13 artists on why we should stay in Europe

Published 3 June 2016

As the EU referendum nears, 13 artists have joined the “In” campaign – each explaining with a new artwork why they believe we shouldn’t Brexit. Do you agree? Tell us what you think below or on Twitter.

  • Michael Craig-Martin RA


    US-born Michael Craig-Martin moved to London in 1966 and has lived there ever since, and is well known for his time teaching the likes of Damien Hirst at Goldsmiths College. Craig-Martin argues that our position in Europe “has guaranteed democracy, the rule of law, civil liberties, and human rights.”

  • Michael Craig-Martin's poster

    Michael Craig-Martin's poster

    Michael Craig-Martin said: “I am shocked that there are many people of my generation, whose lives and standard of living have been immeasurably improved during the years of Britain’s membership, who now wish to deny these benefits to their children and their grandchildren. The EU has helped establish the longest period of peace in Europe in centuries. It has guaranteed democracy, the rule of law, civil liberties, and human rights across every member state. We should remember that these are our values, British values.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Antony Gormley RA


    London-born Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks, his most famous works including The Angel of the North near Gateshead. He says that the European Union poses “an opportunity to exercise imagination.”

  • Antony Gormley's poster

    Antony Gormley's poster

    Creating a poster for the “Stronger in Europe” campaign ahead of the referendum, Gormley said: “The European project is creative, an opportunity to exercise imagination. It is the present form of the ongoing dynamic between geography and tribe. We have always been part of this evolving story and need to stay part of it. Britain has key role to play in the European Parliament, Commission and Councils, they are our opportunity to contribute to a collective future that is the result of much sacrifice.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Eva Rothschild RA


    Eva Rothschild is an Irish sculptor now living and working in London. She says we should continue to shape Europe, not abandon it: “There are things that may need to be reformed within the EU but Britain can be part of that.”

  • Eva Rothschild's poster

    Eva Rothschild's poster

    One of several artists to join the anti Brexit campaign, Rothschild commented: “Britain is physically part of Europe, so why would we choose to distance ourselves from our closest neighbours and a whole community with a shared sense of history and identity? There are things that may need to be reformed within the EU but Britain can be part of that – we can play a role in the shaping of a future Europe but only by remaining within the union.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Jon Burgerman


    UK-born, New York-based artist Jon Burgerman says that collaboration in Europe transformed his practice, “allowing for the sharing of ideas, tools, products and work across so many countries and cultures is not possible anywhere else in the world.”

  • Jon Burgerman's poster

    Jon Burgerman's poster

    Jon Burgerman said: “Being able to openly travel around Europe and meet and even collaborate with a host of companies, makers and artists not only transformed my practice but also my life. The ease and openness of these collaborations, allowing for the sharing of ideas, tools, products and work across so many countries and cultures is not possible anywhere else in the world. We would be a lot poorer culturally (and likely financially) without it.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Bob and Roberta Smith RA


    Bob and Roberta Smith – the pseudonym of the artist Patrick Brill – spent time training as a sign painter in New York, and uses text as an art form, creating colourful slogans that challenge elitism and advocate the importance of creativity in politics and education. “We have only got each other, let’s work together,” he says.

  • Bob and Roberta Smith's poster

    Bob and Roberta Smith's poster

    Bob and Roberta Smith said: “The EU has its inspiration in the post war desire for peace. It is an agent in creating peace and stability. It benefits business and builds the economic base for prosperity but beyond that it is fundamentally about peace. We have only got each other, let’s work together. Vote to Remain in Europe.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Tacita Dean RA


    Berlin-based Tacita Dean trained as a painter, but is best known as a filmmaker. Arguing that Europe has been an agent for peace, she suggests that “there is no virtue in insularity.”

  • Tacita Dean's poster

    Tacita Dean's poster

    Joining the “Stronger In” campaign, Tacita Dean said: “The EU is an agent for peace and a vision for the future, not a return to our fractured and bloody past. There is no virtue in insularity. My question to those still equivocating is are Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and Vladimir Putin your natural bedfellows? With their endorsement of Brexit comes proof of the nasty nationalism at the heart of this referendum.”

  • Axel Scheffler


    This German-born illustrator is well known for his collaborations with author Julia Donaldson on books like the Gruffalo – a book which is available across Europe. “It could stand as a symbol of unity and diversity and cultural exchange.”

