The Connor Brothers first burst onto the art scene in 2013 as mysterious twin brothers; Franklyn and Brendan Connor, who escaped from a controversial and enigmatic Christian cult called 'The Family'. After perpetrating this fictional biography for 18 months, the duo decided to break cover. Truly, they are Mike Snelle and James Golding. The recent revelation of their identity has seen a huge increase in sales with their work having been sold alongside Banksy and Damien Hirst at Christie's and Bonham's.
The Connor Brothers work explores the boundaries between truth and fiction and shares similar contexts experienced in their lives.
Their work questions how we construct meaning from experience and regularly blurs the line between the two. Using collage to subvert the meaning of old master paintings and vintage romance novels, The Connor Brothers cast a cynical and penetrating eye at contemporary culture. Their work reinterprets objects from the past and in doing so provides a humorous commentary on contemporary societies obsession with wealth, fame and the unrealistic idealism of advertisings' vision of relationships.
The Connor Brothers have recently been included in contemporary auctions at both Christies and Bonhams, and can be found in collections worldwide including The Victoria and Albert Museum. They have exhibited internationally and in 2015 curated Pussy Riot’s performance at Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition. Their work is held in private and public collections all over the world, including, London, New York, Hong Kong, Germany, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Mike and James recently donated a painting ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’ to a charity auction supporting the work of CALM who highlight male mental health and suicide prevention. We think the interview below makes fascinating reading:
Why have you chosen to highlight male mental health and suicide prevention with this art?
Because we’ve both suffered mental health issues and also had family members who’ve struggled. I sectioned a family member last year and am acutely aware of the devastation and distress mental health problems can cause. The statistics of male suicide in this country are horrifying and we are grateful charities like CALM exist.
Does art have a role to play in representing or exploring difficult mental states/mental health issues?
One of the privileged things about being an artist is being given a voice and an audience and a platform. It feels important to use that platform to speak up on things that we think are meaningful rather than wang on about ourselves endlessly. For us mental health is one of those things.
What kind of response are you looking for from people who see your art?
Fuck. This is one of those tricky ones. I like the idea that the purpose of art is to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. It would be really great if people (even one person…) felt connected with and understood by something we’d made. I guess that’s the thing we’re trying to generate. That and making people question their beliefs and presumptions and be more openminded to others.