“Hi Jenny, I’ve given some answers here. There are a few questions that I skipped, either because of personal preference or because Its not yet relevant to my career (for example my work is not yet in institutional collections so that would come later for me). Feel free to follow up on any of these during our talk! Thanks for sending these over and sorry for the delayed response.
-What is your date of birth?
December 10, 1984
-What is your full name (including middle)?
Thomas Joseph Smith
-What is your place of birth?
Born: Pennsylvania, raised in Elkton, Maryland
-How many siblings do you and what are their names?
I am the middle child of 3
-Where are your parents from? What are their occupations
My parents are both from Pennsylvania. Growing up my mom was a craft artist and later became a web designer. My dad worked hard at a chemical plant in Wilmington, DE. It was important for him that my mom could be home with us and that she could run her own business doing what she loved.
-How did your parents influence your interest in art and your art career?
My parents encouraged me to be an artist since I was very little. They supported me in whatever type of art I wanted to make and study.
-Who else had a significant impact on your art career?
I’ve worked at Two Palms, NY for 11 years. The studio creates prints and editions with world renowned artists such as Mel Bochner, Cecily Brown, Dana Schutz, Richard Prince, and Stanley Whitney. David and Evelyn Lasry are the founders of the studio and have been like mentors to me throughout my career. All of the artists at Two Palms have influenced my work throughout my time there but even more so, the collaborative and experimental energy at Two Palms has shaped my idea of how my painting practice can benefit from other processes such as printmaking.
-Which artists do you look up to?
In my first year of college at MICA in Baltimore I became interested in color theory through studies of Joseph Albers and those color principals are still the most important in my work. I also love James Turrell’s work with experiential, transformative installations, they’re the most amazing displays of how color effects the psyche.
-How do you gain inspiration for art?
Films, painting shows and parties
-What did schools/ education institutions you attend?
MICA (Baltimore, MD (BFA). Burren College of Art, County Clare, Ireland (Summer program), Centre pour l’art et la culture, Aix en Provence, France (semester abroad), SVA, New York, NY (MFA)
-What do you consider yourself to be careerwise (such as painter/sculptor, etc.)?
Artist working in painting, sculpture and video
-Whose collections are your artworks a part of?
-Who are your collectors?
-Which collector of yours are you proudest of?
-What are your most notable accomplishments?
I created 2 illustrations for the New York Times Op Ed. page.
-What public services have you participated in?
I am a co-creator of DragOn which is an annual drag and costume ball. Since 2012, DragOn has raised over $100,000 for HIV/AIDS related organizations such as GMHC.
-What are the eight (I’ve listed 7) most significant artworks that you have created?
Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas
84 X 120″
Part of the exhibition Swimming In My Head at Olsen Gruin, NY. Its the largest piece I’ve made.
Making Strange, 2016
As part of Spring/Break: COPY/PASTE, Making Strange employed set design tricks such as false perspectives using painted wood and fluorescent lighting to create a playful environment in which to exhibit psychedelic paintings. The installation borrowed the visual and spatial aesthetics of Leisurama – the prefab houses shown at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The houses were designed to be the image of “The Typical American House”. The effort for an aesthetic replication of the American familiar while paradoxically being the avant garde for so-called modern living, had a fascinating uncanny effect akin to the Russian Formalist notion of making strange.
-Curated by Rachel Barnard.
The Knot, 2015
An exhibition in partnership with my partner Jonathan Rosen to promote marriage equality abroad.
William Wright Artist Projects, Sydney, Australia
Siren Song, 2014
A video and performance project created in Brazil featuring my drag alter-ego Tamala as a sea siren.
Largo das Artes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
An installation that included paintings & sculptures as well as a sound installation by Gryphon Rue. Speakers were hidden within the walls and sculptures to create the effect of sound traveling over vast time and space. Delusions imagined a future where art tempers human seclusion and mimics social engagement.
ROX Gallery, NY. Curated by Lauren Xandra
Red Pulse, 2011
Tiny strips of painted paper, cut and collaged on wood panel
31 X 46″
Double Vision, 2009
Collage of found superhero images, cut and collaged in tiny pieces.
Exhibited at Eyelevel BQE, Brooklyn NY, 2009
-What awards have you received?
Atlantic Center for the Arts, Artist in residence, 2014
Largo das Artes, Artist in residence, Rio de Janeiro, 2014
The Drawing Center, Viewing Program, 2010 – 2014
Maryland Distinguished Scholar 2002-2006
-How many films have you created and what are their names?
Siren Song, 2014
DragOn: The Dollhouse promo video, Producer and Art Direction, 2014
Tamala and the Volcano, 2015
DragOn: High Society promo video, Director, in collaboration with Deven Green, 2016
DragOn: Ms. Mayhem promo video, Director, 2017
-What is your most favorite film that you created?
-Were you interested in painting or any other types of art where you were a child?
When I was young I wanted to be a photographer, film maker and through college I wanted to be an illustrator.
-Was there a pivotal moment when you got involved in painting or sparked your interest in art?
In 2009 I was making collages of found superhero/comic images. I would take the pictures and slice them into tiny strips and combine characters. After a while I felt limited by the materials I could find and so I started painting my own little pictures on paper and collaging them together. Since then my work has involved those visual effects of combining imagery, as if viewing a scene through a filter.
-When did you first make your first piece of art?
(I don’t remember because like a lot of people I made art when I was very little)
-What was your favorite art exhibition that you held? What is the most important art exhibition you have held? (I don’t think my “favorite” would be as relevant as “Important”.)
Swimming in My Head is the most involved exhibition I’ve ever put together and houses one year of painting (13 total). It also marks my transition from collage work to painting on canvas which has unlimited the possibilities of optical patterns and illusions within my paintings through silkscreen processes.”