Photo: Oliver Smith in Bath, South West

Oliver Smith

Artist, Film-maker, Web developer

Oliver Smith was born in Kent and attended various art institutions including Camberwell College London, he obtained a Master's in Fine Art from Bath Spa University with a distinction in 2011. Since then he has set up a studio in Bath and started his own design business 'Artweb Design Bath', and also regularly teaches Internal Kung Fu, which undoubtedly makes him quite entrepreneurial. Leaving the U.K. behind in 1999 Oliver spent more than ten years living abroad, making art, teaching English and learning Chinese Kung Fu, he has lived and worked in France, Taiwan and Japan, which has had a positively profound effect on many aspects of his life and work.

Oliver has developed a method of painting and making films that have a deep psychological link to his childhood, when he lost himself within movies and television in order to block out the harsh realities of life and the world around him. He was a true 80's TV child, watching Westerns, War movies, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, The Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, and Looney Tunes.

To Oliver his art has more to do with re-constructing memory and fantasy, and also presents deep contemplation, a preoccupation with thinking and escape. His paintings are a combination of these re-constructions and subjects that continue to fascinate him, specifically the Vietnam War, the icinography of cult cinema and cartoons.

Guns, war, movies and coffee come up a lot in my work, all of which are usually presented in a very uncompromising way. I have a deep obsession with these subjects, they fascinate me and yet terrify at the same time, I'm not sure what the hell I would do without coffee.... All deal with pain, suffering and death but also present play, fantasy and detachment from reality. If I could live the rest of my life in a video game or a cartoon I think that would be fine just as long as I could control it all.

My painting represents a kind of adolescent boyish naivety, where I balance out desire and fear, fascination, spectacle, cinema, violence, and pleasure in combinations with psychological highs and lows.

My films suggest memory as the mediator of imagination and the reinvention of reality. The viewer of this work will be confronted by nostalgic incidents, which manifests in us the most dangerous character of indecision; to yield and enjoy, or resist in fear.


read full statement

Location Bath, South West
Activities Lecturing, Web development, Photographic documentation, Graphic Design, Digital Design, Studio practice
Artforms / type of project Film & Video, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography
Tags urban, spray, contemporary, war, pop, iconography, contemporary, pop, war, icon

News & Events

  • Atkinson Summer Show

    18/07/2014 – 09/08/2014
    Atkinson Summer Show

    My painting Mind Tattoo Series #1 Shogun Betrayal chosen. The Atkinson Gallery is proud to be hosting its 25th Annual Summer Show. The exhibition was open to submissions from across the country.

    Find out more