Patti Smith

Patti Smith Memphis Based Artist“I had always painted, from the time I was six years old, but when I told my family that I wanted to be a professional artist, my father said, ‘No, no, no. You’ll be living off of us the rest of your life. You’ll never be able to support yourself.’ So that was out. For fifteen years I worked as a private investigator and made a good living, but then one day a horrible hurricane, Hurricane Chantal, went through Houston. I woke up in a hotel room and thought, ‘Where am I and what am I doing here?’ In that moment I decided, ‘Okay, I’m going to jump in with both feet. I’m just going to do something at 40 years of age. Fail if I will or must.’ I knew I could always go back to what I had done, but I never did. Since 1992 I’ve worked with the design community to get art into people’s homes. I want my paintings to live with people; I don’t really want to have them on a sterile wall in a gallery and hope for the best. Designers who are decorating a space take my work to their clients, and then purchases are made. I do commissions all the time and ship to all parts of the country.
“Even though my father hadn’t encouraged me to go into art, he ended up being very proud of me. Right before he died I delivered a painting to someone near Chattanooga, then drove straight to his house in Knoxville for a visit. He asked if I had sold the painting. I told him I had, and he asked, ‘How much was it?’ I took the check out and put it in his hand. It was $6000. His eyes told me everything I needed to know. Then he said, ‘Well, I guess I was wrong.’ I’ve never had a regret about my decision to pursue art. If you love something, go ahead and do it. If you don’t, you’ll miss your window of opportunity.”