A still from the film Simeon Barclay: Defying the Norm. In it the artist Simeon Barclay, a Black man with medium length hair looks upwards as he stands in a shopping arcade in Leeds, that is lit with fairy lights in the darkness.

Simeon Barclay: Defying the Norm

04 Feb 2022

In a new five-part series of films, we examine how the art of breaking rules is critical to artistic practice. In the second film in the series, we visit Leeds-based artist Simeon Barclay.

With the help of artists featured in our major exhibition Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules, we explore ideas of mischief, defying the norm, playing with language and class, making mayhem, and questioning authority, with each film shot on location across the UK.

Rebellion has always been at the heart of pioneering artistic practice. For the past 82 years Beano has been right there too, inspiring generations to discover the possibilities of creativity – incidentally the topic of our current exhibition Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules. The exhibition shares original comic drawings alongside works from leading artists and designers, imbued with the same Beano spirit of rebellion.

Combining a diverse range of media, Simeon Barclay creates reductive, sophisticated works that engage with aspects of aesthetics, British culture, subjectivity and memory. In this film, shot whilst walking the streets of night-time Leeds, Barclay ruminates on his upbringing, his artistic practice and how art has helped him understand his place in the world. Neon, a medium often used in his practice (and the material of Barclay’s work in Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules) also features. Barclay considers the substance’s indefinability; a material of playfulness and deceit.


Director: Radford Nicholls
Director of Photography: Stephen James Dunn
Editor: Jacek Zmarz
Executive Producer: Eleanor Scott
Colourist: Connor Coolbear @ Electric Colour

The series

Watch the first film in the series, Rebecca Moss: The Art of Mischief