Artists / Simon Bill


Simon Bill was resident at the Grizedale Visitor Centre with artist Sarah Staton and their daughter Izzy. Grizedale had an idea to develop a summer residency for families, and Simon and Sarah were the first and most successful of these. Simon worked in a traditional isolated way, going to the studio every day and cutting up some obselete marker posts originally commissioned from artist Reece Ingram. These were transformed through additions of various found materials into a 6-piece floor based work 'Spawn of the Grizedale Beast', a homage to Mr Goldsworthy Gurney. The work was coated in a thick bright orange paint remarkably similar in tone to the colour that later became the brand for the art duo Juneau Projects. It was shown in the Visitor Centre gallery space as part of 'A Different Weekend' (2000) and was one of the prize-winning works selected by faux country show judges artist Mark Wallinger and broadcaster Jon Ronson.

A feud erupted when Reece Ingram discovered that Simon had used his sculptures/marker posts as the basis for this new work and an interesting if rather aggressive discussion ensued about authorship, copyright and sampling. Reece maintained the position that this new work was a breach of copyright and in effect theft, while GA director Adam supported Simon's assertion that the recycling of the posts was akin to sampling and thus was co authorship. Northern Arts (now Arts Council England North West) were asked to intervene but refused to take sides, and Artist's Newsletter published Reece's letter on the matter. When Simon showed the work at Modern Art in London's trendy Shoreditch, Reece left a comment in the visitor book congratulating Simon on their joint work - it may have been sarcastic.

And as James Brown - the world's most sampled recording artist - once said: "Yes, I am against sampling. How would you like it if I came over and sampled your wife?"

Which is another way to look at it.