Featured Artist: Jonpaul Smith Weaves Together “What Was Left”

Few activities embody the creative spirit of mankind than art, and Sinclair has always encouraged and offered young artists opportunities to not only further their studies in the medium but display it for all of the Sinclair community to see.

The Burnell R. Robert Triangle Gallery in Building 13 is a primary example of Sinclair’s appreciation of art. Since the ’90s, this gallery has proudly displayed the finest artwork in the Dayton area.

According to Pat McClelland, the gallery coordinator, “when Building 13 was being re-configured, the college’s principle architect: Peter Capone (also a supporter of the arts), knowing that the Art Department would occupy this building, recognized the importance of having an art gallery that could exhibit work by serious professional artists and serve as a learning tool for our fine art students as well as a gathering place for the greater Dayton arts community.”

Many featured artists have seen their works displayed in the Triangle Gallery, such as Christopher Troutman and Domenic Cretara, two internationally recognized masters of drawing as well as Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, whose art is currently in the collection of The National Gallery.

This month’s featured artist and his unique creations are sure to attract interest. The artist in question is a professional artist of 14 years, Jonpaul Smith.

Smith’s skills with weaving have served him well throughout his art career
(Photos by Brian Walker)

In Logansport Indiana, born and raised, around beer boxes is where he spent most of his days. This is because his parents owned a liquor store. The community he grew up in valued the tradition of craft such as knitting and weaving quilts and baskets.

Smith’s mother was a basket weaver and this heavily influenced him to learn the craft of weaving which can be seen in many of his works.

He attended Hanover College where he studied geology and double majored in anthropology and fine arts. Smith claims anthropology gave him a deeper understanding of the object and how we bestow and treat them, which influenced his work for years to come.

Smith then went to the University of Cincinnati and mastered in printmaking. Since then, Smith has been creating masterpieces by hand from what people would normally consider to be rubbish.

His “What Was Left” exhibit is mostly comprised of discarded packaging from consumer products such as toys or cereal boxes.

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“Its really interesting cause it ends up with this really elaborate and beautiful packaging that everyone spent all this time on that’s meant to draw you to the shelf and make you want to buy it, and then you take it out and you throw it away,” Smith said. “I was always interested in all this time and effort for what was discarded or basically left behind.”

He is inspired most by systems and patterns shared by both living and artificial objects, such as how our veins spread throughout our bodies like the limbs of a tree spread about the earth below. Or how a hurricane may take on the appearance of a galaxy from a bird’s-eye view. The concept of objects differing in appearance depending on view inspires Smith and his creations.

Exhibition proposals are accepted at any time for the Triangle Gallery. A committee reviews proposals and McClelland puts together the season’s display. It presents diversity of media, expression and subject matter and features 14 of the typical 80 to 120 proposals sent.

The gallery focuses on showcasing quality, originality and professionalism, in addition to works that will enhance the techniques and approaches taught to art students, or work that broadens anyone’s understanding of the subjects being addressed.

Samuel J. Claude
Managing Editor

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