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Royal wedding: Bob and Roberta Smith's commemorative artwork

Artist Bob and Roberta Smith creates likenesses of Prince William and Kate Middleton ahead of the royal wedding

Of all the cultural figures we approached to pay tribute to the royal wedding, Bob and Roberta Smith chose arguably the most abstract approach. The east London-based artist (actually just one person, real name Patrick Brill) has what he calls "a broken ice-cream van approach" to aesthetics and decided to build sculptures of the bride and groom out of rubbish he found in a skip. To complete the piece, he made himself a part of it, sitting beside his creations with an empty cat-food tin and a felt-tipped sign, begging for money.

It isn't necessarily a critique of the expense of the wedding, insists Smith, 48, though he's pretty sore about recent government arts cuts. "And I haven't sold a painting in six months. If I was in the right place with these sculptures, on royal wedding day, I could make a bit of money." So he plans to find a spot on a kerb in King's Cross, north London, near the Work gallery where he currently has an exhibition on, titled You Should Be In Charge. "On the day," says Smith, "I'll be a bit like those kids with guys on Guy Fawkes night. I might even spend some of the money I make on fireworks to mark the occasion."

The sculptures don't immediately recall William and Kate… he's a broken spade gaffer-taped to an old wall bracket. She's a plastic football with a lampshade for a veil. "But you can see some of her cheekiness, can't you? Look at her smile!"

He thinks Middleton has more zing about her than William. "She was practically naked in that student dress. I think she has the potential to become a bit of a Princess Margaret figure. You know. Jolly."

He's not against the monarchy – or not completely. He thinks they should be elected figures. "Not politicians, but interesting people. Then you can still have the pomp and occasion, and keep the attraction to tourists, but also have a king or a queen with ideas."

Who would he vote into a crown if he had the choice? "My absolute queen at the moment is Susan Hiller, currently being exhibited at the Tate. Who else? Unfortunately she's French, and she's dead, but Louise Bourgeois would have made a wonderful monarch." It's an idea that might need work, but Smith will have plenty of time to refine it while he's chinking his tin in King's Cross a week on Friday. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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