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But I see your true colours, shining through.
I see your true colors, and that’s why I love you.
So don’t be afraid to let them show!
Your true colors,
True colors, are beautiful
Like a rainbow.

The song, “True Colours” was written by songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, and immortalized by Cyndi Lauper in her 1986 album of the same name. When the highly accomplished artist, Stuart Semple was approached to paint a cow to benefit the mental health charity, Mind, this song sprang to his mind. Stuart immediately saw the finished piece in his head. The final two lines, “True colors, are beautiful, Like a rainbow,“ became his flash of inspiration. This, coupled with the memory of a description of him by a journalist saying, “if you cut Stuart he would bleed like a day glo rainbow,” has resulted in this wonderfully, boldly painted cow named, “True Colours.”

The broad horizontal stripes of green, blue, pink, red, orange and yellow, wrap around the cow enveloping it like the layered colours of a rainbow. Over the years, Stuart has created his own signature palette of colours, which he uses on True Colours. The colours have been given their own names, such as Bubble Gum Pink, and Ray Gun Red. Despite appearances, the paint was not actually left to drip of it’s own accord. The drips of paint have been constructed. In his art, Stuart likes the dichotomy of something appearing as something else. The drips give the feeling of movement as if something is still happening. It is as if truth is oozing out of the cow.

The instigator and initial inspiration for Stuart’s life of art was his Nanna. He discovered she had a drawer full of oil paints and palette knives and she allowed him spend many happy hours creating. She loved the Impressionists, so at the age of 8 Stuart was copying Van Goghs paintings and honing his artistic skills. A second powerful influence in his artistic life is David Hockney, the man himself, perhaps even more that the art he creates. Stuart finds the way Hockney innovates and makes work that possibly only Hockney cares about, even at this stage in his life, very motivating and admirable. If he is ever really stuck in his thinking, in order to get going again, Stuart listens to Bob Dylan, and usually a word or phrase pops up that primes the inner well of inspiration, causing it to flow again. Stuart Semple’s wide genre of work is greatly sought after, exhibited and sold internationally.

Proceeds of the auction of True Colours will be donated to the mental health charity Mind. There are 52 regional branches of Mind in England and Wales. Each local region is aware of the needs and challenges in their own area, and funding is applied for from the parent charity for projects that best cater for these needs. The Art Therapies provided are as diverse as the people who get involved. They include painting, creative writing, photography, dance, and spoken word, to name a few. As an ambassador with Mind, Stuart Semple encourages people to honestly open up and express even their tragic feelings. He explains that we all experience what it is to be alive and with that comes good and bad experiences. We need each other. We need to tell people the truth of our feelings and not to hide. We cannot read each other’s minds; therefore we need to create an open environment where we feel supported. Stuart has found, through dealing with difficulties in his own life, that exercise, art and meditation are the three key behaviours needed to help him push through the tough times.

  • Location:

    Hampton Court Palace Auction
    17th November 2016

  • Visiting Hours:


  • Created by:

    Stuart Semple

  • Raising money for:

    Mind’s Creative Therapies Fund