Simon Mckeown is an award winning internationally exhibiting artist renowned for his work which touches on and considers disability.
He is currently working in Ireland on a new project entitled ‘Cork Ignite’ which is an international commission, conceived during 2013 and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Cork City Council with partners National Sculpture Factory and Create Ireland. Additionally the project is supported by Arts Council England and Teesside University. It represents a culmination of many of his research interests including, large scale complex outdoor projection, theatrical works, soundscapes, water and collaboration with disabled artists. It will be a premiere Cork event and it will play out to an audience of around 5,000 to 10,000 in September 2015 and will potentially tour thereafter.
He exhibits internationally and his work has been shown as far afield as the Smithsonian International Gallery in the USA, The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, Czech Republic, GAK in Kosovo along with galleries in Australia, Norway, America, South America, the United Kingdom and most lately at the Duetches Hygiene Museum in Dresden, Germany as well as at film festivals including Athens and Adelaide Film Festivals during 2015.
Simon recently presented at FACT in Liverpool on December the 1st 2014 and this event also featured an excellent panel including Mary McCarthy, Director of the National Sculpture Factory and Chair of Culture Ireland, Kath Gorman, Independent Producer and Cork Ignite Project Manager, Pádraig Naughton, Director of Arts & Disability Ireland and Dr Paul Darke, Academic, writer and cultural critic. For more information please see this Facebook page and you can also find out more here at the official festival page here - DaDaFest.
His latest work is entitled 'Ghosts' and was produced for Arts Admin/ Xenoki Production for Channel4 / 4OD. The work is a commemoration of WW1 - Please click here for more detail. The work is also featured on the 14-18 Now WW1 Centenary Commissions Website. Ghosts was seen on 4OD as well as at the Unlimited Festival at the London South Bank Centre in September 2014 and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during 2015.
Mckeown is also Reader (semi professor) at one of the UK's leading universities for digital innovation and practice, Teesside University, where he works with the School of Computing in both it's games and post production and special effects sections. He is also currently completing a PhD by Completed Works at the University and is a member of it's Institute of Design, Culture and the Arts and is a REF 2014 candidate.
Motion Disabled: Unlimited, a London 2012 Festival project, has been shown nationally including at the South Bank Centre in London, Olympic Torch and Paralympic Torch events across the UK, as well as in galleries such as 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in North Lincolnshire and MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute for Modern Art.
As a result of Motion Disabled: Unlimited's huge success it is still touring at various indoor and outdoor locations globally, its most recent exhibition is at DOX Contemporary Art Centre in, Prague which included both the digital installation and a huge 10m tall inflatable.
Motion Disabled: Unlimited at DOX, Prague 2013
Mckeown was also the Visual Artist responsible for the large scale outdoor video projections on the ‘Prometheus Awakes‘ production which also involved London’s Graeae Theatre and the international outdoor theatre company La Fura dels Baus from Barcelona and which was shown at two international festivals, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and Stockton International Riverside Festival as part of the UK’s Cultural Olympiad which supported the overall 2012 Olympics Program.
Prior to that he launched Motion Disabled: Faces at The Public in West Bromwich in 2013.
His earlier work Motion Disabled – has been shown internationally including the USA at the Smithsonian International Gallery. He was named DaDaFest International Artist of Year 2010-2011 with the award presented on the closing day of the festival at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool – England. Additional work for Motion Disabled was commissioned for the festival featuring performer Claire Cunningham which was then projected in both Liverpool and Glasgow as well as in over 20 other locations internationally including the United Nations (UN) in New York, on December the 3rd, in support of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a UN sponsored day in collaboration with the Washington based VSA, the international organisation on arts and disabilities which was set up by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of USA President John F Kennedy.
During 2012 he developed new outdoor projection material for several festivals, including the Cultural Olympiad festival M21 based in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, home of the modern Olympics. as well as for Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and Stockton International Riverside Festival on the international production, Prometheus Awakes.
Prometheus Awakes, Greenwich 2012
Other commissions include an 7 minute animation entitled ‘All for Claire’ which was completed for the DadaFest 2010 and show nationally across the BBC City Centre Screens during November and December that year. This short animation was recently awarded Best Experimental Film at Deaffest 2011.
He has over 20 years experience having worked commercially completing animation and special effects for film and television as well as working with computer games giant Atari.
Simon was featured on the BBC World Service arts program ‘The Strand', and has had work featured on the BBC Two Culture Show, as well as the Times Newspaper Culture Section, The BBC arts website The Space/Push Me and in many other media. In 2014 he was listed as the influential Disability News Service's 'The List'.
He lives in North Yorkshire in the UK and works internationally. He is also a Reader in Post Production at Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK. As an academic he presents at conferences and publishes papers with his most recent paper featuring a collaboration between himself and Dr. Paul Darke on the USA comedy animation 'Family Guy' which features as a chapter in the book 'Different Bodies: Essays on Disability in Film and Television', edited by Marja Evelyn Mogk, Associate Professor of English at California Lutheran University.
Mckeown is deafened and has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones) and has had around 140 breaks in his life time, most recently 3 or 4 broken ribs.
Mckeown gratefully acknowledges the support and interest shown in his work by Teesside University.
As part of the 14-18 Now WW1 comemerations Simon Mckeown’s animation for Channel Four follows disabled veterans moving through a landscape filled with the artefacts and objects of war, as they prepare for a new day.