Cris LaNiese Smith

36 x 48 in.

When I made “Children of the Nile,” my main focus was familiarity. I’m becoming a mother in December and wanted to paint images that my daughter will resonate with while also being nostalgic for my audience. I’ve been subconsciously creating when I’m in my most natural element. Thinking happens when I first draw the subject in my sketchbook. It’s more analytical. Then I transfer it onto the canvas using a 3-dimensional shadowing for the subject’s skin because I like the why it pops. None of my paintings come out the way I intend them to. I’ve learned to let go and let the art speak for itself. After I paint the subject, I work on the rest of the background. I already have the color scheme and detailed background in my mind, but I use a more traditional shadowing technique.

My subjects select me. They’re familiar faces in which I see something that reminds me of myself. I used to paint random things, but art should represent your time and your purpose, so I began doing raw and authentic images of black culture in America. It’s a time capsule of an authentic urban voice, the continuous story of the natural beauty of black culture and the diversity within it.

artist’s website

© Cris LaNiese Smith