shapeshifter 7. The work was certified by Verisart and sold on SuperRare. Created in early 2021, when interest in NFTs and cryptocurrencies exploded, the work is a tongue in cheek commentary of the crypto space. The artists explain, “conceptually this piece represents the view of diehard crypto adherents that currency, commerce and contracts work best when there is no central steering authority. Essentially a driverless car that propels itself forward on a road that is built by the thousands of decentralized nodes that represent the blockchain.”
Derek Boshier second NFT is drawn from his series K-Pop and also created in collaboration with Shapeshifter7. Inspired by South Korean singing television contest King of Mask Singer – whose participants’ identities are only revealed when eliminated – the NFT depicts cartoon-like figures. The canvas set against the wall provides a clear link to the work’s roots as a painting, now brought to life through animation. Kellogg’s iconic “K” is playfully used as a signifier for both Korean pop music and American consumerism. The work nods to the TV show’s increasingly popular global franchise, highlighting aspects of cultural appropriation and universalist aspirations. For Boshier, these inherent elements of deception, mystery, and audience participation mirror the political landscape of the post-Trump era.
Speaking about his K Pop series, Boshier explains “It is informed by elements of cultural divide, difference, and engagement. Change is basic to life along with opposites, and opposites within change are equally interesting. A color theorist will tell you that there is no such colour as blue or red, that as soon as you put another colour next to it, it changes. The same is true of images: advertisers know this well.’
The painting that provided the basis for Boshier's NFT is currently on show at Gazelli Art House as part of his solo exhibition Icarus and K Pop. The exhibition features two series made of acrylic paintings on canvas as well as black and white drawings on paper. The works provide both a critical and playful commentary on global contemporary culture, reimaging ancient myths and drawing on today's world. Now in 80s, the artist doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon and is already planning his shows for 2023.
Click here to place your bid on Derek Boshier’s second NFT, Kpop-Pop, closes October 20 around 1pm EDT.