Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Mark T. Smith’s artistic journey unfolded against the backdrop of the vibrant New York City art scene in the late 1980s. Smith’s artistic prowess and worldview were profoundly shaped during his time in Brooklyn, where he pursued education at the esteemed Pratt Institute. At Pratt, he dedicated himself to honing his figure drawing skills, fostering a deep appreciation for the time-honored traditions of draftsmanship and observational art. This foundational training, coupled with exposure to contemporary influences such as graffiti, hip-hop, and post-pop art, as well as the omnipresent visuals of commercial art and advertising in the city, coalesced to shape his unique visual language.
In 1990, at the youthful age of 22, Mark achieved a significant breakthrough that set the trajectory of his artistic career in motion. The Walt Disney Company commissioned him to create a poster for the nationwide announcement of Disney World’s 19th birthday. This project introduced his dynamic and lively artistic style to the public eye. Throughout his twenties, Mark thrived as a distinctive artist within New York City’s bustling art realm. His unmistakable paintings and unwavering artistic vision attracted corporate sponsorship, elevating his presence in the competitive artistic landscape. Notably, patrons including MTV, Absolut Vodka, Pepsi, Harper Collins, Budweiser, VH-1, Yum Brands, The New York Knicks, and numerous other Fortune 500 companies lent their support to his journey. He exhibited his work globally, with multiple solo exhibitions in New York City, UAE, Los Angeles and group exhibitions as well.
In 2003, a new chapter beckoned as Mark relocated to Miami, pivoting his focus to explore the realm of personal expression and fine art. He actively engaged in Miami’s esteemed Art Fair Week, with successful solo and group exhibitions, and had the privilege of showcasing his project titled “Miami Moderns” at Casa Casuarina in Miami Beach, once the residence of Versace. During this phase, Mark found representation through a network of galleries and made significant appearances at acclaimed US art fairs, including Art Miami, Art Chicago, Art Hamptons, and more. He also introduced sculpture to his artistic repertoire during this time period.
In 2009, a pivotal moment arrived in Mark’s artistic journey as the reverberations of the 2008 financial crisis and personal challenges cast shadows. Despite these formidable barriers, his commitment to his craft remained unwavering. Though his presence on the grand stage of art may have receded, he channeled his energies into his studio work and dedicated efforts to impart the transformative power of creativity to the forthcoming generations. During his earlier days in New York, Mark’s passion for education had led him to the hallowed halls of the Parson School of Design and Pratt Institute, where he served as an educator for over a decade. Rekindling this fervor for teaching, he extended his expertise to various outcome-oriented institutions. During this period of time, Smith left Miami and lived in San Diego, California, Honolulu, Hawai’i and Seattle, Washington. Simultaneously, he delved into the business landscape, launching 2 edtech ventures. His entrepreneurial spirit also propelled him into roles as a catalyst for growth in other firms, spanning the domains of technology education and digital consultancy. These pursuits culminated in his rise to the position of Senior Vice President.
In the year 2020, after nearly a decade of semi-hiatus from the art world, Mark reignited his public pursuit of his artistic passion with renewed vigor. His revival commenced with several noteworthy commissions, including an album cover for UB40. In 2023, He relocated his studio back to the east coast, to Jacksonville, Florida. Now, at the age of 55, he finds himself fully immersed in the creative process once again, diligently crafting artwork for upcoming exhibitions and executing commissions.
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.
Exhibition History / Selected Awards
2022 Milagro Galleria Merida MX “3 month Solo Exhibition”
2020 The Lighthouse Foundation / Group show / Permanent Collection
2017 SLS Miami / “Five Easy Pieces” / Solo Exhibition / MIami Art Fair Week
2016 Group Exhibition Frederick Holmes and Company, Seattle WA
2014 Solo Exhibition “Secret Societies” Frederick Holmes and Company, Seattle WA
2013 Group show. Habatat Gallery Pop up exhibition Wynwood/Miami, FL
2012 Art Miami, Contessa Gallery
2011 Group show. Habatat Gallery, West Palm Beach, FL
2010 Ongoing exhibition, Habatat Gallery, Tyson Corner, VA
2010 “Unique Visions”, Contessa Gallery, Cleveland, OH.
2010 Art Miami, Contessa Gallery
2010 Solo exhibition Soyka, Miami FL
2010 Solo Exhibition Biltmore Hotel, Miami FL
2009 Solo Exhibition Contessa Gallery, Cleveland, OH.
2009 Art Chicago preview exhibition Taslitz Studio, Chicago, IL.
2009 Art Miami represented by Contessa Gallery, Cleveland, OH.
2008 Art Miami, represented by Contessa Gallery, Cleveland, OH.
2007 Steve Martin Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2007 Casa Décor 07, Miami, FL
2007 Steve Martin Gallery, Miami, FL
2007 Jack Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2007 Entertainment Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
2006 Solo Show Casa Casuarina / Art Basel Preview Miami Beach, FL.
2005 Solo Show AJ Japour gallery Miami Beach, FL.
2002 Paul Harris Fellow / The Rotary Foundation
2002 Solo Show. Pilgrimage to Paradise. East Coast.
2001 Gold Pencil The One Club Interactive
2001 ID Interactive Award
2000 Group Show. Cow Parade. NY, NY.
2000 ID Magazine Silver Award
1998 Group Show. Art Directors Club NY, NY.
1997 Print Magazine Regional Design Annual
1997 Cool Type, Published by North Light Books
1996 Solo Exhibition, E3 Gallery NYC, NY.
1996 First Place. Addy Awards. Wilmington, DE.
1995 Print Magazine Regional Design Annual
1994 Group Show. Santa Monica Museum of Contemporary Art, CA.
1991 Print Magazine Regional Design Annual.
1991 Group Show. Art Directors Club. NY, NY.
1990 Gold Pencil One Club of Orlando, FL.