Painter and engraver Simon Black was born into a Jewish family in Prestwich, Greater Manchester on 17 March 1958. He studied Fine Art and Printmaking at Manchester, Wolverhampton (1981) and Rochdale (1985), leaving with a scholarship to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During his studies and the early part of his career, he mainly focused on etchings and watercolours, but after moving to London in 1986 he began to work in oils, producing large scale canvases in his trademark style. In 2001, he won the Royal Free Art Project competition and was commissioned to paint six scenes of hospital life which are on display in the Royal Free Hospital's atrium. His works were featured in solo and group exhibitions alike, notably at The Mall Galleries, The Millinery Works, and Art London 2003; as well as the Woodlands Art Gallery, Greenwich; Unicorn Gallery, London; and the Rona Gallery, London. In 2007 he was diagnosed with cancer and died a year later, in London, England on 3 March 2008. In 2008 the Kowalsky Gallery held a retrospective exhibition of his painting cycle titled 'Spirits of London'. His work is held in UK collections including the Ben Uri Collection, the Royal Free Hospital and the Ruth Borchard Collection.