The two guitarists decided to team up and create music that was unsullied by any digital processes. After exchanging demos and making one failed attempt at recording, they began working on tape machines set up in Hoare's flat. The duo spent a few months getting their Velvet Underground and classic '60s and '70s pop-inspired sound together, with Hoare on bass and Cooper on drums, and both singing and playing guitar. The first recorded song, "Ultimate Painting," gave them their name. It was inspired by the early-'60s Drop City arts commune and their giant improvised piece of the same name. The band signed on with Trouble in Mind in the early summer of 2014, and played a handful of shows in the U.K. opening for Parquet Courts. Their self-titled debut album came out in October of 2014.
After touring the world and playing shows with White Fence, Twerps, and Parquet Courts again, the duo headed back to James' flat to begin work on another album. This time they brought in Mazes drummer Neil Robinson to play on the sessions. The result, 2015's Green Lanes, was released by Trouble in Mind and had a very similar sound and feel to their debut. While on tour through the U.S. later that year, they cut a live recording direct to tape for Third Man Records, which was released in May of 2016 on LP, just in time for their next tour of the States. Their next album was recorded again in Hoare's flat, this time on a tape machine that was used to record Nirvana's Bleach. Sitting in on drums was Astral Pattern's Melissa Rigby. Dusk was released by Trouble in Mind in September of 2016.
The bandmembers quickly began recording another album but found themselves frustrated and at a loss for how to continue. They scrapped the sessions and Cooper concentrated on cutting a solo album, Sandgrown, which was released by Trouble in Mind in August of 2017. Ultimate Painting finally did finish recording their fourth album, titled Up!, and it was set to be released by Bella Union in April of 2018. Those plans were derailed when Cooper posted a message on the band's website that they had split up "due to an irreconcilable breakdown" and had asked Bella Union to refrain from releasing the finished record. The label agreed and the bandmembers moved on to other projects. ~ Tim Sendra, Rovi