Acrylic pouring can be difficult as a beginner but eventually it becomes much easier and your creativity will no longer be limited to blank canvases.
In today’s episode, Zach Smithey shares how he designed his home to resemble an acrylic pour and offers advice for listeners interested in becoming full-time artists.
If inspiration to create something truly unique is what you are seeking then look no further because this acrylic pouring episode is for you!
This episode is sponsored by Acrylicpouring.com – the leading fluid arts website which provides fluid artists around the world the inspiration and tips they need.
If you are new to fluid arts and want to get started now then go to https://acrylicpouring.com/ to learn the 5 fundamentals of making beautiful acrylic pours for FREE. Also, join their Facebook community where every day artists just like YOU are sharing their newest creations that just might end up on another one of these episodes.
More about today’s guest:
Zach Smithey is a full-time professional artist based in Saint Charles, Missouri. He has created more than 3000 original paintings, spent 7 years teaching art to high school students, and contributes much of his success to his grandma (also a professional artist) who invested much of her time helping him improve his creative abilities.
What have you learned from teaching art?
One thing I noticed from growing up and from teaching art is that a lot of beginner artists want to say something with their work before they’ve sharpened their tools of the process of making art.
Most of my life, I’ve been focused on the process of making art (realism, figures, portraits, abstract, etc.) and I didn’t really try to say anything until I felt confident that my skills were good enough to portray the messages that I wanted to say in my artwork. I would simply focus on how (not what) I’m making the art first.
When I was teaching, students would sit there and stare at a blank canvas or piece of paper once I gave them the assignment and then I would always tell them, “don’t sit there and stare at the blank canvas/sheet of paper because then you’re getting zero feedback.”
I would instead suggest to “think in motion and make marks.” It doesn’t need to be anything but you’ll start to see something in the marks that you’re making, or the paint that you’re spilling, and then that will lead to an idea. So if you want to be productive just start and as long as you don’t overthink it, the ideas will eventually come to you.
Normally, I come up with a lot of good ideas when I’m driving and then these ideas become new material for me to create something new.
Any advice for those wanting to become full time artists?
“If you want to become full time then you have to be full time now.” You can’t put part time effort into something and expect to get full time results.
When I was teaching high school, I would get off work, go home, feed the dogs, let them out, and then go to the studio until around 9pm-11pm, at night. I worked every weekday as well as every weekend. So I was full time, even when I had another job. I consider it “the life of an entrepreneur” and in this life you never really get to clock out.
How were you introduced into Acrylic Pouring?
I started pouring paint about 15 years ago and at the time I’d never seen pouring from any other artist. I remember thinking that I invented something new since no-one in the St. Louis art community was doing it (this was pre-Facebook & during the Myspace era!)
Approximately five or six years ago, I was tagged on several different pouring videos on Facebook with messages like, “Hey, watch this!” and “Isn’t this similar to what you’re doing?” I then realized that I was not the only one but it was cool that a community such as this one even existed surrounding this topic of pouring.
I love our community because everyone is encouraging and it’s much more of a tighter community than other art communities that I am a part of.
What made you turn your home into an acrylic pour?
I’ve got several different series bodies of work, stripes, pouring, Mark Twain, texture, etc. These series evolve. It’s not just that I don’t set constraints
Sometimes the stripe series collides with my wave series, which is my pouring series originated and that’s kind of what happened with my shipping container home. I was looking to unify all the different textures because
I used about 90 to 95% recycled and repurposed materials from My home. So like the bricks that I used are bricks that I found from a house being demolished. The shipping containers were old used retired shipping containers the containers, brick, concrete foundation, and some other textures on the house. I wanted to unify all that. So I was like, “what, how about some stripes?” and then I got to looking at the stripes. And so I did stripes going down my stairs. And then I was thinking there’s got to be some way to unify like, the floor and the stripes. So then like, on my stairs, I did it to where the stripes poured onto the floor and created like a striped puddle.
I then translated that to the exterior of our home where I did a giant, it’s kind of a pho pour, because I painted it to look like what if the stripes were melting off and pouring off of my house would look like, poured onto my driveway.
My house really stands out in St. Charles and I wanted to do something to make it stand out even more. That was like an extension of the artwork that I’m making in the studio.
What does your studio setup look like?
I have a 12,000 square foot warehouse that’s filled with hundreds of pieces of my artwork and this came about simply because I had outgrown my home studios. I am at the studio all day every day and I do still have about 50 pieces of artwork in my home but I try to separate the studio life from my home life because when I come home I like to relax.
How did you acquire the necessary skills to build these homes?
This was just another thing that I had piled on top of all the others that I eventually taught myself. In addition to teaching full-time and being a full-time artist, I would renovate several homes and every time I would buy a “fixer upper,” renovate it (while living in it for a few years) and then sell it.
Yes, building a container home is a lot different than a normal home however, my confidence continued to increase as I repeated this process until my wife and I finally deciding it was time to build something from scratch ourselves.
Do you create stories for your artwork when selling your art?
Yes, I do and it varies from piece to piece:
Sometimes a piece is (similar to described above) art for art’s sake: the process of creating the art is more important than the art itself. In other pieces there are specific stories for each piece I create. Then most of my artwork is like a paragraph in a book where the larger body of work is the whole story and each piece is a chapter or a paragraph of that larger story.
I find that my buyers really like pieces that are a part of something bigger than itself. It’s almost like the Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, or the Campbell soup can the repetition. Sure there are 1000s of those Campbell soup cans out there but if you have one, it’s now a part of something bigger than just that one piece and it just adds a little bit more validity or specialness to it.
Intuitively it seems backwards, you would think that if you own something and 1000s of other people also have it that it might devalue it but there’s almost a sense of community there, that you have one too.
Where should listeners go to see your style or buy your art?
This post is a fraction of the fluid arts podcast, don’t forget to view it and share it with your artist friends. Also, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to join our Facebook community. Thanks, and see you in the next episode!