October 15, 2016

Artist Profile | Jen Frost Smith

Jen Frost Smith is the featured artist at Provenance Gallery in October. Her current installation, Adorn the Mess will be on view by appointment until October 29th. You can also view an interactive web-based performance online at https://adornthemess.persona.co throughout the month. 

In addition, Smith is the artist behind Yogurt Lumpwhat she considers the "softer side" of her practice. It's a more commercial and light-hearted practice of illustration and fashion accessories. You can visit her website, www.jenfrostsmith.com or follow her on instagram @jenfrostsmith to stay up to date on her current projects. 

Deluge, Installation View, Clamp Light Studios & Gallery, January 2016
What are some of the influences on your work & artistic practice?
Stanya Kahn was a visiting artist when I was in undergrad at UT and the work she did with Harry Dodge had a profound effect on me. You could be a woman and be fucked up and make videos that are surreal, yet comment on what is happening in the world without being outright political.  Yet it was political in a sense where you feel this disconnect and awkwardness that drives you to the meaning. Basically, you could be a female artist that doesn't need to rely on beauty or mysticism. That being said there is so much influence in my work. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Michael Smith to name some that have influenced me from the start. I guess a big influence is graffiti culture, pop culture, and existentialism. Ha. But it's true.

I'm always making. It's how I cope with my nervous energy. I'm always doing something creative and worrying about it. If I look too much at what others are doing I can get too negative and spiral. So while I'm actively making I just go for it. And when I'm doing research I try to allow myself admire and try not to compare myself.

Detail from Deluge
What drives you as an artist? What are you passionate about that you're able to express through your art? 
I'm the youngest of 7 children. My mother gave birth to me when she was 47. I grew up in a conflicted home. I've always been an artist and had a strong studio practice. In some ways, I feel this was a method to coping with abuse and trauma. My mother died when I was 21. I was in an abusive romantic relationship and everything happening to me kinda fell into itself. After I healed and cleansed myself of the dirt I was able to focus on making a career out of my artistic practice and decided to go to school to become formally trained.
Doubt Grows, Animated Gif, 2015
Where you do find inspiration? 
Lately, I find inspiration in what is happening on the East coast, Clamp Light, and Instagram. I have so many inspiring friends living in Baltimore: Madeleine Cutrona (NYC) and Margaret Rogers. The East Coast has a different vibe from here and we often exchange correspondence to flex our art muscles, so to speak. 

I also find inspiration in the energy of San Antonio and the artists who hustle, Raul Gonzalez, Megan Solis, and so 
There are so many artists in any scene who are so full of themselves that you can't take them seriously. I appreciate artists who are working to fully support themselves in this community and artists whom I work with alongside in the gallery or who pass through. 

Which artists do you admire most, and why?
I don't most admire any one artist. We are all out there trying to work through our ideas, struggles, and concepts in our own way. I admire any artist who gives it their all. Who overcomes critics and keeps fighting to show another day! 

The Fight / The Hole, Mixed Media