Chad Smith
114 Proudfit St.
Madison, WI, 53715
Chad Smith (b. 1987 Potsdam, NY) is an artist who works in animation, 3d modeling, digital printmaking, as well as rapid prototyping. He received his Master of Fine Art in May 2013 and Master of Art in May 2012 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 2009 Smith graduated with distinction from Clarkson University with a Bachelors of Science in Digital Art and Sciences.
Smith’s work consists of intricately constructed digital, 3d animation that investigates the language of time specifically through a prism of mythological lineage. He explores alleged origins, contemporary incarnations as well as narrative devices. Through a rigid research process, Smith is able to discern an architecture of certain myths and narratives that inform each piece’s formal elements: color, form, space, and time.


Digital, 3d animation is extremely structured however, Smith has become decidedly organic in his process in an attempt to reflect the way in which myths evolve over time. This includes using some 2d, gestural sequences that act as a transition, quickly connecting ideas and other imagery generated using 3d software. Additionally, he looks to shorten and reorganize some standardized practices within the medium to more appropriately address the concerns of these individual pieces. This is not to say that he does not rely on certain film and animation mechanics within each piece. Long shots, close-ups, panning, and many other effects are utilized for both their aesthetic qualities, as well as the engrained emotional associations that they elicit. Film typically employs these mechanics through explicit narratives that provide a limited range of formal possibilities. By not relying on singular, obvious, and literal stories as centerpieces for my work, the work is free to explore formal issues on the screen, which leads to diverse sequences, formations, motions, and ideas.The presentation of information within the work is not that of Smith’s own created narrative, but rather a look outwards, across our contemporary landscape, charting a certain set of relationships that bind a variety of subjects, characters and myths. These subjects range from broad to extremely specific and esoteric, and they exist in a variety of platforms like games, television, comics, film, literature, art, and music. When viewed in a vacuum any of these subjects, characters, and myths, remain inactive. It is important that the path, or configuration, linking each of the components becomes apparent, and it is this connection that activates the individual elements.


This body of work is based on both building new relationships and appropriating information from existing ones. Relationships are developed over time, and they are excellent ways in which to study time and its impact on myth. Smith uses representational, figurative elements, and pair them with non-representational, abstracted objects to develop on-screen visual relationships between the two. The sequences featuring figurative elements function as a way for the audience to solidify their grounding in the presented world – something understood. These segments are strategically placed and serve as destinations. Using the given visual information, narrative fragments, and personal background knowledge, the viewer is challenged to discover the path to each of these destinations. These paths are not absolute; instead, they are entirely dependent on the associations that the viewer makes which in turn illuminates the particular path that the viewer discovers.


These paths do not present a documentary history or timeline of a given character(s) but instead, they present a way of considering how narrative and myth are constructed, exist, evolve, and continue. The work serves as a point to remove ourselves from established plots, characters, and narrative patterns, and contextualize them to more accurately examine contemporary storytelling and mythology as well as understand how we got there. Too often we are prepared to judge the final product, character, or destination and ignore the richness of the path.