Lord John Bird exhibits artwork as part of Big Issue birthday celebrations 

The Big Issue is marking its '25+1 birthday' with a special edition of the magazine – and an exclusive exhibition of artwork by its founder, Lord John Bird

This week’s edition of  The Big Issue, on sale now, has been specially curated by the magazine’s founder, Lord John Bird, to mark the organisation’s ‘25+1’ birthday.

The special edition is being sold to coincide with an exhibition of Lord Bird’s own artwork – pictured above and below – being held in a gallery in central London.

Built around the theme of social trading, the special edition of the magazine features an array of art-related content, including the unique work of the founder himself.

Art in particular has meant so much to me over the years. It was a saviour in my troubled youth

The exhibition of Lord Bird’s work: “The Big Issue 25 + 1: A celebration of a life-changing revolution” will be held at The Framers Gallery, London until Friday September 29.

On display at the gallery will be around 20 printed pieces of Lord Bird’s personal artwork. Amongst the collection of oil, watercolours and drawings, will be a number of pieces featured in the magazine.

John Bird art

The founder’s artwork addresses themes of the human form and nature, with an ever-present undertone of the benefit of doing social good through social trading. All prints will be available to purchase from the gallery, with prices starting from £200.

“It felt natural to mark our just over a quarter of a century celebrations with a special issue that nods towards the good that creativity can do in our world today.” said Lord Bird.

“Art in particular has meant so much to me over the years. It was a saviour in my troubled youth. I would go to drawing classes rather than hanging around with the lads I grew up with who were knee-deep in wrongdoing.

John Bird art

“It inspired me and gave me a lot of confidence. The right kind of confidence. This week’s Big Issue looks at how we can all make a difference and leave our social footprint by using our skills to give back to those less lucky than ourselves.”

The Big Issue Shop

He continued: “I am also humbled to have my artwork on display in the same week, too. I think my art dips across a lot of ideas around nature, humankind and the difference we can all make by welcoming social trading into our lives. I do hope people like it and take something away from it, whatever that may be.”

This week’s Big Issue also features the regular Street Art page, which gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression. The prints are all available to buy from The Big Issue Shop, the online shop selling products with a ‘social echo’. At least half the profit from each sale goes to the artist. The remaining profit is used to continue the mission of The Big Issue: to give people in poverty the opportunity of a hand-up.

John Bird art

The Big Issue shop sells its own branded products as well as those from other social businesses, meaning every item purchased has a positive social outcome. This could be through what the product is made from, who it is made by or where the profits end up.

Lord John Bird’s artwork is on at The Framer’s Gallery, 36 Windmill Street, London W1, until Friday September 29

John Bird art