Born in Auckland as Barrie Bates, Apple graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 1962 and his name the same year. This conceptual artist lived and worked in New York for 25 years where he established Apple, a not-for-profit space at 161 West 23rd Street which he operated between October 1969 and May 1973. In 1974, the Serpentine Gallery in London held a major survey of Apple's work which brought together his pop and conceptual works from 1960 to 1974. In several extended visits to New Zealand during the 1970s, Apple produced a host of site-specific architectural installations in dealer and public galleries throughout the country. Since the early 1980s Apple has created a body of text-based works that draw attention to the art system and highlight the network of relations that operate between artist, dealer, and collector. Billy Apple became a registered trademark in 2007, formalising his art brand status and continues to develop projects that address this, for example working with apple growers over the production and branding of a new apple cultivar and a collaborative art/science project, The Immortalisation of Billy Apple®, in which cells from his blood have been virally transformed to live outside the body for use in studies like cancer research. Based in Auckland since the 1990s, Apple continues to exhibit regularly throughout New Zealand and Australia and his works have been included in major international and national touring exhibitions.