MOST of us throw away our junk, but one Westering artist turns his junk into art.
Paul Smit, 45, does not get rid of his empty containers like coffee tins or toothpaste tubes, but instead incorporates them into his work.
This junk has been deconstructed, and used metaphorically in his two, or three dimensional “junk art”. The medium varies with each piece, with Smit using either acrylic, or oil, on canvas or paper.
The self-taught artist got the idea during a stint of long distance travelling, and decided to use the rubbish lying around his car to create art.
“I thought why throw it away when I can use it,” said Smit.
He said if his family has pizza on the weekend, he will keep the boxes and use them with one of his next paintings.
Smit said he goes through different phases, and he is currently concentrating on freedom of open spaces in most of his work.
This consists of landscapes, sky and water which represents tranquility. Rusting trucks can be seen in his latest landscapes which is “indicative of the deterioration happening in our immediate spaces”.
His other favourite is wild horses, which represent freedom, strength and independence.
“These are ideals that are close to my heart in a world where technology, like tracker systems and cellphones, have curbed our freedom of movement and privacy.”
Smit’s interest in art began at the age of 12 during an art class at school. The class was instructed to draw portraits of each other. While watching a friend drawing, Smit thought to himself: “I can do that, and I can do it better”.
Art is his bread and butter, but he has done numerous other jobs over the years. He started off as an electrician, then went into marketing, sales and then business management.
He teaches art from home from Monday to Thursday, and does commission jobs. He also manufactures bedside lamps and canvasses to take a break from art.
Smit sells his work mainly from his website and in galleries in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg. He has also sold several pieces overseas, such as Spain.
He has a 14-year-old son, Aidan, who is more interested in soccer than art at the moment. Smit is married to Liesl, an accountant.