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 Brett James Smith  (1958 - )

About: Brett James Smith
 

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Lived/Active: Louisiana/Montana      Known for: sporting art painting, illustration, etching

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BIOGRAPHY for Brett James Smith
Facts/Data
Birth
1958 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
 
Lived/Active
Louisiana/Montana


Brett James Smith


Often Known For
sporting art painting, illustration, etching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Louisiana sporting artist Brett Smith received his early training from his grandfather, who took him fishing and camping, and his father, an art director who taught him to rise to the top by getting good at one thing.  Smith spent time as an illustrator before devoting himself to fine art and the outdoors.

Smith's paints nostalgic outdoor themes.  His work, which he says mostly comes from his imagination, tends to be scenes from the 1920's western landscape.  He likes to keep his figures somewhat anonymous so that the viewer can imagine himself in the picture. Smith paints both broad landscapes and up-close pieces.

While most of his work is done in oil Smith also likes to use watercolors to capture his scenes. Smith has also recently taken up etching.

Source:
Art of the West, September 2002


Biography from CALIFORNIA WESTERN and SPORTING ART BUYER:
Brett Smith is dedicated to capturing today's sporting experience with yesterday's sense of adventure.  Born on March 19, 1958 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Smith was introduced early in his life to the sporting world by his grandfather who exposed him to the gentlemen's sport of quail hunting in the Longleaf Pine country of East Texas. Pursuing his interest, he spent much time hunting ducks by sitting in cold wet marshes and swamps. This activity became his true passion and a great source of inspiration for his later works.

His early introduction to art related to sporting themes came from his father, who worked professionally as an illustrator contributing paintings for covers of the early outdoor and western magazines, and moonlighted as a fine artist.

In college as a fine-art major, Smith realized that the art curriculum, focused on contemporary styles, would not equip him with the background needed to pursue commercial illustration, the area that interested him most.

It was at that time that he enrolled in the Famous Artist School that stressed painting and drawing of the human figure and designing pictures that tell stories.  Unhappy with the direction of his college experience, Smith left school and began a career on his own as a commercial illustrator.  Realizing that the majority of work in this field originated out of New York City, he acquired an artist representative and began working for a wide variety of corporate and editioral clients. After a few years, he decided to try his hand at "easel" painting for the fine art market. Now he chooses familiar landscapes and acquaintances he has made over years of hunting and fishing across the country as subjects for his paintings.

His goal is to create work that is visually exciting, nostalgic, and also authentic, bringing to bear his intimate knowledge of his sporting experience. By looking back to the early illustrators such as Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth for inspiration, he manages to distance himself from his contemporaries. As he puts it, "What is important in these outdoor paintings is mood, a feeling of how things were and still can be. The idea is to convey the natural ruggedness of the sport without missing the subtle nuances that make the experience personal".

Smith's preferred medium is transparent watercolor or oil paints. The subject usually dictates the medium used. He uses oils for large complex scenes. Watercolors are used when more spontaneous results are desired. Working in three dimensions, he recently completed his first bronze sculpture of a flyfisherman.

Brett Smith now employs the timeless art of etching to create the luster of an ageless sporting scene. Although it is a painstaking process, he strives to produce an antiquated appearance that, when successful, cannot be duplicated in any other medium.  With over 150 images to date he knows enough to realize that you never "master" this process but only learn more with each experience.

Smith's work has been featured in publications including Gray's Sporting Journal, Ducks Unlimited magazine, Sporting Classics, Shooting Sportsman, and Double Gun Journal.

He has contributed to several books, most recently a reprint of William Faulkner's classic Big Woods. Smith has been recognized for his work with such organizations as GCCA, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Ruffed Grouse Society, and Ducks Unlimited.

He divides his time with his wife Cindy and two children in Covington, Louisiana and Noxon, Montana.


Biography from Altermann Galleries & Auctioneers VI:

Lives and works in Atlanta, GA

Education
Georgia State University, Atlanta, BBA 91 – 95
Self taught artist
Brett Smith currently lives and works in the Atlanta, GA, area.

Brett was received his BBA from Georgia State University. He describes himself as a 'self taught' artist.

"My goal as an artist is to distill that which has been observed into a simple mark or gesture so that each dot and each line will possess a life of its own. I tend to filter the botanical world through my conscious and sub-conscious mind, meditating on the various forms and images, finally drafting a new reality through a process of automatic drawing and painting. Experimentation, invention and accident play a pivotal role in my quest to achieve visual poetry."

As a child I remember being fascinated by the forms and shapes of trees, flowers and leaves, being amazed by the endless combinations of form, texture and color. Therefore it is not a surprise that these are the same images and themes that move through my paintings and drawings now. By observing the constant change as things grow, flourish and finally decay, I find that I am able to examine that fine line between beauty and destruction." --Brett Smith

Source: artist's website

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