Wayne Smith studied Fine Art at Queensland College of Art. Graduating in the mid eighties, he pursued studio practice having five solo exhibitions and involvement in a number of group shows. In the nineties he turned his attention to more commercial applications of art practice. Capitalising on the trend towards murals, trompe l’oeil and themeing in restaurants, public venues and private homes, he successfully completed numerous large and small scale projects. As that design trend waned he returned to fine art and studio practice, selling artworks through the retail art market. This practice also resulted in numerous commissions for resorts, hotels and private homes.
Smith’s practice is varied and not easily pigeon holed preferring rather to range across a number of stylistic options. The fusion of three dimensional and two dimensional elements in his work leads to some interesting and original outcomes. These commissions are often driven by the nature of the space and surrounding environment the work is commissioned for. The use of sculptural relief, imbedded lights, colour and texture in his illuminated work result in jewel like adornments.
In contrast, Smith’s recent commissions for the Queensland Transport Museum and Gatton Civic Centre with their didactic story telling approach and visual narratives reflect a capacity to interpret and illustrate specific themes. The most recent commission, part of the Anzac Centenary, currently under construction once again fuses everything learnt from previous experiences. This work is large scale and involves five three dimensional objects each encompassing approx. 4cubic metres of space. The use of evocative applied finishes, irregular shapes fused with painted images on sheets of acrylic make for a dramatic engaging work that requires the viewer to investigate each object from a different angle and perspective.
Smith has not pursued the conventional path of an artist but rather has reverted back to the tradition of the journeyman artist whose sole intent is to satisfy the clients’ request and expectations. This has led to a diversity of ideas and expressions in his work which are hard to categorize. Depending on the work his approach is either figurative or semi-abstract and ambiguous, drawing inspiration mostly from natural forms and textures.