Michael Craig-Martin talks about his latest work in support of the NHS, and the education that paved the way for his art
None of us was expecting the virus crisis: but perhaps, Sir Michael Craig-Martin muses, artists were among those best prepared to weather it. That’s certainly the feeling from his own perspective, at least. “To begin with, I’ve lived alone for many years, so I’m used to my own company,” he tells me. “On top of that I often work from home, and I’ve got an office here. So I’ve not had to reinvent myself – it’s more of the normal.”
That, though, is about the practicalities: when it comes to the terrible realities of the moment, the pandemic has been every bit as seismic and unsettling for Craig-Martin as it has for everyone else. Which is why he was so pleased to get his latest commission – a colour-your-own thank-you poster for NHS staff, downloadable from the BBC website. “To have something so specific to do at the moment, when you’re feeling helpless, and to be able to use what I can do positively was a real treat,” he says. We’re speaking on the phone, but I get a tangible sense of his warmth and thoughtfulness.