Nick Smith is a contemporary British Artist with a unique visual language.
His medium of custom colour swatches evolved after a successful 10 year career in commercial interior design following his First Class Masters Degree in Product Design from Coventry University.
Seeking further creative fulfilment, Smith dedicated himself full time to his art. With 5 sellout solo shows, 16 group shows and over 25 published print editions, he occupies a unique space in the contemporary art world.
Marrying digital design with fine art, Smith’s work explores the relationship between audience, image and text. After deconstructing an image, he undertakes extensive research to annotate each colour swatch with a word. Evolving from word/colour association, Smith often includes a linear narrative to subvert or support the context of each image, creating an additional layer of information in his work. It is this contextual interplay that engages the viewer with Smith’s thought provoking work, encouraging further contemplation.
PSYCOLOURGY – January 2015 Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London
Smith’s debut solo exhibition with Lawrence Alkin Gallery in Soho, London, launched his unique visual reworking of classic paintings from the 20th Century canon. Universally known works, including David Hockney’s ‘The Bigger Splash’, Andy Warhol’s ‘Soup Cans’ and Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ were all recast, creating original collages that interrogate ideas of depiction, digitalisation and recognition. A sell out show, with numerous successful subsequent print releases, Psycolourgy forged Smith’s path to a place among Britain’s notable contemporary artists.
PARAMOUR – March 2016 Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London
Smith’s second solo show with Lawrence Alkin Gallery, saw the artist draw inspiration from classic romantic and erotic literature. Employing his now signature colour-chip technique, Smith infused voyeuristic, intimate, cropped pornographic and sensual nude imagery with excerpts of text taken from the likes of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, John Cleland’s ‘Memoirs of a woman of Pleasure’ and D. H. Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterly’s Lover’ . The theme of illicit love permeated through the evocative body of work, pairing literature, love and sex in his unique style.
PARLANCE – March 2017 Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London
Smith’s third show with Lawrence Alkin Gallery, explored the dialogue between print media and high culture. This body of work drew on a diverse and exciting pool of influence, pairing classic folk and fairytales, popular song lyrics, and interview material with vintage print media. Smith wanted to highjack an existing canvas, continue an existing story and add a new ending. Diverting from entirely pixellated images, Smith introduced CMYK - the universal printing technique in publications, in contrast to his signature custom colour swatches.
Parlance presented entirely pixelated images, tondo half tones, partially deconstructed images and source magazine material, demonstrating Smith’s creative flexibility and desire for constant creative evolution.
PRICELESS - March 2018 Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London
Smiths fourth show with Lawrence Alkin Gallery, explores the world of high end art auction results and seeks to quantify the vast sums of money paid.
PSALMS - December 2018 Nelly Duff Gallery, London
Visually Psalms is grab and go, it’s a little fast food for the soul. Glossy sweetie colours, packaged into something easily digestible, bright and recognisable – an immediate dopamine hit. Up close the text offers a little more nourishment… perhaps satiating our hunger once the words have been digested. Smith has paired ten condiments with edited versions of ten Psalms, replacing all references to God with references to the chosen condiments. In pairing the beautifully expressive, highly emotive and somewhat familiar Biblical language of the Psalms with images of these culinary idols, aiming to inspire some discussion on what it is we worship and why. We seem to have an almost religious affiliation to our favourite branded condiments, exalting them to idols of the culinary realm, worshiped by foodies and fussy eaters alike. Condiments cross cultural barriers, conjure comforting memories, alter things to suit our taste and easily offend if added at an inappropriate time.
As with any complex dish there are various depths of flavour. The humour in the absurdity of the language, much like the addition of a condiment to a less than tasty meal, makes the somewhat archaic language a little more agreeable. Yet the pairings are as ridiculous when read aloud as they are profound when considered – particularly as we approach Christmas. You don’t have to be religious to get the joke. Especially as we enter the holiday period and it’s materialist push toward consumerism. If these pieces encourage even one of you to question what it is that you consume, perhaps we might re-evaluate our idols and what it is we deem important. At the very least, it’s a little food for thought.
MIX WINTER November 2014 - Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London
MIX WINTER November 2015 – Shoreditch House, London
SCOPE MIAMI November 2015 – Miami Beach
EMERGING TO ESTABLISHED February 2016 – Krause Gallery, New York
MIX SUMMER August 2016 - SCOPE MIAMI – November 2015 – Miami Beach
EMERGING TO ESTABLISHED August 2016 – Krause Gallery, New York
SCOPE MIAMI November 2016 – Miami Beach
MIX WINTER December 2016 - Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London
EMERGING TO ESTABLISHED January 2017 – Krause Gallery, New York
STREET MASTERS June 2017 – Sothebys, New York
MIX SUMMER August 2017 - Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London
SCOPE MIAMI December 2017- Miami Beach
SAMUEL OWEN GALLERY June 2018 - Nantucket, MT
BRITISH INVASION November 2018 - Samuel Owen Gallery , Greenwich CT
MIX WINTER - December 2018 - Rhodes Contemporary, London
SCOPE MIAMI - December 2018 - Samuel Owen Gallery