PAST: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
100x150cm, oil on canvas
Click on the thumbnails to view full image
ABOUT THE WORK
In Jack's own words
Pride in London 2019 is an oil painting on canvas, part of the Pride Parade series.
On the day of the London Pride parade it was naturally very crowded. A friend and I climbed on the roof of a bus stop shelter to get a better view. We got covered in dirt but worth it for the view. We waved at everyone going by. It was fun. I get plenty of photos to work from and it was an ideal perspective for a painting.
You can watch a time-lapse video of the painting here.
Jack Smith is an artist with a strong social engagement, especially with the LGBT+ community. After painting a series of portraits depicting LGBT+ people in Oxford, he is now embarking on a series of large-scale Pride pieces. Jack enjoys painting with palette knives, which add texture and a dynamic feel to his paintings.
We had a short chat with Jack to get to know him better
What is your creative background? How did you start making art?
Like most people, I first started drawing and playing with paint as a young child… I always loved it and have never stopped. I studied architecture at University but spent most of the time painting - I was getting more and more commissions, so made the big decision to change path and become a full-time painter.
What stimulates you creatively? What inspires you?
I find inspiration from all over. Exhibitions are great because you can see the paintings in detail and how they’re made. But also online there’s tons of artwork to see and get ideas from. For me, the idea for a painting is usually either visually or emotionally driven, or both. In the case of the Pride in London painting, I had no intention of painting the parade until I was there, swept up by the atmosphere of the event: the noise, the colour, the joy... I aimed to capture this in the painting.
What’s your creative process?
The first step for me is usually to make sketches to figure out the composition of the piece. For the Pride in London piece I wanted to ‘curate’ the crowd to include as many people as possible in a fun way. Once I’ve figured out the composition I paint a ‘ground layer’, then the outline of the piece and start adding colour. The last stage is to paint all the details and make corrections. This takes by far the longest time. But the devil is in the details so it’s important to get it right.
What medium do you work in at the moment? Why?
I mostly use acrylic paint on canvas. I like the textures and bright colours that can be achieved with it. It’s similar to oil paint but dries much faster. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. If you want to blend colours when wet, you have to be quick or find other ways of doing it. I experiment with different techniques and styles. At the moment I love using palette knives. They add texture and a dynamic feel to a painting.
What does art mean for you?
Art is very important to me. As a career it can be frustrating especially when I’m not painting i.e. sorting out the business side of things. But it can be extremely rewarding like when giving a painting to a client and they really love it. The highs and lows mostly happen when I’m not painting, I’m more level headed while in the process. I feel calm when I look at art too. It has been shown that both partaking and admiring art releases dopamine and makes us feel happier.