Jere Smith, Seattle Member Since June 2006 Artist Statement Over the last 30 years, my eclectic background in art has included graphic design, editorial illustration, the teaching of art, curating same, various gallery affiliations, and organizing many theme-based art events. From Humboldt State University, I have degrees in art and psychology — referencing my two favorite topics, creativity and human (my favorite species) behavior. Although I later fell in love with "real" artists like Michaelangelo, Magritte, Max Ersnt, Marcel Duchamp, and illustrators like Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, and Milton Glaser, the seminal influence in my art making and creativity has to have been early comics and cartoons — all those rubbery, goofy characters; and then maybe even more importantly, viewing reality and culture through the subversive, fun house lens of late '50s Mad Magazine. Weaned and art-damaged on this as a youth, such imagery and informed wit played a big part in activating my imagination and laying the foundation of what I call Neocompostmodern Art — that roiling mulch of ideas and anecdotes on permanent spin cycle. I continue to draw inspiration from those formative years.
With everything — from fine art to conceptual illustration and beyond (including the making of objects) — I hope to convey a personal and skewed sense of humor and style…where the conceptual playpen quotient is high… and replete with irony, wit, and the resonance of word against image. I delight in roaming around this cartoon-based surreal estate with its illusion and allusion…always relentlessly seeking a meaningful absurdity to the larger world; something like that, anyway.