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Inspiration: Gordon Smith, Artist

Growing up on the North Shore, I was always being exposed to the names of Canadian artists—Jack Shadbolt, Robert Bateman and the group of seven. Transitioning to high school, we were introduced to the architectural work of Arthur Erickson. One artist that left a significant impression on me was Gordon Smith. When I was seventeen, I had the fortunate opportunity of meeting Gordon and the experience is still very vivid in my mind. He had an infectious energy about him. Gordon was so invested in his time with us and his interest even in the work we were doing as high school students. The reason for his visit was to see a Smith inspired mural that a good friend of mine and I did at the entrance of our school. Yet his real reason perhaps was to instill passion and confidence in the young generation of artists who were to come.

Recently, I came across a stellar short video on Gordon shown on Nowness.com and filmed by Ryan Willms, founder of Inventory Magazine. I loved the video itself, but having Gordon Smith as the subject made it all the more inspiring. Now 96 years old, Gordon had visibly aged from the time I saw him ten plus years ago. What remains however, is his interest in art, his passion for the work of his peers and constant ability to gain inspiration from those before him and those after him. Most of all, Gordon still paints every day.

I never became a painter like Gordon, but his visit only convinced me further to explore the Arts and go down a career path that was still relatively foreign to Asian parents. Watching the video made me realize how fortunate I am to be able to do what I love and to have the ability to work at it every day. It would be amazing to be able to leave a mark as Gordon did in my industry, here in Canada. Yet perhaps what is more important—and as Gordon has shown me—is to constantly be open to new sources of inspiration, to support others and to inspire those to come.


(Gordon Smith’s current home/studio was designed by Arthur Erickson)

Vince Lo
Video: Ryan Willms / Photos: Canadian Arts, Vancouver Sun, Fahim Kassam