Born 1979 in Haiti.
I guess that to understand my art, you must first understand where I come from – my roots.
First things first – yes, my name is Smith Thomas, not Thomas Smith. While that is unusual in the US, it is not at all uncommon where I come from.
I was born and raised in Haiti – a country that, for many, invokes images of poverty, hardship, and turmoil. While that is the unfortunate reality for most Haitians, there is another beautiful reality – a country with a the rich artistic culture that was born from that difficult and adverse existence.
The art is complex and beautiful – with roots in African art, French influences from the period of pre-rebellion slavery, and religious influences from Catholic to Vodou. The colors are vibrant and, in spite of a history of slavery and poverty, the art is joyful.
My parents instilled in me a love of Haitian culture – the paintings, dance, sculpture, literature, and poetry – and it was my fondest desire to live and work in that world. I acted, I drew, I painted, I wrote poetry, and I landed a job at the Centre Culturel Pye Poudre, in Port-au-Prince. While I lived in Haiti, I moved in cultural circles – the arts were at the center of my world.
Alas, in my 20’s, I moved to the United States and quickly became so busy trying to make ends meet – often working nights and odd hours, and caring for my family – that I had very little time and money to indulge my hunger for the arts.
I finally reached a point at which I could move toward my dream again and I set up a studio in my basement. It has been like “coming home” artistically.
As my paintings sell, I am setting money aside to travel periodically to Haiti to feed my inspiration, meet emerging artists and try my best to one way or another give some back to the artistic community.
Change is possible and dreams can come true.
Thank you for your interest in my work!