In this episode I talk with Leah Smithson about her path, which kicked into gear after her father suffered a massive stroke and she began researching how creativity works in the brain. Leah's interest in learning has led to her untraditional portrait paintings, line of jewelry, public art, and murals. You'll also hear about how she embraces technology and has been teaching herself augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR).
Leah and I discuss how she decides which risks to take on and which projects to get involved with, how she schedules her week, and how her well-meaning husband cajoled her into co-hosting a podcast with him. Leah has taken many risks in her art career, and I love her point of view — you'll never know until you try. You can decide to take a risk because even if it doesn't turn out as you'd hope — even if it's a disaster — you'll be glad you did it anyway, it's something that fits with your goals.
If you’ve ever considered which step to take next or which opportunities are right for your art business, you need to listen to this advice from an artist who has failed and continues to experience success.
Leah Smithson shares her art and the family experience that led her to focus more on her own creativity. (1:19)
Unpacking the effects of art and creativity on the brain. (5:05)
The evolution of Leah’s art in the face of emotion and self-expression. (6:46)
Income streams and impact that Covid-19 had on Leah’s work. (10:55)
Taking calculated risks in art and tuning in to what you want for your art business. (14:52)
Learning from Leah’s failures. (17:10)
How to identify the right opportunities for your art business. (22:08)
The role of research in Leah’s art. (27:55)
Creating digital art experiences with AR and VR. (31:43)
Leah’s typical work week balances studio work, social media, podcasting and community projects. (36:37)
Intro and outro music by Wildermiss
"The faster you get it out there, the quicker you can make progress." — Leah Smithson
“I try to balance an educated decision with being tuned in to what I really want to do, so even if it doesn’t go well at least it was because it was something I wanted to do.” — Leah Smithson
“Even when I fail I can still be happy with the decision I made.” — Leah Smithson
“I’ve learned that the next time I take a risk, it needs to be something that I really want to do. And even if it’s a disaster, I’m happy I did it anyway.” — Leah Smithson
About My Guest
Having moved around as a kid, Leah Smithson's style comes from a patchwork of influences from classical painting to cyberpunk. Through her murals, painting, NFT CryptoArt, and sculpture she often uses nature and portraiture to express the complexities of being human. She’s not afraid to take up new technology.
Leah was born in Tennessee. She has lived in Atlanta, the Bay Area of Northern California, and now calls L.A. home. She co-hosts the Vessel: Art as a Doorway podcast with her husband.