Jack Smith







       William S. Merwin




       Derek Walcott




       Diane Wakoski




       Jane Hirshfield




       Naomi Shihab Nye




       Donald Hall




       Smith Jim Harisson










Jack Smith was born 1950 in the lake country of West Michigan. His primary genre is portraiture, with subjects ranging from noted artists of all disciplines to street people. While Smith spent a significant portion of his early career in Mexico, traveling and studying, his artistic vision was nurtured by the woods and waters of his home state and his friendships with two literary figures there, poet Dan Gerber and novelist Jim Harrison.

Smith’s  portrait commissions include Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, United States Poet Laureates Billy Collins and Donald Hall, Pulitzer Prize author W.S. Merwin, Actors Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell and musician David Crosby. Critics have praised both his sense of art history and his mastery of the painting craft. These two attributes, combined with his unique eye and and single-minded quest for honest realism, have earned him a prominent place among contemporary artists working in America. His works are among many public and private collections in the United States and abroad. He lives in Taos, New Mexico, with his wife Kim.


Included here are several poets from my series of portraits of American Poets executed between 2004 and 2007. I can think of no better ambassadors of truth than these individuals.

There is a wonderful Latin term, Ut Pictura Poesis that describes the similarities between the disciplines of painting and poetry. By my way of thinking they share the honesty of concise and urgent realism that polishes the mirror of the human condition.

What is our commonality, is not that we walk upright and have opposing digits that make us human but that we all share the relative world in which we experience pain and suffering.

To this, the big matter, we address our craft in hopes that others can feel more deeply the suffering of others.

All paintings are 6×6 inches. Oil on copper plate. From the permanent collection of Grand Valley University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gift of the Meijer Foundation.



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