My name is Cristi Smith, and I’m Ford’s wife and business partner. Along with running the business that is Ford Smith Fine Art, I am a masthead contributor to Art World News magazine as well as a marketing consultant for artists and galleries internationally. I live and breathe art most moments of every day and this is the most fascinating job I could imagine for myself.
Recently, we graduated from publishing the old website newsletter to a more friendly blog where I will update you on all things Ford with more frequency and fewer words. I hope that you'll visit often and keep up with this dynamic and talented artist from the best and most direct source you could possibly find me!
Let's begin in the studio...
Ford continues to push the boundaries of landscapes and rethink his own methods and styles of interpreting them. While he rarely abandons one of his signature styles of painting, he truly enjoys challenging himself creatively within his oeuvre. Basically, its called shaking things up.
Ford keeps his mind fresh and his artistic sensibilities sharp when he clears his mind in this way. And frankly, I think he would find it crushingly boring to have to create similar paintings day in and day out. This fresh mindset is easily evidenced in his body of work over the past 12 years. Mosaics, Splash, Seascapes, Bloomscapes, Touch, Skins, Metallics and Human Nature all sprung from those innovative detours.
While Ford contemplated the last few paintings for a recent show, he felt that familiar urge to "go off the page" and do something different. Already he had painted several backgrounds onto these canvases but wasn’t sure where he wanted to go with them from there.
As he often does, Ford looked around his studio for inspiration. Right away, his eyes fell upon the wall where he often tacks up his old painting palettes in case he ever wanted to reference them for future paintings. He prefers to use these palettes made of a heavy, wax-based white paper that are considered "disposable" (and they would have been if Ford had not kept them). This way he starts with a fresh palette for each new painting He carefully selected a few of these interesting, abstract palettes from the wall and set about carving them up with a sharp, small knife to fashion avant-garde tree forms. Ford then spent the rest of the afternoon and into the evening working them meticulously into the landscape backgrounds. He worked with an intensity that I find amusing to witness from such a normally laid-back artist. It was evident that he was excited about the concept and I was thrilled to see what was taking shape.
The resulting Palette paintings demonstrate why Ford Smith is the celebrated artist that he is. What he has created in these breathtaking, mixed media paintings is ingenious. They feel alive. The subtle hint of three dimensions and the juxtaposition of the abstract palette against a striking, more blended background is completely unique experience in art. It's expressionist innovation at its level best. Ford commented about his new technique, "What's really intriguing to me is the overall idea that the "bones" of an older painting are recycled into a new work of art." In essence, the history of a painting lives on through the palette carving in the recent one.
Fresh from our trip to Italy, Ford's first palette paintings had a distinctly Italian aura. The first trees he sculpted from the palette were the majestic cypresses you’ll see everywhere in Italy. In part because Ford's mother is Italian, he is endlessly drawn to the culture and the land - he even speaks the language. But historically, he's shied away from painting Italian-themed paintings because there is a preponderance of them already on the market. Rolling hills, vineyards, walled city alleyways... you've seen them all, and he hadn't figured out how he would differentiate. Until now.
Since those first few Italian themes he created for a recent show, Ford is now experimenting with them the more quintessential Ford Smith landscape themes and they’re also spectacular! Not every new painting will become a palette painting, of course, but they are now part of the growing body of distinctive, imaginative and masterful art that is Ford Smith.
In other news... If you have visited the FSFA website, I hope that you are enjoying the new and improved version! With an industry as visual as ours, it became increasingly obvious that we should address the issue of viewing Ford’s art on all of the devices people prefer to use beyond the desktop computer.
Anyone who's spent time in the art business knows that it can be slow to adapt to a changing environment, and here at Ford Smith Fine Art, we strive to lead by example. Mobile devices are becoming important art-viewing tools (particularly for younger collectors), and our website now will morph and adapt to fit screens of the varying technology. We've simplified the web experience and made it such that the art images are as large, crisp and beautiful as they can possibly be, and accessing social media and our YouTube channel is instant.