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Stephen Spiller

Place of birth: Wilmington
Date of birth: 01/01/1944
works and lives at Long Island City

Stephen Spiller works and lives in Long Island City, NY. His work primarily deals with political, social and cultural themes. Self-educated, he often combines his photographs with work he has recontextualized from other arenas, employing text and digital manipulation. He is wary of argumentative and dogmatic expression, preferring to present ideas in a provocative manner. Examples of general subjects he explores include: racial prejudice, economic disparity, the absence of universal healthcare, denying women control over their lives, the lack of affordable, quality education, gun violence, etc. Specifically he has made artworks dealing with fashion, prostitution, aging, gender, rape, misogyny, immigration, etc. He has exhibited widely in U.S. galleries and internationally, e.g. New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Miami Beach, FL; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cakovec, Croatia; Arles, France; Malaga, Spain; Thessaloniki, Greece; Venice, Italy; Berlin, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; Sardinia, Italy; Milan, Italy; Bologna, Italy; Budapest, Hungary and elsewhere. He has also participated in panel discussions, online exhibitions and been published in several editions of Musee Magazine.


Stephen Spiller's current series “We The People…” offers a portrait of American democracy through the lens of President Trump’s words and actions and asks whether the USA is being steered toward a kleptocracy in which “we the people” don’t matter?

In his portrait of the President, and those engaged in governing, the lawmakers are seeding an achilles heel which Spiller defines as the constant bleeding of doubt, anxiety, fear and anger from the elected and the electorate. Spiller concludes that marginalized women and non-white minorities now have an unparalleled opportunity as change agents to redefine the definition of, and rearrange the structure of, power in U.S. government affairs.

Spiller's images are intended to parody President Trump’s simplistic, childlike, thinking. Spiller suggests that Trump's analysis (a generous word) of complex policy issues is akin to “zero sum theory” which yields only so-called “winners” offset by an equivalence of “losers”. In a democracy, of course, one “wins” if everyone benefits.

Spiller's approach is to juxtapose text citing the President’s words with a portrait evincing suspicion of them. Slight blurring and skewing the image is intended to mirror Trump's bewildering thought process and invite viewers to question the President's authenticity and incumbency. Spiller is interested in portraying President Trump as, at best, an entertainer both incapable of, and uninterested in, behavior benefitting anyone, or anything, but himself, i.e. as the embodiment of a dangerous narcissist.