Thai artist Aof Smith forges a bizarre scene with his paintbrush, saturated with narrative and characters that reflect our given realities. He creates a surreal setting to emphasise how environment sets the scene for all that lives and thrives in it. There are questions of morality, cruelty, an innocence, all bundled together in the nighttime happenings Smith brings to life. Your eye will discover something new at every glance, replacing any initial confusion with lingering fascination.
Content wise, one of the first feelings spurred by Smith’s work is that of disturbia, an inkling of something having gone wrong. He zigzags across the canvas, through flashing lights and bouts of colored smoke, leading us into a celestial oblivion. His characters range from human to toy, yet all are vibrant and gleefully aware of their own absurdity. The paintings are peppered with icons of popular culture, and virtually all of them are action shots, freezing chaos and happy accidents in a malfunctioning world.
The amount of detail injected into pieces like Smith’s demands thoughtful interpretation, and after taking it all in, one can’t help but wonder what it means. To me, the images have an underlying theme of machinery, the thing’s metal body glinting ominously and its gears turning forever. The chaotic element represents a glitch in the system, perhaps alluding to the elements of our society that churn and burn everything in their path. The undead quality of Smith’s characters, like that of the furry surgeon, is manic, and only emphasized by cackling mugs and crossed eyes. The eye motif- wandering eyes, disembodied eyeballs, searching pupils- permeates Smith’s work, possibly hinting at the double meaning of sight, and what it means to see. Fur and scales or flesh and blood, our eyes define our worlds.
All in all, Aof Smith pieces together a metaphoric land of fear and whimsy, embracing the art of contradiction. He renders a junkyard dive bar for plush animals, a place for the sober dreamers to visit when they grow tired of virgin nightmares. To check out more of his work, visit aofsmith.com.