To David MacSmith, the ability to be creative is a gift that each human brings into the world when he or she is born. To him, creativity is spiritual, and it is a spiritual nature that can grow with us as we grow.
MacSmith has been tapping into that creative nature since he was a child using a learn-to-draw kit to follow along with Jon Gnagy. Now he uses his paints to to create what he calls visual poetry.
MacSmith, a graphic designer and creative director by trade, has designed several local branding logos, including the one currently used by the city of Denison. He has also done projects for the Denison Development Alliance and the area’s advanced manufacturing program.
Most recently unveiled, his work can be seen in the logo and branding for the new Texoma Health Foundation Park that was inaugurated on Aug. 18.
“Art, in its broadest sense, is evocative communication,” he explains how an individual’s connection with something can turn into an art. “Music, poetry, prose, theatre and the various forms of two- and three-dimensional visual art media are each built on the premise of evoking a dialog between the artist and the audience.”
And the world needs that dialog because it needs creative solutions from all walks of society – teachers, scientists, machinists, plumbers, electricians, et cetera.
“We hear of the left-brain/right-brain characteristics, where being creative is a result of being a strong right-brain dominant person,” he says. “I tend to agree with the findings. A trait of right-brain dominance is thinking in a spatial/global context. This process allows for literally hundreds, if not thousands, of options as solutions. The opposing left-brain dominant thinking is a linear path process, which essentially brings a ‘logical’ singular conclusion.”
While creativity is generally associated with the arts, MacSmith believes that art needs to be included when we think about science, technology, engineering and math because art requires an individual to realize that there are multiple solutions to one problem.
“Art requires optional solutions – and in the case of painting, there are thousands of optional decisions to be made during the painting process,” he explains. “Each solution shifts the final outcome. Editing is a critical part of producing art.”
When MacSmith moved into the Texoma region in 2005, he knew it was a great time and a great place for art. He had his art in galleries in Boerne, Fredericksburg and Dallas, and when he got here, the first place MacSmith’s work was seen was at Art Place in Denison.
“I think it’s important to find something to be passionate about,” he says of why every individual should find his or her artistic outlet. “If you think you want to do art, expose yourself to the arts – go to art shows, visit galleries and museums, take classes, watch instructional videos, take a workshop. You may find your passion there, or you may find out that isn’t your ‘cup of tea,’ but I guarantee you’ll develop a greater appreciation for what it takes to do the art. After all, not everyone can be an accomplished artist – otherwise, who would buy art?”
Currently, MacSmith displays his art during various art shows at Mary Karam Gallery as well as his studio in downtown Denison. Soon, MacSmith’s work will be available online and he will also be showing his art on Instagram. Now individuals can view his art at Facebook.com/DavidMacSmith.
“I think it’s important to discover other artists whose work you admire and to see their work in person, if possible,” his email explains. “There’s so much more to be absorbed by being in the presence of art. Ideally, if you can watch an artist doing a demonstration, there is a lot of information to be gleaned by watching the process. Of course, most of this is technical information, but many artists are good at explaining the ‘why’ of what they are doing. This kind of learning is optimized in a workshop setting.”
As far as awards received, MacSmith says that he has won his share, but he feels like other artists are not his competition. He is always working to improve himself. As a painter, MacSmith uses his specialty to tell a story with each piece he creates.
“Early on, when I started noticing painters, it was the Impressionists that caught my eye — specifically Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas and Van Gogh,” MacSmith says. “In our small town during the ‘50s, the only place that carried any art supplies was the general paint store, which had everything from house paint to sign paint to a smattering of art supplies. I remember seeing a collection of very small books on individual painters. I picked out three or four of my favorites (Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh) and would pour through them in awe. I still have some of those little books.”
Those books are part of the inspiration MacSmith finds in his favorite subjects, landscapes.
“My style can be described as Expressionist-Impressionistic-Representationalism,” he says. “My goal is to paint my reaction to a specific place in a style that evokes an emotional connection with the viewer as a participant in completing the scene by placing them where I stood, feeling what my emotional response was and whatever emotion the painting brings to them.”
The emotion of painting is artistic in a way that MacSmith worships.
“Like Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Soli Deo gloria,’ my art is dedicated to the praise and glory of God,” he explains. “He gave me this gift; in thanks I give Him the praise and glory.”