David Speed is a multi-disciplinary artist whose current focus is neon painting. The artist is fascinated by light and shadow and creates work that plays with that drama.He relishes the challenge of painting on a small scale using spray paint and pushing the limitations of what is achievable in that medium.
CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF? My name is David Speed, I’m a neon street artist from East London
IF YOU COULD SUMMARISE YOUR WORK IN ONE SENTENCE WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Bright, Bold, ‘Illuminating’ neon murals
ARE THERE ANY STORIES BEHIND THE PEOPLE YOU PAINT?
Street art is all about stories. There are definitely some stories from the portraits that I chose to paint, but more fun for me is hearing the stories that the public have about my work.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE?
I don’t have a favourite piece. I’m very critical of my own work!
HAVE YOU CONSIDERED SHOWCASING YOUR ART IN OTHER CITIES?
I would love to paint in other cities as soon as we can travel again :)
YOU HAVE A UNIQUE STYLE. WHY DO YOU USE ONLY NEON PAINT?
One of the reasons I chose to use neon paint is because it is unique, and there is no one else doing anything similar. I love bright bold colours and it’s really cool to be known for a colour – followers of mine know my work from a distance, just because of the colour.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO THIS PROFESSIONALY?
As I was growing up, culture had a narrative that art wasn’t a job or career, that it didn’t mean much and that it was disposable. This is still very much the case as art is being cut from the curriculum in many schools. I want to prosper in a career that most people told me wouldn’t be possible and to help other artists to.
YOUR PAINTINGS SHOW DIVERSITY. IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WANT YOUR ART TO BE KNOWN FOR?
East London is a melting pot of cultures and I thing that is a brilliant thing. I’m inspired by this area on a daily basis but I don’t see certain members of my community represented in mainstream media. I think representation is important so it’s something I’ll continue to do.
SINCE YOU STARTED IN 2010 HAVE YOU NOTICED A CHNAGE IN THE GENERAL PUBLIC'S VIEW AROUND GRAFFITI? It’s definitely much more accepted now and I think the public are able to recognise that there is a lot of good art to be found in the street – just because the work is outside, it doesn’t make it less important than work hanging in a gallery.