It’s tough to concentrate on a subject you have no interest in.
“Math has always been beyond my grasp. Subjects of pure fact are a mystery to most artists”. said Thomas Smith, a Junior from the Fine Arts Department at WCU.
“Math has always seemed akin to reading Tarot or casting runes, it’s a mystical experience. However, everyone is required to learn it. Everything else seemed to come easy, but taking a math class was a trial I had to face. I have failed almost every math class I have been forced to take during my academic career.”
This semester, Smith completed his first book, “Between Algebra and the Secrets of the Universe” (the Proper Daffodil). “This was my first book alteration and basically, I was given a discarded algebra book from the university. I made the book as a project for Maria Roland’s Sculpture I class.”
Smith bought several books on topics ranging from astronomy to angels and demons, yearbooks from the 1960’s, evolution, and even a book about the worship of the sun in primitive cultures. Smith cannibalized the books he bought and pasted them over the pages of the discarded math book. The goal was to equate math with mysticism. “My favorite book from the project was “the Fire of Life”, it was a book about the importance of the Sun among ancient cultures.”
“For me, a big part of creating art is finding usefulness in discarded material that are commonplace. From concept to completions the project probably took somewhere around 24 hours. I mostly worked out of my dorm, a project like this allows me to be mobile enough to leave the studio.”
Smith worked in the Lobby of Harrill until six am in order to complete this project. “I enjoyed the looks I got from my fellow students.”
Smith hopes to create another book using material from texts on sacred geometry and eastern religions. “This is a theme that I just fell into, but I hope to expand upon it in the future.”
Inspiration just comes to Smith whilst he twiddles his thumbs. “You have to get outside of your realm of comfort. Grab life by the horns, it’s too precious to fritter away over a TV screen. Whatever interests you, whatever you want to do, you should do it. Don’t waste your time. Family Guy is all well and good, but there is a time and place for everything, and sometimes you just have to expand your mind.”
Smith’s book is being submitted to Hunter Library for display at the circulation desk. No word yet on when the exhibition will commence, but Smith plans to continue to work on projects through his intended graduation date.