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Brad (aka Original Smith) SMITH - INSOMNIA 2.17 AM

Brad (aka Original Smith) SMITH

Brad Smith (aka OriginalSmith) was born in 1972. He grew up in Merricks, a small town on the Mornington Peninsula, south-east of Melbourne, Victoria and is the youngest of three siblings. He remembers growing up down the coast as being “total freedom”. Brad’s grandfather, Robert Coxhead, a successful architect, encouraged him to draw and to paint. His grandfather was caring in his approach and dedicated enormous time nurturing Brad’s creativity; though he was always honest and unafraid of providing feedback on how Brad could improve. His mother was also creative and, as a child, he remembers her painting and doing pottery. Both his parents owned their own local businesses at various stages of their working lives embedding in Brad a creative spirit, an entrepreneurial mindset and a curiosity to understand how things work. **

Brad was always interested in art and entered many competitions as a child, including winning a National Stamp designing competition for Australia Post when he was young. At school, he was inspired by both his art teacher and his graphics teacher who provided him with counsel, inspiration and direction. When he considered leaving school to take up a local apprenticeship, both teachers urged him to look beyond the world he knew on the Mornington Peninsula and to seek opportunities to expand his horizons, encouraging him instead to pursue art studies. Brad went on to do a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design (Hon) at Swinburne University. **

After graduating, Brad worked as an Art Director for a publication house and as a senior creative and designer for several brand agencies in Melbourne and London before establishing his own creative and digital services agency where he was Creative Director for 15 years as well as founding several tech start-ups. Always curious, in 2015, Brad “stepped out of [his] world, to simplify things and look at what’s next (again)”. *** Having refocused, he is now a creative thought partner working with organisations looking to innovate and adapt. **

Throughout his career, Brad has maintained his artistic instincts; but he intentionally shifted his priorities in 2015 to enable space and capacity to learn and challenge himself. This has allowed him to pursue his art in a focused way, dedicating more time to painting and experimenting with how technology can meld with art. Brad describes himself as “curious and optimistic [with a love of] innovation, technology, creativity, architecture and a socially minded world”. ***

Brad currently lives in Melbourne with his wife and children. He enjoys travelling, recognising that sometimes the best ideas come from other places. He also loves music and surfing, as well as spending time with his family and friends, visiting galleries and watching sport. **

OriginalSmith was Winner of the Mission to Seafarers International Art Prize 2022 as well as winning the People’s Choice Award and receiving a Judge’s Commendation for the Mission to Seafarers International Art Prize 2021. He was also shortlisted for the 2022 Darling Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. * Brad has also won many professional design awards for his work as a creative. ** OriginalSmith’s work have been included in many exhibitions such as the Omina Art Prize 2023, the Camberwell Art Show 2023 and ACB Selects, curated by Amber Creswell Bell. A selection of his work was showcased at the Affordable Art Fair 2023.

OriginalSmith’s processes weave creativity, story-telling and technology into artworks that engage and challenge; creating tension through beauty and imbalance and images that are at once figurative and abstract. * He uses a variety of materials including acrylic, aerosol, and glazes to achieve the desired effect. An integral signature within his work is the use of a flat-bed laser to include exquisite, detailed etchings in his work. **

OriginalSmith’s work has the dual aspect of engaging from both afar and up close. Standing away from the work, the interplay of colour and composition stimulate sense-making—drawing viewers into the artworks. At close proximity, the rich details of his work reveal themselves adding secondary narratives, while abstraction and depth entangle the viewer in the work. *

OriginalSmith’s work reflects a mastery of colour and composition. His Modernist_Brutalist series, a poetic amalgam of contrasting architectural periods, takes its colour palette from the vibrancy of mid-century modern, and the austerity of brutalist, architecture. Contrast his Insomnia series: monochromatic works that highlight the nuance, detail and texture of laser etching, analogue imperfections and surface scaring. **** These works reflect contrasts: “Conscious, subconscious. Patterns, rhythms. Complexity, simplicity. Asleep, mostly awake. Between dark and dawn. Time somewhat passes.” **

Curiosity, learning and being aware of place also spark ideas in his work. ** For example, his Oude Dorp (Nieuw Dorp) series explores how Oude Dorp (old village) responds to the creation of identity and place in a new village (Nieuw Dorp), inspired by the Dutch settling in New York and having to find their way in a new community. *

OriginalSmith’s work has been described as “visually exciting artworks in exploration of abstraction and colour. Seemingly faceted surfaces attained through painstaking layering of glazes are inscribed with intricate laser etching. This convergence of old and innovative technologies produces kaleidoscopic works that demand our time in surveying the fractured images.” *****

OriginalSmith’s works are held in corporate and private Collections in Melbourne, Sydney and San Francisco.

* OriginalSmith, Artists, Gallery 550, undated ** Interview with OriginalSmith, Emily Ballinger, 24 August 2023 and email exchanges 28 and 29 August and 13, 14 and 19 September 2023 *** Why I love what I do, Brad Smith, Luna Tractor **** Insomnia 2.13am — 2023, @originalsmith, 28 March 2023 ***** Naomi Troski, November 2022


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