I recently had the pleasure of meeting with John Holt Smith. For those of you who don’t know, he is an artist who grew up here in Fort Worth and after leaving for college and many years in New York City, he decided it was time to come back home and be near family. The art scene in New York is definitely more lucrative but there is nothing more important to him than watching his children and his nephews and nieces grow up together. Lucky for us here because he is a true Fort Worth treasure.
John’s work is very recognizable, and once you’ve seen one of his pieces, you can usually easily spot another one. I have seen his work around, but I never knew his creative process until now, and I was blown away!
The pieces John creates look to be abstract; it is actually very real. He takes a photograph of a flower, or an eye, or a cell from the human body and then crops and stretches the image into lines that eventually become his beautiful paintings. Long ago, he had an idea of taking an image and turning it into lines of color but couldn’t figure out how to do that accurately until Photoshop came around. This was the solution to the problem he had been trying to solve for years. “As soon as I turned the first image into lines, I knew I had something that I wanted to paint.”
Here is an example of a photo he took of his son’s eye, followed by the painting that came from the photograph.
John enjoys stretching out photographic images to see how the colors naturally line up next to each other. There is nothing random about the color placement. It is directly taken from the stretched photograph. His latest collection Cellular Level is paintings from photographs of human cells inside a brain. When the cells are injected with dye to be viewed under a microscope, it creates some really magnificent color, and from this he has masterfully created some new amazing pieces of art!
These paintings are available to view at the William Campbell Contemporary Art Gallery now until November 23rd. Even if you are not in the market for new artwork, I highly recommend a stop in just to see his creations in person.
Thank you, John Holt Smith, for your beautiful work. We are honored to have you as a fellow citizen in Fort Worth!
Many thanks to the William Campbell Contemporary Art Gallery for sponsoring this post.
Tricia Schniederjan is a Fort Worth girl born and raised, Tricia is a runner, scuba diver, snow and water skier, hiker, and kayaker. Her love of exploring has taken her on many adventures with her 5 children which has led to her becoming an expert at traveling with children. She is a UT Austin graduate, an optimist, a peace keeper, and an enjoyer of life.