Matthew David Smith’s work focuses on the city and the man made, encompassing areas from design and architecture to the Internet. He’s interested in how the visual stimuli of these subjects can collide to create new simple form. feeling an affinity with the colour field painters of the 50s he has twisted it to hold the essence of our visual urban world.

Along with ideas of popular culture Matthew is also interested in how the mass-produced can be transformed into a unique object. These often computer generated forms insist on the removal of the gesture. By animating them into formal painting introduces expression. In addition to this, by recreating mass-produced repetition by hand he is technically destined to fail. The handmade removes perfection.

There is the element of time in Matthew’s work through the process of adding and removing. This element in his paintings also reflects the constantly juxtaposition of the city, rising and then crashing back down again, the new and the old. Thank you Matthew for sharing your bold, impactful art with us. 

Self taught or art school?

I did both my Foundation in Art and Design and Fine Art Degree at Oxford Brookes University. The foundation was so gratifying I couldn’t help but stay on for my degree.

If you could own one work of art what would it be?

Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie has always be a source of such inspiration for me. Mondrian was the Father of Modernism; he embraced modern life/the city grid and gave a lyrical rhythm to his work that is intoxicating. I owe a lot to this man!

How would you describe your style?

I abstract popular culture to create at instant gut response through colour and form. It is a constant struggle between chaos and control.

Where are your favourite places to view your art?

I like it when the work speaks to the environment in which it is placed. I recently had a show in a warehouse; it fitted perfectly with what my work is about. The walls and surroundings seemed to be in perfect harmony with my works. I also love seeing where my paintings hang once they have been sold. Seeing my creation hang in someone’s home or in a collection, where you know it will be enjoyed, is very rewarding.

Who are your favourite artists and why?

I would say …… Sigmar Polke for his pure diversity, Ellsworth Kelly for his restrained perfection and Joyce Pensato for her quirky take on popular culture.

What or who inspires your art?

I’m inspired by the city and what we have created for ourselves as humans. Inspiration could come from a pattern on a dress, the architecture of a building or even a TV advert. In towns and cities everything is happening so fast, everything is colliding, nothing is static, everything is constantly shifting and it is hard to keep up. Impatience is everywhere including in my head. Everyone wants everything now! The irony is, even though my paintings are about this, I go into a state of mindfulness when painting them.

Where’s your studio and what’s it like?

My studio is in Jericho in central Oxford. It’s a big empty commercial property that is very industrial; it connects well with my work. I like having it pretty much all to myself, I’m a bit of a hermit really.

Do you have any studio rituals?

As soon as I drop my car keys on my desk the work begins, like flicking on a switch. I struggle to work without music though, Normally rap/hip hop of some kind, the lyrical rhythm of rap seems to flow well with how I work. Like Mondrian found his flow in jazz, I find it in rap. Ha!

What are you working on currently?

I’m currently working on a series of 5-foot tall canvases. They are started by priming a layer of cardboard on to the surface of the canvas. It makes such an interesting surface to work on, not only does it hold the essence of urban society but also allows the paint to hop and skip across the rugged surface. Also I have just started a series of small steel objects that hang and function as paintings, they represent something between the 2D and 3D.

Where can we buy your art?

You can buy my art through Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Marie kirkegaard gallery Copenhagen or personally through me. This can change so it is best just to drop me an email at

What are your ambitions?

To gain recognition for what I am creating and sustain a career that allows me to continue, progress and expand my work. Being an artist is an odd thing; you are bringing something into the world that has no use other than itself, it is what it is!  If other people enjoy it and I can add to the conversation of life in the 21st century, that is all that matters to me.

%d bloggers like this: