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Meet Jet Smith: A New Art Scene

Surrealist Jet Smith shares his thoughts on what it has been like for him to become a part of the local art community and watch it grow.

Jet Smith is a local surrealist that is passionate about involving himself in the Chattanooga art community. Between conversing and planning with his mentor Robert Schoolfield, collaborating with Tori Fyfe to create Chattanooga’s first photo darkroom, Safelight District, working with Frank Shepard at Framewright Custom Framing and on his own personal projects, Jet Smith is a driven artist looking to leave his mark on the city.

“There is so much creativity breeding here,” Jet said. “A new scene is being born here and we are effectively in the driver seat.”

Jet’s optimistic attitude and artistic inclination were inspired by his parents, who were both creatives themselves and passed it on to their son. Jet’s father, a successful entrepreneur “fueled by some kind of creative itch he had” inspired a love of music and a desire to “build his own success from the ground up” in his son. Jet’s mother’s optimism and nurturing support of his art fostered his creative endeavors, which drove him to succeed so that “she could brag about [him] as much as she please.”

Jet feels that his art fits into a niche of local surrealism as personal expression. Jet’s inclination toward surrealism is born out of the mystery surrounding “mental imagery” often seen in dreams. Surrealism offers him a way to contextualize a representation of this ambiguous dream space. Jet feels a close emotional connection to these indescribable projections of the subconscious and utilizes his art to “experiment with different methods for representing this mental world.”

“You are directly aware of the effect this loose mental image has on your emotions,” Jet said. “But there is a hugely difficult challenge in attempting to define that imagery through physical visual representation.”

Going forward, Jet hopes to take his art as far as he can. Where he once, ironically, attempted to go a different route than his artistic parents he has now settled into carrying on the family tradition. Jet discovered that he was “almost completely dysfunctional when [he’s] in the midst of something not fundamentally creative” and decided to steer into that creativity rather than fight it. Now he wants to “give this thing a chance and see what is possible.”

Make sure to check out Jet’s Instagram to see his art. A website is in the works while Jet continues to ingratiate himself into the Chattanooga art community.

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