10 Facts About The Connor Brothers

We Must Be Careful by The Connor BrothersWe Must Be Careful © The Connor Brothers 2017
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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The Connor Brothers were once a maverick duo in the art world, shrouded in mystery and conspiracy. Since their true identities were revealed in 2014, however, Mike Snelle and James Golding have used their pulp fiction inspired oeuvre to explore their relationship between self and society.

A Load Of Fuss About Fuck All by The Connor BrothersImage © Sotheby's / A Load Of Fuss About Fuck All © The Connor Brothers 2013

The Connor Brothers lied about their identities.

The Connor Brothers erupted into the art world limelight back in 2013, cloaked by a Hollywood-worthy backstory. The duo were originally known as Franklyn and Brendan Connor, twins who were supposedly raised by a cult in America. When the brothers eventually escaped at the age of 16, they allegedly fled to Brooklyn, and turned to art to learn about the world they had been sheltered from.

However, in 2014 the truth was finally unveiled. The Connor Brothers were not really brothers at all, and revealed themselves as Mike Snelle and James Golding. Former art dealers from East London, the pair invented the elaborate charade to protect themselves from the prying eyes of the public.

The Connor BrothersImage © The Connor Brothers / The Connor Brothers

The duo aren't really brothers.

When the duo revealed their true identities in 2014, Snelle and Golding confessed that they were not really brothers. Rather, the pair have since confessed that they met when Golding was addicted to heroin and Snelle was suffering from mental health problems. Given their troubled pasts, we can see that the fiction surrounding their identities was a way to avoid public scrutiny.

Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out by The Connor BrothersWhy Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out © The Connor Brothers 2020

The Connor Brothers' oeuvre is inspired by pulp fiction.

Inspired by American pulp fiction 'dime novels', cheap and mediocre dramas, The Connor Brothers set out to create book-cover inspired works. Characterised by moody lighting, often with a pin-up Hollywood starlet as their focal image, these original works launched the duo to fame in the early 2010s.

The Idiot (Ukraine) by The Connor BrothersThe Idiot (Ukraine) © The Connor Brothers 2022

The Connor Brothers' artwork tackles modern-day issues in society.

Since coming clean about their true identities, The Connor Brothers began using their artwork to comment on the socio-political issues of our time. In recent months, the duo have used their Penguin Paperback appropriations - not dissimilar to Harland Miller's - to comment on the Russia/Ukraine war.

Thou Shall Not Be A Cxxt (red) by The Connor BrothersThou Shall Not Be A Cxxt (red) © The Connor Brothers 2022

Humour underpins their work.

Across their entire body of work, The Connor Brothers have foregrounded their wry sense of humour. From witty typographical work to tongue-in-cheek appropriations of historic paintings, the pair always imbue their work with satire.

Refuchic by The Connor BrothersImage © The Connor Brothers / Refuchic © The Connor Brothers 2015

The duo now use their work for philanthropic causes.

Snelle and Golding have, since 2014, increasingly used their work to campaign for awareness and change in society. Over the years, they have performed many public stints to comment on big contemporary issues.

Christ, Now What ? (green) by The Connor BrothersChrist, Now What? (green) © The Connor Brothers 2022

The pair revealed their true identities in a 2014 Telegraph interview.

After a sale of modern art at Bonhams, titled 'A Contemporary Edge', the so-called Connor Brothers felt the need to 'come clean' about their true identities. The pair turned to The Telegraph in 2014, who unveiled the true story behind their mythic rise to fame.

I Tried To Drown My Sorrows But The Bastards Learned How To Swim by The Connor BrothersI Tried To Drown My Sorrows But The Bastards Learned How To Swim © The Connor Brothers 2021

The Connor Brothers have collaborated with some of the biggest names in Urban & Contemporary Art.

From Banksy to Pussy Riot, The Connor Brothers have worked with some of the most iconic figures in Urban, Street and Contemporary art. Given their own desire for anonymity, it is perhaps no surprise that the elusive Banksy should be drawn to this mysterious duo.

The Past by The Connor BrothersImage © The Connor Brothers / The Past © The Connor Brothers 2022

The Connor Brothers' style dramatically changed during lockdown.

After completing several hours of art therapy during COVID-19 national lockdowns, The Connor Brothers developed a new style quite divorced from their earlier oeuvre. The pair swapped their photo-realistic portraits for fluid line drawings and paintings, simplifying forms and messages to fundamental ideas.

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned by The Connor BrothersHell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned © The Connor Brothers 2021

The duo are clearly inspired by Pop Art.

By appropriating famed references from mass media, The Connor Brothers reveal the clear influence of Pop Art. Much like Andy Warhol's Pop innovations, the duo sought to satirise the cheap iconography of pulp fiction and elevate it to 'fine art' status.

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