A utopia where the problems are not fixed. That sentiment encompasses both my painting & film practice. I grew up in the Netherlands & Australia, both times in diverse inner-city areas. In my works I recreate a world that is based on the youth culture in these environments. From mundane scenarios of friendships & connectivity, other works look at the perspectives of young people growing up in environments where they face criminality around them, showing both children simply getting by in these environments or ones who have become involved. The idea of utopia is based around the loyalty, trust and love built within this imperfect environment, as well as one’s own self-worth and comfortability in who they are. The paintings often include baroque style costuming, mixed with street wear. These costumes do not signal current privileges but rather show visions of a “come up” and reflect class aspiration these children have. The film works are generally centered around dark humor and like the paintings play with a “realistic-surrealism”. Through a focus on dialog the films show both positive aspects of these environments while critiquing certain norms within them. A diverse range of subjects are purposely represented to open a dialog and show the ever-growing complex family dynamic children live in, which often crosses blood or racial lines. Showing how when one comes from an absent family structure they are likely to build one themselves. My practice is also influenced by a growing understanding of psychology with focus research into the process of Normalization of behavior and the human need for a tribe/belonging. Breaking expectations while at the same not hiding uncomfortable truths is the balance all my works aim for.
Kaili Smith was Born in the Netherlands (1995), and raised in Melbourne Australia. His work deals with inner-city youth culture, displaying mundane scenarios of friendships & connectivity. The works also examine the social construct around “youth criminality” and young people growing up in environments where they often face elements of criminality around them, offering alternative perspectives through paintings and film. The work is influenced by his upbringing and experiences as a child, but also an ongoing growing understanding through teaching art and research into psychology.
After graduating with a masters degree in fine arts at Parsons in New York. His next solo exhibition “A Utopia Where The Problems Are Not Fixed.” Is set to open October 17th at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles. The reference to a “Utopia” in the shows title is based on the loyalty, trust and love that is built within these imperfect environments.