Shapeshifting, mythological goddesses who transform into animals emerge from hibernation in “Chelsea Smith: Magical Realism…Etching Myths and Legends” exhibit in the Orlando Public Library’s first floor gallery through July 31.
Fine artist Chelsea Smith is influenced by artists and printmakers Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt and her Irish and English heritage. Her artwork, which explores the empowerment of women, is inspired by Scottish, Welsh and Nordic animal symbology of ancient civilizations and folklores and brought to life with etched copper plates.
Smith drew pets to raise monies for Pet Rescue by Judy as a child and graduated from Lake Howell High School in Winter Park, Fla. as the Dora Lee Russell Scholarship for Fine Arts recipient. She established herself as a copper plate etching and printmaking artist after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Central Florida.
The copper plate etching process features an image drawn on a copper plate then transferred onto paper by using a printing press.
Smith’s favorite piece of artwork is the black-and-white “Tempus Fugit Vanitas Vita,” which means time flies vanity life.
“The artwork is a throwback to art history and the Renaissance period,” Smith said. “As a 21st century female artist, I wanted to represent a female artist because women weren’t allowed to draw human figures during the Renaissance.”
Smith has been garnering prestigious, fine-art accolades during juried national fine arts festivals. She has been bestowed with numerous national level fine art awards, including poster artist for the 2017 Mount Dora Arts Festival, a merit award during the Mayfaire-by-the-Lake Art Fest Lakeland 2016, the judges choice at the Central Park Art Festival Winter Haven 2016, first place in fine arts at the Longwood Arts & Crafts Festival and a merit winner during the 2015 Winter Springs ArtoberFEST. She also was selected for judging during the 2015 Winter Park Autumn Art Festival.
She has provided former U.S. President Barack Obama, musicians and bands with her artwork, including Duran Duran, the Goo Goo Dolls, Boy George of Culture Club, Adam Ant and Johnny Marr. Actresses Dichen Lachman from “Agents of Shield” and Billie Piper from “Doctor Who” also own her artwork.
This is Smith’s first solo exhibition at the Orlando Public Library, which features artwork from her “Sacred Feminine” and “Celtic Mythology” series. Her meet-the-artist reception was held on June 21. The festivities included an introduction by City of Orlando District 4 Commissioner and artist Patty Sheehan, discussion, question-and-answer session and artwork raffles.
Smith is honored to have her exhibition and reception at the Orlando Public Library.
“Having my first solo exhibition has been a lifelong dream of mine,” she said. “This is one of those milestone events featuring my whole body of work during my first 26 years up to this point. I got to meet new people and see my family and friends during the reception who have been supporting me throughout this ride. I enjoy showing people what I love to do along with educating them about my artistic process.”