Lydia Smith, born in 1995, is a multi-disciplinary artist working with historical and contemporary processes to realise her works. Her studio is based in Trafalgar Square, central London, and she is currently the Artist-in-residence here at RMS.

Through my practice, I explore the theme of human connection, which encompasses subtopics, including ancient history, technology, science and spirituality

- Lydia Smith

Lydia was trained in academic sculpture at the University of the Arts London (2014-2017). She also continued training at private ateliers in Greece, Spain and France. Smith’s career regularly involves commissioned work within the British Film industry and collaborations with luxury brands.

How did you begin your career as an artist?

‘I have always been an artistic soul; at fifteen, I knew I wanted a career in the creative industry. I had an incredibly supportive art teacher, Mrs Nichols, who now works at RMS. To support my extracurricular lessons in sculpture, I began working as a lifeguard and pharmacy Saturday girl on weekends.’

Lydia uses the physical and digital landscape to create sculptures, paintings and Digital Art. Her work is research-based and surrounds the themes of her practice, ancient history, technology, science and spirituality.

Lydia Smith – Photo by Phoebe Wingrove

Tell us about your practice and what inspires you the most when creating your art?

‘After a research period, I open the clay bag; subconsciously, all the research I have been doing flows through me and creates a sculpture. I’m never sure what form the sculpture will take. I have abstraction rules that give me perimeters while in this meditative state.’

Once complete, using her unique method, her work metamorphoses into the digital realm. These pixilated digital forms inform the evolution of her future pieces, creating paintings and sculptures. Each piece of her work is linked to the other, reflecting her belief that we, as humans, are all connected.

Lydia Smith – Photo by Phoebe Wingrove

Can you tell us about some of the most memorable experiences and opportunities you’ve had during your career?

‘I was privileged to represent Great Britain in international snow and ice carving championships. I did this for three consecutive years in Switzerland and China.

China was my highlight as it’s a country I never intended to visit, and it brings me such pride to know my creativity, hard work, and skills led me there

Ice Sculpture – China by Lydia and Team

Working within the British Film industry, Lydia has worked on blockbusters such as Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Doctor Strange, Gladiator 2 (2024) and many more.

Lydia has also been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, had her first solo show in Soho central London, and co-produced the duo show titled ‘Soft Spaces’ in New Bond Street, Mayfair. She continues to exhibit her work in regular exhibitions across central London.

During her time as Artist-in-residence at RMS, Lydia has been creating four large-scale works for the grounds. These works reflect the values and mission statement of the School.

Can you tell us about what this has involved and the work you have been doing with some of our pupils?

‘Utilising my Film and Artist material knowledge, I have been working on four Sculptures, hand-carved out of Recycled Polystyrene. This saves the polystyrene from going into landfill. The material I used to coat the sculptures is non-toxic, creating the perfect environment to get the students involved.’

Lydia Smith – Photo by Phoebe Wingrove

What has stood out to you about the pupils you have worked with during your time with us?

‘The overall curiosity of the pupils. I have had heads peeping into the workshop whilst I have been working. There has been a willingness to get involved and try something new. I want to give a particular pupil, Riya,  from year 7, public recognition. Riya has given up multiple lunch breaks to come and assist me in the workshop, so a very large thank you and well done to her!

What does the future hold for you as an artist? What do you hope to achieve?

‘I’m continuously creating new works and cultivating new relationships and opportunities for my practice. In January, I have a few exhibitions coming up in London.

I'm very excited about the official unveiling of the sculptures in March 2024. I will be working with RMS to put on an exhibition and event - So stay tuned for that!

Lydia Smith – Photo by Phoebe Wingrove

What advice would you give to our RMS pupils considering exploring a career as an artist?

‘Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset, get comfortable attending gallery openings and networking events. Get confident at going places and doing things yourself; your creativity and ideas come from self-reflection and processing time.

Learning continues after school; absorb all the self-help, business and finance advice you can, and most importantly, create the work! Even if you don't know what to make, if you think it's terrible, if you haven't got the time… Make the work and never give up!

One last thing – as a woman talking to fellow young women, take up space, make sure your voice is heard and help other women succeed on their journeys too.’

In the new year, Lydia will write a two-weekly creative column to give a deeper dive into the creation of the sculptures during her time at RMS.

To find out more about Lydia you can visit her website here