Simon Key has worked in oils for many years. He often favours a square format and a simple composition, so that often the works resemble a single frame from a storyboard. In this respect they echo the simplicity of much of his cartoon work. The subject matter varies a good deal but certain subject and themes recur. Mr.Key is particularly interested in the lone individual pitted against difficult odds: the boxer, the matador, the batsman or sometimes just a lone figure in a bar grappling with their inner world. The relationship between people and their immediate environments in these paintings makes up the drama of a scene, be it a bullring, swimming pool or cocktail lounge.
Simon Key's interest in the world of politics, and sport and and their global ripples is also seen in his work, with particular interest in the iconic nature of some images that he has developed paintings from. These have included images that form a kind of bond or touch stone between the people's of the entire planet and have included the Assaination of JFK, The Rumble in the Jungle and the attacks on the World Trade Center - a series that Mr. Key titled 'Are You Watching TV?. Two recent and punchy paintings in this vein feature the Stars and Stripes, in Iraq, draped over the statue of Saddam Hussein and surrounded by razor wire at Guantenemo Bay, Cuba.
"Some symbols, like flags, are so powerful as to be a short hand for hundreds of years of a nation's history. I am interested in how symbols and images connect countries of the world in a universal language . America would do well to consider carefully what a gruesome symbol of violence it's flag has become in the modern era."