Kiah Zellner Smith
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Kiah: “My name is Kiah and I am from Chicago, Illinois”
When did you start painting?
Kiah: “I don’t think there was ever a point in my life where I wasn’t painting! And the beauty of that is, I think that’s the way it goes for lot of people, even those who don’t identify as “painters” or “artists”. During our childhoods most of us dabbled in finger painting or chalk drawing. So like many others, I don’t think there was ever a starting point for my painting. It was a natural part of childhood that thankfully continued into my adulthood. I really love the way my mind re-centers and deeply focuses when I’m painting. Everything on the periphery and everything distracting or troubling just melts away. It just feels so meditative and somehow relaxing even when the work is challenging. So one of the main reasons I paint is, not only because the world is endlessly inspiring, but because the act of painting feels natural and right and rejuvenates me in ways other activities have never been able to!”
What subjects do you like to paint and why? Kiah: “I am always painting women. And more specifically, women of colour. And even more specifically, women of colour who are often somewhat racially ambiguous or multi-racial looking. I think I’m just always painting women who in some other dimension, I would love to be friends with!”
Did you go to an art college or are you self-taught?
Kiah: “I’m self-taught! This also means I’m always trying my best to pick up techniques from the artists around me who I admire. Free lessons are everywhere!
Do you have a career in art or is it a hobby? Kiah: “Currently a hobby, but I’m open to it becoming more integrated in my career and daily life.”
Which four colours could you not do without? Kiah: “Ochre yellow, blood orange, turquoise, coral.”
What is your specialism? Kiah: “Portrait painting.”
What materials do you use?
Kiah: “Cardboard (specifically pizza boxes) and watercolour or acrylic paints, but I’m super open to exploring usage of various mixed and recycled materials.”
Which artist inspires you?
Kiah: “I’ve recently been very inspired by young, burgeoning, female artists on Instagram. There’s so many and I come across them so randomly that I can’t share all their handles, but the artists I discover on social media are the most inspiring to me at this time. Their work often feels energetic, authentic, and accessible.”