Individual Statements

Mark Smith, Local Artist

“My life was broadened immensely by books. […]

I personally prefer the physicality of paper books. I find books on computers to be way too cold and lifeless. I think it involves more than my age and history with books. I think there is something magical about them, no matter what ones history with them is.

I spent thousands of hours in the U. T.-Austin FAL digging through countless books as I wrote two different graduate degrees in art history over a nine-year period. I practically lived in the library. I cannot imagine doing all that research online; no thanks. And to this day, I have a solid memory of the smell of those book stacks. […]

Too much digital makes one hungry for analog; I saw that in the U.T. graduate students who showed their work at Flatbed Press’s galleries; they were hungry for hands-on artisan work, even for the simple use of a pencil on paper. After a lifetime of computer work, they were starved for the physicality and sensuality of drawing. […]

When I moved to much smaller digs, I had to give up most of my large book collection. That was a huge loss for me, and I regret letting go of them, even if I would have had to store them. I miss them dearly. Thank god I kept most of the art books, and I can’t imagine not walking by those, every day, many times. Even if I don’t pull them off the shelves very often (now that some brain surgery has made me a very slow reader), I still love having them as part of my environment. They are like dear pets who never die.”

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