Stay At Home Orders, Los Angeles, 2021

a couple things

-born in Fairbanks, Alaska, 1982. lived in many towns & cities since, in the USA & overseas. currently in Los Angeles, which is more enjoyable than people say.

-educated in communications (graphic design, scad & photojournalism, bu), self-taught in the fine arts. more influenced by punk rock than the art world, but will still listen to pop radio in my car & stare at a rothko all day long.

Social Media

E-Mail: hello at colinsmith dot art
Online: Distorted Perspective, Kill The Precedent
Bandcamp: asterisk
Vimeo: @bringnobombs

on Art & Work

The Online Bio is always a strange page. I’m never too sure about writing out an Artist Statement, as to me making art is the act of expressing an opinion, and if you can’t write up a thesis that justifies why you believe in something then you should probably get into politics instead.

That being said, I’m still a sucker for theory. As all Artist Statements about purpose or meaning in craft are temporary as the works which are produced, it seems implausible, especially now, to say my art is about any one thing or another. The consistencies of my practice are based in concepts like The Spectacle (Debord) and The Medium & Message (McLuhan). I work with a variety of formats, but I always attempt to use a medium in ways that feel true to its nature.

My work has traditionally been reactionary and documentarian as I used my lived experience as source material—fodder for experimentation in self-expression—and my mantra for living was generally Just go with the universe. These days I find myself more prone to creating a path myself, and the results are shifting away from narrative and more toward a focus on intentionality, beauty and resonance.

This site is meant to be some kind of touchpoint for all of it, an ongoing work-in-progress that is, in and of itself, a part of the portfolio it is designed to showcase. Thank you for visiting.

On Painting

I didn’t begin formally painting until my early 30s; until then I had used paint primarily for its properties as a pigment or texture to use with abstract collage. Now that I’m practicing the craft purposefully, I still focus on that nature of its physical properties. Though realism can be an attractive style, I still shy away from paintings that look too much like a photograph; I want the fact the work is a painting to be evident.

My favorites may be Toulouse-Lautrec and Rothko, but the painting that has been most constant through my life has been the block-style covering of street art on buildings. That dance of adding and subtracting—between the street artist and whoever manages all those walls—has probably inspired how I paint more than most painters have.

On Books & Graphic Design

Graphic design is a client-based service which most people experience through advertising. Books are the product of a variety of creative minds and processes that are being relegated to insignificance because people prefer screens.

Sure, ok, but what if they weren’t?

While graphic design will always be first and foremost a practice that ideally enriches the way the world operates, the processes that go in to design can still be used for the purposes of art. I’ve always loved the format of the book, and my ongoing work in self-publishing is as much an effort to claim a corporate process for the purposes of the individual as it is an experiment in the potential of unrestricted page layout.

On Photography

The way photography has changed over the past 20 years in both its presence, form and meaning in everyday life is second-to-none. Starting with the digital sensor and culminating with the Instagram feed, how people experience photography, and what the photograph is used for, has changed in such significant ways it will take decades to understand.

If nothing else, this is why it remains fulfilling to practice making photos in a time of complete excess. The craft has been stripped of all rule of law and has descended into anarchy. For one, I find the chaos to be an optimal way to get lost in it all, to discover what it really means to me.

First Friday promotional posters; see more here.

Social Social

With Covid-19, exhibiting for the past year was all but erased. Hopefully soon art and music shows can take place where everyone can feel safe. This is an archive of the past five years of shows I was fortunate enough to be a part of before that all took a break—

  • ‡ January-March · First Friday at Flux Creative Space
  • February · “Fake Flowers Last Forever” at Flux Upstairs
    1. 2019
  • ‡ October-December · First Friday at Flux Creative Space
  • August · “Residency Performance” at Galleri Hammer
  • ‡ ¬ June · “Poetry & Politics” at gallery emptiness
  • ‡ ¬ May · “Last Friday” at gallery emptiness
  • April · “Volume 3 Release Show” at Zap Gallery
  • * April · “Four-Color Process” at Zap Gallery
  • ‡ January-April · First Friday at The Warehouse
  • ‡ January · “Two Year Anniversary” at The Side Door
    1. 2018
  • ‡ Monthly · First Friday at The Warehouse
  • October · “You Against You Again” at The Side Door
  • April · “Part Two: Sketchbooks” at the Staircase Gallery
  • ‡ * February · “Home” at The Warehouse
  • February · “Time Is A Maze” at iDoc Gallery
    1. 2017
  • ‡ Monthly · First Friday at The Warehouse
  • August · “Valence I-IV” at The Side Door
  • July-September · “Mass Static” at The Eisenhower Bagelhouse
  • June-July · “Echoes” at Gallery 642
  • ‡ * February · “At Risk” at The Side Door
    1. x
  • ‡ · Group Show
  • * · Music Performance
  • ¬ · Spoken Word
  • All listed shows in Portland, Ore., except summer 2019 in Ireland and Denmark.


Colin Smith is an interdisciplinary artist & art director living & working in Los Angeles. His assembly-based work focuses on human nature and its relationship to media, language, time, and systems of control.

For more information, social links, as well as various writings on practice & theory, visit the about page.

To quickly get in touch, e-mail hello@.


This website is a hand-coded assembly built from the Skeleton framework and WordPress CMS; typeset in Plantin and Aktiv Grotesk by way of Adobe Fonts; hosted by Opalstack.

The primary navigation features a curated selection of work, while a mostly-complete archive dating back to 2015 is navigable by way of the Site Index.

All original content © to Colin Smith; please link back to this site or an associated media account when featuring work. Thank you for visiting.