Celebrated Parsons artist a regular contributor to Art is Ageless®
“I got into art as early as I have any remembrance of anything on this earth,” says Skip Smith, who began his art career by drawing on the walls of his mother’s house.
“If there was a blank piece of paper around, I would fill it with drawings,” he says. “It was just innate. It was who I was.”
Skip has been a regular contributor to the annual Art is Ageless® exhibits since 2017, when a friend who worked at Fort Scott Presbyterian Village encouraged him to enter. He won in the drawing categories and also took home the People’s Choice award. The following year, he won for drawing and best of show.
After that, Skip “retired” from the contest but has continued to bring his work for exhibition. He has encouraged many other people to enter their own work, and he’s proud to say a few of them have won ribbons, too.
“It’s good for the community,” he says. “And I’ve worked as an artist all over the world. I don’t need the accolades.”
After his service in the U.S. Navy, Skip earned undergraduate and graduate art degrees at Pittsburgh State, where he lived in the art studios, trying everything from jewelry making to ceramics.
After earning his degrees, he “went from city to city” until he settled in Atlanta. There, Skip created a thriving art business. Over the years, he sold thousands of prints of his original drawings and paintings, many of which he describes as “Afro-centric.”
“I wanted to make work about preserving my history as an African American,” and these earlier works are rooted in history and memory, says Skip, who cites influences as diverse as Vincent Van Gogh and Harlem Renaissance artist Charles White.
At the age of 47, and feeling a bit homesick, Skip moved back to Kansas and taught at Labette County Community College. Back in Parsons, his subjects expanded to include sports figures and “local rustic things” such as rusted trucks and grain silos.
“It’s taking the mundane and trying to make it extraordinary,” he says.
See more examples of Skip’s artwork on his website, AaronSkipSmith.com.