Martin Lynch-Smith

by Horror Sleaze Trash on June 28, 2012

HST pins down the insanely talented, Martin Lynch-Smith, for a detailed insight (and interest) into his art, philosophies on life and film.  Martin Lynch-Smith opens the interview with a introduction into him self and his works.  A read well worth your time and a man to be seriously respected.


MLS: My current series of paintings is a portrayal of the relationship mankind has with Earth and space. It depicts a sense of restriction and confinement within them, but also a universal merging of all aspects. The series surrounds the constraints mankind creates for itself, and the way it is immersed and often fixed into position by its surroundings. Landscapes and celestial entities are used as a foundation to incorporate symbolic figurative imagery.

I have been an artist since 2002, I initially worked with football clubs and other sports organisations. I gained my BA in Fine Art in 2009 and have been currently working on a series of portraits surrounding the notion of an emotionless state. I have always worked within the boundaries of portraiture and the human face in particular. Apart from art I hold an affinity with all things anti-global, and encourage anybody to find their own truths in relation to factors of society that appear to encompass all things ‘govern-MENTAL’.

My ongoing series of paintings entitled ‘Inevitability’ is a visual interpretation of humans’ indifference with its own evolution. It involves figures that are void of any movement, stuck and unable to materialise into the forms they are intended to be. Also, they symbolise the humanity’s relationship with Earth and space and the fact that it can never escape either, yet does very little to explore them or understand them to their full potential. Human beings would rather look inward and attempt to gain superiority over others. If we are instinctive beings we would only take what we need and learn to adapt and survive. But we don’t adapt; we destroy our environment to make it suit us. Nor we simply survive; we take liberties upon others and force them to live in poverty. There are those who would be psychologically classed as megalomaniacs and, again unfortunately they hold the majority of the power in modern society. I wouldn’t even go as far as to call them ‘people’ but a global cancer. Ok this all sounds defeatist and depressing.

What I believe in is not a religious movement but a way of understanding the potential in people and what it can achieve if everyone practices an existence which is ego-free, something which is very difficult to achieve if you want to live by the standards the modern media dictates. After reading about the term ‘lightworker’, which refers in essence to someone who believes in human spirit and the human race as a united presence that it can connect with each other spiritually, making others realise there are more means to live than the way we are currently living (that is how I would narrow it down anyway). I basically look at myself as a person who believes in the human spirit but not in any religion. I’m also a person who wants to communicate a message: that this race is not evolving but dissolving. So, after researching and soul searching, I realised this view (in regards to what I am attempting to show in my work and my own personal philosophies) describes me better than any other.

My philosophy is to let go of anything that makes you feel that you are better than others, and stop trying being a human being and instead be yourself. I believe we try too hard to live a fantasy existence which involves ideologies of marriage and mortgages which are to an extent the 2 single most expensive endeavours you will ever spend money on, especially if the first one goes wrong. Again it all comes down to money. We think money can give us everything we want in life, however money cannot buy the right to change free will, it cannot buy immortality, and it cannot buy real love. I try to live my life by realising the things that money cannot buy are the most important things in life, they have to be, because all other things can be acquired by monetary negotiations.

My artwork began revolving around anti-capitalism during college, but it has progressed from this to involve a more anti-symbiotic message over time. I think the reason mankind is hellbent on destroying itself has to have undeniable ties with monetary power and utter disrespect for the planet on which we live.

Although symbolic painting is at the forefront of my artwork, I began my career as a  traditional portrait artist, which is still something I still practice whenever I get the opportunity. Also it gives me a welcomed break from overthinking, it allows me to switch off.

HST: You, also follow a religious view of “The Lightworkers“, how much does this affect your life and art.

MLS: It definitely affects the work I produce, in fact it helps create it, I have a strong belief that we as a race are being held back from our evolutionary path, due to greed and megalomania. I have previously used symbolism in my paintings to depict a sense of apathy in humans, and with the latest series I’m intending to show humanity as being static by choice; it is surrounded by so much freedom yet it chooses to live by the law of power which is very restrictive in a contrived way. I basically try to use my artwork to send a symbolic message. I believe we as a race are capable of so much more than what we are achieving at the moment.

HST: “{lightworks} It holds to “a holistic worldview,” emphasising that the Mind, Body and Spirit are interrelated and that there is a form of Monism and unity throughout the universe.”  Art and science combined in a way???  Can the two exist together harmoniously?

MLS: I would say science in terms of technology plays a massive part in art. Installation art or site specific art can often incorporate technology to create amazing pieces of art. Also Digital Art wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for science. Psychology is also science and all art is created to provoke an emotional reaction; understanding the human mind is imperative in creating artwork as it forms a basis for the artist to understand which seeds to plant to gain the reaction he/she intended. I think this is prevalent in film making too. I also think that you cannot create art without using an element of science, I believe everything is linked somehow.

HST: “A true friend stabs you in the front”. -Oscar Wilde   I saw this as a personal favorite of yours somewhere.  How cut throat is the art scene, especially as a freelance artist?

