Artist Taylor Smith Speaks About New Art at Pando Fine Art

Taylor Anne Smith

Artist Taylor Smith (Photo

By Haley Freeman, Arts Writer


January is a busy time in Park City as ski season rages on and the Sundance Film Festival takes place. No matter your reason to visit Park City, there are plenty of art galleries that are worth your time. I spoke with artist Taylor Smith about her recent show in the Pando Fine Art Gallery located on Main Street. Read on for insight on her artwork, artistic inspirations and the importance of advocating for the climate through art.

“Butch & Sundance v2.0” by artist Taylor Smith (Photo


Taylor Smith is an artist from Indianapolis, Indiana. She began making art at a young age stating that her mother, who recently passed, was an artist, so she has been surrounded by art her entire life. The recent loss of Smith’s mother “left a very big void, as she was a constant inspiration in [her] studio and in life.”

After graduating from the University of Indiana completing studies in art, business and German, Smith went to the AdBK (Academy of Fine Arts) in Germany in both Berlin and Nuremberg. While a student in Germany, Smith had many opportunities to collaborate with other artists, including Keith Haring.

“As a young artist, I lived and studied art in Berlin and in 1986,” Smith said. “I was part of a group who painted the yellow base layer for Keith Haring the night before he created his famous chain of interlinked figures on the Berlin Wall in the colors of the East and West German flags symbolizing the bringing together of the two peoples. Only when the East German guards were convinced that Haring was not defaming East Germany was he safe to continue working, though he had technically crossed into East Germany because they claimed both sides of the Wall belonged to them. I was able to stand there watching him and chatting while he painted his piece over my own yellow base coat in about four hours.”

Smith continued. “It was a dangerous and curious place to live and be an artist in the 1980s,” she said. “And then within weeks, more graffitists painted on that mural and soon there was very little left to see. But that was really the point of it I suppose, it is all impermanence. Just being in that environment made you feel like you were doing something important — more than just painting on a canvas in the safety of a classroom or a studio.”

“American Archive #04” by artist Taylor Smith (Photo

Art Now and Using Mixed Media

Now Smith works out of her studio in Indianapolis, which is “a historic Stutz car factory building dating back to 1909 in the heart of the Indianapolis downtown area.” Smith’s art uses mixed media and references a lot of American and global pop culture.

Smith was recently in Park City for a gallery show at Pando Fine Art. The show will be open through the rest of January and highlights Smith’s large, contemporary paintings on recycled computer floppy disks.

I really enjoy Smith’s usage of different materials and styles in her artwork, so I asked her about her process. Smith said that she loves recycling vintage floppy disks for her art, stating the many benefits. 

“First and above all, they are not able to be recycled,” Smith said. “They are mixed metal and plastic, so they generally all go into landfills. By turning them into a painting surface, I am able to do so many things all at once. A high priority for me is that I am able to keep them out of the waste stream.”

The use of vintage floppy disks also allows Smith to add a deeper story to her art work, saying the floppy disks “are a fascinating time capsule from the 1980s and 1990s. All of the original software and data are still held inside of these disks. They contain digital memories and pieces of real lives. There are wedding photos, school homework, people’s tax returns, old video games, diaries, long-forgotten computer programs and so much more. When you step back and view the artwork, it is what I hope people find to be a visually impactful painting. But when you step closer and begin studying the individual pieces of the larger work, those floppy disks, it becomes a journey of discovery.”

“Marilyn Monroe Disaster # 02” by artist Taylor Smith (Photo

Besides using floppy disks, Smith also uses collages in her series called “Luxurious Disaster.” The series refers to the Andy WarholDisaster” series.

“In a different series of my paintings I work with collage where I will blend old found paper posters torn from walls and alleyways, consumer packaging and vintage advertisements that resonate with me,” Smith said. “I use oil paint, enamel, acrylic and screenprint also in my work. There are also certain paintings that I will also pour a glass-like clear epoxy resin coating over to create a glossy, jewel-like finish to emphasize and speak to the “shiny and new” presentation of so many things in society these days.” In this series of art Smith explores “society’s fascination with consumerism and the 24hr news cycle. It’s layered with complication and simultaneously bright and dark themes.”

Snowy Mountains and Keeping it that Way

I asked Smith what her favorite work was at the moment and we both find a common love for her snow skiing themed floppy disk artworks. Smith said that she “created a series of these paintings on the computer floppy disks which reference old vintage snow skiing travel posters from the 1940s and 1950s, as well as a series of snow skiers and snowboarders wearing astronaut helmets with 24kt gold leaf face shields,” saying, “they feel both vintage and digitally modern at the same time.”

“Celestial Freestyle v1.5” by artist Taylor Smith (Photo

Climate change is a cause Smith is very passionate about and sheds light on with her “Snow Connects Us All” collection. Smith shared that “just as I mentioned how important stewardship of natural resources and recycling is to me, climate change concerns me greatly. I have seen and witnessed the changes happening. I remember the weather and snow being different when I was younger. This is immensely distressing. And because I am a passionate skier and I love the mountains, my alarm at diminishing snow levels is very high.”

From her concern sparked action. Smith came up with the idea to make artwork incorporating levels of melted snow water to the materials so she “could personalize those artworks to a specific location where the melted snow water came from.” Therefore these artworks have pieces from all over the world in them. Smith described these paintings as “a series of very abstract expressionist works that lean heavily on loose movements and white and black with areas of intense color.” When possible, Smith partners with climate change organizations to donate profits from these paintings and help propel efforts to combat climate change. 

“Alta” by artist Taylor Smith created with melted snow (Photo

What’s Next

Next up in Smith’s agenda is to create more work with new subjects and, of course, more ski themed works coming in March to Park City. Make sure to check out Taylor Smith’s artwork and collection Digital Dreams v2.0 at the Pando Fine Art Gallery in Park City. For more information check out Smith’s website and Pando Fine Art Gallery’s website.


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