Bart Smeets, better known as Smates, is a Belgian street artist who was born 1978 in Asse (close to Brussels). He studied graphic design at Sint-Lukas Brussels and graduated as a graphic designer. Bart has always been a fan of realistic drawings and paintings so after graduating he followed painting classes for about 2 years and that helped him a lot to become artist he is today.
At the age of 17-18 Smates started with graffiti and has painted till he was about 22. According to Bart, he stopped with graffiti for no special reason, and started again in july 2009. A couple of years ago he started part-time as a graffiti artist and since september 2013 he is a full time street artist.
Inspirations for his works he finds in the surroundings where the wall is located or the form of the wall. He is trying to create something that fits the wall or tries to play with depth, 3D illusions... Everything Bart did so far is done with spray paint but he is starting to do bigger walls so he is thinking to combine wallpaint with spray paint.
According to Bart he never had any problems with law, either hard times while he was painting on the streets, only financially for the moment: " It's not always easy trying to live full-time of your passion."
When comes to talent and practice Bart thinks that you always have to work hard and look at other people who are a lot better technically and conceptually: "Even if you are talented there are always people more talented than you."
Beside Belgium, Bart had painted in Malta and Bristol, and that's it for now. So, he hopes to paint a lot more in a lot of different countries, to get better and paint bigger walls all around the world.
Bart Smeets currently lives in Mechelen, Belgium.