Middlesex artist selected by Downing Street to create gift for world leaders
Middlesex University art lecturer and artist Phil Shaw was hand-picked by Government officials to create a one off print as a gift for the most powerful world leaders at the G8 Summit.
Phil, who has taught at Middlesex for 33 years, was commissioned to create the piece which was given as a special gift to Barack Obama, Vladamir Putin, Angela Merkel and the rest of the G8 leaders who met in Northern Ireland last week.
His piece was a bookshelf print comprised of titles which address or reflect the 2013 G8 issues. Phil, who is well known for these prints, includes hidden meanings in the rows of books. The piece for the world leaders was no different, with the first word of the title of each book, read from left to right, completing a quote from the 18th century economist and moral philosopher, Adam Smith, known as the father of free trade and modern economics.’
‘What can be added to the Happiness of a Man who is in health, out of debt and has a clear conscience’.
The 29ins by 14ins horizontal print took approximately 160 hours to create. Phil, who paints with pixels and light on the computer, was told they wanted a gift that would have a lasting meaning.
Middlesex University principal lecturer Phil Shaw on learning of the opportunity said: “Once I realised it wasn’t a joke, I felt flabbergasted, excited, nervous and finally ever so slightly overwhelmed! I had to sit down. It’s the ultimate commission and a dream come true.”
Phil was selected after impressing a Cabinet Office official with his work at an exhibition in January. The book shelf print based around the London underground was then purchased from the exhibition by the Government Art Collection (GAC) and displayed in the main G8 summit room.
A Number 10 spokeswoman said: 'We commissioned Phil Shaw to produce something for the G8 and then worked with him to make sure the piece fitted our requirements. Phil gave us lots of options on books, colours etc. Everyone was delighted with the piece, especially the hidden phrase.'
The GAC has just brought ten of the London Underground prints which will feature in British embassies around the world.
Phil has no shortage of high profile fans. Other celebrity fans include actor Liam Neeson, comedian Lee Evans, a member of Pink Floyd, illusionist Derren Brown and actor Jim Carter.
The G8 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the USA and UK.
To hear more about the project, watch this video.
Top: Phil Shaw portrait
Bottom: Phil Shaw – The Group of Eight: art work given to the G8 leaders