Artist Spotlight #20: Matthew Smith

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Matthew Smith

You have definitely seen Matthew Smith around Adelaide. Arguably the most fashionable Radelaide-an out there, his fashion style informs his colourful and idiosyncratic artworks. In our latest spotlight, he tells us of his ‘femme fatale’ art subjects and his favourite local galleries.

Q: Hello Matthew! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: Hello! I’m 19 years of age and have been born and raised in Radelaide, Australia. Of course I have an undying love for the arts, but I also enjoy fashion, music and pop culture.

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Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?

A: Everything inspires me. I’m constantly taking in the world around me and pushing it out into my art. I also like the idea of ‘femme fatale’. I feel like my works always have a strong female presence. At the moment I’m heavily inspired by heartbreak, sex hotlines and phones.

Q: Do you have a preferred medium?

A: I love scanners! The idea of creating an image with a scanner is amazing to me. Bringing something from the real world, scanning it, sucking the life out of it and bringing it into a digital world is such a great concept. The possibilities with a scanner are endless. I’ve even made out with a scanner before to create an artwork. Not the best kissers but it will do. Another medium I prefer is film, I think using film to take photographs adds so much character to a picture then a normal digital camera. I used to use $5 disposable cameras from cheap as chips just to carry around with me and capture moments. I really liked the idea of having this camera in your life only temporarily and after it’s been used you can just chuck it into the bin and move onto the next camera.

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Q: How would you describe your style?

A: I don’t really like to label myself when it comes to fashion but I do wear a lot of dark colours, denim and all my clothes are from savers so basically Andy Warhol in 2016 on a budget.

Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: It all starts off with an idea, then I’ll write it all down or sketch it into my notebook and brainstorm possible artworks. If it’s a collage I have in mind, I’ll collect the images I’d like to possibly use from magazines and the internet, cut them out and then stick them onto paper. I use blu-tack, I don’t glue my images down because I like to move things around and play with the images. I’ll then scan the collage and edit it on my computer to make the colours brighter and more crisp. With photographs it’s kind of easier because I just draw or paint what I’d like the photo to look like and then ill set up the shot, dress up and then take the photo.

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Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?

A: I have no idea at this time in my life but I think that’s a good thing. All I want is to be able to create good art and help people through the power of art. I believe art deserves a lot of my time and respect so the dream is to be working in a gallery producing work and motivating others to be the best artist they can be.

Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?

A: At the moment I’m completely in love with Pandemonia who is an anonymous UK artist. Pandemonia is a walking, talking artwork; the artist dresses themselves in head to toe latex transforming into an inflatable celebrity, strutting around town and red carpets. I think she’s made an appearance in the new Absolutely Fabulous movie that’s coming out sometime soon. I highly suggest having a look, she’s so otherworldly, a complete pop art fantasy brought to life.

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Q: What is your favourite gallery?

A: Any art gallery is a good art gallery to me, but I do have a soft spot for FELTspace gallery which is just a quick walk from the markets. I like FELTspace because every time I’ve been, I’ve really enjoyed the work, some galleries I walk into and the work doesn’t manifest in me and it’s just bland but the work at FELTspace is just perfection. Also I’ve recently got into Fontanelle gallery in Bowden! The exhibition they have on at the moment is everything!

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

A: I’m too poor to have a website or store so I’ve settled for a Tumblr where I post everything I do. I have an Instagram where I do post some of my work but I find the quality doesn’t come through when posting images onto the app, I like the idea of being able to see the artwork in all its high definition and glory. I’ll also be a part off the SALA Festival this year and I’m featured in the next issue of Vaein Zine.

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Q: What three items in your wardrobe can you not live without?

A: Turtleneck: I would rather die than not wear turtlenecks, my whole life is just me trying to be serious and adult so wearing turtlenecks give me that sense of false hope! They are also super fashionable.

Boxers: One day at savers, my friend and I were flipping through the underwear section and she pointed out these Davenport boxers which have the Roy Lichtenstein artworks all over them. But instead of the teary eyed pop art girls saying “I’d rather drown than call brad for help” it’s changed too “I’d rather drown than not wear my Davenport pyjamas”.

Jacket: Last year I found this huge brown jacket from an Op Shop which reminded me of one my mum used to wear when I was little. Whenever I wear it I feel very #highfashion and proper. I’ve been asked a couple times if I just came from work when wearing the jacket, but I don’t have a job so I guess it’s nice to give off the appearance of hard working.

– Masya Zabidi

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