Mike Smith was born in 1942 in Portland, Oregon, and spent his childhood growing up in Vancouver, Washington, and the Puget Sound area. He now resides in a small pulp and paper community located on the shores of the Columbia River. He graduated from the University of Portland with a degree in English Literature. Smith began drawing and sculpting at the age of two, after an interlude of baseball, he became a serious full-time artist at the age of twenty-five. He supported himself doing graphic design and other commercial art endeavors while pursuing his fine art career.
He has tried to abandon any “school” of painting and uses an autobiographical approach. His subjects are mostly found in his backyard or around the neighborhood in which he lives. His dogs, the cat, his rowboat, and ducks in his pond, are all included in the bright watercolors of his paintings. He also sculpts in bronze, paints in oils and does silk screen prints.
Smith says, “People always want to know the meaning of my work and where I get my ideas from. My work is simply about the people and places and animals I love. Images, unlike the written word, do not dictate to you. After twenty-five years of painting almost every day, it has become my world.” It is fun-filled, colorful, and full of life.
Over the years, Smith has had more than 50 one-man shows. One of the most interesting was a double show in Leipzig, Germany – in a gallery at the American Consulate. The media he uses includes watercolor, pastel, bronze (cast and fabricated), oil, ceramic, wood, and several printmaking techniques.