The former Londoner turned New Yorker Kosmo Vinyl is perhaps best known for his work with Ian Dury and The Blockheads and then with The Clash. Starting out at Stiff Records in 1976, he became a key figure in the London-based music scene. By the mid 1980’s, he had moved to New York City and, after marrying and becoming a father, he decided to end his professional involvement with music. “When I worked in music, my style was full on with one hundred percent commitment and I knew no other way to do it,” Vinyl says today. “I realized a family would require the same, and it wasn’t possible to do both. Although I was surprised what good preparation for raising children working with musicians was!”
Since the 90’s, Vinyl has developed into both an artist and a “cultural curator”. Focused primarily on life with his wife and two sons, he began producing works of art in what little downtime he had as a stay-at-home father. At first he made one-of-a-kind postcards, mailing them to friends around the world; then he started painting, eventually combining the two.
Kosmo Vinyl first showed as an artist in London in 2010, at a group show tribute to the cartoonist/artist Ray Lowry. Since then he has appeared in several group shows in in the UK , Europe and U.S.A. These include the Spring Break Art Show, New York City, 2017 and the Grayson Perry curated 250th Royal Academy summer Exhibition 2018. Kosmo has also had one man exhibitions in London, Manchester and Somerset in England and Atlanta, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. in the United States.
Part of this work included ”Is Saitch Yer Daddy ?“ an Art Blog devoted to West Ham United Football Club in which Kosmo produced over 200 mixed media collages, covering every match played over a 5 season period. Also an “Instagram Installation” titled “The Cisco Kid vs. Donald Trump”, featuring appropriated comic strip panels as protest art. Fortunately this series was terminated when Trump left the White House in January 2021.
Other works have included collage/mixed media, assemblage, appropriation and painting. He has co-curated Ian Dury’s only exhibition of paintings and drawings “Your More Than Fair” at The Royal College of Art, London in the summer of 2013. Kosmo also remains a very committed mail artist: “the postcards are where I really kicked off as an artist and they remain very important to me” he explains, ”I have always got something about to go into the mail box”.
Kosmo’s latest work is the front cover for The Clash’s Record Store Day July 17th 2021 release “If Music Could Talk” LP. He also participating in the current Thames Delta Artists’ “All Kinds Of Naughty” Ian Dury themed touring exhibition in London and England’s South East.