Klaire Smith-Fall 2017 Spotlight on Alumni Success

Where did you grow up? Portsmouth, Ohio 

Where did you go to high school?  Portsmouth High School 

When did you graduate from Rio? Spring of 2016 

What was your major? Bachelor of Fine Art (with Honors) and a minor in Graphic Design

What made you choose Rio? I wanted to be close to home on a small campus. Also, I got a scholarship! 

What was your best professional experience at Rio? My senior thesis. I focused my work around a conversation on Christian rhetoric and how these words affect women, specifically in Appalachia. The work included lithographs, xerograph installations, monotypes, and a gallery talk. 

What was your favorite course at Rio…and why? In printmaking, I took part in a Provost’s Academic Excellence Initiative, to assist the creation of lithographs for visiting artists as a part of the Little River Print Project. This had a huge impact on my career, because it gave me the opportunity to work in a collaborative print setting. This started me on a path of loving a collaborative environment—I am now a student at Tamarind Institute for Fine Art Lithography! The experience gained from LRPP and the prints I assisted on made up a large portion of my application portfolio submitted to Tamarind. 

What do you miss most about Rio? One of my favorite things about Rio was the sculpture across campus. I loved sitting inside the red Fletcher Benton sculpture beside the fine arts building. There is a charm about Rio that I’ve not been able to find elsewhere. 

What advice would you give current students at Rio? GO TO WORKHOPS AND EVENTS IN YOUR FIELD!  You will never know the information you will gain and what types of contacts you will make. If you don’t have the money (I certainly never did), talk to your advisor or the administrator of the events and see if there are grants, scholarships, or discounts. They want to help, and usually can.

Where do you work now? What’s your job title? I am currently a Printer Training Program (PTP) student at the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a part of this program, I spend between 60-70 hours a week training in the art of printing fine art lithographs. The program lasts two semesters. The fall semester is an intensive educational semester focused on technical training. In spring semester, students print collaborative lithographs with MFA students from the University of New Mexico. After these two semesters, interested students apply to become the apprentice printers for an additional year of training with professional artists. 

What was your first “big break”? In fall of my senior year I attended a workshop at the Huntington Museum of Art on waterless lithography by Jeff Sippel- a previous Tamarind education director. After meeting Sippel I got the opportunity be a studio assistant at his workshop in Santa Fe. My partner Jenea and I road-tripped to Santa Fe where we met other artists. One of these artists encouraged me to attend Tamarind and helped me make that a reality. Studying at the Tamarind Institute is my biggest break so far in my life! 

What are some of your greatest or most recent professional achievements? Turning in my Tamarind assignments on time! The volume of technical work required for this program is enormous, keeping up is difficult even when things go right (which they seldom do!). Every day I am able to get my work done with the results I am hoping for is a huge achievement. 

What kinds of art, music, writing, research or academic work are you doing now? All of my work now is technical training in lithography—grayscale bands, tusche washes, flats, color blends rolls and multi-color runs.

What’s next in your career? Printing in workshops in Europe or pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts. 

If you couldn’t have your current career, what would you do for a living? A working artist
If you could spend the day with any fine artist, living or dead, who would it be? Kathe Kollwitz 

What is your favorite book:  Art and Fear

Favorite artist: Jaune Quick-To-See Smith 

Favorite musician: Kendrick Lamar 

Favorite movie: The Silence of the Lambs 

Favorite food: Potatoes of all kinds

Favorite quote: “Google it” - Benjy Davies 

If you could move anywhere, where would you go? Any country that has nothing to do with Donald Trump. 

Do you live with a spouse, children, roommates or pets?  I live with my partner Jenea Elder. 

What’s the one thing that most people don’t know about you? I just found out that I’m allergic to shellfish, which really sucks.

For more about Klaire Smith, visit her Instagram: @klairesmithink

For more about Tamarind, visit http://tamarind.unm.edu