Richard J. Smith‘s photomontages are part of his surrealist journey into the art of the everyday, his pictures a search for the unexpected interrelationships between nature, objects, scenes from his travels and his local neighbourhood. Each made on the move. Immediate. On his iphone. What he calls ‘handcrafted surrealism’.
By using hand technology; using his fingers to swipe and his movements as brushstrokes, Smith creates a personal connection between himself, as the artist, and the audience, his photographs the visualisation of an ethereal moment brought to life in his immediate space, time contracted into a singular idea that is both fragmentary yet fully considered. A relationship between what he sees and how he feels in the now, the present.
This constant moving between the physical and the emotional creates a rich landscape imbued with deep emotion, a world that is alive, that is equally real as the space through which he travels, moves, lives and breathes in. A process that attempts to elevate the beauty of the ordinary into a moment of divine clarity. Here’s what he has to say about his work and process:
I’ve always believed beauty is everywhere and that we should take time to notice it. Art surrounds us, whether in architecture, words, music, or just in nature. And having an appreciation for that can make life more meaningful.
My process is like carving a sculpture, with the edges of my fingers forming lines to define shapes and reveal serendipitous relationships — not unlike physically placing individual elements as in a paper collage — except I do this through masking, blending and mimicking established photographic techniques like solarization or vignetting. Each piece is meticulously crafted with these and other ingredients, using direct touch to form a hierarchy of narrative.
Ever since first laying eyes on the photomontage medium, I’ve been fascinated with the form, having since been inspired toward a career as a professional graphic artist. Manipulating reality for artistic effect has always been my favourite part of graphic design, so I’ve worked to develop my technique for doing this in my own creations, using photography of the immediate as source material to illustrate and emphasize the artfulness of our everyday environments.