In the beginning…
Sometime around November 2001 I came up with the idea of an art project based round my love of the seaside, particularly my love of following the tidelines on the shore. I was living in Lichfield – pretty much as far away as you can be in England from any coastline – and this idea “popped up almost like a complete exhibition”. The plan was to visit significant seaside places, places I had been before that have been important for me – little pilgrimages to the sacred haunts of my past – and create artworks based on those visits. Part two was to visit an equal number of coastal sites that I had never been to before and create work based on those experiences. I thought it would be interesting to see the difference between revisiting the familiar and loved and exploring new places with an open heart and primed senses.
As it turned out I never managed to do much on this grand project. Yes I played with it a bit. I made a few seaside trips, sketched a bit, took photos, wrote and collected stuff from beaches, but I never really made the time to move it forward. Of course that was before I can to live by the sea. Since 2006 I have lived less than three miles from the amazing Jurassic Coast and I am getting to know this shoreline better than any before and I doubt if I will ever know any better in the future.
And now I am highly motivated to move on with this project. At present I am thinking that my local stretch of coast – roughly from Charmouth to Cogden Beach will form the core of the work and I will pick (at present) seven beaches from the past and the same number of new tidelines. Over the coming months this may change and develop and in the spirit of my current art practice I aim not to censor myself, but to enthusiastically play and see where it takes me and if the project changes as it goes along, well that’s how it is.
My name is David Smith and I am an artist in recovery from the real world. I trained as a sculptor and printmaker in the days of yore, when art schools still taught things like drawing and colour theory. I was extremely fortunate to have spent 2 years at Colchester School of Art where artists such as Tim Holding, John Carter, Philip Ardizzone, Richard Bawden, Michael Buhler, Hugh Cronyn, Richard Pinkney and others influenced the direction of my life as well as my art. Three years at Kingston – where David Nash was a visiting lecturer – then gave me time to follow my own inspirations in sculpture and printmaking.
After those heady days the needs of family life led me away from fine art practice. Although in my career I have used my artistic skills in design, graphics and advertising, my own art got rather neglected. In the last few years I have been able to reconnect to the artistic drive in me and give the time to developing new directions in my work and I am now able to concentrate on it almost full time.
Images and the like
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