Sian Smith was born in 1991 in Glasgow Scotland; she lives and works in New York City.
Smith earned a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (Scotland) in 2014 and completed her MFA at the New York Academy of Art in 2018. Prior to beginning art school, Smith worked as an assistant to the director of a feature film. She credits this experience with forming her artistic practice: the effect of light on objects, the importance of small details in telling a story, the ability to subtly create a mood in a space.
Rather than using stretched canvas, Smith paints on unstretched and unprimed chiffon; most typically a figure or an interior with a figure. The images are created by several thin layers of oil paint applied with hard brushes. By painting only the light of the images and leaving the shadowed areas unpainted, the result is the paintings appear to be inside the fabric rather than on top of it. She prefers to leave the paintings unstretched and loosely hung. Smith chooses this presentation so they are free to move and drift with the air adding to their dramatic reference.