Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interview: Devon Smith

Devon Smith is a 24-year-old artist from right here in my own city of Wellington, New Zealand. Smith has been super obliging in agreeing to answer some questions for this interview post, which meant I had the challenging task of choosing which images of her work to use- she has so many gorgeous pieces to choose from! I've already purchased two prints from her Etsy shop and I doubt it will be the last cart I fill from there. The best thing about her store is that there really are items to suit every budget- from stickers and greeting cards through to original paintings.

How old were you when you first started creating artworks?
Ah... probably whenever I developed the hand-eye coordination to hold a pencil. Can finger painting my front door be considered artwork?

Is your family artistic?
No one in my family is anything art-related, but my father is a muscian so there is a creative streak at least. He also draws really good people out of 7's.

What artistic training do you have, and do you believe you have benefited more from formal lessons or your own experimentation in developing your style?
I have a B.F.A, but I'm not sure how much this really helped me develop as an artist. It wasn't until my honors year that I really started doing work i wanted to be doing. It was good for experimenting, though, I got to take classes in things i would never have done alone, like weaving and printmaking, and all these things have added at least a little something to my practice today. I try to keep experimenting alone - I just started making some little sculptures. Even if at the end of it I'm still painting similar things it helps keep it fresh, to me.

What other work or hobbies are you involved with?
I work a few days a week at a contemporary art gallery. So everything I do is at least art related. I also just started roller skating!

What was the first piece of artwork you sold?
A friend invited me to be in a group show at a gallery in my home town. I don't remember the name of the gallery, but the piece was a little acrylic on canvas work, in a style that it's completely foreign to me now. It sold for $120 and I felt amazing about it. I think I was maybe 18 at the time, just a baby.

Do you have a favourite medium?
Goauche. I love how saturated and opaque you can get the colours, but it also washes really nice, and you can 'draw' with it. Also just regular HB pencils. They are what I use the most.

Where do you record your ideas?
I have a little sketchbook I carry around everywhere. It's just a tiny thing and fits in my back pocket. I think I jot down most of my ideas when I'm at work, there are a lot of very quiet times at the gallery, and it's great for scribbling or writing things down. I also write on my arms a lot - usually possible titles for paintings, or notes about things to draw later.


What role has the internet played in your artistic career?
It provides me an endless resource of inspiration. Sharing my art online has also helped me get my name out, made me some amazing friends, and has led to a little Etsy store where I sell prints and things. I've also been invited to exhibit work through people seeing my work online, so I think the internet has played a very important role in my career thus far!

Do you have any special 'rituals' which helps you work?
I work best late at night, with music and no one else around. Unfortunately watercolour painting without natural light is a bit tricky, so I can really only sketch things out in the evening, then paint during the day. I like to make myself a cup of tea (peppermint at the moment), lay out all my materials nicely and just settle down to drawing. It is not too hard for me to work on drawings since I love it so much, so I can work anywhere. But this is my ideal situation.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by so many things, I am alsways writing down little notes and scribbles of nice things in my sketchbook. Working in an art gallery is great for exposing me to contemporary artist i wouldn't see otherwise. Kushana Bush, Yayoi Kusama, Graham Percy, Gade, are all artist's that have has shows where I work. Outside of the contemporary art world there is William Morris, Aubrey Beardsley, comic books artists like Seth or Vanessa Davis. I also watch a lot of cartoons! One of my favourites is The Animals Of Farthing Wood which might be where some of the foxes in my paintings come from.

Is there a particular gallery in the world where you would love to have your work exhibited?
The Robert Heald gallery in Wellington is really nice, and I also spied some very nice galleries in San Fransisco and Portland when I visited the states recently. I need to start sending proposals out.

Do you have any particular goals for the next five years?
I would like to start exhibiting more, and outside of New Zealand. This is another reason to start sending out proposals! I'd love to travel more, and exhibiting overseas would certainly be a good excuse. Also I would like to be able to not fall on my butt while rollerskating.

Devon Smith website.
Devon Smith blog.
Devon Smith Etsy.
Devon Smith Facebook page.

4 comments:

Caitlin said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Gorgeous artwork. I love looking at these features.

Krystal said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

this was a great interview...and the paintings are so lovely - that last one is gorgeous

Katie and Reuben said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

These are beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Katie x

Tracey Potter said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I really enjoy reading your interviews, they are always so inspiring and it's great to hear what other artists/ illustrators are up to. Thanks for sharing.