Lee Booth is a Merseyside born artist who has spent most of his life living and working in Liverpool. He studied art in Coventry during the late 70’s and early 80’s. After finishing Art College in 1981 he worked in Coventry Canal Basin Warehouse for 2 years producing mainly 3D and installation work (see photos). During this time he exhibited extensively, including exhibitions at the Coventry City Museum, Coventry University, and at the Icon Gallery in Birmingham.
In 1983, Lee moved back to Liverpool and joined the Bridewell Studios and later became a studio director. The Bridewell boasted several famous Liverpool artists including Adrian Henri and Arthur Dooley. Lee feels privileged to have shared studio space and to have exhibited alongside them.
However, Thatcher’s recession was biting hard and unemployment was at an all-time high. Unable to pay the rent, Lee was forced to leave The Bridewell Studios, and abandoned most of his work.
From 1984 till 1990, he worked as a self-employed signwriter and graphic artist. During this time he produced a lot of shop signs, posters and vehicle markings using traditional hand-painted techniques, passed on from his father. His most significant piece of work was restoring the livery markings on the Higson Dray in time for the revived 1987 Liverpool May Horse Parade.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the development of new technology (vinyl lettering and Perspex) made hand painted signs unfashionable and almost obsolete. Nowadays hand lettering has gained recognition as an art form in itself. Lee welcomes commissions in this area.
With the demise of sign writing and a young family to support, Lee re-trained as a teacher and works in a local school to this day. By 2008, he began painting again and persuaded by his family to exhibit a painting in a Headspace group exhibition at the Egg Cafe. Since then, he has been exhibiting regularly in group exhibitions at the Egg Cafe. Lee has now produced enough work to put on his own show which is planned for 2012.
Much of the work Lee did in the 80’s was part of an on-going expanding installation, compromising of sculpture, drawings and photography. Much of it was destroyed surviving only in photographs, slides, drawings, annotated sketches and notes. His work delicately balances form and function to ensure both the visual appearance and the functional purpose of the work are kept intact.
The work Lee has produced since 2008, are either paintings or drawings. He has used the fragments left from his older work as a starting point to see how they develop. His work can be totally spontaneous, whilst other times it is pre-planned. Often, his work is a mixture of both where the structured framework becomes the platform for the work to develop in unexpected directions.