Justin J. Smith

Region: MFA Annual

City / State: Brooklyn, NY

The American Dream idealizes home ownership as an identifying component of ascent to the middle class. But the maxim “There’s no place like home” illuminates the importance of home not as a symbol but as a feeling. My caravans reflect the notion that wherever you travel or move to, there is the possibility of finding the safety and comfort of home. The anti-aesthetic, somewhat crude characteristics of my paintings reflect specific experiences and identities of my family, which transcend time and location. From Akron, Ohio, to Los Angeles, California, dead or alive, we are bound together in a common desire. I approach the work with confident, direct brushstrokes and focus on the application of the paint, with minimal paint mixing. The use of color represents the power of familial identity. The painting establishes a simple relationship with the viewer, eliciting a calm curiosity. The images arouse an intriguing sense of security while maintaining an illusive separateness.