David Spiller

Imagine, 1997

  • Acrylic and pencil on canvas
  • 75 x 61 ins

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David loved the beauty of the peace symbol's simplicity. An instantly recognisable hieroglyph, conveying a universal message, David painted this as a direct response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. David could never understand man's inhumanity to man; he was part of a generation which still felt the impact of the Second World War and feared for the future.

Preferring to use raw canvas demonstrating raw emotion, David stripped back any notion of decoration, choosing simple austere monochromatic colour, also incorporating silver paint to bring the image into the twenty-first century. Evolving and contemporising the symbol from its connotations of hippy love from the '60s.

The large scale of the piece was a conscious choice to help reaffirm his utopian hope, further emphasized by the underlining word: PEACE, stencilled in a bold black hard-hitting typeface. Combined with 'Imagine', the title of one of David's favourite compositions from John Lennon's poignant anthem, this painting is a telegraphic banner promoting David's wish for peace and to express the sadness and futility of war.


David counterbalanced the size and impact of this painting by using tiny inscriptions. Microscopic hand-writing, inviting the viewer to look closer and discover another layer of love messages and sentiments; 'we're all looking for a brighter day' and 'it takes a worried man to sing a worried song'. The more closely you look into the painting the more you see a window into David's soul. Emotions laid bare, fears and worries, a wish for love.
I really want to make paintings that put some magic on the wallMy wish is that these paintings bring you memories and that they might stir something inside youThat they reflect part of one persons passing timeI hope they speak for themselves and that they speak to youThat the journey was all worthwhile

Written by Xavier Spiller-Cameron