Infusing Your Development with Happiness and Culture with Stuart Semple

Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
Episode 47

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Stuart Semple is a distinguished multidisciplinary artist known for unleashing happiness in communities around the world through his eccentric, often interactive art installations. In this engaging episode, he shares some of his wildest creative endeavors including Happy City, for which he created several large-scale public interventions throughout Denver, Colorado with the goal of dismantling social barriers, connecting community, and promoting individual and collective wellbeing. He and host Martha Weidmann discuss our collaboration on this project and the Happiness Headquarters we hosted to bring surprise and delight to locals and visitors through several art activities in downtown Denver. Additionally, they explore the importance of happiness and culture in both public and private sector projects, with Stuart emphasizing that “commerce follows culture,” and therefore art and culture must be prioritized to achieve social and financial success.

Discussed in the Episode: 
Stuart Semple
The Dairy Block
Art Collection at The Dairy Block
Happiness Headquarters
Joy Sandwich
Giant Gallery in Bournemouth
Virtual Museum of Online Art
Stuart Semple on Instagram

About Stuart Semple:
Stuart Semple is a multidisciplinary British artist working across painting, sculpture, happenings, technology, and activism. He is well known for his sociologically engaged works that often discuss youth politics, accessibility, and democracy. Although diverse in its presentation, Semple’s body of work orbits around a handful of recurring themes: anxiety, society, cultural history, technology, connection, community, and freedom. Ultimately landing with a clear-minded sense of utility, that art itself should have a social function. After studying fine art at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Semple’s works have been exhibited at numerous solo and group exhibitions, fairs and biennials, and at institutions including The Barbican, ICA London, Goss Michael Foundation, Frieze, Art Basel Miami, Denver Art Museum, and The Whitworth. He has created large-scale public projects for cities including Melbourne, Dublin, London, Moscow, and Manchester. His most ambitious was Happy City (2018), in which he created several large-scale public interventions throughout Denver which were documented in the Amazon Prime documentary ‘Mr. Happy.’

Semple is well known for utilizing the internet as a performance space, via such projects as The Pinkest Pink and Blackest Black. is an ongoing project to liberate art materials and arguably one of the most enduring internet performances of all time. Semple is the founder of VOMA (the virtual online museum of art) and in 2021 opened the doors to his artist-run gallery ‘Giant’ in Bournemouth exhibiting major international artists in a program of sociologically engaged curatorial shows. He has presented for BBC TV and his 2019 ‘Hostile Design’ program for BBC Radio 4 was nominated for a radio academy award. He has written for The Guardian, Huffington Post, Vogue, and held a weekly column for Art of England Magazine. His work has been featured in publications including Wired, Financial Times, GQ, Flash Art, ArtForum, Modern Painters, The Art Newspaper, New York Times, Architectural Digest, and others. On the first International Day of Happiness, Stuart Semple was honored by the UN with a Happiness Hero medal in recognition for his “HappyCloud” performance from Tate Modern in London. Semple is an ambassador for the mental health charity Mind, with whom he initiated a creative therapies fund throughout England and Wales.

About Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
Dot Dot Dot is the continuing conversation around art and placemaking in the built environment. Hosted by NINE dot ARTS CEO Martha Weidmann, episodes explore art, culture, community, and more with a range of reputable business leaders. Tune in biweekly to learn how an original art experience can boost your business and make a social impact. Episodes are available wherever you get your podcasts!