Elly Smallwood - in front of her artwork - photo courtesy of Galerie Benjamin Eck

Elly Smallwood

Canada 1989



Elly Smallwood
Elly Smallwood
April 21, 2017
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreja-velimirovi%C4%87-74068a68/

Elly Smallwood is a Toronto-based Canadian artist, famous for unique and intensively personal paintings that represent an exploration of her mind and the people that surround her. In her works, she tries to push the boundaries, leave the comfort zone, and in some way show the twisted version of herself, especially in regards to her body. Although her style is described as primarily figurative, she doesn’t let that to hold her back, so she creates whatever she feels at the moment. The focus of her works is mostly on the body itself, with the priority given to the face. There is a variety of themes such as sexuality, alienation, and intense emotion that emerge throughout her art, but in some cases, it is not strange to her to depict whatever fascinates her at the time.

Elly Smallwood’s Education and Creation Process

The artist was born in 1989 in Ottawa, Canada. In 2011 Smallwood graduated drawing and painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design. She never has a carefully composed concept in front of her, but rather intuition and ideas that end up as remarkable pieces. There are no words to describe the process of making because this exploration goes through the language of paint. In her earlier works, the author used to begin with a photograph and a few sketches, which she then translated to canvases. Lately, she paints directly onto canvas, letting the spontaneity and roughness to overcome the surface.

The author used to begin with photograph and a few sketches

sign home studio in new privacy policy terms
Elly Smallwood – Untitled – Photo copyright of the artist

Style and Influences

The influence in the artist’s artworks comes from the world she lives in. She often depicts subjects like female sexuality, LGBTQ sex, and fetishes, as they are part of her life. Her art is the reflection of her fascination with the humanity and her environment that she tries to capture in her art. Bold and messy brush strokes, alongside strong, rough and multi-layered oil colors, are used to give physical form, and to explore the distortion of the face through movement in her portraits. The painter gives an advantage to larger pieces as they contain dominant power and have the aggressive look, which is more appealing to the audience. Of course, from time to time she makes smaller, intimate and very personal pieces.

The painter gives advantage to larger pieces as they contain dominant power and have aggressive look

Untitled 1 view service 2017 paintings
Elly Smallwood – Untitled 1 (left) / Untitled 2 (Right) – Photo via thenewyorkoptimist.com

Directions for the Future

She also likes tattooing, as it is a special type of drawing that doesn’t leave much room for errors. The artist she admires most is Lucian Freud, because of the connection between the painter and the subject, which can be seen in his pieces. Her plans are to make abstract and strange things while still dedicated to the face and figure. Artist’s work is showed all around the world like at the Massey Lyuben Gallery in New York, the Hermann & Audrey or the Project Gallery in Toronto.

She is represented by the Galerie Benjamin Eck.

The artist lives and works in Toronto, Canada

Featured image: Elly Smallwood – in front of her artwork – photo courtesy of Galerie Benjamin Eck
All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Winter CollectiveMassey Lyuben Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2016Winter CollectiveMassey Lyuben Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2016The Beauty I HideHermann & Audrey, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2015EmbodimentArtscape Youngplace, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2014Small WorksNavillus Gallery, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2014BareGoodfellas Gallery, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2013Contemporary CountenanceCreatures Creating Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2013Heads UpCube Gallery, Ottawa, CanadaSolo
2012The Christmas Group ShowGallery Hittite, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2012The Gutterbird ExhibitionHashtag Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2011Beyond Certainty– Flaws of FormPropeller Gallery, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2011The Show OffOCAD, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2010OCAD 14th Annual Figure ShowOCAD, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2010Nuit Blanche Double RainbowXpace, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2010The Next Big ThingOCAD Student Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup