Chris Smith: Painting with Video

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How can I change the shape of something and make it exist as something else?

Pratt Institute alum Chris Smith evokes Pollock in the 21st century’s multimedia arena with the Painter Project, an exploration of public versus private space utilizing paint, sculpture and projection. He found that in his work mixing colors and creating pieces, the process was as beautiful as the product. In this vein he started recording videos of the step-by-step and shared them through a mobile projector all around New York City, allowing people to find color and comfort in the nighttime cityscape.

“The paintings are sort of impermanent,” says Smith. “(The work) is more or less based on the action of the painting.  I like to think that the paint itself has a performance aspect to it.”

Drawing inspiration from the streets of New York City and the way in which its inhabitants navigate through it in relation to one another, Smith’s artwork is transformative, refining the raw and chaotic to create something harmonious.  His large-scale, and sometimes illusory, projected installations outside of the gallery context are a fresh take on street art.  Smith says, “How can I change the shape of something and make it exist as something else?  That’s something I ask myself every day.”

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