Starting their artistic journey as fictional characters The Connor Brothers in reality are British artists Mike Snelle and James Golding.
The fictional identity of Mike and James was designed to cloak their personal reality, and such was its success that it captured the imagination of the art world. The Connor Brothers were presented as innocent twins who had emerged traumatised from a Californian cult and were struggling to make sense of the world through their art – an interesting background no doubt, but the truth is more interesting still.
Their obsession with truth and fiction is the golden thread that runs throughout the life and work of the Connor Brothers and is particularly relevant in the current climate of fake news, post-truth and social media.
The brothers create retro style figurative images which encourage us to challenge our assumptions and preconceptions, and as a result to perhaps see the world a little differently. Their interest in undermining our assumptions and casual acceptance of cultural norms is reflected in their extraordinary background.
Their best-known works offer a playful twist on the conventions of pulp fiction cover art, accompanied by words from the world’s greatest poets, cynics and wits. These satirical juxtapositions of cliché and brilliance strike a chord with the modern age. Thought provoking and ironic, they invite us to think about the difference between appearance and reality, between what we see, what we think we see, and what we want to see.
Today James and Mike align their work with social causes. After working for several years in the notorious French refugee camp known as The Jungle, they launched the Refuchic billboard campaign, which forced us to examine our attitude to poverty and displacement. They have created a refugee-themed show at Banksy’s Dismaland, and they continue to work with mental health charity, CALM.
The Connor Brothers have been widely featured in the media, and there have been sell-out shows at galleries in LA, New York, Sydney, Dubai, London, Hong Kong and Berlin. Their work is included in collections at The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Penguin Collection and both the Omar Koch and Niarchos Collections. At Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Online Auction in May 2021 The Bestest and Most Expensivist Painting in the History of Art which they executed in 2020 sold for over £44,000, which was 300% more than the estimate.