Lest We Forget

Nationalism is a strange and vicious concept. All nations have certain eras of darkness or bouts of violence, so celebrating them must come with some honest reflection. American independence is the celebration of some white revolutionaries committing various acts of genocide and subsequently endorsing a slave trade in order to not pay taxes. Since then, the United States has been on about the same path: one atrocity or another to maintain power and not pay up any debt incurred to the rest of the world.

Americans these days are feeling the effects of this, with the almost ultimate American currently occupying the White House. Donald Trump, a ruthless capitalist, is the epitome of America. The dream that is packaged and sold to the masses is just that: a public relations campaign.

The idea that the United States could be saved by a swing to the left only works if the left actually fights for the values it stands for, which could incur some economic sacrifice. America needs a New Deal for a New Century. It needs a massive publicly owned fiber network so all citizens can easily access high-speed internet. It needs to rebuild the physical infrastructure and improve railways in regional transit. It needs to tax Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple a Human Resource Tariff because these countries are getting rich just from people checking e-mail, with little to no recompense for the public.

To put it short, Americans need to understand their enemy is not the person in the street wearing one type of shirt or another, but those in white collars behind the scenes, operating to divide the proletariat and maintain as much control, power and oversight of resources as possible. Voting for one party or another will not save anyone: specific ideas to guide a ship through a sea of icebergs is what is needed here. But instead, most will bar-b-q and bitch about one politician or another, and then continue on with life.

Posted to Social at 10:56 on 4 July 2018

Tagged ·

The Last Night in France

Posted to Personal at 11:59 on 26 June 2018

Tagged · ,

Au Revoir

Five weeks ago on the Seine

I’ve been in Europe for nine weeks now and am two days from leaving France, and even though I have another six weeks before I head back to the States which involve Croatia, Italy and Germany, I still am focused on making it back to this country next year. I’ve got invitations to stay in Lille, Paris, Coutures or to go snowboarding in the Pyrenees if I return, which is an overwhelming sense of having homes-that-are-but-aren’t. I am thinking about the ten hour flight from Frankfurt to Seattle at the end of next month and how I’ll probably spend the entire time meticulously planning how to leave America for good.

Posted to Personal at 16:38 on 20 June 2018

Tagged · ,

Losing Face

My main gripe with social media is how innately consumerist it is. It’s a public relations campaign for the individual—a never ending advertisement for your life. It isn’t about connecting with people or opening dialogues or hosting dinner parties. Sure, it makes those things easier, but it does so in the way that Wal-Mart made shopping easier by destroying small-town economies and consistently strong-arming the workforce into shit wages while maximizing executive profits. And people let it happen because it’s the American way—power, control and influence are all aspects of the American dream. Sick and grotesque aspects, but aspects nonetheless.

Americans are bad at resisting power because power is an aspect of the national narrative. Influence is the modern holy grail as people judge one another based on Instagram followers. Children dreaming of corporate sponsorships for their future taking selfies, projecting a life not their own, happiness based solely in exercises of vanity.

When I see the dismal situation in Texas, it doesn’t surprise me. For years now Donald Trump has been overwhelming the public with one thing or another, be it an abhorrent speech or a provocative action. It’s how he keeps going, by leaving so many problems in his wake that there can be no coordinated effort to stop him. The travel ban was an outrage before this, the Twitter attacks before that. His campaign was one gasp after the next, and yet somehow Americans remain surprised at his supposed audacity to continue on.

As coordinated response to power died with the dismal lack of a public outcry over the Obama administration’s horrific response to Occupy Wall Street, the selfish nature of America and its people is glaring through each and every screen. Once content to observe revolutionary spirit be crushed by the state, now they will watch as the state flexes a bit more of that power on even more helpless people, with pleas for peace being lost in the algorithm fueling Facebook’s profits.

Posted to Social at 10:48 on 20 June 2018

Tagged · , , ,

Andorra and the Mountains

It’s strange how displacement from routine can change the most basic of ideas. Jeff and I drove to Andorra, a tiny country about three hours west nestled among the Pyrenees mountains, for the day. And though that is basically what I could do any day living in Portland, something about a day trip to a different country was just cooler when it’s going from France to Andorra and not the United States to Canada. (Andorra does have the benefit of being in the middle of a beautiful mountain chain, but the geography around British Columbia isn’t bad, either.)

It remains a puzzle but I think the general idea is that mobility and an understanding of different locations and cultures is essential to survival. As long as things are new, even the routine remains interesting, and the plausible opportunity is suddenly a fascinating chance. Encountering new names for similar ideas has won the world over in the advertising market, it’s a shame we choose to expand our consumer opportunities but limit our human ones based on names and affiliations.

Posted to Personal at 15:55 on 15 June 2018

Tagged · ,

For the summer of 2018, I'm working my way through various European cities and towns while practicing more traditional methods of painting. Hopefully I'll be online only to post various scribbles from the road here and at The Post-Local. New & featured projects will return to regular updates in the fall, presuming I return to the States.

Thanks & good luck out there.


Welcome to Distorted Perspective. A brief introduction—

—Colin Smith. Born 1982. Some punk rock kid turned multidisciplinary artist & graphic designer-type. An Alaskan in the wind by way of Oregon, New England, Georgia, Texas and California looking for an idea of hope and home. I work in the various languages of truth, systems and identity.

I create works of assembly. Taking a variety of disparate components in any given medium and attempting to build a cohesive whole, I look to mimic the disorder and confusion our conflicted, human lives end up creating naturally through time. My focus is not to communicate through any single process but rather create a language that translates across aesthetic approach; a message that resonates by any means of interaction.


E-Mail: colin at distorted perspective
Instagram: @aglowinthestatic, @colin.smith.art


Distorted Perspective was registered in 1999; it has taken many forms since. Work from the project galleries is 2009-2018. All original content is © to Colin Smith. Please link back to work featured on blogs; contact for any other rights to republication.

The site is a custom built WordPress theme based in the Skeleton framework. The front page utilizes the Responsive Slides script. It is typeset in Bookman JF, Acumin and Vendetta via Typekit.


The Post-Local, Jacob Edwards, a softer world, Carey Young, Matt Dorfman, Neasden Control Centre, void(), Jordan Swartz, Leica Blog, Carola Di Poi, The Baffler, Ilir Bajraktari, Ai Weiwei, Brand New, Noele Lusano, Dane Pollok, McSweeney's, Josh Mason, Artsy, Heidi Uhlman, Design Observer, LOKI, 99% Invisible, Rob Morton, William Basinski, Constellation, Matthew Woodson, AFRU, In B#, This Isn't Happiness, Ryan McCune, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, {ths}, Banksy, Morning Breath, Sarah Symmonds, Chapo Trap House, AWAKE, Hyperallergic, Jessica Clary, Manual, Contemporary Art Daily, Jeanne Fries, Shea Serrano, Robert Singler, Edward Tufte, process.life, Digg, Jacobin, Alex Webb, Jenny Holzer, Art21, Jeremy Okai Davis, David Carson


* - Denotes group show