Simon Claridge, artistic collaborator with:
Terry O'Neill, Brigitte Bardot, 20th Century Fox & Playboy.
"British artist Simon Claridge has garnered international acclaim for his fine art interpretations of iconic figures on silkscreen, dappled with his now signature diamond dust finish." - Fine Art Collector Magazine
Terry O'Neill (2017)
In his latest collection of limited edition diamond dust silkscreen prints, Simon Claridge has taken iconic images from the hallowed archives of legendary English photographer Terry O’Neill.
In a career spanning more than half a century, O’Neill pioneered the iconic celebrity portrait and became famed for his instinct and ability to capture his subjects in candid, and sometimes unorthodox, poses and locations. Charismatic and charming, O’Neill possesses the elusive quality, as powerful as it is indefinable, that puts people at ease in his presence. His portraits, which can be found hanging in galleries and private collections around the world, are a visual timeline chronicling the movements of major names from the Hollywood elite, to rock and roll stars and even royalty from the 1960s onwards. He has been credited with changing the face of photography, and was recognised by The Royal Society of Arts with a rare Centenary Medal, of which only one dozen have ever been awarded.
Representing a worldwide first, O’Neill’s photography has never before been translated into a silkscreen print, much less had Claridge’s signature diamond dust treatment. Keen that his interpretation should celebrate and not dominate these seminal portraits,
Claridge’s vision for this body of work was, above all, to retain the essence of the original exposures. His silkscreen renderings with diamond dust have been executed thoughtfully, to showcase the style of both artists, ensuing these editions sit comfortably alongside both parties’ previous collections. Adding to the self-imposed pressure Claridge felt in working with some of O’Neill’s most famous portraits, he also found himself faced with technical challenges during the production of this edition. So beautifully lit are the original images, he found the reproduction stretched even his expertise with the silkscreen printing process.
A collection of four limited edition silkscreen prints, embellished with diamond dust, by contemporary figurative artist Simon Claridge.
This latest collection from acclaimed British artist Simon Claridge represents his continued celebration of iconic female beauty.
Claridge states that, to him, Bardot “defines beauty” and, indeed, was one of the first females to make an impression on him. In his early teenage years, he was already displaying the penchant for iconic female figures of the silver screen that has now become his trademark. He has grown from those past few posters purchased in his youth, to building a portfolio of inarguably beautiful, and suitably decadent, artwork.
Bardot was quick to establish her signature style, from her heavily made up feline eyes to her low beehive (or ‘choucroute’) hair, and they quickly became her trademark. This look is still current today, emulated by some of the biggest names in fashion, such as Kate Moss to name but one.
Claridge has remained as true to his outstanding quality with this latest collection as he has to his subject matter of choice. Consistency of materials and an unfailing pursuit of perfection has resulted in a remarkable continuation of form; from the exact grade of diamond dust he uses, to the same paper, inks, varnishes and framing presentation. Such is his eye for detail, he has even annotated and signed each edition using pencils of the same graphite grading. As a result, the latest limited edition pieces segue beautifully from both his previous collections and, displayed alongside each other, form a visual homage to the greatest female trailblazers in popular culture.
Limited edition silkscreen prints with diamond dust by Simon Claridge, part of the Playboy collection which sees iconic magazine covers given a glittering makeover.
This project from Claridge, or its timing, could not be more poignant. Following Playboy’s diamond anniversary in 2013, it is entirely fitting that Claridge’s speciality medium of diamond dust should feature in a fine art collection dedicated to reimagining some of the magazine’s most striking cover images. These silkscreen on paper editions show Claridge’s ‘spot dusting’ technique, deployed to highlight a focal point of each image. Notably, this collection brings with it a first for Claridge; his use of black diamond dust. As a material it is incredibly rare and hard to source, so rare in fact, it was handmade to order for this project.
Playboy’s recent announcement to no longer feature nudity within the pages of its magazine reinforces Claridge’s approach - his emphasis tends towards vintage styling and classic photographic techniques. Claridge has embraced the glamour of Playboy whilst harnessing its enduring sensuality. The result is a staggeringly insightful construal of iconic Playboy imagery. Claridge’s vision shines forth from the work, bringing with it a universal appeal, in a glorious celebration of the female form and the years Playboy has devoted to honouring just that.
Having been granted access to the Playboy archives, which hold every cover ever printed in its history - over 700 in total - it took six months of research and review for Claridge to decide on his final six images. The selection speaks of his penchant for a 60s and 70s aesthetic, although the imagery undoubtedly has a timeless appeal. Indeed, a viewer looking upon November 1967 might well surmise that the cover could easily have been shot in either the 70s or as recently as this year, such is the ageless quality of the styling.
Fox Presents The Films Of Marilyn The Diamond Dust Collection, by Simon Claridge in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox.
In 2014, linking with Twentieth Century Fox, acclaimed artist Claridge was granted access to Fox Studio’s coveted archives to reveal new images of Marilyn Monroe, and his subsequent silkscreen works have formed The Diamond Dust Collection - a celebration of one of the most iconic film stars of all time. The six interpretations were drawn from Marilyn’s most famous Fox movies; ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and ‘I Just Want to be Wonderful’ as well as a prestigious and rare collection of photography stills, test shots and outtakes from her less familiar films like ‘Sounds Dreamy to Me’ and ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’.
Monroe has been immortalised in artistic practice for more than fifty years, but the handful of rare images Claridge has chosen from the film house’s extensive Marilyn memorabilia, have never before been translated into fine art.
Claridge’s The Diamond Dust Collection represents Marilyn in symbolic black and white, enveloped in what has now become his trademark ‘diamond dust’ as a nod to the glamour and opulence of Hollywood. Simon has used the glittering diamond dust on each image to ensure the works portray something of the aura of Marilyn and the luminescence of her being under the spotlight.
Monochrome sees Claridge depict some icons of stage and screen in his inimitable style.
These are diamond dust embellished portraits of women loved the world over, from Brigitte Bardot to Twiggy, Marilyn Monroe to Amy Winehouse and Audrey Hepburn and were the starting point for the artist Claridge was to become.
Inspired by the allure of Marilyn Monroe and the fresh face of Twiggy, intrigued by the coquettish Audrey Hepburn and the mystique of Amy Winehouse, Claridge presents an aesthetic of these women that never goes out of fashion. Both timeless and of a time, he manages to capture the contemporary and the nostalgic in these images that, in many cases, immortalise the subject.
This collection was available in galleries around the world and even features in the LA offices of celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe.