Artist Spotlight - David Shillinglaw

Artist Spotlight - David Shillinglaw

Artist Spotlight: David Shillinglaw 

David Shillinglaw is a UK based artist, best known for his works exploring human nature, success and failure and the language people use in the context of their experience. Born in 1982, he grew up in London and went on to graduate from Central Saint Martin’s in 2002. Shillinglaw works between street and studio spaces. His artwork ranges from small handmade books and paintings on canvas, to large scale murals, theatre set design and album covers. He now resides in Margate on the South East coast of England. In an interview with King & McGaw, Shillinglaw reflected on how this move further developed his practice:

“Margate is another world compared to London, I always felt London was an impossible mountain to climb, and seemed to get bigger every day.Margate feels like an island and the pace and vibe gives me a lot more time to focus on my own work and home life. I also think seeing the horizon and ocean on a regular basis has influenced my work.”

Shillinglaw remembers always drawing from a young age, encouraged by his creative mother. Drawing became his escape during school, and after graduation, he earned a place at Central Saint Martins in London. Despite some initial doubts from his tutors, Shillinglaw quickly found his footing and excelled. 

Travel has always been a big source of inspiration for Shillinglaw.. The works of Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson encouraged Shillinglaw to create more art on the move, as they had done. Following graduation, Shillinglaw was offered a residency in Beijing, where he lived for nearly two months. Despite the language barrier and cultural unfamiliarity, there he first realised how it could be to live as a full-time artist. As a result of this experience Shillinglaw immersed himself in each new location, drawing inspiration from its surroundings. During his travels abroad, Shillinglaw continued to challenge himself, using his sketchbooks as a 'travelling studio'.

‘My sketchbooks are maps of where I have been and where I want to go.’  - Interview with King & McGaw 

Through his works, Shillinglaw draws attention to wider social issues such as climate change and the decline of ecosystems around the world. This subtle tone within his work creates thought-provoking compositions that highlight universal feelings. 

“David Shillinglaw explores the conflicted, messy human condition: a relentless need for control within a disordered world. His vibrant, vital paintings present a tumultuous system in which natural forms, freely connected words and human features both burst from and are contained within grids, boxes and organised lines.” - Emily Steer.

Shillinglaw has recently created two limited edition prints, specially for Bridgeman Editions. These exclusive prints, "Body Scan 4" and "Body Scan 3" (2023), have been released in a limited edition run of 75s. The prints are available in 40cm x 50cm, both framed and unframed.

To learn more about David Shillinglaw’s collection, click here.

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