I’m starting a series of articles about the best urban artists on the international scene. For this first post I chose to talk about Smug also known as SmugOne. Why start with Smug? I live in Scotland and SmugOne lives in Glasgow and because he’s definitely one of my favourite urban artists. I admire both his technique, his humour, his sensitivity, and his creative genius. Smug has marked and will continue to impact the history of urban art.
Who is Smug aka Sam Bates?
To understand Smug and his work, it is first important to understand how Sam Bates became the artist we know as Smug One. Born in a small town just a few hours from Sydney, Australia, Sam Bates was a child with surprising creative abilities. From a very young age, he liked to draw, paint, scribble, always seeming to have a pencil and a sketch pad in his hand. Sam immediately caught the attention of his classmates. Everyone knew that Sam was much more talented than anyone else. He already had enormous artistic potential and was destined to become a great artist.
Although Smug has always wanted to have his art discovered by others it is only when he finished high school that he finally decided to put his pencil to one side and take up his first spray can. Animated by a rebellious teen spirit, Smug walked the streets of his city creating his first graffiti and signing it Smug, SmugOne.
Over time Smug perfected his technique, giving free rein to his creative spirit, pushing the boundaries of urban art. This is how he became the undisputed master of hyper realism.
Smug the genius of hyper realism
Looking at Smug’s works you will quickly understand that street art is anything but vandalism. His frescoes are works of art, he simply chose to use the city walls as a backdrop for his painting and offer everyone the chance to discover art without visiting a museum or gallery. In my opinion, this is a strong social act. Art accessible to all. Thank you Smug.
What about his style? Smug is inspired by the realistic artistic movement of the mid-nineteenth century. He uses photographs as the basis of his creations. He takes his own photos and transcribes them with incredible precision. The result ? Simply amazing. Masterpieces of urban art that leave you speechless. He is to me both an outstanding photographer and painter. He combines these two art forms so creatively and cleverly.
These creations are all ultra-precise, realistic and colourful. The photo inspires him, while the wall, its texture and its size, leads him to overcome the practical obstacles which then give a unique character to his creations
Smug’s fame continues to grow, we can discover his frescoes all around the world. Smug is gaining popularity and influence in the world of urban art. His technique is refined a little bit more after each of his new artworks. The artistic community is continually impressed by the incredible talent of this street artist. I appreciate enormously Smug’s state of mind, in spite of all his success he paints in the street and offers his art to the greatest number and does not conceive the art like a product that one can sell. He is an authentic street artist.
In addition, Smug always has an aura of mystery. What I understand is he can’t and won’t be captured by the art world. Booking this young talent for an exhibition in a museum or gallery is for the moment almost impossible.
To learn more about Smug
Here are some links to follow and discover the work of SmugOne