Mark T Smith

Smithsonian Magazine Commission 2021

This piece was created for the Smithsonian Magazine, January/February 2022. The goal of this communication is to show the historical pathway of graffiti as an art form. Starting with the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians and continuing all the way to the present day. Graffiti has been used over the years for many of the same purposes -advertising a service, sharing one’s opinions/feelings, and/or just as a work of aesthetic beauty.

The design features three spray cans, each can has an icon representing different cultures and the cans are arranged to evoke columns of an ancient building. From left to right: Greek/Roman sculpture/bust, Egyptian pyramid, Mayan/South Central America, pyramid. The artist chose the spray cans for two reasons, first – they connect the present and the past, and second, it is what everyone immediately thinks of when you say graffiti. Interlaced with the spray cans are letters that make up the word “Graffiti” – with the large “G” taking up the top of the composition. Because copy is a larger part of any graffiti, having text was important.

“The History of Graffiti” Mixed media on 20×30 inches on paper, 2021
“The History of Graffiti” Graphite on 16×20 inches on paper, 2021

About Mark T. Smith

Mark T. Smith is a celebrated American painter. He is best known for his colorful, complex paintings and his passion for the application of art into the fabric of everyday life.

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