Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Douglas Paul Smith was born and raised in Canton, Ohio, where he started drawing and painting as a youth. At the age of five he began cultivating a healthy obsession with Richard Scary's book, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. After studying product design, animation, and printmaking in college, his nomadic personality and cultural interests lead him to many areas of the globe. He sketched and photographed people in small mexican towns, indian train stations, and eastern european cafés. He later taught himself oil painting and developed his own brand of political folk art, something akin to Grandma Moses, and reminiscent of the mid-century political artist, Ben Shahn. Shortly thereafter, Douglas studied under a world-renowned illustrator in Seattle and became an editorial illustrator for Seattle's A&E weekly, The Stranger, in 1997. Continuing his appetite for sporadic world traveling, his work began to focus on the travel itself. Around 2002 he returned to his love of Richard Scary, and, deeply influenced by the styles of Milton Avery, Cy Twombly, japanese calligraphy, and the tibetan meditation/dharma art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, began creating his signature folk renderings of cars, airplanes, and people portraits.
Since 1992, Douglas has exhibited in galleries, museums, and on the sides of buildings in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville (Kentucky), Tucson, and in Lille, Sete, and Blois, France. He has co-directed and acted in political and Dada performance art groups in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Tucson, Arizona. He currently enjoys making work for motion pictures, and his favorite patrons are Hollywood executives and film prop houses in Los Angeles.
Recently Douglas has returned to photography to exploit his exuberance for the simple exaggeration of color and form found in much of his earlier work.
Douglas now lives in New York City. His other interests include composing and recording music, as well as contemplative art-making practices (such as Japanese calligraphy), and meditation. He has taught meditation and contemplative art-making workshops in New York City, Los Angeles, CA, Barnet, VT, Philadelphia, PA, and Tucson, AZ.