In the Chips building in the up and coming area of New Islington is Ian Rayer-Smith's studio. It's with a warm welcome that he offers me a cup of the best coffee, from his own studio coffee maker. He's currently listening to a Norwegian band, who are playing softly and almost melancholic instrumental tunes in the background. Ian is very cheery and speaks with passion about his work.

He works on several pieces at once and so his work is displayed along the walls of the studio. The painting are big and beautiful, using a wonderful colour palette and capturing an almost impossible renaissance light that is reminiscently dreamlike.


He has been influenced by the Abstract Expressionists – for their emotional rawness and mark making. Ian's paintings are raw and visceral –  But they also have a lightness and beauty to them. It's a perfect balance between composition, light and movement.

He says he's not interested in portraying something already in existence. The act of painting is an exploration into it's own purpose. The paintings will remind you of the Old Masters, although he's not recreated these images. Instead these references are transformed and ultimately transcend to reveal the physicality and emotional depth of the materials. He suggests that painting is a way of connecting us back to man's earliest and most elemental forms of self expression.

Ian hasn't always been a painter. In fact, his painting began as a release from the pressures of business life. It wasn't until his late 30's he gave up his corporate life and went to Art School. Dedicating four years to his artistry he graduated with a definite sense of direction and started to paint full time.

In the early hours of the morning, that is when you will find Ian painting in his studio.

He says he's most creative in the mornings and tends to follow a strict routine that maximises his morning energy. He warms up by drawing, and has recently started to show his drawings as well.

You'll find Ian's work on display at Cadogan Contemporary Gallery from 10th - 28th June in London. If you are interested and cannot wait until then to see Ian's work, why not book a visit to his studio and be sure to follow him on his Instagram @ianrayersmith to have updates on his work. You can also find his work at Northen Makes

With great pleasure, we at Art Graphics have been framing Ian's drawings and paintings for a while. He is one of our favourite clients and came to us looking for something different, unique frames to compliment his work. We were devoted to create a completely new type of frame, working with metal rather than wood and welding the frame together. The result is a slim barefaced welded aluminium tray frame with a matt black internal – a frame that emphasises but doesn't distract from viewing Ian's work.

We are always looking forward to see his new works! It is such a delight to see them in our workshop. To see what other work we are doing you can follow us on our instagram @artgraphicsukltd

Frances McDonnell avatar
Written by Frances McDonnell May 19th, 2019

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