Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”, said Pablo Picasso.

A couple of Andy Barak- Smith’s childhood memories, his earliest in fact, are going to the cinema with his parents as a three or four year old, and being more interested in watching the backlit cigarette smoke highlighted through the projector’s beam, than turning the right way round in his seat to watch the film.

That and the illuminations at Southend’s Never Never Land.

Fast forward and Andy has become the artist he was always meant to be, specialising in light design.

Andy, who owns iadwm.com (It’s All Done With Mirrors lighting production company), is now the go-to guy for some of the most creative and imaginative events around, including the superinnovative Secret Garden Party, Wilderness festival, of course Village Green and other Metal events, to name but a few.

One recent job was to light an orangery for an event for the champagne company Laurent Perrier, which Andy particularly enjoyed.

“That was a good one” he said. “It was a particularly beautiful orangerie, set in a 1920s style. We just covered all the beams in fairy light strings and it would really well.”

Andy first trod on his twinkly path to the world of production lighting when he was a sound man.

“I’d been in bands since I was about 16, and then progressed to doing the sound for bands, working in local studios.

“I went on after that to work at the Army and Navy (a music venue) in Chelmsford doing the sound there, but gradually that turned into lighting.

“It was around the mid Nineties, when the rave scene was pretty strong, and I started created light and laser shows for underground squat parties.

“It was all really exciting – the way it added to the sensory experience, as well as the excitement of the scene itself, which was very different back then. The illegal aspect was also exciting.”

Andy became so involved in the world of production lighting, he stopped doing sound altogether.

He said: “I know a few people who will switch between one or the other, but for me I’ve totally gone over to lighting now.

“To be honest I’ve no interest whatsoever in sound any more, and if anyone asks me to do a sound job, I usually say no.”

When you start scratching the surface of Andy’s portfolio, seeing how he has turned a gigantic crowd of festival goers blue, or lit up the front of the Chalkwell Hall house in a swathe of colour, creating shapes across the stage, created a sensational backdrop to bands to providing a vintage film-like atmosphere or using vintage colour wheels, if you’ve been someone who’s taken the lighting at events for granted, when you realisewhat goes into it you can appreciate the art.

It is the artistry that keeps Andy hooked, the diversity of it, and the almost limitless way light design add so much atmosphere to a stage setting, almost in the way of throwing a costume onto it.

“I just love the way it plays with the senses, the interesting tricks you can play with the crowd, you can be very creative and I always try to bring in a three dimensional element to essentially what can be a flat performance space.”

Locally, Andy has worked on various occasions for arts organisation Metal’s events.

“They are a very exciting organisation to work with.

You’re not seen as just a contractor, but they give you enough free reign to work as an artist in your own right.”

When Andy first starting delving into the craft, he was self-taught, but has since been on all sorts of technical, professional courses.

“You can never stop learning – it’s really never ending. The industry is advancing at such a rate even I am struggling to keep on top of everything. There are certain aspects of modern entertainment lighting that are so out there.”

He added: “Whether it’s a private party or a couple of lights for a meeting, they all require the same degree of attention, if maybe not the same amount of effort.”

Attention to detail is obviously one of Andy’s skills. Even his logo, is “I A D WM” (his company name) in a backward reflection.

“That was inspired by Tony Hart’s Vision On logo”

said Andy. “I wrote to him before he died and told him I had done that. I got this great message back, with a print of the Vision On logo.”

*For more information, visit www.facebook.com/iadwm