David Walker in his studio

David Walker

United Kingdom 1976

Street Art, Painting, Murals


David Walker
David Walker
United Kingdom
March 18, 2016
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Hailing from London, David Walker is a highly-talented artist whose career has been on a steady rise since he began exhibiting his work. The English artist has created an inimitable style of amazing, color-explosive and chaotic female character portraits using only spray cans without any aid of stencils or brushes. His outstanding wall pieces and studio works are often blended through as colors drip or mix. The artist has developed his style gradually – he started his journey as a fan of graphic black-and-white technique which later evolved into Walker’s unique style characterized by a full range of vivid colors.

David Walker - mural for Wild-Brabant project, Belgium, 2016, photo credits of the artist
David Walker – mural for Wild-Brabant project, Belgium, 2016

Infinite Lines and Layers: The Art of Walker

Speaking about the process of creation, Walker has said that he usually lets the colors guide his mind and hands, leaving everything to chance. Creating portraits without stencils has helped him develop his trademark multi-layered style. The numerous abstract areas and infinite colorful lines are intertwined with patches of clashing colors, disappearing letterforms and see-through drips, which only increases the beauty of dramatic effect. Walker’s style fuses both sophisticated and dumb mark making. The outcome is impressive: visually rich portraits that incorporate graffiti, photorealism, and abstraction, all expressed through the strength that comes from the medium.

Colorful lines are intertwined with patches of clashing colors, disappearing letterforms and drips

David Walker best graffiti piece
David Walker – mural in Wynwood, Miami, 2013

Women as Subjects

Layered with color, motion, and emotion, Walker’s portraits usually depict both strong and fragile female characters. These wonderful portraits, which are created either outdoors on large walls or in the artist’s studio, are based on his own photographs. When he first decided to paint women, he used the pictures from the Internet and magazines. Nowadays, however, he says that it is more unconscious – it is enough for him to see a face to be inspired and transfer his vision onto a wall or canvas.

videos canvas contact home facebook videos
David Walker – mural in Nancy, France

Spray Paint Only

Initially, David only worked with black, white, and pink colors, since they were much cheaper. This also allowed him to concentrate on the subjects, as opposed to the colors. One day, he found a box of unused spray paints with a variety of colors in his studio. He attempted to experiment and found it useful to display all the colors at once. Walker has a high level of skills as he is very detail-orientated and possesses an excellent level of control to produce shadows, lines, and textures in his artwork.

Drawn by the idea of creating beautiful out of low-brow materials and methods, Walker enjoys bringing attention to the street art world by painting with only spray paint. His lack of brushwork raises questions when comparing graffiti and traditional paintings. Since he started working on the street he has built a very strong fan base worldwide. Some of the locations that he has painted include New York, LA, Hong Kong, Bali, Lisbon, Berlin and many others. One of his favorite locations to visit is Berlin since he loves the beautiful sight, great weather, delicious food, and amazing people.

Walker is very detail-orientated and possesses an excellent level of spray-can control

David Walker - mural for Wall Therapy, New York, 2014 contact using home work
David Walker – mural for Wall Therapy, New York, 2014

A Good Start: Collaboration with Prodigy

Most people’s first job involved burgers and fries, but David Walker’s first job was creating t-shirt designs for The Prodigy, an English electronic dance music group. His cousin was the band’s manager and she told him that the band was looking for some ideas, which he submitted. Watching the band grow and becoming worldwide popular served him as yet another inspiration for his work. This was also the great starting point of his career, which led to a variety of designs and eventually his own street wear label Subsurface.

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David Walker – Unknown (Wynwood), 2016, edition of 50, photo credits of the artist

From Europe to the US: Walker’s Exhibitions

The artist has exhibited his works all over Europe and the US. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions and has taken part in many festivals as well. Since his beginnings in 2004, his works were included in many group exhibitions, most important being the one in 2010, where he displayed a large-scale painting installation with Mutate Britain at the Glastonbury Unfairground. The 2011 exhibition Bridges of Fire was Walker’s first major one-person show, organized by the Rook and Raven. The title derived from an Antony and the Johnsons song, which he said perfectly matched and described the portraits of women he had created.

David Walker paintings news years
David Walker – Alana, 2014 (left) / Elle, 2015 (right)

A Beautiful Mess

For a long time, the artist has been a member of the Scrawl Collective. This group was founded by some of the most prominent artists, such as Will Barras, Mr. Jago, and Nick Walker, among many. Today, Walker works on a variety of high-quality silkscreen prints that can be found in his shop online. He has remained faithful to the spray can from when he started in order to fully explore the potentials of sprays and push the limits of this medium. His use of vibrant, clashing colors with translucent drips, “a beautiful mess” as he likes to call it, is arresting to even the least interested of passers-by and pedestrians.

