The Layered Pop Art of David Spiller

British artist David Spiller is known for his pop culture references and layered approach to making art. With an art brut style, Spiller combines images of cartoons, handwritten notes, block letters, and lots of color to create the type of art that could find itself in any modern home. My own background in fine arts has led me to become a collector as well as a producer of artworks, and David Spiller has created some of my favorite pieces.

British Pop Art Elements

Much of David Spiller’s work could be classified as British Pop art. The genre appeared after World War II and drew inspiration from American advertising. This could explain why Spiller’s art fits so easily into the modern American home; it is a direct response to American iconography. The layered and graphic elements of each painting are straightforward. There are no pretenses to this type of art.

I particularly love how he includes classic American cartoons, such as Mickey Mouse, with a modern twist. The subject matter may be dated, but the style David Spiller uses is very contemporary.

"With Love (Mickey)" by David Spiller

Image credit: Kunzt Gallery


Bold Use of Color

When questioned about the lyrics used in one of his pieces in a video interview, David Spiller says, “I liked the song, but it’s really about color.” The genius of Spiller’s artwork is his bold use of color. Although the palette of each piece can seem arbitrary at first, it is far from a random collection of hues. Each piece contains an “intense” black that offsets the other colors and adds to the graphic nature of the work. The other colors build on each other to create “complex colour-field abstractions,” as Martin Gayford put it in his catalog essay for Spiller’s 2008 exhibition at Beaux Arts London.

This is yet another characteristic of Spiller’s work that makes it perfect for any art aficionado’s home. With a wide-ranging color palette, selecting a piece that matches or complements your own décor is easy.

Cinema Influence

The cartoon characters and lyrics often found in Spiller’s artwork are an example of the artist using what he knew as inspiration. In the same way, David Spiller drew inspiration from the old-fashioned marquee signs outside of his local cinema. You can see this influence in the block letters found in most of his pieces. He carefully paints each letter using a stencil, after tediously arranging all of the letters on his canvas. This is a distinct contrast to the way in which marquee signs were hastily changed to introduce new shows.

"All My Loving" by David Spiller

Image credit: Portland Gallery


David Spiller’s Personal Touch

Among the many hallmarks found in David Spiller’s artwork, his very personal marginalia is one that cannot be replicated. When he adds these last-minute yet thoughtful scrawls, it is without the precision that defines the other elements of his work. Instead, he simply fills in the white space by hand, embracing the imperfections and idiosyncrasies. In the words of David Spiller himself, these additions make “something come alive over the surface” of the painting.

"One Love Minnie)" by David Spiller

Image credit: Long-Sharp Gallery


If you are looking for artwork for your home, I hope that you will consider the works of David Spiller. Though difficult to come by, these pieces will add a personality and playfulness that is worth searching for.

Warm regards,