My work is based on social, cultural and political themes expressed through two dimensional, visual art. Basquiat and Banksy, for example, inspire me. My images are sourced from my own photographs as well as work I have recontextualized from other arenas, such as the internet, print publications, etc. I use text and digital manipulation, employing humor, satire, emotionally charged words, and other figurative language techniques to express my ideas. I'm particularly interested in understanding how social media, as a communication tool, influences relationships. Central to my thinking is that most people don't explore, and resolve, issues surrounding their identity. For that reason, I think, they fail to understand why they behave as they do, and that failure carries long-term consequences. What I’d like my art to accomplish is to raise “mindfulness” on the subjects of identity and consequential behavior. My website opens with a welcome page, an animated GIF, which illustrates many elements I incorporate into my images.
My name is Stephen Spiller. I live and work in Long Island City, NY, USA. What I know about art is self-taught. My classroom was the streets in countless cities where I once photographed everybody in sight. I was trying to understand how lives were shaped and individual passions formed. I was yearning for connection but didn’t know with, or to, what.
I’m still on a learning curve. Visual works, text and digital manipulation are part of my expression. I combine media to achieve a flexible platform for presenting my ideas, and use saturated colors, satire, and humor to express my ideas.
Central to my thinking is that people behave for reasons they don’t understand and are routinely exploited by those who do. My process is to enjoy wandering about, figuratively and literally, embracing doubt, and exploring change. I view my website as architecture, constantly evolving and encouraging new ideas, especially those with social, cultural and political themes. My Twitter and Instagram accounts provide raw material informing my views and, sometimes, even inspiration.
I've been included in gallery and museum exhibitions in New York; Chicago; Los Angeles; Buenos Aires; Miami Beach; Arles, France; Malaga, Spain; Thessaloniki, Greece; Venice, Italy; Berlin, Germany; London, UK (September 19th - 29th, 2017) etc., online exhibitions, e.g. International Emerging Artists Dubai, and in digital group shows, e.g. Scope Miami Beach, Miami, Fl and See|Exhibition Space, New York, NY. I have also been published in Issues 2, 9, 11, and 12 of Musée Magazine. (See my CV for more information.)
Three of my current projects follow, each with a brief description.
Our culture encourages fantasy and false perceptions of identity. Countless people, obsessed with appearance, behave as if always on stage, demonstrating who they want to be, are expected to be, or others believe them to be. To present themselves favorably, they’re convinced that distinctive clothing and accessories are required. By grossly exaggerating the value of physical appearance, they are distracted from caring who they really are, engaging in a futile effort to cement contrived “looks” into their identity.
Technology, e.g. internet, email, etc., has altered the dynamic between prostitute and john. Available now, for example, are sex-worker registries providing customer reviews such as: http://www.roomservice2000.com. Also available is www.TheEroticReview.com, a website enabling a network of internet references used by clients to provide information about their previously visited sex workers to verify suitability as a clients.
Indeed, a novel “business model” is evolving. It reimagines not just the relationship between prostitutes and their customers but it also lays bare previously hidden ways that others, e.g. friends and family, are impacted. My early works use emails to explore what happens when business is lost because clients disappear. Future works will address money, sexual desire/performance, complications involving a spouse/significant other, victimization, etc.
The acrimony evident in United States politics is appalling. Social, political, and cultural practices shape our lives and government is polarizing the electorate and emasculating our country. Who we are as individuals, and collectively as a nation, is reflected by our decisions and actions. Timothy Egan (NYT op-ed, 3/5/16) reveals in a searing commentary that vast numbers of us applaud the existing rancor. I am appalled because, as he concludes: “The beast Is Us”.
It is always timely to examine our democracy engaging in the political process.