“Freedom is such a beautiful thing to feel, and that’s what many artists worry about not being able to find. It’s the holy grail.”
Embracing Life’s Journey to Shape Artistic Success
Ian Rayer-Smith embarked on his artistic journey at the relatively late age of 37. He often reflects on how his life might have unfolded differently had he begun painting earlier. However, with the passage of time, he has come to appreciate the significant role his background in business and various creative industries has played in shaping his current artistic success.
Now an accomplished contemporary expressionist painter, Rayer-Smith’s creations primarily stem from his inner self and personal experiences. His pre-artistic years contribute significantly to the depth and richness of his work, imbuing it with a sense of positivity. While he often feels uplifted during the painting process, he acknowledges that the emotional resonance of his artwork can be perceived in multiple ways.
Rayer-Smith’s artistic vision does not aim to depict recognizable subjects; rather, he aspires to craft an entirely new world. His paintings serve as both an escape and a constant therapeutic activity. This approach may have roots in his childhood experiences, which exert a lifelong influence, allowing him to process and perhaps reframe more challenging aspects of his past in a positive light.
Influenced by every aspect of his life, Rayer-Smith finds that even mundane activities, such as driving to his studio in the early morning, fuel his creativity. He has discovered the importance of avoiding overthinking, as it can lead to a stifling rigidity and diminished freedom in his work. The pursuit of artistic freedom is, for Rayer-Smith and many other artists, akin to seeking the holy grail – a beautiful and elusive objective that continually drives their creative endeavors.
The Transformative Power of a Spacious Studio
Ian predominantly focuses on large-scale artwork. This inclination towards grandiosity became more pronounced after relocating to a more spacious studio over two years ago, where the artist experienced a significant shift in his creative process. The newfound freedom to craft expansive paintings was an unanticipated challenge, but it ultimately facilitated Rayer-Smith’s acclimation to the new environment.
The move to the expansive studio has proven to be a catalyst for Rayer-Smith’s career, providing numerous opportunities and inspiring diverse artistic directions. Characterizing the essence of his works, however, remains an elusive endeavor. Rayer-Smith emphasizes the importance of not replicating the same painting repeatedly and prefers to explore various techniques and styles. Nevertheless, observers have noted a distinct creative DNA that threads through all of his pieces.
In an era of rapid technological advancements that continually upend the status quo, Rayer-Smith gravitates towards painting as a raw and expressive art form that connects him to the earliest human expressions. The artist finds solace in this ancient mode of communication, which offers a sense of grounding amid the relentless pace of modern life. Embracing this primal form of artistic expression allows Rayer-Smith to channel profound emotions and energy into his work, resulting in a powerful resonance that captivates his audience.
Defying Limitations: A Fluid Approach to Creativity
Ian shuns the confinement of adhering to a single style. His fear of becoming formulaic drives him to explore various artistic approaches, fostering a sense of freedom and growth. Drawing inspiration from the esteemed painter and teacher Milton Resnick, Rayer-Smith has cultivated an understanding of how to find his own direction in the creative process.
Emphasizing freedom, human expression, risk-taking, and occasionally sabotage, Rayer-Smith’s artistic approach refuses limitations. He revels in the thrill and adrenaline that comes from pushing boundaries, believing that this heightened state of mind can lead to remarkable outcomes. Over time, he has honed his studio habits, now diving into his work without delay to prevent overthinking and maintain creative momentum.
Rayer-Smith’s flexible approach allows him to circumvent preconceived plans and intrusive thoughts, providing a sense of artistic liberation. This method has proven to be effective in fostering his creativity. He draws inspiration from a myriad of sources, with particular emphasis on the Abstract Expressionist movement and Renaissance painting. By observing their analogous treatments of light and composition, he finds a harmonious connection between these seemingly disparate styles.
For Rayer-Smith, growth, exploration, and evolution are paramount, necessitating the willingness to take risks. He often works on multiple paintings simultaneously, allowing for a greater sense of creative freedom and detachment from individual outcomes. This practice lends an energetic and spontaneous quality to his work. By employing diverse methods, he can adapt when faced with a challenging piece, either by taking a step back or by altering its direction for a surprising result.
Solitude, Music, and Ambition: The Essence of Rayer-Smith’s Process
Undoubtedly, Ian Rayer-Smith thrives in a spacious, private setting, devoid of external distractions. The enchanting sensation of solitude, accompanied by the vastness of the workspace and the liberty to traverse it, invigorates his creative process. Rayer-Smith often breathes new life into long-standing projects by revisiting them within this inspiring atmosphere.
The artist’s work routine is often accompanied by music, specifically non-intrusive instrumental pieces that both captivate and stimulate. Melancholic tunes, despite not reflecting his emotional state, provide a sensitive backdrop that complements and enhances his artistic endeavors.
Rayer-Smith has a penchant for working in series, embracing the freedom to explore diverse techniques, even though they may not always yield satisfactory outcomes. Upon completing a piece that resonates with him, he tends to delve into a specific theme, as exemplified by his “Trampling over the Classics” and “Misdemeanour” collections. When a theme piques his interest, he diligently pursues it.
In recent times, Rayer-Smith has undertaken large-scale projects for commercial entities, enjoying considerable creative autonomy within the boundaries of the client’s preferred theme. The thrill of witnessing his larger creations displayed in public spaces, or providing a unique ambiance within private homes, is particularly rewarding for the artist.
Rayer-Smith’s ultimate aspiration is to have his artwork featured in museum collections. While acknowledging that this dream may not come to fruition, he cherishes the ambition and the motivation it provides in his artistic journey.