Lee Smith is a Derbyshire based artist who experiments with tea, pants, plaster casts of his legs and the great British pastime, queuing. Rob had a chat with him to find out more.
HM: How would you describe your work?
LS: I would describe my work as dystopian British stereotype, looking into the queuing phenomenon and symbolic heritage. I use many mediums to create my work and draw large murals to create multi-sensory installation; some of the main themes of my work is queuing androgynous men in y-fronts and ties. I paint with tea and also use found and cheap materials like cardboard and sheet metal to create that industrial feel. In my last work I made casts of my own legs for the viewer to walk around and get a sense of the queuing concept and enjoy the y-fronts that were on the casts. My work has also included working alongside people with learning difficulties curating a performance art piece for a government art scheme called First Movement. The piece was called “imprints” and the name was based on the first impressions the people at first movement had on me. The overall piece was to do with tyre marks as symbolism and a kind of metaphor, as the building is situated next to a car garage. The service users wore boiler suits with printed tyre marks on the suits to embellish the theme
HM: What are you working on now?
LS: At the moment I’m working on a few paintings that depict soldiers shooting at a brain. I think the point of the work is to do with what a service user told me about their thoughts on their aggression, and when she explained it to me she said it was like “explosions that conflict in the brain like soldiers attacking her mind”, so that inspired me to create these new pieces. It’s kind of futurism meets sci-fi looking at mental health.
HM: What inspires you?
LS: I’m most inspired by late 50s 60s brutalism architecture,
Films: Soylent green/ Rollerball /Blade runner/ A clockwork orange/2001 space oddity,
Books: 1984/ Brave new world/ and a new author Haruki Murakami who I think I’m addicted to.
HM: Where can we lay our eyes and ears on your stuff?
LS: My work is on Saatchi Online and I will be getting my work on a website quite soon. A friend of mine has asked some stuff to go on her website too so we’ll see.
HM: Do you have any future projects in mind?
LS: For future projects I will be working with a band called Haiku Salut to create an animation for their music video, so I’m really excited about that. I’m also going to be exhibiting my new work at Derbyshire open arts in Matlock Bath at the Pavilion so that should be ace
HM: Thanks Lee, we look forward to seeing your animation for Haiku Salut
You can see Lee's work here http://www.saatchionline.com/art/Installation-nine-to-five/160882/81454/view