“Dark, testosterone-filled, and bold,” were some of the sentiments expressed by curator Clay Rochemont of Joshua M. Smith’s work – otherwise known as the Purveyor of Sin, Hydro 74. Smith and his edgy, detailed works of art were on display at #Hashtag Gallery this past Saturday for a one-night-only exhibit sponsored by La Carnita, who had tasty treats and boozy concoctions on-hand to pair with the visually appetizing artworks.
This was a pop-up art show at its finest: wicked, dynamic art, great conversation, cocktails, and tacos – what isn’t to love?
In Toronto to speak at FITC Festival (Future, Innovation, Technology, Creativity), Hydro 74 is an Orlando-based ‘Vector’ Artist who started out as a graphic designer; currently, he is a triple threat whose talents spawn the realms of typography, apparel development, and illustration. Smith’s canvas is online. He manipulates and plays with points, lines, shapes, and curves with many clicks of a mouse to create art pieces with elaborate intricacy. These works are brought to life through various mediums including the use of silk screening or laser etching (onto wood for nifty skateboards, etc.).
Smith’s attention to detail is awe inspiring; by fine tuning his techniques and adopting a ‘perfection within imperfection’ mantra, he is always seeking to better himself as an artist and learn from failure. This work ethic is expressed in his art, and his desire to cultivate strong emotions from his viewers is attained. For me, I could stare at one piece for hours – there is a story to be found in each image.
Smith has a penchant for skulls, keys, and figures with prominent or distinctive features. For instance, the owl with its steely gaze and razor sharp beak. In black and white, these attributes are beautifully heightened with Smith’s creative style and tone.
As for the process, Rochemont says that once the central elements are illustrated, Smith then begins filling in the rest of the canvas. For a medium sized piece (say, 15”x18”), it will take him eight hours to complete.
Not all his works are ‘dark’, in fact a number of his pieces carried a lighter tone. His parody works are an ideal example. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of a G-rated hybrid cartoon character (Jerry’s head and Mickey Mouse’s body) giving the middle finger in a tongue-and-cheek manner.