Walker is represented by Galerie Mathgoth in Paris, Robert Fontaine in Miami and Hang-Up Gallery in London.

David Walker currently lives and works in Berlin.

Featured image: David Walker in his studio
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Murals and Urban ArtGallerikirk, Aalborg, DenmarkGroup
2015-2016MIX Winter Group ShowLawrence Alkin Gallery, London Group
2015BrotherhoodJonathan Levine Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2015Summer ShowRobert Fontaine Gallery, MiamiGroup
2014The Pitiless Gaze Of Hysterical RealismThe Popping Club, Rome, ItalyGroup
2014Urban in Ibiza #6Ibiza, SpainGroup
2014Tour Paris 13ITINERRANCE GALLERY, Paris FranceGroup
2014A Blank Canvas is a White FlagLawrence Alkin Gallery, London Solo
2014MIX group show Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London Group
2014Swapping Souls with StrangersRobert Fontaine GallerySolo
2013Tour Paris 13a project by the ITINERRANCE GALLERY, Paris FranceSolo
2013PressureGalerie Mathgoth, Paris FranceSolo
2013Silema Street Art FestivalSilema, MaltaGroup
2013Scope Art FairRobert Fontaine Gallery, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2013Don’t PanicPoster Exhibition, Bristol, UKGroup
2012Brides on FireRook & Raven Gallery, London, UKSolo
2012White Canvas Project ExhibitionLondon, UKGroup
2012Follow Your Art / Street Art Against SlaveryLondon, UKGroup
2012Sand, Sea & SprayBlackpool, UKGroup
2012Fifty/FiftyMathgoth Galerie, Paris, FranceGroup
2012The Big Egg HuntLondon, UKGroup
2012Picks of the HarvestThinkspace Gallery, LA, USAGroup
2012White Canvas ProjectLos Angeles, USAGroup
2011WomenGalerie La Tour, Paris FranceSolo
2011White Canvas ProjectLondon, UKGroup
2011West Bank Gallery EventLondon, UKGroup
2011Urban in IbizaAtzaro, Ibiza, SpainGroup
2011Whitecross Street PartyLondon, UKGroup
2011Glastonbury Festival / MutateGlastonbury, UKGroup
2011Scrawl / The Art Car Boot FairLondon, UKGroup
2010Surface TensionBrooklynite Gallery, New York, USASolo
2010David Walker x Jo PeelKudeta, Kuta, BaliDuo
2010In/HumanThe Kings Rd, London, UKGroup
2010Never Judge?Stolen Space Gallery, London, UKGroup
2010Brooklynite Live at Miami Art BaselMiami, USAGroup
2010Urban in IbizaAtzaro, Ibiza, SpainGroup
2010Glastonbury Festival / MutateGlastonbury, UKGroup
2009Inkie x David WalkerThe Power Station Gallery, London, UKDuo
2009David Walker: Anatomy of the objectArt Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, WASolo
2009Scrawl CollectiveNo Borders Gallery, SoHo, Hong KongGroup
2009Flying Eyeball PresentationCork St, London, UKGroup
2009Visual Street PerformanceLisbon, PortugalGroup
2009Go Get Your ShineboxBrooklynite Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2009Represent / SquarityBlack Hall Studios, London, UKGroup
2009One Foot in the GroveUnder the Westway, London, UKGroup
2009Urban in IbizaAtzaro, Ibiza, SpainGroup
2009Tales from the SeasideBrighton, UKGroup
2009Scrawl / The Art Car Boot FairLondon, UKGroup
2009UpfestBristol, UKGroup
2008Street Art AwardsRough Trade, London UKGroup
2008Kounter KultureOpus Gallery, London, UKGroup
2008TripCosh Gallery, London, UKGroup
2008Banksys The Cans Festival 2London UKGroup
2008Big IssueThe Black Rat Press, London, UKGroup
2008The Babylon AcademyTacheles, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2008DrawStolen Space Gallery, London UKGroup
2008Special RelationshipScion Space, LA, USAGroup
2007Between today and yesterdayTurnpike Gallery, LeighGroup
2006"Draw" TourFuse Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2006UnveiledFORM, Perth, WAGroup
2006Feedm 2Camden Roundhouse, London UKGroup
2006Scrawl présents Elephant TechniqueVU, London UKGroup
2006Scrawl collectiveTaipei, Hong KongGroup
2005Beyond Tradition Contemporary Art QuiltsCarl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OHGroup
2005Sculptors' Society of British ColumbiaSurrey Art Gallery, Surrey, BCGroup
2005Not Yet DeadUnify, Cambridge, UKGroup
2004All The People We Like Are DeadNo 17, London UKGroup
2004InspiredApart Gallery, London UKGroup