MLS: I think at the moment there are many problems within the art scene as each artist has his/her own struggles to survive in regards to income, art dealers are playing it very safe in regards to who to promote and represent, the art funding cuts have had a catastrophic effect of independent galleries and a lot of them have had to budget themselves strictly or face closure. I suppose it goes along the lines of survival instincts again, everyone is trying to make a living promoting their own work but I am seeing more empathy from artists towards each other as most artists I know are very supportive of each other and form collaborations and art events etc to promote each other’s work. I wouldn’t say the art scene is as cutthroat as it may have once been (especially if we look at the Baroque period, which was cutthroat in the literal sense) because we are all dealing with the same restrictions. If I was to lose out on a commission that a friend acquired, I wouldn’t be pissed off at that I’d be happy for them. It happens. You get some, you lose some. It is a competitive industry and those who are playing the best game will make the starting line up. You will obviously have those who will deliberately try their damnedest to get one over on other artists; I try not to associate myself with these people. Art, apart from a creative core, has a financial one too so you have to figure out which core is most important for individuals, and know who you are working with and understand their incentives.

HST: I can see being a freelance artist is extremely important to you from what I have seen, why is that?

MLS: It gives me freedom from anything contractual. I have always worried I would find myself tied to something I do not want to be part of long term whereas being freelance allows me to roam freely from project to project, this way I can ensure I am not going to find myself feeling committed to a company or corporation, which could lead me to feel dead inside.

HST: A lot of your work, the b/w portraiture is cult celebrity.  What’s the difference between your more classic subjects, say – Audrey Hepburn to the newer celebs?

MLS: They are exactly that, ‘classical’, iconic symbols of a bygone age which can never be recreated. There is a tendency to relate modern movie stars to classical ones, and I don’t think that is possible as too much has evolved in the industry to ever make a realistic comparison. From a visual perspective I prefer vintage portraiture. There is always a certain appeal with figures such as those as Hollywood’s Golden era, the photography of that period appeals to me more than nowadays iconic imagery. It is a personal preference but today’s celebrities are in a much different situation, they are privileged with a wider range of imagery techniques and equipment, and the outcomes are mostly flawless, bold, saturated with elaborate colour and highly post processed, something that was difficult to achieve in the early 20 century. I admire the vintage culture, the style, the lighting, and the models were captivating, which I guess is why there is such an appeal in revamping the culture today.

HST: “My work is based upon the expression of aesthetic degradation” How far can something be broken down aesthetically?

MLS: To the point where art metaphorically parallels science on a molecular level. Sometimes a piece of art needs no element of figure nor be complex or tactile to break down a visual concept to the point of emotive response, such as Abstract Expressionism. I have admiration for any artist who can produce work that promotes resonance by using only bold colours, such as Mark Rothko, who was a genius when it came to this.

HST: You merge landscape and portraiture, is there a symbiotic relationship?

MLS: I’d consider the ‘Inevitability’ series as initially depicting anti-symbiotic images, to the point where the subjects are in conflict with each other, one lets the other exist whilst the other tries to destroy it. That is the idea behind the symbolism with my work. The ‘Inevitability’ series is my way of expressing my views on contemporary culture, albeit in what most would call a dark surreal way. I wish for the series to evolve in a more positive light, the more the series continues the more I will represent the relation between humanity, Earth and space becoming more interrelated. At the moment I am at the point where the series is going through a slow transition.

HST: Where do you want to end up, as a person and artist?

MLS: As a person I would like to be at a point where I can influence others to question everything in life and find the real answers for themselves. Everyone should question something they dont understand, but its becoming a fading ability in some and could eventually lead to true knowledge being lost in a bias media led information shithole. As an artist I would just like to be in the position where people know the work I do and why I do it, and to understand that there are two sides to my artwork, the symbolic and the hyper realistic, but they are connected in their own ways. I would just like to continue doing what im doing now, and hopefully meet more people through it, and continue to expand my artist network, my portfolio and exhibit my work and provide talks wherever possible. I have also been thinking about writing a book about my views, beliefs, and philosophies, I think it would be good for me to purge copious amount of mindfuck onto paper.

HST: Are you currently in a relationship?  Any certain muse?

MLS: I am, and excluding certain members of my family she is the greatest woman I have ever met, she has changed a lot about me and has definitely set the bar in regards to where I want to be in life. As for a muse I have several, scattered about this spinning rock, each has had their own unique influence, and the more I get to know them the more they inspire me.

HST: What film has effected you the most through out your life?

MLS: As movie scenes go its probably the scene from Powder, where the deer has just been shot and he makes the hunter experience the fear and pain the deer is feeling whilst it is lay dying really got to me. Its amazing the power that a movie can have on someone’s conscience.

My favorite film still has to be Natural Born Killers, no matter how many times I watch it its still gives me the same sense of awe as the first time I watched it ,the story, the acting and the directing is amazing, so I suppose as films go that has had a continual effect on me, Hobo with a shotgun is next in line, just because its awesome.


Facebook: Martin Lynch-Smith – Artist

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