Martin Creed was born in Wakefield, England, in 1968, and from 1986-90 attended the Slade School of Art in London. In 1993 his Work No. 81, 'a one inch cube of masking tape in the middle of every wall in a building' was installed in the offices of the London firm, Starkmann Ltd, and since then Creed has had numerous solo exhibitions and projects around the world. He lives and works in London.
Words and music have always been an integral part of Creed's practice. From the artist’s point of view ‘talks are works and words are work’. Creed has often combined art, talking, choreography and music played with his band. The simplicity of the music demonstrates a simple but intellectual approach to creating music/artwork. Using few notes and words Creed delivers compelling messages in tracks such as Words, Thinking / Not thinking and Fuck off.
Calvin Klein commissioned Creed to write Work No. 673 for an installation involving all the company's Spring 2008 collections. Creed’s orchestra was seated one behind another on a long, narrow stage running down the length of the space. Later in 2008 Creed wrote a four minute piece, Work No. 955 for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as a companion piece to a solo exhibition in Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery. In August 2008 Work No. 850 Creed’s sculptural installation consisting of a runner sprinting the 86-metre length of Tate Britain's Duveen Galleries every 30 seconds launched the Cultural Olympiad, London 2012's vision to infiltrate art into the games.
The following year Work No. 955 was repeated in a concert given in Japan alongside the newly commissioned Work No 994 for the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra. Always curious to combine forms of art Creed turned to dance for his Work No. 1020. Premièred in October 2009 jointly commissioned by Sadler’s Wells and Freize Art Fair, it is a brand new work in which Creed has choreographed a piece for five classically trained dancers. The work also includes some of Creed’s short films and original compositions performed by his own band. Based around the five positions in ballet and the notes of the musical scale, the piece speaks eloquently to the incremental impulses at play in Creed's work. Work No 1020 was revived on the main stage at Sadler’s Wells in June 2011.