A man dances to music played in the distance. The accompanying text is based on my 9/12/01 confrontation on a New York City sidewalk, in Soho, one day after I arrived in Manhattan on 9/11 at 8:45 a.m. Memories of my childhood, the music, the dancing man, events on my arrival, and the confrontation became an artwork and metaphor for my survival.
These are three self-referential images involved with my past, present and future. They peer beyond physicality, explore unconsciousness and are “in the moment”. A man dances to music we both heard off in the distance. My text is about confronting demons, his and mine. The story grew out of my 9/12/01 confrontation on a New York City sidewalk, in Soho, with someone shouting harsh, angry words, quoted on the first panel, the truth of which I found so troubling. The day before, 9/11, my overnight flight from L.A. got me into Penn Station and on the street about 8:45 a.m., only a minute or so before the World Trade Center North tower was struck and utter chaos broke out. While making the artwork, memories flooded me – of my childhood, the music, the dancing man, events on my arrival, and the confrontation. The work galvanized into a metaphor for how to survive my journey into an unknown world. I scrawled the words I CHOOSE on the last panel -- evidencing hope and possibility.
My name is Stephen Spiller. I live and work in Long Island City, NY, USA. What I know about making art is self-taught. My works reflect who I am, as if they are positioned in front of a mirror accurately defining, constantly reminding, and even counseling me - you are: a heterosexual, white, male with LGBTQIA concerns; a Democrat and capitalist influenced by socialist ideas; appalled by racial prejudice, identity politics, mixing church and state, climate change deniers, economic disparity, the absence of universal healthcare, anything denying women control over their lives, the lack of affordable, quality education, gun violence and the NRA, Donald Trump, etc. It is more complicated, however, to understand how my character and personality were formed. And it is that understanding I search for in my work. The fundamental issue, I think, is this: What is the role of instinct, emotion, and experience in the development of one’s personal identity? Stated in broader terms: Why do individuals behave as they do? My images are sourced from photographs I make combined with work I recontextualize into my own aesthetic from other arenas, such as the internet, print publications, etc. I use text and digital manipulation, employing humor, satire, sarcasm, emotionally charged words, and other figurative language techniques to express my ideas. Soutine, Basquiat and Banksy are among many artists who inspire me. 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; etc., online exhibitions, e.g. International Emerging Artists Dubai, and in digital group shows, e.g. Scope Miami Beach, Miami, Fl, Atlantic Works Gallery, Boston, MA and See|Exhibition Space, New York, NY. I will be participating in a group exhibition in Berlin (October, 2016). I have also been published in Issues 2, 9, 11, and 12 of Musée Magazine. For more information, see: www.stephenspiller.com. https://twitter.com/spillerurman. https://www.instagram.com/spillerurman.