Two Faces Of Jos. A. Smith Illustrator and Surrealist Jos. A. Smith has multiple personalities, enabling him to feel complete as an artist. As an illustrator, he has drawn political cartoons for Harpers, New York Times¸ Newsweek, and Time and created renderings of news events when photographs were unavailable; he was Newsweek’s courtroom artist for the Watergate Trail. Smith has also illustrated adult books including Erica Jong’s Witches, Mackinlay Kantor’s Andersonville, and Joseph Conrad—Heart of Darkness and Other Tales.
To many, he is best known as a children’s book author and illustrator. Work in that genre includes illustrations for more than fifty books: his own Circus Train, works of fantasy (Clay Boy by Mirra Ginsburg, Eek! Creak! Snicker, Sneak by Rhonda Gowler Greene, and Goblins in Green by Nicholas Heller), and of history (Audubon, Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier by Jennifer Armstrong, and The Yellow House, Vincent Van Gogh & Paul Gaugin Side by Side by Susan Goldman Rubin).
This exhibit contrasts Smith’s sketches and original illustrations for The Yellow House with a selection of surrealistic drawings and paintings done for exhibition. Imagery in these latter pieces is conceived using dream recall and non-drug induced altered states achieved through various techniques, including the visualization practices of Nyingmapa Sect Tibetan Buddhists, traditional Shamanic trance, and autogenic trance induction.
Many of these drawings represent months of patient, meditative work. “This answers an inner need that clearly could not be satisfied working under the time constraints required for published illustrations,” Smith explains.
Jos. A. Smith is Professor of Fine Art at Pratt Institute, where he has taught since 1962. He lives and works in Easton, PA. His work is included in major public and private collections in the United States and abroad, including the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Connecticut.
Dodd Center Gallery • Curators: Terri Goldich
and Norman D. Stevens