Austin Smith is a mixed media artist living in New York City. Originally from Detroit, Austin studied Print Media at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago before making New York City his home in 2017.
Coupling print making with an exploratory immersion into New York City nightlife, Austin started using himself as a canvas of his personal artistic expression, creating a strong vehicle to his art via social media under the name Empty Pools.
His portraiture is a collection of make-up, facial prosthesis, objets trouvés, glass and metal work – a nod to fantastical darkness. It is revealing, public and personal. His performance with metal accessorizing eventually led him to design his own jewelry pieces.
Through sharing the creative process of confronting his own inner layers and putting them out for all to see, Austin was able to able to connect with himself. His jewellery collection invites others into his world.
Threat and beauty
In Collection 3 of Austin James Smith, we see him anchor his creative language in the integration of jewelry, the body and identity.
Danger is often associated with fear, and when faced with danger, we sometimes give in to primitive commands to pare down. Austin likes to ground himself in what he knows to be true; that we live in a world that is both beautiful and dangerous, and to pause in the paradox; attentive and aware, one breath at a time.
Each piece demands a level of attention from the wearer, that it is to be adorned with caution. Austin aestheticizes danger with punk influences and sharp edges; requiring of us not only to live with danger, but to seize ownership of it.
Thus Collection 3 is a statement that beauty and danger coexist – a reminder that life offers equal parts threat and beauty; Nature’s paradox.