A Creative Journey
London Heir (Brittany Smit) was born an artist, she has been creating work since she was six years old and her talent has opened doors and given her opportunities that is building her brand and arts career. She is well-known within her local community and is an artist to take notice of. At only 20 years old, I can't begin to imagine what successes she will continue to experience in her lifetime.
Tell us about your creative journey so far? ~ My creative journey starts way back when I was living in Ukraine with my parents and brother. I was six years old and I couldn't speak the language. So, like every other child living in the early 2000s, I drew to occupy myself. The only difference with me was that I didn't have peers (that I could understand) that made me feel incompetent with this hobby. I just had my parents telling me "looks great, boo. I think you're getting better." Fast-forward a couple of years to when I was already back in Australia and in grade seven. Art class was, of course, my favourite. Heather Poulton, my art teacher at the time, introduced me to a wonderful drawing stick called "charcoal." I fell in love with the black, velvet-y substance and began using it like air: all the time. At the time my Dad happened to be working for a lady who had just started up a gift shop called Lemon Cello in Toowoomba. He mentioned casually to her that his daughter did art. He showed her photos and she loved them. She wanted them in her shop. I was more than happy to oblige. Within three weeks of them being in her shop they all sold as a set. Then I started to show my work at an art and art prints shop called M'aison D'Art. I also had my first solo exhibition at Insight Galleries when I was 15. And then everything spirals out of control (in a good way) from there. Now I mainly dabble in watercolour (and occasionally, I still use charcoal too).
How do you plan and develop your works? ~ I don't necessarily have a well thought out plan when it comes to my artworks, but I definitely wouldn't say I don't have any plan at all. Mainly, my "plan" comes from how I've been looking at the things around me in that time space. How I look at sunlight and shadows, how I look at the people in my life, whether close or not, how I've been considering certain colours, whether warm or cool or both and how I want all of these things to work into a piece, or a few pieces. This may take me days or weeks. I definitely develop my works this way, too, because sometimes, half way through a larger work, I may have changed my mind about a few things that I had been considering for the work.
What is your favourite medium and why? ~ My favourite medium? Definitely WATERCOLOURS! I love how they have a mind of their own. I really like abstract art, but a very large portion of my work exudes a feeling of semi-realism. Watercolours make me feel more like I'm working with something that has it's own mind, since a lot of the time they stray too far and create their own patterns in the form of blooming flowers and beautiful soft-blocky shapes that overlap and intertwine. It feels more like a collaboration than anything and gives me the freedom to sit back and look at the piece and say "I like the way I haven't made a lot of these decisions, but something else has." I feel like the work has more abstract qualities in it when I use watercolour, without straying from my original intentions.
What has been the most exciting art related achievement you have experienced? ~ In high school, my art teachers told me a week before the due date that I had to enter a competition. I decided to work on a very large and detailed piece for the competition. This was on Monday. The piece was due on Friday. Every night, I worked on this piece until midnight or later. Friday at 2am, I put down the brush and decided it was done, I went to bed for four hours and got up and took it to school. I ended up winning the competition, and that was exciting, but I feel like the more exciting part for me was being alone with this piece every night and working so hard on it and then finally deciding it was finished. I don't think I'd ever been so satisfied with and inspired by a piece that I'd done.
What inspires you? ~ There are a lot of different things that inspire me. If I want to be easily inspired it's music or film. But if I look a little deeper I'm inspired by small, lovely things. Light coming through a window and creating lines and shadows, city lights, messes I find in my room and old letters or cringey poems I wrote when I was 15 (or 19...) or some really good ones that I get surprised at. And people. Not necessarily celebrities or well-known people, but people I know, because all people are so intricately wired it's impossible for me not to be fascinated by them. Pros and cons of personalities (which we all have), how they look after their hands, what the inside of their car looks like and what their thinking face looks like, too. All of these things heavily influence how I look at what surrounds me and therefore influences my art.
What does success mean to you? ~ Happiness and contentment. Not having to chase anything; just knowing that I exist and that if I wasn't supposed to I wouldn't.
Where can people find you and your work online? ~ On Facebook and Instagram @londonheirartist.
What projects do you have in the pipeline for the next 12 months? ~ I'm working on book illustrations, commissions, and a special collab with the beautiful and talented Theresa Hall that I am especially excited about, and of course, there will probably be a lot more things that pop up that I won't be able to say no to.
How do you immerse yourself as an artist within your community? ~ Well, I have a studio at First Coat Studios with some other awesome artists and they do a lot of community activities so it's pretty easy to slip into them from there. But I also host classes at Toowoomba Art Society and I teach children at One of a Kind, which I think is also a great communal space. I try to enter local art competitions when I can as well.
What advice can you give others when it comes to developing yourself as a practicing artist? ~ Don't think too hard.