Like a lot of kids, Angela Smith started drawing at her kitchen table. As a five year old, she would plop herself down and recreate the world around her-- everything from the home phone, the alarm clock, to the family cat found new life on her page. “All I needed was a big box of Crayolas and a fresh pad of paper,” Smith says with a laugh of her early creative days, “I could take on the world.”



Smith, currently an Administrative Assistant in the Philosophy Department, is also a painter and enjoys mid-century modern interior decorating. She credits the architectural exposure and observations made in her youth with creating the artist she is today. First on the list is her father, an architect and designer who emphasized the importance of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Harvard Five. For a time, he worked under Eliot Noyes, a member of the latter group. Noyes rubbed off on her father, who in turn rubbed off on her. “I grew up watching him incorporate many similar features in his own residential and commercial projects,” she says, “This early and steady exposure helped me develop an awareness of openness and functionality.” Smith emphasizes the importance of versatility in space, adding, “I have a huge appreciation for space that invites the outside in, and for all the multi-faceted details that are at play in modern spaces.”


At her local community college, Smith studied commercial art and graphic design and took her talents to the YMCA, where she designed advertisements. After college, she found herself working at Vassar, where worked in the Publications for 10 years, learning more about layout and design of articles, story pieces with photos, as well as illustration. Working at Vassar College, surrounded by Ferry and Noyes Houses and Chicago Hall, her interest in mid-century modern architecture was reawakened. She took a position in Chicago Hall in 1999 and, over the course of the next 16 years, began to work with others at the College to facilitate era correct improvements throughout the building. “This was an incredibly invigorating and personal effort for me,” she recalls, “and I began to enjoy a real focus on interiors and color choices.”


Armed with a new outlook on her own art, Smith began exploring the use of acrylics across a wide variety of sizes, and, for the first time, began painting on a large scale. Of her style, Smith says, “I love bold color and rich texture, used well. Eye-catching combinations which balance each other.” Otherwise, Smith is partial to clean and open spaces, where lighting and modern furniture provide beauty and warmth. Her taste is reflected in her own home, a mid-century modern hunted down by herself and husband. “It’s literally a living work in progress,” she says, “more and more each day, it seems, as projects are realized, planned and executed, the home becomes the art. Art is in my life at all times in a fully dimensional way.”


To Smith, art has profoundly impacted every sphere of her life. “It has undoubtedly changed my perspective… it’s a fantastic ongoing exploration,” she says, “I feel as though there is never too much information or visual experience. One stage of my creativity always seems to lead me to the next. It’s very interconnected with daily life, living and work spaces, clothing choices, nature and so many other hidden influences. For me, it is a kind of magic. That box of crayons is still a very good thing!”