Hi Bart, great to meet you . I’m really pleased you’ve accepted this interview for StreetArt360. I’m in Flanders for a few days, invited by Visit Ghent and Visit Antwerp for a Press Urban Art Trip in Belgium Flanders.
I’m a great fan of your art, I know you’re Flemmish and living in Mechelen (Between Antwerp and Ghent) and one of the iconic street artists in Belgium .
It was absolutely important to meet you for StreetArt360 readers who would love to know the person behind theses incredibly hyper realistic creative murals signed Smates.
Bart Smates is you name or an artist name?
My real name is Bart Smeets, so I just changed my last name into an English version; Smates. That’s the way you pronounce it in Dutch 😉
How and when did you discover art and create your first artworks?
I already drew a lot when I was a little boy. I made my own comics, went to the academy in the weekends. I always wanted to do something with drawing but it became painting.
Where was your first mural? Is it still available to see today?
My first mural.. no idea :). And I guess it won’t be there anymore. Maybe better so 😉
Do you paint only in your own country ? Do you have artworks in Flander we can see?
No I have made murals in China, Canada, Norway, Malta, Russia, … and monday I’m leaving to Portugal for a mural. Yes there are some murals in Genk, Hasselt, Mechelen…
Are you only painting hyper realistic murals?
Not really anymore. I’m more evolving to a realistic-illustration style for the moment.
Do you paint with spray cans or do you use any other techniques?
I use mostly spray paint. But I want to start using more wallpaint instead of spray paint. But for the moment for murals mostly spray paint. In my studio I started recently with oilpaint and I love it.
If you can describe yourself, would you say you’re a Street Artist, a Painter, an artist … or something else.
I see myself as a painter and a street artist. But mostly a painter.
Where do you get your inspiration ?
From a lot of stuff I see around me. It can be on the street, something online, an other artist, a dream… everything.
Where can we discover your murals around the world ?
Maybe best to check my website smates.be, I always add where the mural is located.
What is your personal favorite mural artwork ?
The girl with the little orca “Killer whale”. I really like the colors, composition, idea and location. You can see that wall from really for away in the hills. That’s really cool.
Did you collab with other artists ? Do you have any artists you would like to collab with in the future?
Yes I painted together with Steve Locatelli in Milan (also one of my favorite works) and some other projects. And we are going to work together again pretty soon. Next week in Portugal I will be painting with Daas.
Do you have a “favorite” city where you love to paint ? Is there a dream place around the world you would like to go for a mural artwork? Is there a specific place in Flanders you would like to paint?
I don’t really have a favorite city. I like to paint in a lot of different cities and different countries. A big wall in New York is something I really would like to do. And if it is a really nice big wall I like to paint everywhere in Belgium.
Do you have any exhibitions and upcoming art fests in the future?
No, I don’t have any canvasses. But I’m hoping to make some this winter. Testing and discovering oil paint. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.
Thank’s a lot . Would you like to add anything else for Streetart360 readers?
I would like to thank everybody who follows me on Facebook and Instagram (smeetsbart) for the support and kind words. I feel really lucky being able to do this for a living and it wouldn’t be without people sharing and liking my work.
SMATES Artwork Gallery: