2002 “Young Originals” Art Gallery of Western Australia
2002 “Perspectives” Art Gallery of Western Australia
2015 Debut Solo Exhibition: ‘Life is Colour’. Smithereens, Cowaramup, WA
2015 Wills Domain Winery, Yallingup, WA
2015 Cheeky Monkey Brewery, Wilyabrup, WA
2015 The Common, Prevelly, WA
2015 Brew Shack, WA
2015 Southern Crust, WA
2002 The West Australian Newspaper
2015 Various Local Newspapers including ‘The Mail’ and ‘The Times’
2015 Scoop Magazine
2015 SW Life +STYLE Magazine!
ECLECTIC | 5PM July 9 at SAHARAN DAZE
Recently emerged Margaret River artist Aidan Lee Smith is taking the world by storm and has just announced his latest exhibition 'Eclectic' - an array of never before seen figurative art in all kinds of experimental styles and mediums, ranging from acrylic impasto portraiture to graffiti nudes to Japanese black varnish drip paintings. Affordable prints will also be available on the night.
After graduating from Law in 2006 Aidan became restless and travelled extensively before returning to his love of art. He started painting seriously after his 30th birthday in early 2015, sold his first piece and had a sell out solo debut exhibition just two months later. Since then the rise and rise of Aidan Lee Smith has been nothing short of phenomenal and this exhibition follows on from his hugely successful 'Margaret River Region Open Studios'. Aidan now regularly produces commissions and has works hanging in homes and offices around the world.
Aidan is proudly self taught, focusing on experimenting with a range of techniques, styles and subjects. HIs works are most often large format and are characterised by bold colours, emotional raw brush strokes and extensive layering.
The exhibition is hosted by the unique and very popular concept store in Cowaramup called Saharan Daze, famous for its silver bath and the beautifully adorned Bedouin tent set up at the bottom of the gallery space! Owner Freya Duignan is the organiser of this event.
Wines are sponsored by Margaret river company Les Savages, best local burgers by Margaret river burger co, local muso's, dj's and performers - simply a night not to be missed!
Opening night Saturday 9th July 5:00-9:00pm (same day as our fast growing, popular cow rally festival which has broken the Guinness book of world records for the most amount of people dressed up as cows in one spot)
Exhibition runs for one week only as this will be a sell out.
Tell us about your first exhibition and how it made you feel to see your pieces displayed
I picked up a brush when I turned 30 in February 2015, after 13 years of neglecting it, and held my first solo exhibition 3 months later in May. It was such a crazy couple of months, as I realsied how much I loved and missed painting. People started to see my works and convinced me to have an exhibition at my friends awesome cafe in Cowaramup called 'Smithereens'. I wanted the night to be a relaxed and informal celebration of friends and family, which it certainly was. It turned into a pretty massive party and I actually sold every piece. It was so surreal to see my works hanging there, and to sell them was something else. I got very emotional during my speech actually and looking back on it I think it was the most important night of my life, as from there on I became a full time artist.
What do you think has been the advantage of being self-taught?
Im very proudly self taught - I spent a long time at uni and actually have a law degree - and have realised that I develop better creatively without a set format. Im constantly looking through other peoples work on social media, researching different techniques, styles and mediums, and I think most importantly experimenting. I love getting my hands on all kinds of materials and just giving it a go. I hardly ever plan a work of art, I just go with the flow and embrace chance and spontanaety. Some of my favourite pieces are actually complete mistakes!
What's on the easel?
The studio's looking a bit bare at the moment for the first time in a long time as i've delivered a whole load of paintings to Perth. Iv got a crazy looking kookaburra on the easel right now - which is super different from my usual portraits, but im trying to finish it to donate to a wildlife art auction fundraiser in January.
Describe your perfect setting for creating?
My perfect setting for creating would have to be my current project. I'm building a big old ex fire brigade bus into a mobile home studio. I'm going to live in it and travel Australia painting all the crazy interesting people I meet along the way. So I suppose the perfect creative setting for me would be something dynamic, new and exciting with no element of routine.
If you could meet and paint anyone (living or passed), who would you choose?
Hmm - tricky one. The only historical figure that comes to mind would be Salvador Dali - he seemed like such an interesting crazy cat - don't think there would ever be a dull moment hanging out with him. Other than that I think I'd choose all the old vagrants and bar flies in outback Australia!
What has been your most sentimental piece...one you didn't want to let go?
There has only been one of these. My Robin Williams piece meant so much to me that I said I would never part with it. Having struggled very seriously with depression for many years, I can empathise with Robin’s plight and deeply respect the good he did in his time. He proved that a smile can change the world, and brought needed attention to the unseen devastating demons of depression in outgoing people with a happy and charismatic facade. I donated a large portion of the proceeds of the sale to the RUOK foundation as I sold the piece the day before RUOK day and it felt like some kind of fate. He's now in America with a beautiful couple who are actually related to Robin.
How does living in the south west affect and inspire your work?
The south west is my favourite place on earth. We are constantly surrounded by awe inspiring beauty. Even though I don't paint landscapes the area inspires my work as it makes me so happy I am much more productive. Being able to surf, mountain-bike and paint all day everyday in such a beautiful place is so ridiculous I'm constantly pinching myself!
SOUTH WEST FAVES...
Gallery Boranup, such a beautiful setting and so many works to discover hidden in the racks in the back room!
Cafe Smithereens in Cowaramup - best Asian Omellete you will ever taste!
Beach Guillotines no question - I go there almost daily.