intaglio etchings and acquatints by David Smith-Harrison

Artist's Statement


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 fully acknowledge that my influences are a component of the collective theories of picture-making. I carefully examine the artwork of fellow artists, both past and present, and I believe that I gain great enrichment and understanding from these reflections and studies. I have an enormous respect for the art of the past - particularly for the great draftsmen and artists of the Italian Renaissance. I believe that one can retain respect for great masters without necessarily imitating or becoming subordinate to them. I know that my own artwork is derived from elements of art history and my own life. I believe there is succession and lineage in all art.

Life presents us with many opportunities to understand and reveal 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 contemplating and recording my observations, thereby striving to make sense of and finding joy in the human experience.

I approach the making of images seriously and hope that my artwork will reveal something poetic and universally true about our human condition. Converting ideas into marks and lines on paper or printing plate, canvas or panel, - and in the digital arts media - 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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