«I aim to form an abstracted language balanced between the formal order and organic chaos of these shapes.»

Stephen Smith

South West, United Kingdom.


Tell us about yourself. How did you become an artist?

I currently live and work in the South West, UK with my partner and one year old daughter. My studio is about a 10 minute walk away from where i live which is great for me not too close not too far. Prior to that I was living in East London for many years working in various art studios. Art definitely found me from when I was very young, it become a natural extension. I am still really focussed on exploring what is possible with my work to it’s absolute limit.

You often use geometric shapes that cover others and all this is crossed out by different lines and spots. Can you tell us more about your style?

Along with other elements, I have used geometric shapes and forms as motifs widely. I aim to form an abstracted language balanced between the formal order and organic chaos of these shapes. I then go to really elaborate lengths to open up a sequential dialogue between these geometric motifs and the compositional surface of the canvas by collaging overlapping layers cutting together through machine stitching. My main focus is to harness a specific spontaneous energy within each work. I want the viewer to feel this energy the work provides.

How do you usually start your paintings? Is it a draft, sketch or just improvisation?

Quite often it’s through deconstruction finding my way through a painting. They are both planned and improvised. It’s a mixture between action and reaction but drawing is central to everything so the paintings always start with that either on canvas, paper or collage. I try to tap into a sixth sense.

The paintings are often re-worked multiple times in order for this to happen before everything comes together. Mostly the work is drawn out of a series of works, which build upon one another. Layers are central to this, to capture the spontaneity of making, cutting and revealing. The paintings often start out on the floor and switch back and forth between the wall, stretcher, table. It’s a laborious process. At times they are stretched, re-stretched and then re-assembled, ripped, torn, folded, stretched, cut, sewn, creased and layered in order to achieve the balance i’m looking for. A central section might be cut entirely from the canvas and removed; folding and unfolding painted canvases so that paint mono prints itself. Using unprimed canvases in thinned down paint and by collaging smaller works together. I really want to harness this intentional yet accidental energy within my work.

What inspires you most in your work?

Allowing the work the freedom to explore and develop without controlling it too much on it’s road towards abstraction. By exploiting accidents and in so doing exploring an effortless visual language.

Tell us about your studio. How much time do you spend there? Describe your typical working day in the studio.

There isn’t really a typical day not at the moment ! I try and keep things fresh through structured and unstructured days, that’s why I do what i do. I work to have this kind of freedom. I spend a lot of time on my paintings but that doesn’t mean they all take the same amount of time to make as some come together very quickly and others take a lot longer. But it’s not got anything to do with time, it’s about the visual impact – that’s what i’m searching for. At the moment I am also spending a lot of studio time experimenting with new materials while I build a new body of work that I will show in 2019.

What was the most important moment in your artistic career? Maybe it was the exhibition or some proposal.

The important moment for me is always my next show.

What are your plans for this year?

I am currently working on exhibitons for 2019 which will be in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

Your thoughts that you want to share with our readers.

Try it, you might like it !

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