Biography for Michael Smee (1946)
Mick’s paintings reflect his interest in bar/cafe life and the interaction of people within. These are not just ‘interiors’- the paintings contain narrative, pictorial composition with a rich mix of light sources, decoration, theatre and atmosphere. He has a strong desire to record not only disappearing pub culture peculiar to this country, but bespoke bar interiors and the individuals therein....many left alone with their thoughts, pint in hand in this ‘sanctuary’.
The main subjects of Mick’s paintings are bar interiors and exteriors. Much of his imagery derives from his interest and fascination with observing human beings and the ensuing clash of cultures in public places. Occasionally he will incorporate individuals such as Picasso, Sister Wendy Beckett and Tommy Copper into his bar interiors if they are relevant to the subject. Mick prefers traditional pubs and café’s and the characters they attract, successfully documenting part of our social and cultural history.
Mick paints in watercolour oil and acrylics. His style is figurative and slightly impressionistic. His superior talent lies in capturing the stance and character of individuals, allowing the viewer to participate in soaking up the atmosphere and the imagined lives thoughts and conversations of the personalities involved. He is inspired by 17th Century Dutch and Flemish masters, echoing a way of life which will eventually disappear and the powerful use of light.
Smee was born in Chelmsford, also studied at Colchester School of Art, but then joined the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden making backdrops and continued into film and television. Later working on films such as ‘Tommy’ and ‘Monty Python and The Holy Grail’ amongst many other films, before also taking a full time post at Colchester School of Art/Institute. Shows include a major one man exhibition at the Minories in Colchester 2012; New Grafton Gallery, London; & Bankside Gallery. His noted mixed exhibitions include Contemporary British Watercolours at Bankside Gallery, London; Sunday Times show at Mall Galleries, London and Discerning Eye also at Mall Galleries.
He has featured in many magazines including The Oldie.