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Geoffrey Todd Smith Interview

Written by Ryan Christian   
Monday, 04 February 2008 04:56
Dubbed one of Chicago's most collectible artists, and being exhibited all over the place, Geoffrey Todd Smith is shaping up to be one of Chicago's most promising artists.

Geoffrey Todd Smith Will Romance You When He Is Good and Ready

While I am typing this Geoffrey Todd Smith is trying to push his car out of a snow mound on Lake Street. While you are reading this he is probably listening to the Melvins and devising a new way to make your eyes shift and throb in effulgent glory.

While many folks will be eating ribs and chicken wings and watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, others will be attending Here's Looking at You Looking at Me Kid at Chicago's Hyde Park Art Center. A large wall installation piece crafted by Geoffrey, featuring over 900 of his hand cut, signature, pointy patterned dots.

Mr. Smith will also be one of three featured exhibiting artists in conjunction with Western Exhibitions at this year's NEXT art fair in Chicago. After having a successful solo exhibition, Geoffrey Todd Smith Will Romance You When He Is Good and Ready, at WX in Fall of 07', being dubbed one of Chicago's most collectible artists by Chicago Magazine, and being exhibited all over the place, Geoffrey Todd Smith is shaping up to be one of Chicago's most promising artists.

Everything U Fuck Turns 2 Math, 2007 ink and gouache on paper 16" w x 20" h

You have made a whole heap of work. What is it about? Where has it been, where is it now, and where might it go?

My work is an expression of my experiences, memories and interests. I am compelled to make images to communicate visually with the viewer. I love engaging in a nonverbal conversation with the viewer that elicits a tangible response to abstract information. I have always liked to dazzle myself! If I don't think it looks cool why should I expect you to?

The titles of your work are peculiar, where are they coming from?

I try to choose titles that create a mood and capture the rhythm of the image. They are often humorous and they frequently use tongue twisters to re-enforce the optical challenges of the images. They are not intended as illustrative devices. I would compare it to the relationship of titles to instrumental music.

What kinds of things are you attracted to? What's inspiring to you? or has immensely inspired you throughout the years?

Wet stones, snow falling in front of pine trees, ominous weather, looking through tree branches without the leaves, negative space, the evocative potential of simple perspective, artificial symbols for naturally occurring phenomena (fire, lightning, water, etc.), cold temperatures, annoying sounds, repetition of form, unusual color combinations, order/disorder, puzzles, old videogames, sticker collectionsÂ…

Flick the Groom off Your Cake Topper and Turn up the Cyndi Lauper, 2007 ink and gouache on paper 24" w x 30" h

How did you end up where you are? Doing what you are doing?

I tend to travel through life without a lot of bold moves. I work hard on my artwork and try to put it in front of people that will connect with it. To this point, every opportunity I have had to show my work has evolved from individuals seeing my work and offering me a hand. I try to return the favor to younger artists when I see something in there work. Usually pass their name along to someone who may provide an opportunity. My road is a slow road.

The Diamond Rind of the Ruby Rapefruit, 2007 ink and gouache on paper 10" w x 12" h

What do you think about the contemporary art scene right now? What the hell is going on out there?

I think contemporary artists are often guilty of following trends because of a perceived window for success. I don't think geographical artistic differences are as prevalent as they once were. Access to images has sped up through the Internet. Chicago is not as far away as it was. Consequently, more people have access to an artist online than in person. This changes the viewing of an art object but I think that is figuring into the art making process. You become aware of how you will be viewed through reproduction.

Something that will be burned into your mind forever?

There was a very small line drawing of an Olmec head in a book called Mumbo Jumbo by Ismael Reed. I read that book in 1992 and I will never forget that little illustration. So simple. It looked like it weighed a couple tons.

I Could Look at Myself in Your Eyes Forever, 2007 - ink and gouache on paper 24" w x 30"

Think of a new invention, right now! What is it?

An Apartment Drawer- big enough for me to live in at an affordable price. I don't need too much space. I hear the Japanese have something similar... Nerf Cars- soft crashes.

What does America need more of/ less of?

Less: Religion. In fact, no religion. Guns, racists, people who interrupt when I am talking, people who say, "It's always been that way."
More: Education, compassion, public transportation, willingness to listen, people who say," It doesn't have to be that way!"

The Spiked Punch Party 2007 ink and gouache on paper 8"w x 10"

What is blowing your mind right now?

I have been listening to: (new stuff) The Animal Collective- Strawberry Jam, Jens Lekman- Night Falls on Kortedala, Sunset Rubdown- Random Spirit Lover. (old stuff) Bob Dylan- Blonde on Blonde, Galaxie 500- Today, Smog- Knock Knock, Yo La Tengo- Painful
Television: Mad Men- a great t.v. show. Sexy, sharp, wickedly funny and sad. America's Next Top Model- a must watch in marathon form. I like to see a whole "cycle" in one sitting.
Dead Artists: Oyvind Fahlstrom, Paul Delveaux, Rene Magritte
New Artists: Garth Weiser- his show in Chicago at Kavi Gupta was very good. Sterling Ruby- When I saw his large installation in New York I was confused and it felt right!
Artists to revisit: Ray Yoshida- especially his collages, Mary Heilmann- not that she needs my help!
Chocolate Cream Puffs: My girlfriend made some.
Grey Goose Martini with blue cheese stuffed olives! Get fucked up!
Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein: Weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on Chicago a.m. sports radio 670- The Score. Interesting and critical sports radio with a sense of humor. "Meatball" fans be damned!

The Pearly Pits of the Peeled Poisonfruit, 2007 - ink and gouache on paper 16"w x 20" h

http://www.hydeparkart.org/exhibitions/2008/02/geoffrey_todd_smith_heres_look.php http://www.nextartfair.com/ http://www.westernexhibitions.com/ http://www.westernexhibitions.com/GTS/index.html http://www.westernexhibitions.com/current/baker_gts_kr/gts/images.html {moscomment}

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