Chariots of Fire
This small exhibition brings together work made for a 2016 exhibition exploring WIlliam Blake’s Jerusalem alongside images and drawings made for Si Smith’s more recent graphic novels How to Disappear Completely (Valley Press) and Abide With Me (LCI).
A common thread through all of this work is a sense of connection to England and to Leeds, where the artist lives and works.
Of his work for the Jerusalem exhibition, Smith has said, “In the biblical story, the prophet Elijah’s time on earth ends with a dramatic ascension; whisked up to heaven, in a whirlwind, aboard a fiery chariot. And Blake‘s original poem is an urgent call to re-create England as a utopian land; to reimagine Paradise – Here, Now.
“I’m pondering the things that we look towards to lift us heavenwards, and also what that heaven itself might look like if or when we make it…”
For as long as he can remember Si Smith has been an avid draw-er of stuff. Maybe it’s in his genes – his father paints and exhibits, his grandfather was also an artist and his brother is a graphic designer and cartoonist.
During the course of his relatively uneventful life Si has been in a documentary on BBC2, witnessed Gary Lineker’s football league debut and spent five and a bit years teaching in a primary school.
Si has also drawn a lot of stuff, author-illustrating three children’s books for HarperCollins and producing work for a range of clients including OUP, Scholastic, the BBC, Heinemann, Reed and Macmillan. Represented by the Beehive Illustration agency, he has over 20 years’ experience as a freelance illustrator.
Si also has a history with Greenbelt – he was a member of the visual arts programming team for several years, and part of the team behind the 2005 Tree of Life communion service.
Valley Press published his graphic novel How to Disappear Completely, a tale of loss and loneliness in Leeds, in February 2018.
Si Smith will be presenting his exhibition Chariots of Fire in the Allotment Gallery on Sunday 26 August, 12pm – 4pm
Si will be leading an Art School session on “How not to be an illustrator” on Sunday 26 August, 7.30pm – 9pm