Sex War Sex Cars Sex (1966)

Derek Boshier is a British painter and graphic artist. He is best known for his contributions to the pop art movement, but has changed styles and different media all throughout his career. One time he even made a painting which resembles a comic book page: 'Sex War Sex Cars Sex' (1966), done in the style of Roy Lichtenstein. Boshier also enjoys fame as a graphic designer for pop stars like The Pretty Things, The Clash and David Bowie.

Derek Boshier was born in 1937 in Portsmouth. He studied at and graduated from the Royal College of Art in London, where two of his fellow students were David Hockney (famous for the painting 'A Bigger Splash', 1967) and Peter Blake (who would design the cover of The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's' album). After obtaining his diploma, Boshier travelled through India for a year. Inspired by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein he joined the pop art movement. In 1962 he held the first of many exhibitions, all over the world. The same year he was already notable enough to be interviewed in Ken Russell's art documentary 'Pop Goes the Easel' (1962) for the BBC. Five years later he acted in another Russell TV film, namely 'Dante's Inferno' (1967). This picture was a biopic about poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who was portrayed by Oliver Reed. Boshier had a smaller role as painter John Everett Millais.

Drawing for The Clash' second songbook (1979)

In 1966 Boshier made a Lichtensteinesque pop art painting which looked like a page from a comic book: 'Sex, War, Sex, Cars, Sex'. The lithograph shows a series of disconnected images of soldiers fighting wars, while attractive women are sobbing at home. The work has a strong anti-war message and also criticizes consumerism. The text in the images was written by poet Christopher Logue. During the same decade Boshier also became acquainted with the English bluesrock band The Pretty Things, with whose lead singer Phil May he often played tennis. He was asked to design an album cover for them, but his artwork was never used. In the end he was informed that the project had been scrapped. To add insult to injury the band had lost his materials too.

Boshier found more respectful musical collaborators when he taught art at the Central School of Art and Design in London. One of his pupils was Joe Strummer, future lead singer of the punk band The Clash. Near the end of the 1970s, when punk broke out, Boshier met the now famous Strummer again. The punk singer asked his former teacher whether he would be interested in designing and illustrating their next song lyrics book which would accompany their new album release 'Give 'Em Enough Rope' (1978)? Boshier agreed and was given total creative freedom, for one tiny detail. The punk singer wanted a nuclear warning symbol on the book cover, so Boshier combined it with a skull. Another graphic artist who once collaborated with The Clash was Steve Bell.

Artwork for David Bowie's Lodger

Around the same time Boshier visited one of his favorite art book stores. As he talked with the manager he learned that none other than David Bowie had been in the shop to look for books about Boshier! The store owner had told the rock legend that the painter actually visited the shop often. Soon enough a meeting was organized between the two. Bowie and Boshier shared a love for pop art and mime. The Chameleon of Rock was also fascinated by a recurring motif in the artists' paintings, that of a Falling Man. Soon Boshier designed the inside sleeve of Bowie's next album 'Lodger' (1979), Falling Man image included. The singer returned the favour by referencing Boshier on the album cover of his later record 'Let's Dance' (1983) where Bowie can be seen shadowboxing as a Boshier painting, 'A Darker Side of Houston' (1980) is projected on his chest. In 1987 they men worked together again when Boshier was asked to design stage sets for the artist's next international concert tour. Unfortunately the sets weren't used as they were too impracticable for the road crew. Yet Bowie still kept one for his personal archive.

Derek Boshier also taught at the Hornsey College of Art, London until 1973. Between 1975 and 1979 he was an art teacher at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1980 he moved to the United States where he became a professor at the University of Houston, Texas. As pop art became less trendy Boshier started experimenting with different styles and media, from op art to video art.

Drawing from Boshier's"horizontal series"

Series and books by Derek Boshier in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.