Mum's the word for a hundred artists


Billy Childish, who was closely associated with the Young British Artists, but always asserted his independence, has used thick paint to capture his mother in his latest portrait (pictured). He is not alone in using his mum as inspiration for his work – there is a long tradition of artists, including Lucian Freud and David Hockney, painting or photographing their mums.

“I've painted various portraits of my mother over the years,” says Childish. “The first, I still have. I drew her when I was about nine. She's sat with the cat on her lap, a big tear rolling down her cheek because my father had left us again.

”Working out what you want to paint is 90 per cent of the job in being an artist. I don't hold with phony notions of originality and just look to the world and my genuine interests. Family and life supply everything: origin is the true original, and there's nothing gimmicky about it, but its always true and authentic, which is the only valuable currency in art.“

Childish is one of 100 artists, including Dinos Chapman, Grayson Perry, and Bob and Roberta Smith, who have created portraits of their mums for charity. The resulting installation 100 Mothers covers an entire wall of London's The Other Art Fair this weekend and is on sale for £100,000. Perhaps most macabre is Chapman's 3D painting stuck with plastic ears and a finger, while Grayson Perry has dressed up as his mum in his photographic portrait, complete with iron.

The Other Art Fair, London NW1 ( ends tomorrow