Allison Leigh Smith was an artist from the start. Encouraged at an early age to pursue art as a passion and then a career, she graduated with classical training in fine art from The Columbus College of Art & Design and immediately was hired as an art educator at The Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio. Throughout her career she managed an art gallery in Hawaii, and later designed textiles for the fashion industry for nearly a decade, all the while building her own unique voice into her oil paintings. As an advocate for wildlife conservation and animal rights, Miss Smith volunteers much of her time with wildlife sanctuaries where she meets and cares for her subjects first-hand. She has been a finalist in the Art Renewal Center’s International realism competition the last three years, acquired by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, won first place in her category at ArtPrize 8, and she is currently working on a public art piece granted to her and her partner by the National Endowments for the Arts in her hometown of Durango, Colorado.
San Saba Songbird
It is my goal to connect the viewer to the animal, as I have felt connected. Originality is important to me, so I combine a multitude of techniques to my process. Often I combine my experience as a textile designer with my classical art training, together with written words, remnants of graffiti, or my grandfather's art of calligraphy - all to add a human connection to my subject. I aim to isolate the animal so there is no mistaking their personality and nobility, as well as their vulnerability. After years of volunteering for animal sanctuaries and rescues, I know many of my subjects very personally. Maybe I drove them to the sanctuary when they were found sick or wounded; perhaps I have fed, cleaned, and bandaged them. I know their names, or secretly give them nicknames before we fortunately release them back to the wild. Or maybe it’s the same little bird that comes to my feeder every morning while I have my coffee. In short, I love these animals dearly. When you see my paintings, I want you to love them, too.