The Kennedy Center

Jansen Smith


Gainesville, Florida
Award of Excellence: $2,000
Age: 25
"My challenges are capabilities most people take for granted. Ability is the root word in disability. I feel cerebral palsy has enhanced my creative ability."
Jansen Smith works primarily as a printmaker and he enjoys exploring the use of unconventional materials, such as tobacco as ink, with this age-old medium. Smith's most frequent artistic influences include current pop culture, skateboarding, and his Japanese heritage. These diverse references are often merged in his artwork.
Smith finds that the printmaking process is an apt vehicle to communicate the effects of his cerebral palsy. For example, Smith will silkscreen an image first with his left hand and then with his right hand, which is the side affected by cerebral palsy. The resulting prints reflect the inconsistency of the two sides of his body, as the prints differ due to weakened arm pressure, strength, or involuntary movements of his right hand.  Smith wants the viewer to sees these tangible manifestations of his disability as aiding, and not hindering, his creative process.
Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from Florida State University.
Jansen Smith