Clay was born and raised in Melbourne with his brother Lee in an old Gothic Building built in 1888 called “John Knox House” which made his formative years full of creaky floor boards, old fire places, rope swings, rooms full of instruments, books, paints and crafts. At 18 he moved to Brisbane where he lives now with his partner and two children. There are four generations of artists on his mothers side, mum Elizabeth Mansfield (Visual artist), grandmother Melba Mansfield (Vaudevillian Dancer), great grandfather Billy Churches (Graphic Designer and Billboard Painter). On his fathers side, his dad Doug Smith (Jazz Musician), aunty Bev Littler (Visual Artist). At some point they tricked him into this like all carnies do.
Clay Smith’s art touches on nouveau illustrative aesthetics ingrained with underground sensibilities, wrapped up in a lampooning pasquinade. Stylistically, elements emerge from Poster Art, Low-Brow, Hard-Edge Abstraction, Art Nouveau and Pop-Surrealism. Clay has work found in private collections in England, the Netherlands, Germany and all throughout Australia. He is a dork.