LITHOGRAPHS | PHOTOGRAPHY | MUSICIAN | SONGWRITER
Darden Smith’s multi-media practice brings together songs, photography, drawing, illustration, video, printmaking, essays and performance. He seeks to find the humor in the mundane, the beauty in the rubble and the grace of the overlooked detail in order to translate what he sees into something new. He’s not interested in making an exact replica because, as he says, “We already have that.” Moving between and combining mediums allows him a broader horizon in which to work. His music is rooted in the Texas songwriting traditions, and as such, the power of story is prevalent in his works. In his mind, a piece, whether it’s a song, drawing or photograph or a print, isn’t finish until it sings.
As a visual artist Smith is influenced by cartoons, line drawings, Karl Blossfeldt’s nature photography, Cy Twombly’s paintings, Francesco Clementi’s watercolors, his quite extensive stamp collection, and what he calls rhythmic visual dissonance – the objects and repeated patterns our lives.
Along with releasing 17 full length albums, Darden has composed music for film, TV and dance/theater. His symphony, Grand Motion (1999) was commissioned by the Austin Symphony. The Habit of Noticing: Using Creativity to Make a Life (and a Living) was published in 2018. Western Skies, (2022) Smith’s most expansive project to date, encompasses an album of new music; a spoken word album of essays; a book of photographs, lyrics and writings; lithographs; drawings and video. Darden’s visual art has been shown at Bale Allen Gallery (2018), Flatbed Press (2019) and Mark Smith Art (2020), Redbud Gallery (2022) and Austin’s Davis Gallery (2023). His work is in private and corporate collections in the US, UK and Belgium, as well as the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Collection.
© 2022 Darden Smith / Bull By The Horns
Darden Smith is a musician and artist with a 35-year career that continues to evolve and grow. He has released seventeen critically acclaimed albums, toured extensively in both the US and Europe, composed a symphony, scored three full-length dance theater works and written music for film and advertising. His first book, The Habit of Noticing: Using Creativity to Make a Life (and a Living) was published by Irie Books in 2018. Western Skies (2022) is Smith’s most expansive project to date, encompassing a book of photographs, lyrics and essays, an album of new songs and a series of lithographs, drawings, videos and spoken word recordings. He is currently the inaugural songwriter in residence at the University of Texas at Austin.
Smith’s visual art is in private and corporate collections in the US and Europe. His first solo exhibition was in 2018 at Bale Creek Allen gallery in Austin, TX. The site-specific installation, What I See When I See You, is in the permanent collection of Facebook (Meta). Smith’s Western Skies Lithographs, a suite of 11 lithograph and silkscreen images based on his Polaroid photographs, was first exhibited at Houston’s Redbud Gallery in Spring 2022. In 2022 by the Library of Congress purchased Smith’s etching, Lucky Strike, for inclusion in its Prints and Photographs Collection.
The University of Texas at Austin recently named Smith as its inaugural Songwriter in Residence.
Gallery Exhibitions and Installations:
2018 The Habit of Noticing – Bale Creek Allen Gallery, Austin, TX; Solo Exhibition
2019 What I See When I See You, Installation, Permanent Collection Facebook
2020 Flatbed Redux – Flatbed Gallery, Austin, TX; Group Exhibition
Mark Smith Gallery, Johnson City, TX; Solo Exhibition
2022 Western Skies Lithographs – Redbud Gallery, Houston, TX; Solo Exhibition
Western Skies Lithographs– 4th Street Gallery, Blanco, TX
2023 PrintAustin – PrintExpo featured artist; Riot monoprint lithograph series
Late Summer Dreams – Davis Gallery, Austin, TX; Group Exhibition
Western Skies – Prints and Drawings – Davis Gallery, Austin, TX; Solo Exhibition
Western Skies – Prints and Drawings – Studio at Comfort / Hotel Giles; Comfort, TX
Purchase available paintings in Darden's Shop