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 Vincent DaCosta Smith  (1929 - 2004)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: mod urban-ethnic imagery, etching

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
The Voices Are Stilled, (First New York Office of C.O.R.E.).
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from G.R. N'Namdi Gallery:
A Brooklyn native, Vincent Smith studied at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Skowhegan School of Painting, and later continued his education at age 50 at New York State University, Saratoga.  After a tumultuous period in his youth, Smith dropped out of school, and he spent a summer living out of a boxcar while working on the railroad.  Although Smith had seemingly turned down a dark path, it was then that his mind started to meander to artistic ideas.  Upon returning home, a friend invited him to go to a museum.“Something told me when I walked into the museum that this was where I belonged.”

His first artistic inspiration came from Jacob Lawrence. Smith stated “the thing that I noticed about Lawrence, more so than his color or anything else—although he’s a superb colorist—was his composition.” Vincent Smith is very deliberate and conscious of composition in his work. He believes that the stronger the composition is, the more interesting it is.

Smith states, “My approach has always been very spontaneous and sort of inventive, and instinctive.” He rendered the smoky crowded energy and seductive women of the crowded jazz clubs into intense gestural expressions in monoprint. The black background heightens the sense of the nightclub atmosphere, the lights on the stage cast eerie shadows producing waves of spontaneous sound and color. The medium, the subject, and the color all work together in a composition like strings in an orchestra. “I’m like a conductor. I am working with all of the instruments at my disposal.” His blending of yellows and oranges, inspired by the African landscape, communicate feelings of euphoria, illuminating the viewers’ consciousness and detaining him or her in continual surprise.

Vincent D. Smith’s career included exhibitions throughout the United States as well as internationally. His work can be found in many private and public collections such as The Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA New York, The National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C., The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and Yale University, New Haven.

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Vincent Smith is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Black American Artists

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