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A Cold War Steve's Progress

Posted on 25 Oct 2019

In his own words Cold War Steve reflects on his journey from Twitter to 'Time Magazine'.

The publication of Cold War Steve Presents… A Prat’s Progress– my second book – has rounded off a remarkable and somewhat surreal year for me. From my first exhibition last November (at the Social in London) to an appearance next month in Las Vegas! I haven’t, I hasten to add, secured a residency at Caesars Palace – performing large scale illusions with white tigers – but it’s something quite exciting nonetheless (more details to follow on my Twitter and Instagram sites).

I’ve had three solo exhibitions, the first book (Cold War Steve Presents… The Festival of Brexit, also published by Thames & Hudson), artwork commissions for The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and The National Gallery of Scotland Modern, a giant billboard installation at Glastonbury (as part of a collaboration with the amazing Led by Donkeys), a talk for the National Gallery in London with Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, oh and creating the front cover of Time Magazine!

I continue to be blown away by this incredible career shift – one minute trying to get together enough change for the bus to work, the next being on stage at The Cheltenham Literary Festival, discussing the parallels between Hogarth’s work and my own, with Professor Mark Hallett. I certainly don’t take any this for granted and aside from frequent bouts of Impostor Syndrome, I am thrilled to finally be earning a living from something I am so passionate about – and had hitherto thought I’d left too late.

My audience on Twitter remains the favourite aspect of my life as Cold War Steve. Funny, supportive, insightful, a fabulous group of people. The numbers have grown, but I always remember the ‘early followers’ and look out for their comments – indeed one of my fears is that as my audience numbers grow, the people that were there at the start might think I’m a sell-out or worse still, become the Twitter equivalent of Sting (the Lute Years).

I am eternally grateful to Thames & Hudson; for taking a chance on me in the first instance (with The Festival of Brexit), and the ongoing encouragement and support and of course the publication of book two (A Prat’s Progress). This beautifully presented new book could, I feel, be placed in any of the following categories:

  1. A lovely art book, featuring the best of my compositions from the past 12 months. I do see them as compositions, even at the risk of sounding like a pompous twat. Each one can take hours of working and reworking – I want them to convey a message, usually satirically, but it’s also important to me that each one stands alone as an artistic composition in its own right.
  2. A pictorial journal/souvenir program of 2019 – a historical artefact for future generations to explore and discover how frightening and absurd our political landscape had become.
  3. An amusing toilet book. No explanation required.
  4. Where’s Cilla? Yes she is hidden away in every image… whether I like it or not!


Read our interview in which Cold War Steve discusses his first book here.

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