John Firth-Smith – Book

John Firth-Smith: From here to there is the kind of book that is a pleasure to touch and feel, printed on the kind of paper that is enough to convince you that print will never die. The cover is a thick 350gsm Matte Art with a matte cello glaze. It features the beautiful 1986 oil painting Returning Tide. We chose this painting for the beautiful rough gestural quality of the strokes and the natural use of colour that John Firth-Smith is known for. The internal pages are 170gsm Sovereign silk, four colour printed with gorgeous artwork throughout. It has been a quality publication to work on, from the clean but lush internal layouts, to the burst bound production of the object physical  itself. (Burst bound is, to put it simply, very much like perfect bound, but stronger and better.)

This is the only available monograph collecting the works of the artist John Firth-Smith, who was born in Melbourne in 1943, but has since lived all across the world, and exhibited internationally, including in New York, London and Tokyo, as well as a raft of reputable Australian galleries. He has won quite a few awards, had a film made about him, and has his work held in many prominent Australian public and private collections. This book has been published to coincide with the exhibition being held in New York; John Firth-Smith, The New Works, a Survey.

John Firth-Smith is a painter whose art has been guided by three life long interests; water, music and flight. As a young boy living in the coastal suburb of Birkenhead, Auckland, he grew up involved and engrossed in water based activities, like fishing, watching sailing regattas and beachcombing. As a self-described ‘amatuer scientist’ his interests in movement and physics wind themselves into his paintings, finding formation in his passion for flight. Firth-Smith’s interest in music is highlighted of the presence of a banjo in his studio, an instrument he taught himself to play during the 1960s.

His paintings are primarily made up of abstract forms, but he is known to use representational elements like boats and planes, sometimes obscured by a pattern of lines, or so roughly drawn that they appear to simply be rectangular forms. He predominantly paints using the colours that are found in our natural landscapes, with currents of blues, shades of green, burnt oranges and rough, murky beige browns.

192pp + 8pp wrap around cover  240 x 280mm burst bound
Cover: 350gsm Matte Art in four colour process + Matte cello glaze
Text: 170gsm Sovereign silk in four colour process throughout
3000 printed

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by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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