Colin Smith (b. 1982) works in a form of assembly within and across disciplines, both in digital and analogue formats. His processes are informed by theorist Marshall Mcluhan’s thesis that the medium is the message, resulting in pursuits that, in their realized forms, speak to an idea of the content as well as the method to its creation.

Educated in fields of institutional communication—graphic design, journalism, and advertising—he utilizes their tenets in tandem with more traditional tradecraft, resulting in projects whose tangible result is commentary on the blurring line between art, industry, and capital in the United States.

He has additionally worked as an art director, freelance designer or creative consultant for a variety of small businesses and independent clients around the world. Contact for availability.

Self-Portrait at home, 2022


I suppose a majority of my attraction to art is in its relative nature to humanity. I see art as the way we push the energy of human experience through time. Creation is the process of controlling some combination of emotional & psychological chaos, molding it into a form of understanding. The conclusion, the ‘art’—some composed idea—is also, once experienced, the beginning of a new process—becoming a psychic energy, at first rigid and impressed, but slowly acting as influence in unknowable ways. This transition can continue back into inspiration & creation among the audience, continuing a cycle of reimagining tradition.

That being said, the ideas behind my work now are predominantly based in theories like the Spectacle and the Medium & the Message—a strong consideration for what methods of expression represent in a time of digital aggregation, what art poses in terms of ideas of value in late capitalism, or how the role of the artist shifts in a ‘content economy.’

In practice, I try to use each medium in a self-evident way—using the traits of physical paint or overexposed film as a noticeable contribution to the aesthetic. I use the processes of graphic design in making books or stickers or logos to employ traditionally commercial methods of creation in a completely opposed way. I maintain this web site because I think the internet was better off when it was full of random people on their weird-ass blogs than the strip-malls and marketplaces it’s become.

The amorphous nature of our current moment makes it hard to declare anything, much less write about the ideas of art—but I find in times of chaos, it is specifically that idea of what art can be that keeps us reminded of our humanity. That’s gotta mean something.

—cs, 08/2021


  • May · “Looking Forward, Giving Back” at First Exposures (SF) ‡
    1. 2021
  • November · “The Pretty Ones Have Thorns” at PCH Open Mic ‡ *
  • October · “How Do We Hope Now” at PCH Open Mic ‡ ¬
    1. 2020
  • February · “Fake Flowers Last Forever” at Flux Upstairs
  • January-March · First Friday at Flux Creative Space ‡
    1. 2019
  • October-December · First Friday at Flux Creative Space ‡
  • 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 · “Valence V-VII” at The Side Door
  • October · “You Against You Again” at The Warehouse
  • April · “Part Two: Sketchbooks” at the Staircase Gallery
  • February · “Home” at The Warehouse ‡ *
  • February · “Time Is A Maze” at iDoc Gallery
  • 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. 2016
  • December · “Showcase” at The Warehouse ‡
  • November · “Standing Still In A Storm” at iDoc Gallery
  • August · “Knives In The Gun Fight” at The Side Door
  • August · “Art At The Circus” at AFRU ‡
  • July · “Learning How To Lie” at Tiny’s SE
  • February · “Flesh” at Verum Ultimum ‡
    1. 2015 / 2016
  • November-March · “The Art of Occupy” at Bates College (NY) ‡
    1. 2015
  • October · “Nothing Here Can Kill You” at Tiny’s SE

  • ‡ · Group Show
  • * · Musical Performance
  • ¬ · Spoken Word
  • 2021-2022 shows in Los Angeles unless otherwise noted.
  • 2015-2020 in Portland, Ore. unless otherwise noted.
  • 2009-2014 shows in San Francisco and Portland not shown,
    complete listing available upon request.
  • First Friday posters from 2017-2020 can be seen here.


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