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Art & Life with Richard Lee Smith Jr.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Lee Smith Jr.

Richard Lee, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born in 1975 in Texas. Childhood was made up of Pigeon shoots, hunting, fishing and wandering around my uncle’s ranch. I remember, vividly, being eight years old, on a road trip with my dad. I saw a pickup truck lose control, run off the road and wreck. I said to myself in that moment, “I should be a photographer.” It wasn’t until junior high art class that I realized that I really like making art, that I wanted to be an Artist. My grandmother was a painter, so naturally, I started painting, and at fourteen I started taking photos with an artistic intent. I did that for sixteen years, with the only people that saw my photos being the film labs.

I went to Arts Magnet High School in Dallas, and later to the San Francisco Art Institute for painting. For about six years I stopped taking photos, until 2011 when I got an iPhone and came across an app called Instagram. I started taking photos and posting them. The feedback I received was positive! I was having painting shows and people would show up expecting photography. After so many requests for a photography show, I had one a few years ago and now photography is my main focus. And I still paint. I think the next move for me is to combine the two forms. I have ideas to start painting my photos.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I’m a photographer who studied painting, a painter who loves photography. I’ve been taking photos and painting since childhood. I have to create to express the way I experience and see the world. I also make art because of the way I feel when I am creating. These things go hand in hand, what I experience and what I feel. Then there is the joy I receive from showing my work. It’s so satisfying. The process from start to finish inspires me to make more.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
The Artist themself. I believe all challenges come from within.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Currently one of my photographs is hanging in the Topanga Living Cafe in Topanga Canyon. It’s a “one-off,” printed specifically to fit an amazing old frame I found. I collect old frames and sometimes the images and the frames collaborate perfectly. Besides that, my work is displayed on my website and my Instagram.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Richard Lee Smith Jr.

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