Artists' Directory

Hillel Smith

Artist Statement

I revel in taking the familiar and bringing to it the unexpected. Surprise, whimsy, and humor are what makes art enjoyable to me, but without losing sight of craft and technique. Trained in drawing and painting, and now a graphic design professional, I create figurative works and typographic pieces with an ever-present twist. I love combining disparate elements, including hidden messages, and creating otherwise ordinary objects out of unconventional materials. I'm fascinated by the interplay between old and new, boldness and subtlety, order and chaos.

After experimenting with silkscreen, I began creating work with spray paint and stencils. Stenciling allows me to indulge my precise designer habits, while spray paint requires me to let go and accept the uncontrollable. Like silkscreen, spray paint stencils allow for flat colors, clean lines, and an emphasis on form and construction. Working digitally further allows me to embrace my affinities for geometry and optical effects.

Growing up, I believed all Jewish art was ugly and stale. Discovering luminaries of generations past who infused their Judaism with the zeitgeist, I was encouraged to meld my interests in typography and contemporary trends in digital design and street art with my background in Jewish text and tradition. I aim to make Jewish work that is current, challenging, beautiful, and compelling.

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