Artist Profile

John Smith

John Smith was born in Walthamstow, London in 1952 and studied film at the Royal College of Art in the mid-1970s. Inspired in his formative years by conceptual art and structural film, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he has developed an extensive body of work that subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction. Often rooted in everyday life, his meticulously crafted films playfully explore and expose the language of cinema.


Since 1972 Smith has made over fifty films, videos and installation work that has been shown in independent cinemas, art galleries and on television around the world and awarded prizes at many international film festivals. He received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists in 2011, and in 2013 he was the winner of Film London’s Jarman Award.

Featured Works


1986, 4 mins

A film about haircuts, clothes and image/sound relationships.

The Black Tower

1985-87, 24 mins,

A man finds himself haunted by a mysterious black tower that appears to follow him wherever he goes.

Throwing Stones

2004, 11 min, Switzerland,

As the camera looks out through a barred window and the clock strikes four in a Swiss city, the death of Yasser Arafat provides the starting point for a journey back in time.

Works with AZEXO page builder