In 1996, Simon Patterson was nominated for the Turner Prize for his best known work, ‘The Great Bear’. The piece is a re-working of the London Underground map in which station names have been substituted with the names of celebrities, Old Masters and Chinese dissidents. Oxford Circus became Titian and Hampstead Audrey Hepburn, for example. By transforming authoritative data with his own associations he challenged existing rationales and the result was light-hearted, amusing and thought provoking. A 20th anniversary version of Simon Patterson's famous Tube map went on display in 2012 at the London Transport Museum. The stations were rechristened in accordance with the cultural mood, with the Jubilee line being devoted to bankers and the Hammersmith and City being made up of Murdochs. Simon Patterson has created large scale projects and installations, such as "Cosmic Wallpaper" at the University of Warwick and a Wilfred Owen tribute.
His artwork humorously dislocates and subverts sources of information such as maps, diagrams and constellation charts by replacing the names of star constellations with the history of a heavy metal band, for example. His work is included in the Tate Collection, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and numerous other international collections. He has exhibited widely in both group and solo shows in the UK and around the world. He has also taught at the Slade School of Fine Art. His advice to a young artist starting out: “Show with your peers to get noticed. There's strength in numbers.”