Donald E. Smith

Donald E. Smith

When Smith was accepted by the Royal College of Art in London to participate in the Post Experience Programme, which offered him the opportunity to draw from cadavers at the University of London’s School of Medicine, he worked on variations of images, including interpretative anatomical sketches of body parts. These drawings are captured in his powerful series “Silent Orators”.  Additional work on this series includes the lithographs produced in Berlin, Germany, working at the Professional Association of Berlin Artists (BBK) printmaking facilities, as well as etchings from acrylic hard grounds, and the non-toxic etching process using photopolymer film. Smith developed his “Berlin Air Lift” studies drawn in situ at Berlin’s Templehof airport, and later re-interpreted, and printed them as linear images with the photopolymer film process at Berlin’s Druckstelle Printmaking Studios. Continuing his work at BBK, Smith further developed a selection of drawings done in India and produced as lithographs.

Other thematic works i.e., Smith’s etching editions of “Warrior Suit of Armor”, “The London Bagpiper” and “Italian Youth”, as well as conté crayon drawings and digital prints, represent interpretations of images captured in selected art museums abroad and in the U.S.  Currently, Smith produces drawings and prints in his printmaking studio in San Diego, California, and works periodically in professional printmaking facilities in Berlin, Germany.

Smith’s prints have received juried awards, including a purchase prize by the Pasadena Art Museum for its permanent collection.  His heavily embossed etching triptych titled  ‘Ranger I,II, III’  was  on loan from the Los Angeles County Art Museum Rental Gallery  to the NASA Jet Propulsion  Lab in Pasadena California.  Smith’s work has been shown in numerous private and public solo and group juried exhibitions. His works are currently being prepared for national and international exhibitions, and for public and private galleries and collections.

My journey into printmaking is informed by early work in the screen-printing industry. After graduating from the University of Oregon in Fine and Applied arts, I went to work at Bay Street Productions in Oregon as a color matcher and screen-printer for fine custom wallpapers. From there I’ve built a busy full time studio practice, making art daily. In addition to printmaking, I work in painting, ceramics, jewelry, fabric and combined techniques.The ancient tradition of the print is always at the heart of the work. Now decades into this journey, the pleasure of process and a newfound freedom with materials and techniques keeps it all moving into new territory. I make prints not as copies or reproductions at all. Silkscreen yields the jazzy and juicy layers of color, and clear shapes. Intaglio and monotype renders deep blacks of varying densities and values. Chine collé provides “moving parts” in the form of favored shapes and colors. Layering of colors, use of multiple plates, evolving plates, and marks allows the medium to “talk back” at some point. I treat printmaking as an open ended and ongoing investigation into a hidden world.Most recently I have established screen-printing courses at the Schack Art Center in Everett, Washington, and at the Kirkland Arts Center in Kirkland, Washington. In 2014 I taught a reduction screen-print workshop in Venice, Italy at the Scuola di Grafica. I worked in 2015 at the Skopelos Foundation in Greece. I am an active member of Print Arts Northwest, Seattle Print Arts, and Los Angeles Printmakers Society. Many of the hand-printed silkscreen prints are placed in national and international collections. At present my studios in Kirkland Washington, and in Downtown Los Angeles are open by appointment.While all this history is of value, real life is lived in the joy of process, in a world of visual wonder. My mission is to continue to share it, and to live it fully every day.
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