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West and West Hill Streets
Nassau, N.P.
The Bahamas

(242) 328-5800

Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

Artist Directory

Dave Smith

NAGB

Biography

Dave Smith (b. 1944) was born in Derbyshire, England. 

Education

Smith studied painting at the Derby College of Art. After graduating he expanded his knowledge at the Hornsey College of Art.

Career

Smith co-founded the London-based design group Electric Colour Company, which specialized in design projects on the London fashion scene. 

His work included furniture, interior and store-front design. He left to teach at a College in North England. He moved to The Bahamas in 1973 to teach art, first on San Salvador, and then on New Providence a year later. He moved to the U.S. in 1990 and began working as a scenic artist in the motion picture industry. 

In the mid 70s, he began a series of drawings focused on juxtapositions, which had been motivated by seeing American films projected in The Bahamas as Nassau’s drive-in theaters. Smith has become known as a pop artist. His work is easily recognized for its vibrant colours and contrasting visual imagery. His work is known for juxtaposing imagery of The Bahamas as paradise – an idea promoted by the tourism industry – and the real life struggles many Bahamians face.

Studio 

“Pop art” – Pop art is mostly associated with the work of New York artists of the 60s, like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. However, the term encompasses artists who draw on popular and commercial imagery and everyday life. Smith can be seen doing this through his use of large, American vehicles, storefront clothed mannequins and even ‘weave’. 

“Juxtaposition” – Juxtaposition refers to the fact of two contrasting things being placed next to each other for comparison. 

Project 

Have students find and clip images from tourist promotion materials as well as local newspapers. Have them create collages from the contrasting material. Encourage the use of other material to serve as a barrier in the way Smith uses curtains, window bars, walls and fences in his paintings. 

Alternatively, students can paint contrasting symbols and imagery using contrasting symbols and imagery using bright colours.

Dave Smith Crosses to Bear, 2014 Acrylic on canvas

Dave Smith
Crosses to Bear, 2014
Acrylic on canvas