Richmond Smith: Artist, teacher, poet, etc...
Art is more than just a pretty picture. In my artwork, I'm always trying to convey a specific message to the viewer expressing myself poetically through messages about our current political or social landscape or spiritual messages. I love to challenge the viewer to look at the world in a different way and force the viewer to look deeper into each artwork. I have been creating art since I was a child where I grew up in Kinston and Raleigh, North Carolina when I was influenced by my grandmother who was a watercolor and acrylic painter. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Western Carolina University in Painting and Sculpture and an art education degree (k-12) from University of North Carolina at Asheville. When I'm not teaching art or teaching tennis lessons, I'm busy creating visionary textured oil and mixed-media paintings and sculpture or spending time with my beautiful wife Heather and daughter Iona. For the past sixteen years, I have had a studio either out of my home or in the River Arts District at the Phil Mechanic Studios in Asheville, North Carolina.
Even though I have been creating art since I was a child, I have also exhibited my work mostly locally around the Asheville area but mostly I have been an art teacher since 2003. I have taught everyone from juvenile prisoners at the Swannona Valley Detention Center to developmentally disabled adults at Open Hearts Art Center and everyone in between. I have taught in public schools and private schools at various grade levels including the Literacy through the Arts Program from the Asheville Art Museum, Sandhill-Venable Elementary School, Westview Middle School in Goose Creek, SC., teaching grades 1 -8 at Rainbow Mountain Children's School, drawing and painting classes at Blue Ridge Community College, and at Eblen Intermediate School.
Recently, I have divided my creative life to mixed media artworks, oil paintings, and poetry. My mixed-media artworks are mostly based on poetry that I write about the world around us using painting, sculpture, lights, found objects...anything to convey the best idea to the viewer. Also, I have continued a series of oil paintings of the concept of "What would heaven look like?" Using old master techniques and different stenciled images, these paintings deal with the topic of heaven in many different ways. In 2011, I published a book of poetry and artwork called Towards the New Heaven in which each poem in the book describes an artwork and vise versa exploring themes of love, spirituality, and politics and continue to write poetry as well. I hope you enjoy all these creative adventures and many more to come!