Hardback256 PagesSize: 234 × 153 mm
34 B&W illustrations
ISBN: 9781848222304Publication: January 18, 2019

‘40 or so artists talk about making art the centre of a life: their different childhoods, different experiences of war and of love, of parenting, and of art institutions. With Michael Bird’s insightful commentary, Studio Voices is an exhilarating testimony to human creativity. A deeply pleasurable book.’ - Alison Light


Studio Voices

Art and Life in 20th-Century Britain

Edited by Michael Bird



  • The first book to draw on the fascinating Artists' Lives audio archive at the British Library 
  • Features the voices of painters Robert Medley, Gillian Ayres, Terry Frost, Peter Blake, Sandra Blow, Basil Beattie, Tess Jaray; sculptors Anthony Caro, Lynn Chadwick, Kenneth Armitage, Kim Lim, Roland Piché, Phyllida Barlow; and conceptual and performance artists Paul Neagu, John Latham, Barbara Steveni, Stuart Brisley, Michael Craig-Martin, Hamish Fulton
  • Forty artists feature in the book, which stretches back to the early 20th century with the childhood memories of Michael Rothenstein and Eileen Agar, and into the first decades of the 21st century with the contributions of living practitioners Phyllida Barlow, who represented Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennale, and Lubaina Himid, who won the 2017 Turner Prize

Studio Voices explores the multi-layered experiences of modern and contemporary British artists in their own words, drawing on the author's original research in the Artists' Lives audio archive at the British Library.

Michael Bird's fascinating oral history of the lives and working practices of artists over the last century, extracted from the huge and growing archive of artists' interviews recorded since 1990, allows us to eavesdrop on artists' life-story conversations, which range through creative practice and professional achievements, childhood memories, family life, relationships, and unexpected, incidental epiphanies of self-awareness.

The Artists' Lives project was established in 1990 as part of National Life Stories, the UK's national oral history archive, which is based at the British Library. 
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