B. 1968 -
Art is more than just the hallmarks of Postmodernism – irony, concept, impact and intellect. Its “beauty” needs to rest on more than just those things…Art must offer something greater than mere criticism to land it somewhere closer to the soul, to the place where true art climbs inside of you and illuminates something within. Art should leave you breathless, amazed, and wondering, perhaps even terrified or furious – art should bring you somewhere miraculous within yourself – somewhere you may not have ever known existed.
Mark T. Smith
Mark T. Smith’s work embraces the classic skills of drawing and painting with the balance of a contemporary mindset. The artist has a primary interest in the tactile experience of creating meaningful expressions for the times in the traditional forms of drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. He believes that artwork has a primary function to ennoble the public. In order to create an awareness and appreciation of the Arts, Art must be connected to and integrated into our daily lives and must find applications that engender understanding and implant the desire to have the Arts as the permanent partner in the everyday experience of our lives.
Mark T. Smith's love of art started at the earliest of ages. In the words of the artist himself “It took a hold of me and my days were filled with creation. My parents were astute and nurtured this desire with many local art classes and provided the tools to allow me to continue to express myself visually.”
His artistic skills and mental outlook were formed in the midst of the New York City art scene in the late 1980s. He lived in Brooklyn and attended the Pratt Institute. His experience at Pratt honed his figure drawing skills and showed him what it meant to be an artist. Smith’s visual language matured, reflecting the traditions of draftsmanship, observational drawing and the foundation of the master works as well as the purely modern influences of graffiti, hip-hop, post pop and the vast sea of advertising, commercial and designed visuals that are part of the everyday experience in New York City.
Mark T. Smith exploded onto the art scene, getting his first commission, at 22 years of age, from the Walt Disney Company. The project involved the creation of a poster for national distribution announcing the 19th birthday of Disney World, and it introduced Smith’s energetic, active style to the public. With this huge first commission, Smith’s meteoric rise had begun.
Throughout his 20s Mark T. Smith made his living in New York City as an iconoclastic artist known for his highly recognizable paintings and uncompromising vision. Corporate patronage helped Smith become a recognizable figure in the crowded New York City art world, and his patrons included MTV, Pepsi, Harper Collins, VH-1 and many more.
Smith has now moved primarily into the realm of his own personal expressions and the fine art world. Since moving to Miami from New York City in 2004, Smith has participated twice in the prestigious Art Basel, has had numerous solo and group exhibitions and has conceived a project entitled “Miami Moderns”.
In terms of technique, Mark T. Smith follows two distinctly different means to a similar end. Sometimes the concept for a piece comes to him in a complete state. It is a complete thought and the process becomes a vehicle to its reality. Other times the “unknown” leads his hand to follow an abstract pathway. He starts with nothing, a blank slate and begins with a field of abstract colors, application of paint, a mark on the page – it is a “big bang” approach to creation. Within each of these pathways there are smaller pathways that lead back and forth between the known and unknown. These bridges between conscious and unconscious become a unifying force for the vast majority of his artwork.
There are several distinct icons that Mark T. Smith uses in his art. Those are the bull, representing the masculine, the male experience in the world; the horse – majestic power, strength, elegance of design in nature; the dragon – the nature of this other worldly form is the vessel through which the artist blurs the lines of reality.
For Smith art is the essence of his life. “Fill your life with experiences. Fill your life with loves, lost and hard won. Fill your life with your passions. Fill your life with friends and family. Fill your life with confidence of selecting the right path to walk. Fill your life… That is what I have done for most of my life. This is how I make things – I fill the page.”