Stephen George Rae FRSA


A multi-disciplinary artist - poet; performance artist; film-maker; contemporary abstract painter; and social activist. In 2016 I was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts.

I paint primarily in gouache as it allows me to explore my love of collage but create my own characters, and thus, my own narrative. Whilst my paintings have been described as a take on the Japanese idea of the “floating world”, for me they owe more to the Madhyamaka-Prasangika School of Buddhist philosophy that “all phenomena are mere appearances to the mind”, that ‘colour’ and ‘form’ are merely imprinted on our mind in this life, and ultimately do not exist outside the mind that perceives them. So, whilst this painted arrangement borrows from traditional Buddhist traditions, it also espouses the Western concept of multi-perspectives. The paintings become a metaphor for a world in transition, an expression of that ungraspable moment where Taxonomic forms interact with images from popular culture to give a dialogue to the journeys within this human life.

The works of Alan Davie, Yayoi Kusama, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Kurt Schwitters have had the greatest impact on my own pursuit of expression. This relationship between colour and form in my paintings has equal importance: it’s about how they interact on the paper; it’s their combined story; and ultimately, it’s about the actual craft of painting

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