Paul Anthony Smith was born in St. Ann’s Bay in Jamaica, but was later raised in Miami, USA. He is an up and coming artist who received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and is now living in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been displayed in many museum and group exhibitions, including the Seattle Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and many more. I am a fan of his work and enjoyed speaking with Paul about his favourite books. Here is my interview with Paul Anthony Smith…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I respond by saying, I eat food and then let them know I’m an artist, a multimedia artist.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
I recall reading the evening newspaper. I didn’t read too many books back then, I was more into drawing from the comics.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be an Artist or a Culinary Chef.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
My school aged self would be happy with how I turned out, pursuing my dream of being an artist. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that I’ve persevered and followed my desires to make art and engage the public.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
I prefer to read spontaneously. I love articles and stories within historical context.
Which book has had the biggest impact on your career so far?
I would say the internet; it’s the biggest book of resources most people have at their finger tips.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
The Bible, it’s a book that reminds me of my family and people within the church.
I really don’t know how to answer this, but I would say Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is the one that I spoke of often when it first came out; it was like I was reading questions and answers to my thoughts.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
I prefer non-fiction.
Do you think reading is important?
We all know. Reading is definitely important and our means of expanding one’s vocabulary and thoughts. It creates a sense of self and allows questions to be asked within our world. Reading spills creativity.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
I did not read words, I read images. It’s David Hammons: 5 Decades by Mnuchin Gallery, it is filled with images of his stellar works spanning 5 decades of practice.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
Real books, its the main reason why it has taking me weeks to respond to you. I despise staring at a screen.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, and all of Mr. Baldwin’s books.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
The Rosetta Stone. I desire new languages specifically spanish and Italian, then maybe french.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
When to Pick Mangoes.