Our latest Porch Gallery exhibition zooms in on the details, with over 200 tiny observational drawings of Leeds and beyond. See Small Drawings by Si Smith in the gallery from 14 October to 27 November.
Si Smith is a Leicester-born illustrator and artist who has lived and worked in Leeds since 2004. He makes prints and creates comics, with a practice built upon a strong foundation of observational drawing. This exhibition collects over 200 of Si’s small drawings, created over the last five years. Divided into three sections – Garden, Journey and People – the work captures tiny and often fleeting snapshots of life.
The Garden drawings were made during the summer of 2018. Si says, ‘I’d been working long hours and my days had become a bit unstructured and ragged. In an attempt to begin each morning with something regular, mindful and positive, I settled on a little ritual of coffee and drawing in the garden. I was worried that I’d quickly run out of things to draw but the opposite was true. My main problem soon became stopping drawing and getting back inside to the day job…’.
Si created most of the Journey drawings in the passenger seat of a car or on the train, often on the way to visit friends and family. They reflect the somewhat solipsistic nature of travelling long distances – hermetically sealed into the vehicle at one end and released on arrival at your destination. He says ‘On some of these journeys I’m deliberately using drawing to work through anxieties about the trip, like the journey to a friend’s funeral or visits to see my mum when she was seriously ill. Other times, I’m just enjoying the empty, middle-of-nowhere spaces that train lines, motorways and A roads press on through.’
In contrast to the Garden and Journey works, the People drawings come from a more socially connected space. ‘I often travel into the city by bus, which is where the majority of these drawings are made. I am essentially an introvert, and it’s been suggested to me that these drawings offer a way to engage with folk without the awkwardness of interaction. There’s something essentially democratic about buses and certain areas of our city centre. I hope that the images I’m making might both celebrate and reflect that ideal.’