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Jonathan Yeo: 'I hope 12 Years A Slave will open the way for more artist film-makers'

Cultural Life: The artist on his favourite TV, Books, Films and Music


I’m beside myself with excitement at the imminent second series of House of Cards. The cult 1990s BBC drama, relocated to contemporary Washington DC, was a great discovery last year. I started watching it because at the time I was working on a painting of Kevin Spacey in the role of another great literary villain, Shakespeare’s Richard III .


Breakfast with Lucian by Geordie Grieg is a fascinating read. Many people probably enjoy the insight it gives into the artist but for me, the most compelling details are about Lucian Freud’s routines.


I always thought that if the painting didn’t work out, I’d try to make films instead. I was very moved, as most people have been, by 12 Years a Slave. It is reassuring to see a contemporary British artist, Steve McQueen, being given the responsibility for a major Hollywood production. With Sam Taylor-Johnson also directing 50 Shades of Grey, it might open the way for more artist film-makers.


John Cooper Clarke: cult hero, Eighties punk poet, and self-styled Bard of Salford, is touring the UK at the moment. I’ve always been a fan of his totally original mix of poetry, performance, music, and dark comedy.

New work by Jonathan Yeo will be shown at Art14 London, Olympia Grand, London, W14, 28 Feb to 2 March (artfairslondon.com). Jonathan Yeo – Portraits, The Lowry, Manchester, 15 March to 29 Jun (thelowry.com)