Marvin Smith was born a painter.
“My father was an artist who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and made his living in advertising. He started me at the age of eight doing wash drawings of objects around the house.”
This modest beginning developed into a multi-faceted career as educator, manager, playwright, screenwriter, theatrical designer, film-television-theatre director, but always “painter.”
“Painters see the world simply. They breakdown the chaos, eliminate the noise and dissect the world into its lowest common denominator. The complexity of the image isn’t the story. Look for the core… find the simple and make it your own! ”
At Trinity University Marvin studied with painters Jim Valone and Bill Briscoe, sculpture with Phil English, and theatrical design with Lenny Feldman, Bjorn Weinblodt, Paul Rogers and Virgil Beavers.
“I've the good fortune to study with great teachers who were also great artists. The giant was Paul Baker who created the Theatre Department at Trinity after giving new life to the Dallas Theatre Center. He worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in creating the then revolutionary Dallas Theatre Center Building. Baker’s whole persona was founded on the ‘Integration of Abilities.’ It’s a philosophy but more important it’s a method of work expands the creative potential into creative reality. It shaped me as a whole person not just an artist.”
Marvin graduated from Trinity with a concentration in theatrical design with complimentary studies in psychology and classics. Within a year he had his first solo show. Fifty-six art works were hung in the Mexican consulate in San Antonio, many later traveled to exhibits in Mexico. He has shown his work in venues as varied as the National Institute of Health, restaurants, university galleries, as well as commercial galleries.
After spending two years teaching, he entered the graduate film program at The University of Texas. While there he served as Executive Director of the Southwest Creative Film Center, earned his M.A. degree and was offered a faculty position at the University of Arizona.
“My vision was to teach and make art. Unfortunately, I succumbed again to the enchantment of running programs that enabled others to create art. It took a bout with pneumonia and enforced rest to get me out of that track and focus on painting. I began with classical landscape – first in watercolor, then in oil. My work was well received but I felt something was missing. At the same time, I began to read the works of Joseph Campbell and that introduced me into the study of East Asia spiritual traditions.”
Smith’s work over the last two decades has resulted in portfolios, or as he calls them “Suites” that focus on sky meditation (Atmospheres), creation (Bereishith), energy (Kundalini), Satchitananda and Shikantaza (Meditations).
“I see my work as within the mainstream of the mystic Northwest School of Painters. My focus is on what the Buddhists call “emptiness.” Emptiness really isn’t empty, it contains the potential for everything. I seek that point where existence forms intent and consciousness begins. Thought condenses into action and matter; it’s that Space where the universe begins. My current work seeks to capture that first single ripple in the fabric of the universe.”
Marvin Smith’s work has been featured in Artspan.com portfolios He recently received an an Honorable Mention in Artspan’s “Rebirth” competition, and appeared in two editions of Studio Visit, one in press to be published in the summer of 2018.
Smith lives in eastern Washington State with his television/film producer-writer spouse.