‘Ask An Artist’- featuring: Hugo Smith (Abstract Artist)

11 Mar


Q & A


‘Paint how you want to paint. Don’t compromise your work to fit a trend or fashion. Trust in your work.’

I am a Belfast based abstract artist.  I work in acrylic on canvas. I use bold colours, blends and images to capture the imagination. My art is based on two themes.  Firstly, memories of the past and the people who made it special.  Secondly, hope for the future. I want my work to ask questions, to inspire, to spark creativity, to add warmth and colour to the owners’ lives.

I will always paint.

I have big ambitions and I think it is important to dream big, think big and live big.


Skyline by Hugo Smith

Skyline by Hugo Smith

Reluctant by Hugo Smith

Reluctant by Hugo Smith

Hugo, Pick at least 20 From the following:

Answer in one -two sentences

1. Which living artist do you most admire?

So many to choose from. I would have to say Gerhard Richter. I just get his work. Also like Bridgette Riley, Howard Hodgekin, Damien Hirst.

2. What is your first creative memory?

Being told my work was no good in school. I didn’t listen

3. Which one of your paintings are you most happy with to-date, and why?

A piece called ‘Plaza’. I spent quite a while on this one, adding layers of colour. I think I stopped just at the right time which is always difficult.

4. If you could be any other artist who would you be and why?

Not sure if he qualifies as an artist but I would have to say the British designer Paul Smith. The guy is awesome, some of his clothes are works of art.

5. What single thing would improve the quality of your artistic life?

A massive queue of customers.

6. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given about being an artist?

Paint how you want to paint. Don’t compromise your work to fit a trend or fashion. Trust in your work.

7. What does it feel like when you’re painting?

Scary at first, a blank canvas is terrifying. Once I start I can loose track of time. I get lost. When its finished and I’m happy with the result it is very selfishly satisfying.

8. What do you think art is?

To me, Art is anything that looks like it belongs in that particular spot. Its what draws your attention away from the tv.

9. What would you do if you weren’t a painter?

10. Which other art form do you admire and why?

11. What has been your biggest artistic disappointment?

I think as an artist you get used to disappointment. You have to take the downs with the ups. Its not always easy to do. Every time an opportunity passes by it takes a bit out of you.

12. Where do you work?

I have a studio attached to my house. This makes for an easy commute. It also means I’m never far away from my work which results in very few days off. There is always something dragging me out there.

13. Do you work from life, from photos or from your imagination?

I paint things that don’t exist so it is very much from my imagination. Artist who can recreate a landscape or portrait in detail amaze me. I couldn’t do that.

14. Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration is and will always be my older brother, who is sadly no longer with us. I hope he is watching down and I hope he likes my work. My Mum and Dad, my brilliant wife and my gorgeous two boys, we are all in this together.

15.What moves you in life, what irks you?

16. Where do you feel art is going?

17. What do you think the role of an artist is?

I feel the role of the artist is to make people stop and think.

18. What do you think your work contributes?

I hope it asks questions. I hope it inspires. I hope it adds colour to peoples home, office and workplaces.

19. What techniques do you use?

I use various tools to move the paint about. Anything goes really. Brushes, paper towels, pallet knives. I use multiple layers of paint on most of my work to give depth.

20. Are you self taught or trained?

I’m self taught. As I said earlier, at school I was told my work was no good. I had to teach myself.

21. What is most important to you the subject of your painting or how it is executed?

With abstract its about execution. Everyone can do it but its hard to do it right.

22. What aspects of your work do you think you could improve?

You can always improve, everyday is a learning day. I struggle with small pieces, so I would like to improve my use of space.

23. What’s the biggest compliment that’s ever been made about your work?

When people tell me what they see in the work, that tells me they stopped and looked. That is special.

24. What’s the biggest criticism of your work that’s been made?

I think every abstract artist has heard ‘I could do that’.

25. What’s your favourite period in art history and why?

I think post World War II through to the 70’s. Lots of great stuff from that era.

26. What are you reading at the moment?

My name is Asher Lev’ by Chaim Potok

Rum and Coke by Hugo Smith

Rum and Coke by Hugo Smith

Piaza by Hugo Smith

Piaza by Hugo Smith


To see more of Hugo’s work or follow him try these:




If you would like to take part in ‘Ask An Artist’. Do get in touch via the comment box or via @ArtiPeep

One Response to “‘Ask An Artist’- featuring: Hugo Smith (Abstract Artist)”


  1. An Interview with Artist Marlene Burns | NerdlyPainter - April 24, 2013

    […] ‘Ask An Artist’- featuring: Hugo Smith (Abstract Artist) (artipeeps.wordpress.com) […]

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