Ford Smith, Where Landscapes Go to Escape the Ordinary
Ford Smith creates vibrantly colored landscapes that hover somewhere in the artistic territory between abstraction and representation. As the son of an Air Force serviceman stationed in a small Japanese village, Ford Smith's aesthetic sensibilities began to take root under the nurturing eye of an elderly Japanese painter. After moving back to the States, Ford Smith enrolled at the University of Mississippi in pursuit of his BFA. After graduating with a degree in painting, Ford moved to Atlanta where he realized a natural talent for photography. During the late 70's and 80's Ford Smith established his reputation as Atlanta's premier fashion photographer.
The early 90's, however, brought a compelling urge to return to painting. Ford Smith took a hiatus from photography to travel the world and seek inspiration. After exploring different painting styles and themes, Ford found tremendous fulfillment creating contemporary landscapes conjured from the stunning horizons witnessed during his travels. Despite his photography background, Ford never paints from a photograph.
Ford's sense of nature is not a Romantic's wild and angry universe. Rather, he recalls the startling color combinations and mesmerizing horizons, then blends those images with his own passion and optimistic philosophy of life. The easy precision, subtlety and repose of his paintings may well derive from that Asian aesthetic he developed in his early years.
The intensity of working over a single piece to finish it makes the process very physical. He lets layers of paint - acrylics on canvas - drip and flow, just letting things happen. "I was taught in college to let the paint find the imagery," he recalls. Still, there is less accident in achieving these surfaces than one might think. They're a study in control and spontaneity, because while Ford may allow the materials to find their own expression, he then moves to manipulate them to achieve their unique composition and texture. Often, he'll embellish the canvas with plaster granules scattered across the wet surface as color and texture are forced to intersect.
"Like life, my work often transforms from its original idea," he muses, "But following a creative instinct wherever it leads is where the fun and fascination lie. Each painting is a unique journey with an undefined destination."
Ford resides in Roswell, Georgia with his wife and business partner, Cristi, and daughter, Hilary, who attends a performing arts magnet school as a drama major. Their son, Brian, lives in Atlanta and is a recent graduate from Kenessaw University with a degree in Political Science. Their dogs, Pasta and Belle, and cats, Alfredo and Jack, are also important family members.