Clockwise from Top Left Corner:
"Semi-Presh" - Acrylic and Spray Paint on Panel, 18"x20", 2015 ;
“Rose Glow (Valentine)" - Mixed Media on Stonehenge - 13"x16" - 2014;
"Ruby Song" - Acrylic and Micaceous Iron Oxide on Canvas, 36"x36",2015;
"Honey Bow" - Acrylic and Spray Paint on Canvas, 30"x40", 2015;
"Motherings" - Acrylic, Spray Paint and Micaceous Iron Oxide on Canvas, 20"x20", 2015;
"Black Eye" - Acrylic, Spray Paint and Pearl Flake on Panel, 18"x24" - 2015;
Artist Mica Smith
Photography by Amanda Flanagan
"My studio practice thrives on a haptic call and response: how one feels once they are touched and what is left behind through one's sensory experiences. Using abstraction, I build forms that float, collide and merge until a visual pulsation is activated within each picture plane. In some of the works, these forms reach out, cradle and envelop one another. In others, they simply close in upon themselves, becoming their own self-surviving beings. In all, the work that I make underlines my personal sentiments on touching and being touched."
Questions for the Artist:
What is your typical routine when starting a new piece?
It’s safe to say that getting ready is my biggest hurdle. Generally, I like for everything I need to be within close reach, so I spend a considerable amount of time getting out anything that could make my studio process more enjoyable. Before I begin working, I like to browse through books and clippings that I collect to spark potential ideas for colors, marks, gestures and lines. I also make it a point to review recent work I’ve made to note any parallels within the work, whether they are subtle or more dominant.
As a rule, I try to avoid sticking with my first idea. Process itself really is at the heart of what I do, so I enjoy beginning with shapes and colors that offer a kind of flexibility in terms of where I can move my work. This isn’t always the case though. Every so often, there are times when I make bold moves that are difficult to push past. In a recent painting I made, I had originally spray painted the entire surface bronze. Painting over this was a bit time consuming, as it required a lot of layering, drying and re-working. But I ended up loving the time I spent making that painting, as everything happened at a slower, more thoughtful pace. There were certain elements that occurred that I had yet to explore simply from working on such a stubborn surface. So, it would suffice to say that other than my emphasis on readiness before working, that I like to keep my routine open to change.
Are there specific inspirations that you turn to or research?
I connect most to works by artists who place their emphasis on a kind of abstract sensuality through textures, colors and forms. I love looking at and reading about Agnes Martin’s work. There is something about the seriality of her paintings that, since graduate school, I’ve felt deeply connected to. Martin’s writings have also lifted me out of some very doubtful times I’ve had with myself as an artist and person. A couple of summers ago, I visited the Cy Twombly museum at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. I remember feeling very warm during the time I spent with his sculptural works.
In a more contemporary context, some of my absolute favorite artists include Amy Sillman, Rebecca Morris, Cristina Canale, Richard Tuttle, Rinko Kawauchi and Boo Saville.
And having the full time teaching position (Instructor of Digital Film, The Art Institutes of Cincinnati) -- do you draw from your daily "having a full time job" routine?
Preparation is absolutely essential in my full-time job, so I feel that this comes full circle into my studio work. And even though my job as a teacher functions separately from my life as an artist, I do introduce my views on work ethic and perseverance into my teaching.
More often than not, they do support and inform one another. The program within where I teach is in digital photography, so it allows me to get away from my studio work and to enter a different kind mindset. I’m okay with this because I love the aspect of mentorship that teaching offers as a profession.