Ollie Smith

Today we catch up with the very talented multi discipline Artist and designer Ollie Smith, we talk about his journey into design, his influences & and his legendary club night Fresh Kids

Saving Grace 8 years ago

Hi there Ollie thanks for giving us some time… can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself, where are you from what do you do?

I’m an illustrator, artist, designer, teacher and sometime events planner/promoter, from Huddersfield.

What originally made you want to become an Artist, graphic designer, illustrator?

My family are all pretty arty, although I was going to go into media. A last minute change of college course to art and design and I was on my way to being an illustrator. I think doing graffiti since high school got me seriously on the sketching tip…I also did a degree in graphic media communication at Bradford. However, to be honest I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing or doing something creative. So you could say it was inevitable. Immediately out of high school I was creating work for friends, painting regularly and beginning to plan events and exhibitions of mine and others work.

Can you describe your approach to creating your works?

I could, but you might have to be more specific or it will take a very long time! I work in a wide range of media and styles, each with its own intricacies. Sketching whether a minimalist scribble or a diagram like drawing with plenty of notes it doesn’t matter, it always starts with a sketch of some kind, then usually a small period of experimentation before refining and finalising. Sometimes it can skip from step 1 to 4 – these are some of the more interesting outcomes to me.

Drawing is obviously very important part of your work.  Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your approach to design & individual style?

Not sure, I think it changes as you grow older and as you experience ‘more’… Children’s books and cartoons were and are a huge influence. Advertising has become more of an influence on my design and art. Fine artists: Egon Schiele, Matisse, Klimt, Ray Johnson, Basquiat and many others have influenced my thinking.

What type of projects do you enjoy working on the most?

Collaborative projects are always fun, especially in the initial stages, bouncing ideas around. I also like working on intricate solo projects over a long period of time of intense concentration.

What type of projects do you enjoy working on the least?
Any project with nightmare clients! Also projects which spend too long to get off the ground.

What would you say is your greatest skill?
I think creative thinking in general, how to approach a creative problem – and then executing it in an interesting way.
sarastevensyoho-01 kirran 2

Specialisation or generalisation?
Specialisation in generalisation.

Books or movies?
Read the book then watch the movie! I love both, it used to be I would travel with books but now it’s often as easy to travel with every film ever made in your pocket, than a single real book.

Films or computer games?
Films, I haven’t played games in years though I am a fan of the medium.

What are your thoughts on online design resources and how they’ve have influenced graphic design today?
I guess they’re good, any sharing of knowledge has got to help. The internet as a tool for learning any subject incredibly useful. I guess over reliance on resources like these can inevitably lead to a deluge of similar works, and to be honest the process of using tutorials is not something I tend to engage in that regularly.


What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
Politics is a big interest of mine at the moment, the current ruling class and the media circus surrounding it. However it has yet to feed into my work in any meaningful way… I have to give it more thought before it can become anything more than rabid scrawls hah.

What are you passionate about besides your work?
Music is a big thing, listening to, going to gigs, arranging gigs… most of my free time is spent doing something with music. Food (and drink), walking in Yorkshire and internet videos take up the rest of my time.

If you could travel back in time and talk to a 10 year old Ollie Smith what would you tell him?
Savour it!

Your also the founder and owner of the legendary Fresh Kids club night, can you tell us a little about the night, wheres it based what acts have you had in the past?
It’s based anywhere we can set up really! Our last event was at The Parish, in Huddersfield – where most of our nights take place. It’s a live night of creativity with drawing and music merging together. We’ve also featured free runners, BMX tricks, dance groups, graffiti, body art. Music ranging spanning hip hop, funk, soul, drum n bass, jungle. We’ve hosted acts such as Akil the MC from Jurassic 5 (multiple times!), Lunar C, Extra Curricular, Jack Flash, Ayepee, Savvy & DJ IQ, Genesis Elijah,Bambooman, Spida Lee and many more local legends!

Any up and coming events on the cards?
We’re keeping it under our hats but look out for a big event coming up in September, like the Facebook page to stay informed.

Also were can people find out about your fresh kids events?

Any shoutouts, bigups or f’offs you want to put out there?
The guys at Roll on Doe, HHK & Unit 7 for keeping the hip hop scene alive locally, alongside all the musicians. Shout outs to my weekend warriors, KRC, BOARS and fuck the Bullingdon Club

Where can people check out your works?
Follow my work up to date on instagram @oliverlancaster or facebook. My website is currently being updated but it’s at

Well thanks for your time, nice chatting to you sir?



photography courtesy of Ben Coletta
Written By