~’UNDER THE VOLCANO’ . . my work !!

that’s my work to the left, and those are Simon’s small minimalist / punk canvases, the 3 pieces on the right.
the first ‘historic’ rendition . . of a pop-up show on 80s art – now recreated on . .

NANCY SMITH, ‘Self Portrait’, 1985. Tarot card series. charcoal drawing, 38 x 30 in.

I couldn’t figure out the impulse behind these drawings, until much later . .
it wasn’t so much about telling the future – how will your life unfold ?
but more, it was a sense of some powerful inner ‘radar’ . . .
of being able to divine, not the future of people’s lives, but more, in the realm of pure art / being able to ‘scout’ out talent, from its earliest manifestations, as it rose up, in the swirling unknown – of the hard-core . . ‘underground’.
& therefore: under the volcano / off the grid / not on the map.

NANCY SMITH, ‘Mirror, Mirror’, 1985. Tarot card series. charcoal drawing, 38 x 50 in.

it was a very inward, magical process. my drawing wasn’t a narrative . . about what was going on around me, but more: wtf was I doing here, in NYC ?
I didn’t fit in, I was kind of a outcast. I had no voice, no presence, no power – except this invisible nascent power of ‘radar’ – that I felt within, and which mystified – the hell out of me.
at the time, Medieval Italian Tarot decks, and 18th C. Edo period Japan – were a big solace & source of inspiration.

it was both a charmed & demonic / confusing time.
my inner life refused to submit to the standard art world . . forces.

but, somehow in the depths of it all, my drawings always spoke back to me . . with laughter. and mirth. so . . I kept on going !!

NANCY SMITH, ‘Seer’s Vase’ watercolor on paper, 18 x 24 in. ca. early 1990’s.

the show’s curators, KATE & THEO CERIGO, also included a few of my framed watercolors in the show. god knows – they totally got them / having lived with them, all their sweet, young lives . . .
same story, what was going on . . . o-u-t there ??
how . . did I fit in ?
how to explain the visions, the vibes, the creativity ?
if you think about, what you know about – art in the Lower East Side from that period, you can see what a strange character – I was. it was the season of the Pictures generation, photographs, & realism . . abounded.
and I was trying to express in paint and charcoal . . what I was not even sure of . . myself !! trying to uncover some magic stone within me.
trying to divine a path for myself / & find a voice . . to follow.

let’s raise a glass to . . mystical realism !!
we are heading deep into the looking glass / of Magical . . . thinking !!

right under – the volcano / it’s not any other standard variety / museum-certifed 80s artist – that I see / brought to life on – this most cutting edge of artists’ web sites: VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER !!

never recognized by the mainstream – in the mad swirl of the Lower East Side 80s / a key player in WE LIVE IN PUBLIC, in the tail end of the first web tech digital frontier 90s, but still (!!) not recognized / as an artist in my own right.
exploited for my radar on artnet (2002-04) & STILL not recognized as an artist in my own right . . . ?!!!!

it seems it took almost a lifetime, to find my art – recognized & preserved in . . what else ? the vision of the future !!
aka . . VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER, out of Paris /
& NICHOLAS STEINDORF, here . . in NYC who put it – to form / himself part of the new wave of young artists invigorating the underground scene this decade, & which somehow, finally gets that my radar & my art – are one and the same.
of course, it would the newest wave, coming to rescue me from the sorry neglect – of my so-called peers.

just goes to show:
what comes around, goes around ?
lol, Nicholas Steindorf who walked into my life, because Kate was looking for a roommate – in Brooklyn, and shook that mundane glass ball, called Craig’s List.
and so the world, my world . . . turned upright – finally.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH, unless otherwise noted.