For this artist interview i caught up with an old friend of mine from high school Kristina Smith. Me and Kris did the whole high school art thing together and I've been a big fan of her work for a long time now. Her paintings are executed with such perfect technique and i must say I find it so alluring that her paintings depict beautiful scenes of abandonment and time. She paints these scenes of discarded furnishings in alleys, streets, and creates such aesthetically pleasing images of scenes we would typically walk right past in everyday life. I have a strong appeal to the fact that she speaks of the American Culture, in contrast to my work, and that there is a lot of bricks in her work as well. Kris Smiths works always reminds me how important beauty is in our society and often the things we last think are beautiful are the most poetic and beautiful things of all. below we discuss American culture, MILFS, DILFS, and the politics of aesthetics. Enjoy!
I've included some of her work above and a photo of her working in her studio. Also there is a great photo of her in which I believe she is wearing a Novem Studios hoodie. Novem Studios are great friends of mine as well.
Emanuel Aguilar: Hello Ms. Smith thank you for agreeing to an interview with me. For the record please state your name and title.
Kristina Smith: I am Kris Smith and I am an oil painter and draftsperson
EA: Nice. So Kris. What would you say dominates your practice.
KS: Images of thrown out and abandoned furniture.
EA: I been familiar with your work long enough to have seen a great deal of change in direction. You used to do a lot more portraiture and the sort, what interest shifted your direction
KS: It kind of happened on accident. i have always preferred working in detail and in realism, and when i found the proper subject, it just stuck.
EA: I must say your skill is quite impressive, it always has been.
KS: You're too kind
EA: In recent times theres been a long debate on the death of painting and such, but i can tell you based on last years Venice Biannale and what i been seeing around that painting is very much in. What would you say on the matter
KS: It can be debated whether or not painting is contemporary enough a medium for these times, but i feel it's one of those aspects of art that will never die. its come this far, and its still a popular major in schools. if it were a truly dying medium, i feel schools would not continue teaching traditionally. And paintings are still widely exhibited in popular galleries.
EA: yes well i think theres a lot more debate within school regarding the teaching of painting. In a sense many schools stray from it . I think in a sense the times began to see a lot more technologies and mediums so it influenced over art production a lot. Andy Warhol once sad to Francesco Clemente that painting wasn't dead it was the sense of a master piece that had died
KS: This is true, there are many mediums and directions in which art can go, but so much can be done with each of those mediums and one can paint in various styles and ways. i know some kids that paint in photo shop, but is that not painting? Even so, i may not even be a painter my entire career. i am open to all media.
EA: True what is painting if not just paint moved around and arrange upon a surface.
EA: The reason I brought that up was because your work in a sense can read more contemporary than the painting is dead era, there is so much attention to technique which is something that has been overlooked so much in past times, but your work reads of contemporary subjects and approach. I mean the furniture and the architecture and street all speaks of a time and place and yet it could be timeless and it could speak of today. I enjoy that very much in your work, the idea of captured beauty in time.
KS: Thanks! I was hoping they would be viewed in such ways! the idea also speaks for America's throwaway society, and although it can be an aesthetic piece, the paintings also try to make a statement., however the statement is more subtle than the colors and aesthetics of it all. especially when all that detail is involved.
EA: I mean aesthetic in a way is the strongest statement of our Culture. Were such beauty obsessed.
KS: For sure
EA:We throw out the old because we want nothing but new and pretty. Since i mentioned Andy Warhol earlier, he once also said "pretty gets you pretty far"
KS: That's so true.you can definitely school me on some Warhol philosophy.
EA: Ha I wish I could , I think thats as much as I know of him. No you haven't, do please
KS: What u know is useful
EA: Thank you
KS: It's called "America the comfortable"
EA: Ha ha Its sad its so true.
KS: Of course a take on the phrase America the beautiful.And what with this furniture that was once loved and enjoyed being thrown out for something better and cozier. Among other meanings.
EA: Poor Furniture. I personally like things a little worn in and with some history
KS:: I can understand it can be hard to part with things, perhaps these owners are reluctant but feel that new furniture is necessary.
EA: In contrast to when i spent some time in Italy, men adore older women there the older the better. Its such a great aspect of Italian culture an appreciation for experience and good aging.
KS: Wow! Yeah, you hear some pretty creepy things about American men and their obsession with the younger of the opposite sex, but then you hear about this "milf" obsession where older women are viewed as sexy and more appreciated.
EA: Well I think MILF surrounds and older woman who resembles more of a younger one.
KS: Ahh true
EA: But the MILF term always reminds me of Milk I don't know why which doesn't translate well to me in terms of allure.
KS: But doesn't the age add to their appeal? but perhaps what your saying is in Italy the women show that age, whereas a MILF does'nt show their true age as much? Yeah true.
EA: Exactly. Ha. And we all know what the term DILF reminds me and thats not ok either.
EA: So miss Smith what do have planned for the long term.
KS: Indeed, well, I can't wait to return to school. I want to expand my artistic horizons and learn to work successfully in other mediums. Even if its just to experiment, if it becomes the new direction of my art.Then I want to instruct art at an institution while being a working artist as well. I enjoy sharing the knowledge of my passions.
EA: Sounds great. Yeah I cant wait for grad school either. I'm ready to move forward as well. Experimentation is a great thing in art. Most great discoveries happen by accident . I think the most important thing is to always remain focused on what drives you be it your subject matter, your influence, or your medium of choice.That sounds great, you'd be a great teacher!
KS: Thank you! Yeah, art can be a very flexible path if you want it to be.
EA:Yeah I definitely agree. I think its important that Artist gain more of an influence in society and culture.
KS: Have you had a chance to check out more grad schools since our NY failed attempts?
EA: Ha yes i was just in NY two weeks ago. I got some great info. we should discuss some time. Well miss Kris I think you have a lot to share with the world with your work. Any upcoming shows you'd like to let anyone know about.
KS: Awesome, look forward to the convo! ... but yes i am working hard t complete enough pieces for my first solo show opening on July 20th 2008. It's in Beverly shores Indiana from 1140am-330pm in the afternoon. In the train terminal area. s if one wants to go, the south shore train from downtown drops you off right there.
EA: Great . I'll be there and everyone should check out your work. Well Miss Smith thank you very much for a great interview. Any final words of wisdom, thoughts you'd like to share?
KS: The pleasure was all mine! Words of wisdom? Umm....Keep reading Eman's blog if you're looking for some great perspective on today's art community! I'm bad with on the spot wisdom....
EA: Ha Ha, Thank you very much. We should add a disclaimer that I didn't for this great PR. Greatly appreciated, I'm glad to bring great artist work to everyone out there.
KS: Oh but artist should always keep looking at what's out there. Keep up with the competition.
EA: Agreed. And Scene.