Dave Smith (born 1944, Derbyshire, England) studied at
Derby College of Art, initially taking commercial design courses before
specializing in painting and subsequently becoming a post graduate fine arts
student at Hornsey College of Art in London. In 1969 he co-founded a design collaboration with
3 other artists, the London-based Electric Colour Company.
In 1973, Smith took up an art teaching position in The Bahamas. Once in Nassau, he started a series of small pencil drawings with incongruous juxtapositions that he later developed into larger paintings. His ‘Pop-Realist’ style contrasted imported artifacts, such as American cars from the 1950s and 60s, with ethnic and often idealized Bahamian landscapes. He worked with themes such as security screens erected around the island, postcards and African and devotional artifacts. Smith explains, “The focus of my work revolves around themes which are essentially perennial. Our problematic interaction with social issues like crime, religion and consumerism remain with us – as does the sometime incongruous reality of our idyllic, post card shoreline.”
Smith held his first solo exhibition of this work in Nassau in 1981, and in 1984 had his first USA solo exhibition in Miami, Florida. Six subsequent shows followed in Nassau, culminating with a ten-year survey of his work at the College of The Bahamas in 1990.
In 1991, he left The Bahamas for California, initially painting billboards for the recording industry. Gravitating to the many scenery shops around the city, he joined Local 816 (Scenic Artists Union) and has worked for the last several years at NBC TV Studios in Burbank, California.
Smith's work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions. In 2008, a concise retrospective of 15 signature paintings from the 1970's and 1980's was held at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (Dave Smith - Twist of Fate). In 2011, Popopstudios organized Marquees, an exhibition of Smith's large format photographs of Nassau movie theatre marquees, and simultaneously, the Central Bank hosted Nassau Revisited, a series of new paintings. He has also shown at the Sunyata Gallery in San Pedro, California and Crossing Gallery in Los Angeles.
Dave Smith was one of the 11 artists featured in the widely acclaimed 2008 documentary film, ‘Artists of The Bahamas’.