Born in Wilmington, Delaware he moved to New York City in the mid-eighties to study at Pratt Institute – Brooklyn. After matriculating from Pratt he made New York City his home until June 2004 when he relocated to Miami. Smith spent 14 years in Miami relocating to Oahu, Hawaii for a year and finally making Seattle his home in 2018.
While living in New York City, Smith made his living as an iconoclastic artist known for his highly recognizable paintings. Corporate patronage helped Smith become an increasingly recognizable figure in the crowded New York City art world, and his patrons included the likes of MTV, Pepsi, AT&T, Budweiser, VH-1, Walt Disney Co, and many more. The distinctiveness of Smith’s work culminated in the national Absolut Vodka campaign in 1996, entitled “Absolut Smith”. His artwork is has been displayed in the U.S. and abroad, including all the major contemporary art fairs. The works have been seen in major motion pictures and in global campaigns such as the poster design commissioned by the United States Olympic Team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Smith has been involved with the academic community for the majority of his career. He first started teaching at Parsons School of Design in New York City in the early 1990’s and enjoyed an eleven-year tenure at the school. He also was an instructor at Pratt, his alma mater, in the Communication Design department for two years. Over the years he has taught and lectured at several other institutions including over 5 years at the Miami Ad School, and lectured at many other institutions including; University of the Arts, University of Delaware, Cleveland Institute of Art, Altos De Chavon, and SCAD.
When Smith is not working he likes to indulge his interests in vintage automobiles and motorcycles, senseless adventures, and sailing.
Mark T Smith’s work embraces the classic skills of drawing and painting with the balance of a modern mindset. His work is an experiential exploration of the human drama, from the personal right through to the archetypal. The artist has a primary interest in the tactile experience of making beautiful expressions in the traditional forms of drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. To him, artwork has a primary function of ennobling the public, which is a neo-classic counter-revolution to the emotionally vapid, irony for its own sake, and endlessly self-referencing post-modern artwork. In order to recreate an awareness and appreciation of the Arts, it must once more be connected to and integrated into our daily lives in a meaningful way, one that includes the viewer into the visions and experiences of the artwork, and the artist.