"I See Art as a Means of Connection" -- An Interview with Visual Artist Armisey Smith

Rachel Aban

An Interview with Visual Artist Armisey Smith

Armisey Smith uses diverse materials to honor women of color and critique aspects of systemic oppression. On view until April 1, 2022 at Gallery Aferro, her solo exhibition “In Time and In Tide" presents powerful reflections on the causal relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism via oil stick drawings, masks made of tulle, zippers, and glitter, as well as her Side Eye/Pink Eye series of acrylic portraits, which depict women of color giving the side-eye, with hot, pink blood in their eyes.

Brooklyn-born Armisey Smith, who lives in Newark, holds advanced degrees from both Parsons and Pratt Universities in New York City. We recently interviewed Smith to hear more from this prolific illustrator, public artist, arts administrator, and educator.


Mixed media painting by Armisey Smith. Photo of art work by Rachel Fawn Alban.

How would you describe your creative process?

My creative process is hard to explain. I begin with an idea. The idea grows into something like a mantra. In my head, I repeat this mantra, and consider images that come to my mind and what I would like to create. Then, I think about how to best convey and embody these images, and I start sourcing materials. These are the seeds which drive my compulsion to create art. The compulsion to create doesn't really end, so I have plenty more art not in my current solo show.