4th Floor, from 10 Stories High
I am beyond excited to begin this new Monday series with you to feature the work of a
very dear friend of mine Crystal Smith
Since I met her in 2007 Crystal has been such a source of incredible inspiration. Every time I visit her home I want to venture out into thrift stores to fill my own home with unique items. Whenever I look through her art pieces and photography I want to get out my own paints and camera and create beautiful pieces like hers (yet fail miserably). Simply put:
Bamboo, from Ami’s Kimono
I’ve had the immense pleasure of witnessing her creative process by being a part her beautiful, other-worldly photo shoots. Whenever she asks for volunteers I jump at the chance to be one of her models.
And so, every Monday for the next few weeks, I will exhibit Crystal’s work.
Today we start with my favourite art pieces, and starting next week I will feature each of her photo shoots, including the ones I have been lucky enough to model in.
Interview & Artwork
Cookie monster or snuffaluffagus?
Cookie Monster because he’s blue, but not….blue like snuffaluffagus. If you know what I mean.
Paint brush or oil pastel?
Hate oil pastels. Always have. Love brushes and paint!
Ice cream or chocolate?
Chocolate. For sure. Lots of chocolate.
The Elephant in the Room
Do you remember at what age you went from scribbles to art? Were you a child prodigy or did you have to work at it?
I definitely remember making a lot of really awful drawings and paintings as child, but I knew that they were really awful. Which was very frustrating. Other people would say they were good, but I wanted to do better. I remember the first time I drew a face that looked right. (Looking back at them now they were pretty bad) It was just after the Commonwealth Games and I was 13. I drew about fifty faces, and hung them on clotheslines above my desk. That was a really good time. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I started to actually like some of the pieces I did. Or be able to do photo-realistic drawings. I think that it’s the drive to get better that really decides how good of an artist you become. If you don’t have the drive to practice all the time, then your skills don’t improve. I know that in 10 years I’ll be better than I am now, because I still have a ways to go.
When are you at your most creative?
It comes and it goes. Some days I feel like all the creativity has gone on vacation, and other days it can’t be contained. Mornings are good for me, to get up and go, before the rest of the day distracts me. But sometimes I’ll get an idea and have to spend all night working on it too.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration from the things around me. I think beauty is everywhere, from the scaffolding at the building site down the street, to the funky packaging on Japanese candy. I especially find inspiration in contrasts, things that don’t seem to go together but really compliment each other. Things that seem to suggest a conversation. The bleached skull of a bird perched beside a wedding cake. I kind of collect beautiful odd things (which explains my decorating sense) and they inspire me as well.
What do you hope to achieve through your art, either personally or globally?
One of my fav quotes is “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.” by Schumann. I take that as a great responsibility and challenge. I want to make beautiful art, that brings something new to this world that wouldn’t have been around if I hadn’t made it. However, I also want my art to have an impact. Many themes I work with, or would like to explore, have to do with raising awareness or starting conversations about social and world issues or problems. Although art may not solve the problem, I believe it can communicate to people in a very intense and unique way. However, on a less serious note, I also like to have fun with art and create wild and colorful pieces just cause. Being able to make a living through my art, in one way of another, is a personal goal and would be fulfilling.
Water Color From 10 Stories High
Who are your favourite artists?
Currently? Let’s see. I love Dave Mckean, and his sketches and collages. Daniel Egneus is an amazing painter. Yoshitaka Amano does mostly intaglio, and creates his own worlds! Eric Carle, of course. Adam Rex for his awesome children’s book illustrations. And hmmm that’s all I can think of right now.
If you could accomplish one single thing in life, what would it be.
Only one? To have the courage to live the life I want. I think that covers it.
Queen of the Shore
Thank you so much Crystal for taking the time to do this interview and for showing us your beautiful art pieces!
To see more visit her portfolio at www.crystalsmith.net and be sure to come back next Monday to see photos from her Nomads photo shoot. You won’t want to miss seeing these costumes. Trust me.