David Speed ‘Light of Life’ Exhibition in Shoreditch

Light of Life is an exhibition of paintings from neon artist David Speed. Located only a short walk away from his studio in the area. He is known for his street art work which has been appearing across the Shoreditch and Aldgate areas throughout lockdown.

Explaining the paintings he reveals that they tell stories of hope, resilience, patience and love. Across them all there is a subtle nod to the shared experience of the past 18 months. As a working commercial artist, the pandemic for David Speed meant that, as for many, the work suddenly dried up. His response was to go out onto the street. Recognising, he says, that he still needed to “go to work”.

A woman holds a glowing circle, a painting by David Speed at his Light of Life exhibition
A woman holds a glowing circle. Part of ‘Light of Life’ an exhibition by David Speed
Skulls by David Speed at this Light of Life exhibition

Neon Painting

The time gave Speed the opportunity to hone his own style. His organisation, ‘Graffiti Life‘, were already well known on the street art scene. Yet, the work created here would often be to a brief or commercial requirement. In some way the pandemic provided the impetus and the calling for Speed to explore. It didn’t take long for his recognisable style to be noticed.

In particular Speed has become known for his ‘neon’ painting. Using hues of red with occasional blue as a basis he paints in a way that the art seems to glow and pop off the wall. A remarkable 98 street art pieces were created during lockdown. Certain ‘spots’ in the area have become known for his work and fans of the scene have been seeking them out. Elsewhere Speed has opened up newer areas. Painting on hoardings and expanding into any place he can.

A woman rises to the sky. One of the paintings by David Speed at his Light of Life exhibition
A floating woman, one of the paintings in ‘Light of Life’

Light of Life by David Speed

Accessible to the general public, Speed’s work has became known for his combination of portraiture both animal and human. His muses spanning across the living world. Throughout his style has been evolving. Always something different he has not been afraid to experiment. All the while developing his range and learning to work within the technique.

It is within his painting on the street that Speed acknowledges the strength he garnered from the community during lockdown. Reflections of positivity he encountered in the street as, he says, “the world unlocked”. Many people who would notice and follow his work, he would recognised and form connections with. Some of those people posed as muses for paintings within ‘Light of Life’

A painting showing a male embrace. This work was shown as part of David Speed's 'Light of Life' exhibition
Male embrace shows the connection between two friends. The sitters for this work have themselves connected with Speed throughout lockdown through following this street art work.

Light of Life is an exhibition of paintings by David Speed. The exhibition runs from 4th to 12th September 2021 at 33 Boundary Road in Shoreditch. To follow David Speed’s work take a look at his instagram.

David Speed portrait of musician and artist Natasha Awuku outside Shoreditch High Street station
A dog peers out from the rubbish on Redchurch Street
A tiger stares out from a Shoreditch street
Neon portrait by David Speed on Curtain Road
Peering out from a motorcycle helmet on Ebor Street one of Speed’s regular spots
A popular spot overlooking Shoreditch High Street

Leave a Reply