Heroes & Villains: David Studwell

“My motive is to explore celebrity, it’s dark side as well as what we see in magazines or on TV. That is why I create the mugshots –to display the flaws celebrities have –to prove they are only human like you or me. I also want to recreate the mood and glamour of those bygone eras, whilst putting my own unique contemporary stamp on each piece.”

The Old Bank Vault is proud to present ‘Heroes & Villains’ by David Studwell. The series of works on show explore the darker side of fame, nostalgia and Americana-police mug shots of well-known stars showing them at their most vulnerable, or at their most defiant. Private moments of icons at screen tests or during reflection become graphically public, produced in bold and vivid colours. Studwell’s work also tracks the legacy of photography, technology, and photographers in the 20th century.


The signature Studwell look is one of a high-end classic Hollywood glamour which evokes high fashion whilst eschewing passing fads. His silkscreens directly reference the counterculture cool of the sixties and seventies, with a cutting-edge contemporary style apparent in his striking juxtapositions of beauty, fame and stardom with a technicolour expose of inner vulnerability. Studwell has gone back to the past in order to comment on the present.


David Studwell is a contemporary British artist and print maker who studied at Central St Martins School of Art. Having worked as an artist for over 20 years, Studwell harnesses the spirit of the sixties and seventies, the cult of celebrity and the legacy of Warhol to produce iconic screen prints.

Studwell works through the medium of Silkscreen printing with the use of bold and vibrant colour and a very demanding level of technical precision. He often incorporates the use of razor-sharp diamond dust to finish his works. Studwell also uses the advancement in technology to his advantage to add more sophistication and dynamic layers to his work.


Studwell worked with Sir Elton John and renowned photographer Terry O’Neill to produce ‘Elton John: Home Run-Dodger Stadium 1975,’ a six-colour screen print with diamond dust featured in the Heroes & Villains exhibition. The print is a re-working of Terry’s iconic photograph, capturing Elton at the height of his fame in 1975.

Throughout late 2018 David’s work was heavily featured in the UK’s national press. It was decided that a few co-signed copies of the Elton John piece would be produced aside from the edition and that one would be sold at auction in the lead up to Christmas with all profits going to the Elton John Aids Foundation. The work was promoted and auctioned through the London Evening Standard newspaper, selling for a sum in excess of £12,000.