Preston Marshall Smith
--Boyhood Images, Lead Pencil Tones, Big Western Sun-
But, it was the light of an incredibly smoggy Denver day that artist Preston Smith was born into. Growing up virtually across the American Northwest, Smith's early years were spent camping, hiking and moving through Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming. And like the landscape ripped through by the Rockies, Grand Tetons and irrigated by river beds, an imagination craggy faced and angular, heavied in deep shadow and thick sun setting colors, appeared as images scribbled onto paper scraps by a young artist. Days were filled with endless doodlings and pre-adolescent, auteur home movie making. By High School, Smith was working in acrylics and dedicated to refining his draftsmanship.
--Sketches of a Tiny City, Evergreen Trees Swaying, Objects and the World Around Him-
In Spokane, Smith attended Gonzaga University. Chasing the magic of his imagination, silent movies and independent cinema, he focussed on painting and acting classes. While completing numerous theatre productions, student films, endless still life and landscape canvases, Smith found himself struggling for a more personal art and abstract visual language. It was under the guidance of Professor Robert Gilmore that Smith began to experiment, culminating in his being the lone recipient of the prestigious Krelshiemer Assistantship.
--Evolving Canvases, Charlie Chaplin Close-up, Big Plastic Cosmopolitan-
Whether for the prospect of acting, the unique skyline, or perhaps just a congenital yearning for the smog, Smith moved to Los Angeles to struggle with acting and his artistic voice. Pieces bleeding rich, vibrant colors together through a violent crosshatching approach, created landscapes of diffused space. These works were populated by reduced, abstracted figures and bold dominating faces, shaded in the pathos of silent film melodrama. Works were presented in numerous group shows and galleries in the North Hollywood and Downtown Arts Districts, the piece "Los Angeles", became featured in the Los Angeles Journal.
--Face Gazing Out From Foreground, Solitude Skyline, The Moon-
Art proper, pared down and concrete; images existing somewhere in the midnights and alleyways of L.A. The human face, but changed, weighted down with the marks of experience: How a life hangs out open on a face and set against a cityscape of spare lines and smudge patterns. Smith's work takes a darker and more personal tone. He begins to successfully synthesize his concerns of existential figures located within an abstract spatial language, while further developing reductive highlighting techniques of wiping away layers to utilize canvas and natural light. More shows in Los Angeles, as well as Colorado and Boston, works featured in JFerrari and J.R Galleries, and had selected pieces represented by Colachi Arts and Infusion Gallery.
--Abstractive Figuration, Transcendental Meditation, Laughter Magnificently So-
Smith continues to experiment and branch out. His recent series on woods using house paints further collapses the abstract and figurative, through a rapid and aggressive process. Further, the new media allows the artist to experiment with the grains and texture of the materials and imagery. Also, joining with a small group of local artists, he became a part of the MLPRLLA, an art group committed to poking holes and opening spaces within culture; ie: a quasi-situationist, Dada fancied, punk fuelled, howling critique that plays seesaw with a militant aestheticism and zanni like improvisations. Smith's latest show had him one of two featured artists in a benefit for The David Lynch Foundation at the Key Club, in Hollywood. During the benefit, Smith completed a live painting of Mr. Lynch and had the work auctioned off along with Lynch's own artworks.
--Unity, Change, Hope-
Obama commission and a trip to Washington for the Presidential Inauguration. Preston Smith was greatly honoured and genuinely proud to have his 12 paintings of the President be part of that truly historic American day. He then shifts gears and begins an animation project as well as gallery showings in Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City. On a sunny day in Los Angeles, Preston's art is chosen for a Veteran's Day Fundraiser and Celebrity Event to be held in Ventura California. What an honour to be chosen for another great cause and a truly spectacular event. And as always, he awaits the next chapter...
Awards & Recognitions
- Awarded Krelsheimer Assistantship. Assistant to Professor/Teacher Robert Gilmore. Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA - 2001-2002
- -Named “Artist of the Day” on the Art Deadlines List/Artist of the Day blogspot. February 12th, 2008. http://artistoftheday/blogspot.com