  • Axel Scheffler's poster

    Axel Scheffler's poster

    Of his anti-Brexit poster, Axel Scheffler said: “Here are the children of the states of the European Union. Julia Donaldson’s and my book ‘the Gruffalo’ has been translated into almost all the languages of the member states – it is a book that children of Europe can share. It could stand as a symbol of unity and diversity and cultural exchange. As a father and as a children’s book illustrator, I care about the future of our readers. A unified and collaborating Europe has assured a largely peaceful development in Europe. For me, the EU is the best guarantee for a peaceful and prosperous future for Europe – it should not be put in jeopardy by Britain leaving.”

  • Wolfgang Tillmans RA


    A passionate “In” campaigner, this German fine-art photographer has launched his own campaign with a whole series of posters. “The longer I immerse myself in the subject matter of the EU referendum, the more ludicrous the idea behind exiting without any strategy seems to me.“

  • Wolfgang Tillmans's poster

    Wolfgang Tillmans's poster

    Tillmans, who has produced a whole series of ant-Brexit posters, explained: “The longer I immerse myself in the subject matter of the EU referendum, the more ludicrous the idea behind exiting without any strategy seems to me. A contribution, which Britain pays along with other wealthier members like Germany, helps raise standards throughout the EU and is money well spent, and not wasted. To insinuate, as Leavers do, that the money ‘saved’ will be spent on the NHS shows the wickedness of those behind the Leave campaigns.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Rankin


    A British fashion photographer, John Rankin Waddell has photographed everyone from Kate Moss to the Queen. Staying in Europe, he argues, does not undermine our independence: “We’re still British after all.”

  • Rankin's poster

    Rankin's poster

    Rankin said: “I’m no politician but in my opinion leaving Europe will split Britain. It will not unify it. Staying in, we stay stronger, yet still have our independence. We’re still British after all.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Michael Tierney


    Based in East Sussex, painter Michael Tierney is incredulous at the idea that the UK might vote to make travel across the continent more difficult. “Why on earth would you vote to go backwards?”

  • Michael Tierney's poster

    Michael Tierney's poster

    Michael Tierney said of his anti-Brexit poster: “One of the biggest and best changes since my childhood has been the ease with which you can now travel between here and countries on the continent. Why on earth would you vote to go backwards?”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Jefferson Hack and Ferdinando Verderi


    Dazed founder Hack recently teamed up with New York-based creative director Verderi to create his new book, We Can’t Do This Alone: Jefferson Hack The System, and the pair have collaborated to produce their anti-Brexit poster. “Together we are stronger than we are alone,” they say.

  • Jefferson Hack & Ferdinando Verderi's poster

    Jefferson Hack & Ferdinando Verderi's poster

    Jefferson Hack and Ferdinando Verderi said of their decision to join the “Stronger In” campaign: “Together we are stronger than we are alone. I’m voting for a better future. Vote in and don’t let someone else steal your say.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Ewan Mitchell


    Glasgow-based Mitchell says that he owes much of his social life to the freedom that Europe affords us: “I personally wouldn’t know half of my friends if it weren’t for the free movement that the EU offers.”

  • Ewan Mitchell's poster

    Ewan Mitchell's poster

    Ewan Mitchell said: “My decision to support vote Remain comes down to two points. The EU bridges gaps between millions of people. I personally wouldn’t know half of my friends if it weren’t for the free movement that the EU offers. It is something we need to hold on to, but also build on. Whereas the Vote Leave campaign is championed by many of the worst right wing political figures in the UK, who want to shut us off both socially and politically.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Dog & Rabbit


    This group of animators, writers, designers and artists who have been making daily illustration for InFacts, the “fact-based case for Britain to remain in the European Union.”

  • Dog & Rabbit's poster

    Dog & Rabbit's poster

    “We think younger citizens who have still got most of their lives to live should make the choice whether they do so as Europeans or not. The decision should not be made by those who will not live very long with the consequences.”

    Poster promoted by Will Straw on behalf of Britain Stronger in Europe (The In Campaign Ltd), both at St Bride’s House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8EH

  • Tell us what you think: How would staying in the EU or leaving it affect the arts?

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