Sunday, November 14, 2010


I've started a few small cityscapes in oil and it's going, um, very slowly. The last time I painted in oil was back in 1997 when I painted this. Back then I lived in northern California and had a huge garage to work in so having mineral spirits and turpentine around wasn't a big deal. Incidentally the Mask piece was painted as a thank you gift to the director of the independent film Trans. Through a close friend I was allowed to hang out while the film was being shot in Fort Meyers, FL. That was probably the greatest creative experience I've ever had and still draw on lessons learned while witnessing an independent film being created.

Anyway, I've been wanting to get back into working in oil and now have finally found the time. I live close to downtown Saint Louis and will take many walks wandering around the city looking at all the buildings. A few weeks ago I shot a number of photos of cluster of buildings and decided to use those as models for the small oils I'd like to start. The images of all these buildings stuck on top of each other has always been appealing. They almost become abstract rectangles, squares and columns all bunched together. So far the result has been a practice in patience. After painting exclusively in acrylic for the last 14 + years I've grown accustom to what works and what doesn't but now all those lessons will have to be learned all over again. Just painting the color blue can be an intoxicating experience. The paint never dries and each stroke creates a new line or texture and then it's gone again and something new appears. I could spend hours just painting a pure color over and over again. I suspect this is going to take some time.

now playing - 3WK

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 Poetry Scores Art Invitational

The annual Poetry Scores Invitational will be going on this year at Mad Art Gallery on Friday Nov 12 from 7pm – 10pm. Poetry Scores invites a number of artists to interpret lines from a poem for a visual medium and then the artwork is auctioned off to help pay for the projects Poetry Scores is producing. Currently Poetry Scores is shooting a film that grew out of the excellent “Go South” CD which was produced 2 years ago. This year’s poem is titled “Jack Ruby’s America” and was written by Missouri’s current Poet Laureate David Clewell. The piece above is my contribution for this show. The words I chose to interpret were “David Clewell”. Below is a list of all the participating artists.

Gena Brady Allen
Gina Alvarez
Andrea Avery
Jay Babcock
Michael Behle
Kevin Belford
Keith Buchholz
Ron Buechele
Deanna Chafin
Heather Corley
Thom Fletcher
Trent Harris
Paul Hartman
Sue Hartman
Emily Hemeyer
Michael Hoffman
Alexa Hoyer
Claire Medol Hyman
Angela Khan
Alicia La Chance
Robert Longyear
Dianna Lucas
Dawn Majors
Julie Malone
Tim McAvin
John Minkoff
Michael Paradise
Melanie Persch
Hap Phillips
Jeremy Rabus
Tony Renner
Kim Richardson
Martha Rose
Cindy Royal
Stefene Russell
Janiece Senn
Becky Simmons / Lola van Ella
Dana Smith
Robin Street-Morris
Andrew Torch
Nita Turnage
Robert Van Dillen
Amy VanDonsel
Eric Woods / Firecracker Press

Now playing – Le Noise

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ota Benga

On Wednesday Nov 10 The May Day Orchestra will release their new vinyl album with a concert at The Sheldon Concert Hall along with The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra and Theodore. The painting above is the cover of the new vinyl album painted by me at Tim Rakel's direction. Back in April Tim and I met at the now closed club called The Wedge to discuss his ideas for the record cover. The album is a "Folk Opera" about Ota Benga and the situation between The Congo in Africa and King Leopold II of Belgium. For more details on that story you can go here. Needless to say it's a very sad story about exploitation and the misery caused by those in the pursuit of power and wealth. Tim wanted specific images to be represented on the cover and he gave me loose directions to follow. It was quite a strange painting to do but I enjoyed the process very much. I'm not a graphic designer but welcomed the challenge of trying to make everything fit within the limitations of an album cover. The double vinyl record will be released by the Los Angeles record label Rankoutsider Records.

now playing - Liverpool Sound Collage

Thursday, November 4, 2010

One Night Plays

New acrylic paintings by Dana Smith
November 5th - 27th

Hoffman LaChance Contemporary

2713 Sutton Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63143
Opening Reception Nov 5th 6pm-10pm

Since 2004 I have been using the people and places of Saint Louis as inspiration for my paintings. Particularly musicians and artists who perform in local clubs and spaces around the city. This 6 year effort has accumulated into the show 'One Night Plays'. The paintings for this show were mostly painted this year and have never been shown publicly but I've been working towards something like this for a long time. The images are painted from photographs that I took myself and this is very important to me. I decided who to photograph, when to photograph them, where to photograph them and also how the composition will be in the image. However, none of these images were planned or staged and in many cases the musician didn't even know I was photographing them. For 'One Night Plays' I looked at new photographs but also old photographs and selected the ones that were not only interesting visually but also ones that represented a musician whose contribution to the Saint Louis music scene continues to leave an indelible mark.

{one painting in this show - 'Bunnygrunt at CBGB'- was painted from a photograph taken by Jaime Lees upon request from the band which used the painting for the cover of their latest CD.}

now playing - Magic City