Collection: Tamsin Smith


1. What do you do when you’re not making art? (Day job etc...).

I’m a poet, as well as a painter. My day job involves bringing to life good ideas that matter to the world - everything from launching (RED), which has raised over $600m to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, to helping grow an urban rewilding movement with

2. Why do you make art?

The urge is more instinctive than intellectual. I suppose that I make art because I can’t imagine how else to process, challenge, and celebrate what I experience from the strange and beautiful life I’ve been gifted.

3. What inspires you?

I’m the daughter of a lepidopterist and a cell biologist. I grew up inspired by their hunt for the right questions, their awe for the natural world, and their openness to the discovery of greater possibilities. Beyond that: music, language, and lions.

4. What/who are your influences?

I suppose I’m drawn to anyone who plays with texture and boundary, and feel a special kinship to the Bay Area Figurative Artists, particularly Paul Wonner and Elmer Bischoff. I also look to the vibrancy of the art scene on the West Coast today, and friends like Emilio Villalba, Cate White, Hillary Pecis, Kevin Earl Taylor, Yarrow Slaps, Matt Gonzales, Ana Teresa Fernandez… I could go on!

5. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be?

Nick Cave (the musician), Tom Stoppard, Vladimir Nabokov, David Hockney, Elenor Roosevelt, Hypatia, Helen of Troy.

Read our interview with Tamsin Smith in the AllArtWorks Featured Artist Series here.