Monday, July 2, 2007

The Jeremy Show Interviews: Geoffrey Todd Smith

Geoffrey Todd Smith is an artist who uses gel pens to create beautiful graphic paintings for you to get lost in. I met him many years ago when I was living in Crystal Lake.

I met you at Borders. You were talking to anyone who would listen about how you were so hung over because you had too many Long Island Iced Teas. What do you remember about me?

You were wearing white socks with black shoes and your hair was bleach blond. I thought you might prefer the company of men. You and a girl named Audrey were the only ones who would talk to me. She was 16. That's a tender age.

You use gel pens and scrapbook paper for your drawings. How did you come to use these and why?

A girl I know gave me a gel pen and I doodled with it. I thought it was refreshing to use materials that didn't have the history that painting had but were suitable to communicate my ideas.

How does it feel to be named by Chicago Magazine as one of the "rising art stars we should be collecting now" What do you collect?

I was surprised by the interest in the drawings over the past year or so. It is nice to know I am not just making them for myself. I collect gel pens for obvious reasons. I used to collect scratch n sniffs.

You watch television while you create your paintings, what shows do you watch?

At this point, whatever is on that I can listen to in the background but not get too distracted by. General Hospital played a role in my formative gel pen years.

Several articles have commented about how your work seems to capture a 1980's-teenage girl-video game aesthetic. Do you think your work is an expression of your youth in anyway? How about femininity?
They are very much inspired by the activities of youth that required my intense focus. Puzzles, board games, video games, sticker collections, etc. I understand the reference to femininity but I think that is mainly connected to my comfort in creating beautiful things. Artists often run from the term decorative but it doesn't bother me.

How did you pass time in your youth?

Played sports, cartoons, swimming, videogames, Ate a lot of candy, drawing, fought with my brother a lot.

Artists have a tendency to be crazy. Are you crazy? What really crazy things do you do?

I am not crazy. In fact, I am pretty well grounded in reality. I haven't had an apartment for almost three years. Not really crazy but perhaps a bit unusual.

I have always found the titles of your paintings to be poetic. Beyond your painting, do you see yourself ever branching out into other areas- music, film, writing?

You can't serve two masters. I have come to terms with my area of focus being visual art. My newest title is "The Graceful Ghost In the Chandelier Has Sexy To Spare And a Body That's Shear".

You are a big fan of music. What music should we be listening to?

Lately, I have been listening to Panda Bear, Handsome Furs, Hold Steady, Bright Black Morning Light, Peter, Bjorn and John, Jens Leckman...

I enjoy hearing what products people use. What shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, other grooming products do you prefer?

I like the moves Old Spice has made into the new millennium. That old shit was no indication of the way my armpits would be smelling in 2007.

When I lived with you, you would often complain about "summer balls." Has this summer been difficult for your balls?
Fuck yeah. Summer is always a bad time for bat wings!

Anything you want to ask me?
Have you ever had a toothache?

Yes, in fact my boyfriend has been having lots of toothaches and we have been treating them with "Oral Analgesic Paste."

Geoffrey's work can currently be seen at The Evanston Art Center's “Obsessive Explosive," at 2603 Sheridan in Evanston, IL through Sun 7/8. His work will also be at Western Exhibitions, 1821 W Hubbard, Suite 202, Chicago, IL in September.

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