Derek Goldberg

Derek Goldberg

London, Harrow, United Kingdom

About Derek Goldberg

While I have dabbled in art since my early 20s, I have only now, in retirement, been able to devote myself to it passionately. I am fortunate to have found studio space in northwest London, which has helped unleash my creative potential, enabling me also to work on some large installations.

I was born in Zimbabwe, moving at age 10 to Cape Town in South Africa where I lived until I moved to the UK in my mid 20s. I had an intensely creative period from 1976 until 1980, but a career in engineering combined with bringing up three children meant that I had little time or space to pursue art. In retirement I have rekindled my love affair with art and am enjoying it immensely.

I would define myself essentially as an abstract artist, a colourist, with particular focus on the pop art and optical art genres. I am currently creating what, I believe, are unique installations using spent laughing gas canisters. These small steel canisters contain nitrous oxide and are used amongst young people as a recreational drug, a means of obtaining a legal high.

I now have a team of canister pickers, both friends and street cleaners, who pick up canisters for me from gutters, parks and car parks. So far I have incorporated more than 20,00 canisters in my art installations which means that more than half a ton of steel has been saved from landfill.

I continue to work with oil on canvas, and have recently started using acrylics on wood and handmade paper.

I view abstract art from the perspective of whether it is visually pleasing to me personally, and whether I would like to see it on my wall, rather than analysing the meaning.

My inspiration has come largely from early 20th century artists such as Picasso, Miro, Klee, Kandinsky, Chagall and Modigliani, and more recently from artists such as Hockney, Basquiat and Johns. I particularly admire the work of recently deceased artist Gillian Ayres RA, who made a point of only being interested in colours and shapes, rather than trying to achieve a meaning. She simply had fun painting and embraced colour in a very special way.


I have had no formal training in art, although took courses in lithography and screenprinting in the early 1980s. I have now retired from an engineering career. The canister art installations have brought together two sides of me: the artist and the engineer.


Featured in Harrow People Magazine, December 2019 (double page spread).


2012 - piece selected for Arts Depot Open
2019 - September, Whitefriars Studios Group Show
2019 - 20th November to 12th December - First solo show, Laugh out Loud, Whitefriars Gallery in Wealdstone, Harrow, London featuring 11 laughing gas canister art installations.
2019 - current - one of my illuminated canister art conical forms is on loan as a Xmas tree in the Harrow Civic Centre, my first public display.