David Wills



In 1991 in Amsterdam I began what would eventually become Beagle. Back then, I used the pages I tore from magazines to create collages, loosely bundling like images together for later use. In the intervening years, Beagle has grown into a significant archive and a useful resource. It not only provides fodder for collages but also valuable information on endless topics.

The name references the hounds who stay on the track of a scent — think Gromit, who always knows what’s going on, or the ship that Charles Darwin travelled on that led to his groundbreaking work, The Origin of Species.

My first exhibition, Extort, was of collages and happened years before I started art school. They tackled consumerism, commodification, monoculture, manipulation and sexuality.

Large-scale works have formed from collected images.

Magazines pulped since 2009*

Metric tonnes of paper*

Retail value in Euros of magazines pulped in Europe since 2009


I didn’t tally the number of magazines I pulped before 2009. I estimate that the figures quoted above be doubled, at least.

In 2009, I painted my filing cabinets in colours chosen based on their name. This allowed me to file my tearsheets in idiosyncratic and unexpected ways.

Paint name colours include: bedazzled, forever bright, grey matter, logical, masterpiece, murky water, patriot, pollywaffle, power punch, pucker up, razzamatazz, scrumptious, shutterbug, smokey high, skyways, well-being and worldy.

From my first exhibition, Extort, this portrait could be based on any number of people—mostly men, I’d argue. This very early work, naive in its perspective, was trying to understand greed and the pursuit of money over, seemingly, all else. It’s a topic that continues to interest me. Capitalism often hums under the surface of my work. I’m curious as to why we allow some to pilfer everything and how that modus operandi is out of control.

related projects

Libidinal Cement

Libidinal Cement

Natural Characters

Natural Characters