University lights up for Doctor Simpo exhibition

26 September 2018

Crowds gathered as the Vernon Street Gallery ‘lit-up’ for the opening of the latest exhibition at Leeds Arts University, an interactive exploration of the narrative world of Doctor Simpo.

The Norms: Process and Production is presented as a three-dimensional realisation of Simpson’s glow-in-the-dark comic book, The Norms (2017). Viewers are invited to step into his narrative world of comic fonts and lurid colours, created using a variety of analogue and digital technologies including Pentel Sign Pens (his favourite felt-tip pen).

As a former Foundation Diploma student at Leeds Arts University, Doctor Simpo (aka Ben Simpson) went on to study at Glasgow School of Art, The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the Royal College of Art, recently returning as Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Animation and Lecturer for BA (Hons) Comic & Concept Art at the University. This new exhibition sees him come full circle; exhibiting in the same building in which he showed his Foundation Diploma work 18 years ago.

Fred Bates, Programme Director of Communication Design at Leeds Arts University said:

"The ‘Norms’ is the latest glimpse into the mind of Doctor Simpo. It is pointed, poignant, funny and barbed. As irreverent as asking the Queen what toilet paper she prefers. The characters hold a mirror up to a world of Trump, Boris Johnson and Brexit and asks ‘which side of the door is the asylum on?’”

The University is also pleased to be collaborating with Light Night for two late-night openings on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 October from 6 – 9.30pm. As the lights go out, visitors can join in a glow-in-the-dark ghost-hunt around the exhibition, featuring iconic comic and cartoon characters, to win their official ‘Spook Spotters’ badge.

The exhibition is open until 31 October, closing with a special Halloween Underground Comix Launch and Talk (18+), held in the Vernon Street Lecture Theatre.

Images: Opening night of Doctor Simpo, The Norms: Process and Production. By Hamish Irvine