Born in Warwickshire, England in 1945, armed with simple schooling and a love of drawing, he ended up in London working in the world of advertising. Four decades and two continents later, he left the commmunications industry and went to York University in Toronto to study Fine Arts.
Since leaving York, Smalley has explored the complexities of abstraction and the highly emotive images that have evolved from this journey. His deep attraction to calligraphy and mark making permeates his work. His emphasis on the visible line and his dedication to never losing it's presence or identity is a reflection of his life-long love of drawing.
There is a strong emphasis on gravity that gradually yields to an integration of disconnected fragments and forms, resulting in a strong, expressionistic vista that extends beyond pure abstraction into a rich and complex language.