32 Facts About Brian Clarke


Brian Clarke was born on 2 July 1953 and is a British painter, architectural artist and printmaker, known for his large-scale stained glass and mosaic projects, symbolist paintings, set designs, and collaborations with major figures in Modern and contemporary architecture.


Brian Clarke is known for his architectonic art, prolific output in various media, friendships with key cultural figures, and polemical lectures and interviews.


Brian Clarke served a seven-year term as chairman of The Architecture Foundation and served on the Design Review Committee of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.


Brian Clarke was born in Oldham, Lancashire, to Edward Ord Clarke, a coal miner, and Lilian Clarke, a cotton spinner.


In 1970, Brian Clarke enrolled in the Architectural Stained Glass course at North Devon College of Art and Design, graduating from the Diploma in Design with a first class distinction.


In 1976, Brian Clarke received the Churchill Extension Fellowship to study art in architecture and contemporary painting in the United States, where he connected with the art of, and later befriended, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol.


Brian Clarke is recognised as being instrumental in bringing critical attention to the medium of stained glass and revealing its relevance to the present day through both his practice of the medium and through exhibitions and writings on the subject.


Brian Clarke received his first commission for a stained glass at age 17.


The ending of this relationship freed Brian Clarke to create stained glass for secular contexts and advance the medium as social art.


Brian Clarke produced the book Architectural Stained Glass, a polemical collection of essays.


Brian Clarke connected with Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren and later collaborated as a designer on their aborted zine Chicken, whose creation was funded by EMI and filmed by BBC's Arena.


Brian Clarke expressed Punk's nihilistic energy in the 1977 series of paintings, 'Dangerous Visions'.


Around the same time, Brian Clarke became friends with the physical chemist Lord Snow.


Later in 1979, Brian Clarke became a presenter on the BBC2 arts programme Mainstream and the BBC Radio 4 programme Kaleidescope, conducting interviews with figures including Brassai, Andy Warhol, John Lennon, and Elisabeth Lutyens.


Brian Clarke gave Sheffield band The Human League their first television appearance.


Brian Clarke received his first international commission for paintings, a wooden construction, and a suite of stained glass windows for the Olympus European Headquarters Building in Hamburg, completed in 1981.


In 1988, architect Arata Isozaki approached Brian Clarke to collaborate on the Lake Sagami Building in Yamanishi.


Brian Clarke designed a composition of stained glass for the central lantern and a series of interrelated skylights that referenced elements of Isozaki's building.


Equally experimental across other mediums, Brian Clarke's painting practice was inspired by technology.


Brian Clarke created the stage designs for Paul McCartney's World Tour.


When Future Systems asked Brian Clarke to collaborate on The Glass Dune, he proposed an internal 'skin of art' for their innovative boomerang-shaped building, which was never realised.


Brian Clarke continued to use traditional, medieval technologies in other architectural contexts.


Brian Clarke continued to be active in other mediums in addition to stained glass.


Brian Clarke was appointed sole executor of the Estate of Francis Bacon, acting on behalf of Bacon's heir John Edwards.


Brian Clarke transferred representation of Francis Bacon to the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York, where an exhibition was mounted of seventeen previously-unseen Bacon paintings recovered from his studio.


In 1998, Edwards and Brian Clarke donated the contents of Bacon's studio at 7 Reece Mews, London, left untouched since Bacon's death, to the Hugh Lane, the Dublin City Gallery.


Nature inspired Brian Clarke's stained glass and ceramic works at Mall Cottages in West London.


Brian Clarke worked with Norman Foster on the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, a landmark building in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, built to house the triennial Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.


Brian Clarke's leadwork Don't Forget the Lamb is a memorial to his late mother.


Brian Clarke's collages are equally experimental; the carefully chosen, often torn, fragments and chalk drawings build an image that attempts to capture the essence of the flower depicted.


In 2010, Brian Clarke was commissioned to design stained windows for the new Papal Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, the diplomatic embassy of the Holy See to Great Britain, for the 2010 visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom, the first-ever state visit made by a pope to Britain.


In 2015, Brian Clarke curated A Strong Sweet Smell of Incense: A Portrait of Robert Fraser, an exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, in association with Pace Gallery, together with author Harriet Vyner.