Mentors

Shawn Smith

WORKING ARTIST / 1992 / VISUAL ARTS

Shawn Smith received his BFA in Printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis and his MFA in Sculpture from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He has received artist-in-residencies from the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley and the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris. Smith’s work has been exhibited at Hå Gamle Prestegard, National Art and Culture Center of Norway, and throughout the US including the Austin Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Oakland Art Museum, Dean Lesher Center for the Arts (California), Holter Museum of Art (Montana), Grand Rapids Art Museum, Lawndale Art Center (Houston), Wichita Falls Museum of Art, Scion Installation Center (Los Angeles), the Grace Museum (Abilene, TX) and the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (Dallas), among others. His work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas.

Artist Statement - My work investigates the slippery intersection between the digital world and reality. Specifically, I am interested in how we experience nature through technology. I grew up in a large city only experiencing the natural world through computers and television screens. With my work, I create three-dimensional sculptural representations of two-dimensional images of nature I find online. I build my objects pixel by pixel with hand-cut, hand-dyed strips of wood in an overtly laborious process in direct contrast to the slipperiness and speed of the digital world. Through this process of pixelation, details become distilled, distorted, or deleted. I am interested in how each pixel plays an important role in the identity of the object, the same way each cell plays a crucial role in the identity of an organism.
I feel very fortunate to have gone to Arts, it was a fantastic experience. I was exposed to so many techniques, visiting artists, creative peers and, awesome teachers. After leaving arts and moving on to college, I was so very thankful for all the creative mental seeds that were planted while at Booker T. Arts provided me with an early foundation to make work that I have been expanding upon throughout my creative life. I had several teachers that pushed me as well as nurtured me during my time at Arts like: Mrs. Diskey, Mrs Eldridge, Mr. Diffie, Mr. Mosely, and Ms. Arnold.

I like talking about creative ideas and figuring out how to build things. Drop me a note if you want to talk about an idea or a project you are trying to work out. I don't think there are any dumb questions.
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