Born in 1980 Stuart Semple, (who started selling his art on eBay in 1999 under the alias NancyBoy), although not part of the PostInternetArt movement, is a perfect example of post-internet artist. Technically a millennial, he’s in a way on the cusp of the generational shift between those of us who experienced pop culture in a digital and analogue way and the new generation who grew up with a constant online connection to the outside world.
The machine is at the start of my process, not at the end. The print function is disabled. Within the works there are expansive meticulously detailed hand-painted elements that mimic printing techniques from silk-screening to lithography. I reinstate the personality, the defect, the humanity. I’m painting print, not printing paint. Mechanization and fast printing reduced design to the level of the disposable. Images are churned fast, we are bombarded: millions per second. If print is temporal, paint is eternal.”

…and it feels better than love…

This makes his art a fascinating hybrid of internet culture and painterly precision. His paintings blend digital visual elements, collages, teenage obsessions into his own brand of compelling pop art post-realism that is at the same time intensely private and effortlessly universal. His work speaks the language of teenage angst, of punk cut-ups and the secret language of adolescence: song lyrics. Like much of the imagery one finds in the most interesting Tumblr or Instagram accounts, the bright colors in his art reveal at second glance a darker undercurrent.

…here we are now, entertain us…

It’s really about the death of the teenager and how that’s analogous to the death of the music idol and, in particular, the assassination of Kurt Cobain. It’s about a shift from physical space, i.e. places where kids congregate to share music, to digital, virtual spaces. A lot has been lost there.

The death of subcultures, the death of the music idol, and the rise of the personal brand on social media have all changed the way we relate to fame, art, music, and each other. Teenagers, always the vanguard in the consumeristic experiment are now living in a constantly connected world where an image is worth one thousand likes and words, meanings, truth, fade in the distance.

My loneliness is killing me…

Public and private spaces have become inverted. We’re on view all the time. And whereas this used to be something only of concern to those in the public eye, it has implications for all of us now. If you’ve ever untagged yourself in a photo then you’re the same as Lady Gaga; you’re in the business of managing your brand…. Online it feels like the ultimate quest is to be liked. Or to have have some kind of ‘success’. Which trickles into celebrity. It plays into the Warholian ‘fifteen minutes of fame’. But I think online it’s more like fifteen seconds.

Because if it’s not Love
Then it’s the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb, the Bomb
That will bring us together
Nature is a language – can’t you read?
Nature is a language – can’t you read?

The Smiths: Ask