Artist Statement: Growing up in Compton, Los Angeles, the experience of art came mostly in the form of vandalism often related to death in the neighborhood or gang activity. Occasionally, he would participate in graffiti with spray paint on walls and/or private property. This led further to decorating school folders, clothes, garages, bedrooms and shop walls. Most of the art in his youth were of script and portraits of the deceased.
Experiences inform his paintings which why he chooses to paint on such a large scale. The work is designed to impose their presence on the viewer/observer. Inspire by the idea of cull, which is the action of picking and discarding; to select and gather-something rejected as not being up to standard. Painting on found, discarded, or appropriated materials enable the surface to speak for themselves. The substrates he paints on range from plywood, street signs, brick, glass, metals, and cardboard. Painting on once lost material draws his interests because the found material directly inspires what he will do with it. Depending on the condition each item is usually archived with an animal or human portrait, script, or developed into an installation. Whether warped, bent, or cracked, the substrates are presented in gallery space positioned similar to how they were found. At the moment, his portraits consist of faces from the inner city demographic and animal portraits of African descent. By painting ekphrastically, his images express ambitions of the interconnection between subjects that do not necessarily mesh. The progression to marry these subjects is where David’s strongest works birth.
David paints with a sense of urgency because his determination is driven towards breaking the barriers of social deprivation and challenging stereotypes. His work is not geared for the attention of a specific audience. His works are about an unveiling of something that is too often overlooked.
“By bringing the outside in, my hope is to give on-lookers insight.”
Artist Biography: Alfredo Jaar once said “context is everything,” which develops an interconnection of an act or event. David believes “content moreover context.” His most inspirational artist range from Maya Lin, Isamu Noguchi, to Christo Javacheff. Lin plays with the idea of an installation with a back and forth tussle with the consideration of indoor and outdoor. Noguchi’s ideals of developing a work in nature that has a sense of belonging addresses the human experience. Javacheff’s works of taking natural landscapes and enhancing them so the viewer is aware of the object itself is the most influential conceptually toward Smith's work. Encouraged by their ideology of addressing the public, he persist.
David Smith's strengths lie in the fearlessness to work. He sees nothing wrong with being committed to an idea. Ideas are the foundations to the best things ever achieved by man.