David Smith-Harrison

Drawing is of central importance to me. I am fascinated with the magic of drawing, of making marks which provide parallels with experience; marks which are able to express my feelings for form, space, light and movement. I also consider drawing to be a very personal, searching process, and a tool for developing my powers of observation and memory.

My approach to printmaking relies very much on drawing. I am attracted to the infinite possibilities of impressing ink onto paper and I find the unique textural characteristics of prints to be stimulating, seductive, and full of subtlety and nuance. My prints evolve and develop slowly. This gradual process allows me to become very involved with the subject. Because of this intense and continual observation, I feel I am able to make a sensitive, and intimate statement about the subject.

I am naturally attracted towards realism and approach my work knowing that both conscious and unconscious influences will impart its direction. I feel that these influences have been the theories of picture-making. I carefully examine the work of fellow artists, both past and present, and believe that I gain enrichment and understanding from this reflection and study. I have an enormous respect for the art of the past and particularly for that of the great draftsmen of the Italian Renaissance. I believe that one can retain respect for these masters without necessarily imitating or becoming subordinate to them. I realize that my art comes from both art history and life, and there is succession and lineage in all art.

Life gives us the choice between hiding and revealing ourselves. If we are considered to be different or out of step, society often places an obligation on us not to show our emotions or aspects of our true selves. Self-concealment therefore becomes a natural part of self preservation. I believe that image-making can help us gain nearness to our own psychological realities. I seek to understand my needs and desires by recording my observations, thereby striving to make sense of the human experience.

I approach the making of images seriously and hope that they will reveal something poetic and universally true about the human condition. Converting ideas into marks and lines on the paper or printing plate excites my mind and invigorates my imagination. When this goes well, it provides intense pleasure which delights me and enriches my life, and hopefully the lives of others.

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