28-year-old contemporary artist Lucien Smith is turning the art world on its head. Smith—who was called the “art world wunderkind” by The New York Times—amassed millions of dollars in sales by the tender age of 25, but decided to turn his back on the art world at the height of his career.
Choosing to swap his home in the West Village for a house in Montauk, and his NY studio for a sprawling 20,000 square-foot studio in South Central Los Angeles (yes, he commutes between LA and Montauk) Smith took a side-step from the gallery system he had been tied to since his late-teens.
In June, Smith transformed his LA space into a studio-cum-gallery entitled Appointment Only – a new “cultural complex” that sees Smith switch roles from artist to mentor and curator. His first artist-in-residence was Saint Laurent collaborator Alexander Muret, who after 3-months of mentoring, presented his large-scale vinyl collage series, Write Large and Thick. “They went down better then I could ever have imagined.” Says Smith, before adding that the biggest reward of transitioning from artist to mentor has been the process of supporting upcoming talent, “I love talking with artists about their work just as much as I like making work myself. It opens a lot of channels and ideas up for me.” He says, “I spent a lot of the last few years in a vacuum that wasn’t healthy for me or my practice, I’m all about opening things up now.”
Choosing to turn his back on the traditional gallery system was a conscious decision for Smith. “I just really felt like there was more I could be doing with the energy and momentum that I was generating from my career as an artist.” He says before adding that traditional curators constantly overlook too many artists because of their lack of commerciality “I guess I do understand why they do that, but I’m just more interested in presenting the experience of viewing great art rather then just profiting from it.”
It’s this innate drive to give back to the artists, audience and wider community that has inspired Smith’s latest project ‘STP’ – a cultural initiative combining food and art that’s due to launch officially in December. And the concept is simple – a space where emerging artists can be supported and mentored by Smith, and in turn, be given the opportunity to make an impact on neighbouring communities through food drive initiatives.
Smith’s upcoming exhibition at Appointment Only—simply called ‘Group Show’—is essentially the second stage of his launch, and a first-of-its-kind exhibition that will present the work of selected artists (chosen by Smith via an open casting call) at his LA gallery later this year. “I know so many people who enjoy making art, who aren’t necessarily going to be the next Warhol. Not that the world needs another Warhol… but they deserve to be able to present their work to a larger audience, and not just on social media. ”
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createdAt:Tue, 08 Aug 2017 13:12:19 +0000