Peer Portraits: Smolik

Peer Portraits: Smolik
We discovered Smolik's art a few years ago and were immediately drawn to his work. It was such a pleasure to work with him on the artwork for Fast Friends, HNDSM's first coffee release. He is an early career artist living in Toronto with a dedicated studio practice and strong mural/street art portfolio. He has worked alongside some of his peers, such as Ness Lee & Birdo, on multiple public and corporate murals within the last couple years. Recently, he participated in a few group shows/events at Greg Mike’s ABV Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia. We are excited to know that Smolik is currently working on a new body of work with another solo show planned for Fall 2021, as well as a couple of group shows and NFT projects.

Tell us about what brought you to where you are now as an artist.
Probably just my stubbornness, quietness and this endless stream of ideas I need to get out. Ideas come faster than I’m able to get them out so the to-do list never ends. I always have so much to say as well, but I absolutely hate talking so everything gets said in paint. It is definitely the reward to the viewer who takes to time to really deep dive into the work.

Can you give us some insight into your process and how you create your art?
It normally sparks from conversation then develops in a sketchbook where I can polish my idea before it becomes a finalized piece. Or I have something I want to say and I will mull it over in my head for weeks/months until it becomes a solid depiction then I just have to put it on paper. 

How do you navigate balancing the creativity and commerce of the industry? 
Not very well to be honest lol. I tend to get lost in the art making process and then scramble to catch up to the business side of the job. Emails are by far the most dreadful part of my day. Why sit in front of a computer when I could be lost in a world of paint? It’s called self care babe.
 
Who are your favorite artists?
Ugh there’s so many. To just name a few I’d start with Cy Twombly, Joyce Pensato, Basquiat, Caravaggio, John Baldessari, Tyrrell Winston, Alyssa Goodman (@babyjewish if you want to follow), Niall McClelland, Yan Wen Chang and Marilyn Minter. This list could go on for days.

What is something you believe everyone should experience in their life?
The love of a dog. Seriously nothing like it. I couldn’t last a day without my soul mate Zulu.

Do you have any favorite grounding rituals?
My morning ritual of dog walks and coffee. Going out skateboarding is also essential to keep my mind going forward and giving me a creative outlet outside of my art practise. Reading is so important as well. 

What do you most look forward to when the pandemic is over?
To be honest, I’m really enjoying the slower, quieter pace of life during this pandemic. The toxicity of hustle culture has definitely had a negative impact on me personally so not having to burn myself out daily has done wonders for my mental health and overall wellbeing. Thinking about the end of this pandemic actually makes me anxious and I’m not looking forward to it at all. Yes, I realize I’m in the minority on this one.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite spots in Toronto?
Oh, first and foremost would hands down have to be Sam James Coffee Bar. My home away from home. I also like to spend my time at Lost & Found, Rhum Corner, Union restaurant, Manita is also a go to as well as Terroni on Queen. You can also find me roaming galleries, or skating Dunbat or just out and about on Queen west walking my baby girl Zulu. I pretty much live my life around Zulu and my coffee addiction.

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