“It’s hard to say which artists or designers work has made the most impact on me… my idols as a kid were the teenage mutant ninja turtles! I didn’t really know the name of any famous artists until I was older.”
As an artist, it can be frustrating to hear of other, younger artist’s successes as you yourself try to rise to a level of expertise. What if your love for art came later in life? What if you weren’t exposed to the works of great masters? What if you had never even doodled before? Not every artists story begins with a whole-hearted passion. SMITHE ONE, the famous graffiti artist based in Mexico City, started out somewhat unsure of his path, not ready to commit fully to the life of a street artist and not believing that such a path would prove successful.
Now to be fair, SMITHE ONE always had an interest in the arts and in fact, it was at the early age of 12 that he first began developing his graffiti art. Still, it took fifteen years as a company-employed graffiti writer followed by a few years as a designer for Saatchi and Saatchi before SMITHE ONE knew that pursuing his own freelance art career was a must. As we learn about SMITHE ONE mural art, we see a blossoming career that developed due to the artist’s willingness to take a creative chance.
SMITHE Meets Steampunk
Steampunk, apocalyptic, and science fiction of all sorts have dominated the fiction industry for years, an industry which the artist SMITHE ONE became heavily influenced by as a kid. Fascinated with the creative flow of post-apocalyptic societies and cyberpunk models as well as the human anatomy, SMITHE ONE carved out a unique style that would help his art gain exposure.
Those who view artwork by Smithe are immediately drawn by the careful crafting of each beautifully unique piece. SMITHE ONE credits his inspiration to Moebius, Heavy Metal, and Virgil Finlay, styles which he elaborates upon with a psychedelic twist. Smithe mural work often expresses different anatomy, especially the head, in an exploding graph style mixed with colors and shapes and different technological elements. Old car and tech manufacturing books from his dad were the artist SMITHE ONE’s motivation for this approach to the human features.
Through these combinations of different ideas and aesthetics, his signature style has developed a voice of its own among the street art scene, standing out from the rest of the generic mural art pieces to stimulate the imagination of viewers, not just in Mexico, but all over the world.
The Message Behind Smithe's Graffiti
At first, SMITHE ONE began his career with no real purpose other than creating art.
“At first, I felt my art had no message," he adds. "Unconsciously during those years I formed many ideas, my way of observing and seeing all things, both in dreams and images. I had to express this in an art form. It's a bit selfish to make an artwork without explaining it at all, but I get more satisfaction when I create an artwork where people form their own ideas and have their own thoughts.”
SMITHE graffiti carries a different message for each individual person. Burdened by the agendas that mural artists poured into their work, the artist SMITHE ONE seeks to free the viewer by allowing them to form their own opinions as to what his creations bring to the table. Is the skinless colorful face an allegory for society or is it simply a callback to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ archnemesis Krang? It’s up to you. And isn’t that the true purpose of art: to allow the viewer to take from it what he will?
Smithe One Artwork Influence
SMITHE ONE has been living the artistic dream in the most exciting of ways. Having had to overcome the doubt of succeeding as a freelancer, he is now riding a wave of fame and high-profile collaborations as his talent and creativity are spreading across the globe.
Mexico City, the artist’s hometown, is full of spots where art lovers can view artwork by SMITHE ONE. In 2011, Vertigo, Mexico marked the young artist’s first gallery opening. Later he was featured in the Scope Art Show in Miami. New York City became the destination of the largest Smithe mural work to date. This mural art instillation is only one of many which span the globe from Honolulu to Berlin and of course Mexico City. His collaboration in 2015 with Pharrell Williams for the Adidas Original Superstars campaign has further cemented Smithe artwork into the creative world. It is evident the artist has a promising future ahead of him.
Tony Delfino Clothing by SMITHE ONE
Much of SMITHE ONE’s career has been characterized by a go-with-the-flow style. His clothing brand, Tony Delfino, which has now become a worldwide sensation, began when SMITHE ONE and his friend made a couple of t-shirt designs just for fun. Then people started noticing and liking them, wanting shirts for themselves. Artist SMITHE ONE takes a great amount of pride in his clothing line, with shoes, sweatshirts, sneakers, and caps featuring his signature artistic style coupled with the famous DLFN logo. The street style is a perfect embodiment of who the artist himself is and features unique examples of Smithe graffiti. With humble beginnings, Tony Delfino has become a major sensation as well as SMITHE ONE’s favorite branch of his business.
Current and Future Smithe Artwork Projects.
SMITHE ONE is fully soaking in his artistic life with a whirlwind of projects and collaborations. He is taking a quick stop in Tokyo to showcase his clothing line at Bar Zingaro with fresh new prints and graffiti art designs.
His new gallery opening “Mixed Media” will feature works such as “Unbleached.” SMITHE ONE also heavily emphasizes his own gallery space (TOBA) in Mexico City, featuring new artists regularly. Not to mention the dude is in a band which is constantly working on fresh music and just dropped a new single last July.
Plus, SMITHE ONE has stated that he longs to jump into the three-dimensional side of art and bring his psychedelic sci-fi style to life in full-blown sculptures. This would bring the artist full circle in his career as sculpture is what initially attracted SMITHE ONE to art. It is clear he has his work cut out for him to maintain his varying interests and projects, yet I am sure SMITHE ONE is quite excited and ready to create more wonderful street art in the years to come.