Lee Smith shares her love of art from a hole-in-the-wall gallery at Manly.

Ms Smith, who lives at Dee Why, took over the tiny retail space at Sydney Road, Manly, around a year ago to pursue her dream, and her love of art.

“In my little gallery, ‘Art Needs A Heart To Be Art’, the art changes every four weeks. I try to get local Australian artists to exhibit their work. I’m promoting local Australian art, homemade handmade items, and if it’s not Australian, it is either cottage industry, recycling, or bespoke,” said Ms Smith.

Lee Smith art gallery

“I have also put art onto my own swimwear and bucket hats. The swimwear includes art from artists like Andrew Baines, whose works sell for up to $20k, but we can have a little bit of his art on swimwear.

“I love art, it is my passion. In my house, you can’t move for all the art. When I got the opportunity to put art on swimwear, I thought at the time, I would never have an art gallery and the next best thing was to put art on swimwear and have my own little walking, talking gallery.

“I know a lot of artists because of it being my passion. I wanted something that was unique and different. I wanted people to have the wow factor, and it was from artists that I really, really admire. It is very unique, there’s only ten to 50 pieces made in the whole world, and you can only buy them from here,” explained Ms Smith.

Lee Smith art gallery

The opportunity to open her small art gallery came when the former lessee of the space, who knew Ms Smith, informed her he was giving up the lease.

“I knew Jason, who had it before me. He had photographs in there. He told me he was giving up the lease and although I wasn’t really ready to open a gallery, I did it anyway. I tell people when they come in, they are standing in my dream.

“People love that connection to something real, and the fact I can explain everything about the art I sell here. It’s also unique items, from bucket hats to full scale artworks, like the major work from Damien March that is hanging inside (image below),” shared Ms Smith.

Lee Smith art gallery

“I personally own three pieces by Damien March. What I love about his work is that he adds sand and resin, so it gives it a three-dimensional look. It amazes me the detail he adds to his work.

“A lot of people paint what they see, or paint from a photograph. Damien adds his own colours and gives it his own touch. It’s not a photograph translated into a painting, it is his take on what he sees,” praised Ms Smith.

Ms Smith’s gallery and gift shop Art Needs A Heart To Be Art is located at 40A, 36-42 Sydney Road, Manly, and is open Friday to Sunday, 10.00am to 5.00pm.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

Editorial note: Lee Smith was known to the Northern Beaches Advocate prior to this article being written and we specifically visited her gallery for the purpose of writing the article. No payment, goods or other consideration was given in exchange for writing the story.

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