Michael Smith Captures Details of History, Every-Day Life

By Kelly Sabetta

Michael Smith is a Pen and Ink Illustrator who is known for his extremely detailed images of nature, local and regional buildings, and landmarks. Among his drawings are local scenes, high schools, colleges and universities, historical landmarks, nostalgic material, and much more.

Michael, who was drawn to Pen and Ink during his high school years, first became introduced to the medium as a class project. “It was something I never experienced before,” said Michael. “It was back when we had a quill pen and ink, and you could experience the quality and get in to great detail.”

Always passionate about drawing since he was a young child, and always interested in highly-detailed work growing up, Michael continued practicing Pen and Ink throughout college. In college, Michael studied and graduated with experience in fine arts, illustration, and graphic design. This allows him to incorporate text into his artwork, such as logos, names of buildings, and landmarks.

With more than 20 years experience behind him now, Michael continues to be inspired by local and regional sites. “I work mostly from photos,” Michael said. “I often take a camera with me on trips for reference material. I’ll ride my bike around and get the best angles.”

Using photos as a reference point, the time to complete a project varies, based on the size of the canvas and scope of the project. “Trees take a long time. When I draw grass, I will draw individual blades of grass,” Michael continued. “The average time it takes to complete a project is approximately 35 hours.”

Michael has his work featured in 25 shows per year throughout New York State and Pennsylvania. He first began showcasing his work with the Canandaigua Art Festival 15 years ago. “It’s a nice festival,” he said. “It’s a different kind of festival, with a mix of store fronts and artists.”

Throughout his experience as an artist, Michael continues to receive praise for his work. “I’ve been around for about 20 years, so many people know my work. I have a lot of return customers. For people who are new to my work, they’ll notice it’s something that is very subject oriented,” he said. “I’m not a scenery painter. I am more of an illustrator, illustrating actual scenes. People who respond to highly-detailed work, not to mention, subject matter, I think will connect with what I offer.”

You can view Michaels work on his Web site, http://www.mssgraphics.com, or by visiting his booth at this year’s Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, Friday, June 16th through Sunday, June 18th.