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Elevated Women: Dee Smart
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Elevated Women: Dee Smart

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It's hard not to be inspired by a creative force like Dee Smart. Studying ballet as a teenager at the Victorian College of the Arts, Dee expanded her studies to acting in Sydney; enjoying a successful career in film, television and on the stage, before committing to her passion for painting as a new mother.

Twice a finalist for the Archibald Prize, Dee's work will be featured in the upcoming Darling Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery.

We met with Dee during her exhibition A Synopsis of Love at Nanda\Hobbs gallery to chat about her daily inspirations and rituals, as well as her incredible charity work.
 Dee Smart wears POL Clothing Winter 20 Collection
Dee wears the Aerial Ribbed Knit and the Suffolk Skirt from our Winter 20 Collection. Available now. 

How did you come to the career you’re in now?
I’ve always had a high affinity for drawing and making marks with anything in my hand. As an actor, I found the make up chair a bit tedious. During the series Water Rats this beautiful make up woman would lay out fresh white cotton fabric and a brush, and while she did my hair I’d draw with her make up. The whole bus at the end of the seasons were covered in my little drawings.

I knew to get good it would take much discipline of time and energy, of which both I wasn’t capable until I found myself at home with my first daughter. Whenever she slept I drew. I had a chronic post natal depression and it became my solace, as was my daughter, between the two I began my art practice.
Dee Smart in POL Clothing
Dee wears the Newport Garden Dress.

What are your morning rituals?
I have a non negotiable - every morning I swim. Before that I meditate, I learned TM (Transcendental Meditation) from Andrew Marsh in Bondi.

Where in the world do you feel most at home?
I’m at home when I’m creating, wherever that is, and as long as I know my kids are happy and not far.
Reflections Artist Dee Smart wears POL Clothing
 Dee wears the Scope Tie Knit and the Highlands Skirt from our Winter 20 collection. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
There’s only one you, so you have a great advantage. Steer clear of dickheads (very important - if someone doesn’t make you feel good, ditch ‘em), and trust your instincts, follow your heart. Then it’s all about how well you pick up your shit when things don’t go right, then success is inevitable - no need to concern yourself with it.

What is a product you just can’t live without?
I have a bit of a Lush fetish. I like organic smells. 
Artist Dee Smart in POL Clothing
Dee wears the Heritage Midi Dress from our Winter 20 collection. 

Do you have a signature scent?
I used to wear lots of different perfumes but not anymore, so it’s kinda fun picking up a perfume bottle I used to wear and it will take me straight back to where I was and what I was doing and who I was kissing - so good. Fun fact: I don’t like men wearing scent.
Dee Smart Artist for POL Clothing
Dee wears the Juniper Jacket and Pants from our Winter 20 collection.  Available now. 

What is your favourite way to give back to the world/pay it forward?
I founded the charity Ballet Wings five years ago. I get kids that can no way afford the elite training of ballet into the best ballet schools and dress them etc. At the moment I have some pretty exciting people coming on board so that feels good.
I’ve probably put 30 kids through ballet schools, including many Indigenous kids. It makes my heart sing.
Ive taught art at the Wayside Chapel. If you have something to offer, offer it.

Dee Smart in POL Clothing
Dee wears the Graphite Cami Dress from our Spring 20 Collection, available from September 2020.

How do you relax?
To relax I swim or meditate. When I’m meditating I’m my best self, it’s a bit of tug of war sometimes as life throws curve balls to you and sometimes I don’t make the greatest choices, but I know it’s completely necessary for me. I'm much happier when I come back and meditate.
I love being with family. I’m 7th of 9 and we all adore each other. My kids are pretty unique, kind and independent people so I’m proud of that above all else.

Dee wears the Manor Intarsia Knit and the Suffolk Pant from our upcoming Winter 2020 collection.
Dee wears the Manor Intarsia Knit and the Suffolk Pant from our Winter 2020 collection.


View Dee's work at the Darling Portrait Prize, from 6th March - 10th May.

Follow Dee at @deesmartart@balletwings and read more about her artwork here.