Mark T Smith

Smith Medical / Commission 2014

These images were commissioned by an English medical supply company. Smith Medical commissioned the artwork through an advertising agency named Oasis. The conceptual framework  of these works is to illustrate the human body’s many systems. The project called for the creation of a series of large works on canvas. Each of these paintings are created in mixed media and are 60 inches in height and 36 inches wide. Each piece in the series focuses on a separate group of bodily systems. These works were part of a larger rebranding effort taken on by the brand. The goal for these works was to create the vibe and accessibility of so-called street art and bring that vibe to the various applications of the artwork in the brand’s communication platforms.



This first piece has as its main subject matter the following bodily systems. Respiratory, Muscular, Vascular and Nervous systems. This piece is slightly less complicated compositionally and there is a rougher quality to the work in terms of the brush strokes and general boldness of the image. I wanted to create a difference between the works, while keeping them clearly in the same family of images. This figure features the wings of Mercury on his/her feet – an illusion to speed and also an element to tie this piece to the first. (The first piece features the caduceus – both of which the god Mercury is represented with in older imagery). This composition has as its main focus the pulmonary system. The lungs take center stage, the air enters and exits the lungs, and each lung shows a different visual, one a micro view and the other macro. Under the lungs, the digestive system is represented by a turning blue line. Because this system is not a focus of the client’s list, it was rendered in a graphic, simple manner. Both legs and the arms of the figure feature vascular and muscular systems in entangled patterns. The head and shoulders have the repeated element of the vascular as a pattern under the bolder elements. The head also has beams of light coming from the top of the head; an illusion used in many health and wellness applications, and related to the use of halos in earlier, older pieces of artwork. In the bottom left of the composition is a rabbit, an illusion to the reproductive system. The dominant palette for this piece is clearly red. Unlike the final illustration described above, it is a warm color choice, with elements surging into the front of the composition. The piece is slightly less sharp, more like street art in its appearance. Many elements repeat in this piece, as in the first, the lighting bolts, the expanding spirals, the stars and night skies. All three of these pieces are meant to feel like a street art / primitive, yet highly sophisticated in their ability to communicate important information. There should evoke the artistry and function of an ancient mariner’s chart.


This piece features the following body systems; pulmonary, nervous, vascular, cardio and there is a pattern of reproductive. I have designed the piece to be “sampled” as used in application on the website from previous comps. It would be easy to pull the heart/lung combo, the head/brain or sample the patterns or other details. When I shoot the work at completion, I will shoot and label details as well. These details can be pulled and “mixed and matched” with other edited assets from the other final paintings as well. This piece has the street art credibility that the client is looking for in the final artwork. The piece is very tightly rendered, giving it an over-sharp focus. The primary color that dominates the overall color balance is blue. It sets a great contrast to the focal point of the piece, the heart (cardio system) with wings and the caduceus – mankind’s fingerprints in the divine realm of the human body. The head of the figure has a brain overlaying the grid of red that represents the vascular system. There are all manner of veins and arteries moving in patterns across the figure – in both red and blue, to represent the direction of flow. The lighting bolts across the composition represent the nervous system. They culminate in a display of nervous energy releasing from the fingertips of the main figure. The bottom left of the composition features a pattern of male sperm, a subtle illusion to the reproductive system. There are two broadcast antennas in the composition, the top and bottom center, respectively. This represents the technological power of Smith Medical and their relentless pursuit of better health solutions for mankind. One new addition to the artwork is in the bottom left corner – a bull/man – representing the reproductive systems.


The third final illustration follows the trends set forth in the two previous works. It has the same aspect ratio; the same orientation and the overall composition and inclusion of a main figure remain constant. In this piece, the color palette has shifted back to the cool side of the spectrum with green as the main color for the piece . The main focus of this piece will be the Nervous System. The brain and spinal cord make up the bulk of the primary information within the composition. There is a pattern that evokes the molecular and/or the basic science diagrams in the mapping system on this figure. This piece will contain elements of nature in the background, which is slightly different than the first two pieces that have only mankind’s viewpoint on the map. To the left of the spinal cord is a graphic of a nerve cell. At the bottom of the composition is the silhouette of a cat, a reference requested by the client. This piece is also different in content because after creating the first two pieces, I felt that this piece should deal with the aspirational and the possible. The hopeful future. This piece in its final state, will have the following body systems featured in various degrees of emphasis: The nervous, vascular, reproductive and pulmonary. The piece will also have some patterns of DNA helix shapes. Again, this is reinforcing that the final image is looking to the future, not exclusively the present and/or past.

About Mark T. Smith

Mark T. Smith is a celebrated American painter. He is best known for his colorful, complex paintings and his passion for the application of art into the fabric of everyday life.
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