I am an African American artist who specializes in figurative oil painting. Currently, my art focuses on creating work that depoliticizes the black body by using monochromatic color to depict amplify intense emotions or placing costumed figures within cinematic spaces. The work is highly research based whether it is studying an era of time or conducting interactive surveys to analyze. These spaces are my means to escape harsh realities. I then work from photographs that are transformed into manipulated paintings. Tweaking intentional details within the image, I fool the viewer’s mind into glancing over mishaps within the depicted scene.
My images walk the line between reality and delusion. What’s to be expected and how to disrupt that, I question. In another area of my work, I practice the act of listening to a painting. From color, surface, texture and mark i explores what techniques invoke specific emotions most accurately to create pieces that speak to what cannot be verbally explained.
My seductive paint handling is my main method to slow burn my audience’s focus until they see what initially appeared to be an ordinary scene is puzzling. James Baldwin once said, “the role of the artist is exactly the same as the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.” I am now an artist creating work that makes my audience question what they see and how they feel, while simultaneously aiming to create a new perspective on African American artists’ work.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Raven Smith is a contemporary artist currently located in Chicago, IL. She specializes in figurative oil paintings on canvas, panel, etc. Currently her work gives an ode to the escapist nature of cinematography and analyses human color psychology relationships.
Raven’s work has always been influenced by her immediate surroundings and experiences. Her high observant nature always sneaks its way into her practice. Her work simultaneously challenges the viewer to pay just as much attention to detail as they search for potential mishaps placed for them to find or reflect deeper about a familiar emotion experienced.
Raven’s interest in creation emerged at the young age of five. She experimented with illustration, jewelry, graffiti, paperworks, sculpture, fashion, and nail art before committing to her love of capturing the figure. She spent her high school years developing her artistic foundation at The Chicago High School for the Arts where she graduated as a member of the Visual Arts conservatory majoring in Painting and Drawing. She recently completed her BFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago majoring in Painting, Cinematography and Fashion.
Raven has shown work all over the Chicago Land Area including venues such as, Expo Chicago (Navy Pier), Black Creativity (Museum of Science and Industry), and even has a public sculpture located in the Oakland community of Chicago.
Now Raven is working on two series around her present inspirations of escapism and emotion and is in preparation for her second solo show in 2023.
© Raven Smith