After graduating from KU, I was spit out into the world with no real sense of direction or clear path to making this life “work”. They don’t teach you that. They just don’t. I think that might be one of the reasons I was able to land on my feet a bit. I sought out mentors and stubbornly pursued what I thought was the idealistic artistic life. That pursuit forced me to question every move I made. I tried to absorb as much as I could from artists I admired and observe how they were navigating and balancing their lives. The main advice I walked away with, what guides me, is to go to your studio every day and work. Always ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing, and follow every idea to completion and do not worry about what critics say…as long as you are passionate about the work and it is moving you, it is not wrong.
Currently, I’m obsessed with the idea escape. I’ve collected hundreds of motel postcards from the 50’s and 60’s, and I’m obsessed. I re-imagine and reconfigure them to emphasize the colors and leisurely atmosphere they so expertly conveyed. My clients share that vague but familiar feeling of pulling into a seedy motel after hours and diving into a strange new pool or filling the ice bucket at a desert oasis. There was always something mysterious and incredibly hopeful about being lost or escaping on “the road”.
I’ve made my studio a sort of living postcard. I have a great old neon sign, kitschy beach mural, and trinkets from my travels prominently displayed. It definitely helps get me in the mood to make work!
I’ve been so fortunate to work as a professional artist for over ten years…Kansas City has been great to me.
To see more of Seth Smith’s work, visit www.sethsmithstudio.com.