Michael Craig-Martin turns 70

  • 26 August 2011

Internationally renowned artist, teacher to the YBA's and Art Fund Trustee Michael Craig-Martin turns 70 this month. Listen to an interview with the man himself...

Internationally renowned artist, teacher to the YBA's and Art Fund Trustee Michael Craig-Martin turns 70 on Sunday. Listen to an interview with the birthday man himself...

Michael Craig-Martin in his studio in London Chris McAndrew

Michael Craig-Martin in his studio in London


About Michael Craig-Martin

Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin in 1941, and grew up and studied art in the USA. He came to London in 1966 and has lived and worked there ever since. Throughout his career he has explored the expressive potential of commonplace objects and images. Among his best known works is An Oak Tree (1973), in which he claimed to have changed a glass of water into an oak tree. You can see this work on display at Tate Britain.

The Art Fund helped acquire Inhale (yellow) for Manchester Art Gallery in 2003. The painting reflects Craig-Martin's celebrated use of colour and representation of everyday objects in his work. The painting was directly inspired by a site specific installation, Inhale/Exhale which the artist produced at the gallery for their reopening in 2002.

Craig-Martin has been an influential teacher at Goldsmiths College in London, earning him the title 'the godfather of the Young British Artists' (YBAs). He taught artists such as Michael Landy, Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

Listen to the interview

Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, which is hosting his celebratory artists’ party, talks to Craig-Martin about the moment he discovered colour, why he likes containers so much and teaching those now world-famous Young British Artists.

"If you arrive from outer space and you had no idea about earth and no sense of social value, you would be unbelievably more interested in a glass of water than a bar of gold". Michael Craig-Martin, 2011

 Michael Craig-Martin on YBAs, The Oak Tree and discovering colour by Art Fund