Dan’s Papers

The week’s cover artist, Adam Smith, is a testament to tenaciousness, considering that he has stuck with his job as a graphic artist all these years while still pursuing his own creative endeavors. We talked to Mr. Smith about this process and his plans for the future.

Q: The pumpkin patch cover is not only indigenous to this area, particularly the North Fork, but also indicative of your own life.

A: Yes, although I live in Selden now, I grew up here in Long Island, in Port Jefferson where my family was really into boating. Even though I studied art at Syracuse University, I still settled in this area, working in Westhampton and now at Searles Graphics in Yaphank for the last seven years.

Q: How did Syracuse prepare you for the art profession?

A: I majored in illustration, but I had a well-rounded education in the visual arts too. I began to think I could actually make money at art. My training enabled me to get a full-time job in graphic design. I’m lucky because nowadays it’s hard; a lot of illustrations are stock drawings.

Q: But despite your fortunate situation, you still have another desire?

A: Yes. Inside, I want to be a classical painter and show in galleries.

Q: Are there any particular artists who have influenced this classical objective?

A: Yes, The Hudson River paintings, their vast landscapes, the lighting. Also in the 1970s, the work of Richard Estes. I saw his work as a kid, and he was a big influence, his intricacy. People think his paintings are photographs if they don’t look at them closely.

Q: I can see why you respect Estes. He’s also a Photo Realist like you. I bet the same thing happens when people see your work.

A: Yes, I want to capture things in the landscape that people may not notice. I did a beach scene where I painted the rocks in the water that you wouldn’t see in a photograph. The waves rolling in, the sun sparkling on the rocks. I want people to stop, notice and imagine they are walking into the painting.

Q: That’s a tall order. How do you do it?

A: It takes a lot of patience. I have tried to paint a little looser, but the technical precision always works itself in there.

Q: Always in the back of your mind, however, you’re thinking about the future, I would imagine.

A: Yes, hopefully, I’ll be doing commissions and have my work represented in galleries. I may possibly have my own gallery someday. Right now, our four-month-old baby girl keeps my wife and me busy.

Q: Do you think your attitude toward your art will change as the years go by?

A: Definitely. It will be my own art. People can take it or leave it. Buy it or not. The important thing is that it’s what I love to do.

– Marion Wolberg Weiss

Dan's Papers