One of the founding figures of British Pop art in the early 1960's, Tilson was an enthusiastic proponent of the hedonism, optimism and political activism that were such striking characteristics of that decade. His work embraced advances in technology, reflected the ever-increasing power of mass media and exposed changing attitudes towards sexual liberation. In the 1970's he moved to Italy and the subject matter of his work radically changed to reflect this new shift, with a new emphasis on the five elements and Greek and Roman mythology.
Tilson has been a lifelong dedicated printmaker and has gained a reputation as one of Britain's foremost artists producing prints, multiples, constructions, paintings and reliefs. His work is held in collections internationally including the Tate Gallery, London, MoMA, New York and the Stedelijk, Amsterdam. He is a Royal Academician and his artistic career was celebrated at the Royal Academy in a retrospective exhibition in 2002.