Five Alive- Kara Smith

We thought it would be fun to ask people we admire 5 questions to get a glimpse into what they're currently into.

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Kara Smith is a Brooklyn-based artist, designer and educator presently enrolled in the Masters of Art Education Program at Brooklyn College. She teaches art classes in several Brooklyn schools, makes terrariums and teaches terrarium making workshops to both children and adults.  Before pursuing arts education, she worked as a dresser at the Metropolitan Opera, was a freelance art director and prop stylist, and an arts administrator at galleries in Boston, Los Angeles and New York. 

Skywalker, 2013, acrylic, gouache, watercolor on canvas, 14" x 24" 

Skywalker, 2013, acrylic, gouache, watercolor on canvas, 14" x 24" 

What is your favorite art making tool?

Carbon paper was probably my most exciting discovery years ago. It's such a handy tool. Sometimes I use it to just get that beautiful gray tone. I came across an old box of spirographs recently. I'm interested to see if that opens up any doors. Oh! I've also gotten really into ink painting and have been using a funny, plasticy paper called Yupo. Sounds crazy, but it's really forgiving and lets you paint with ink in a way that is akin to charcoal drawing in the way you can pull out highlights as you go. Very satisfying! And if you have a home studio as I do right now, and your cat Louis spills water all over your drawing, it affords you the opportunity to start fresh.

What music/band/artist are you listening to the most right now?

I got pretty lucky and inherited Brian's record collection when we moved in together. My favorites to throw on are Michael Nesmith, MGMT, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Neil Young and Herb Alpert (for all the horns of it). Also, the new Of Montreal record, "Lousy with Sylvianbriar" is excellent!

Venus in Taschen, 2012, acrylic, charcoal, and graphite on canvas, 18" x 24" 

Venus in Taschen, 2012, acrylic, charcoal, and graphite on canvas, 18" x 24" 

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

Prospect Park. I don't know what I'd do wihout it. If you go in deep enough, you can find the quiet. I have my favorite spots but I'll never reveal my secrets. Just went there today.

Where is your next dream travel destination? 

Hard to pick just one. Here's my ongoing list of places I've always wanted to experience or revisit, near and far. Austin, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Portland, Oregon; Portland, Maine; Big Sur, Iceland, Italy, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Spain, Portugal, Berlin, Germany; Austria and Sweden.

Is there a color or palette that you are drawn to? I tend to be drawn to, and usually end up working with a "dead palette" This an old masters term using burnt sienna, burnt umber, yellow ochre, black and white however I like I mix it up as well. All in all, I like working with limits.

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