Scratching the Silver

Anti-Trump Women’s March · Destroyed film

Before I left for Europe, I moved studios. In that process I found a few old rolls of undeveloped film lying around, some damaged and some just fine. The damaged rolls are retaining a particular resonance for me as I am on the road.

Art—and specifically photography—has not been coming easy lately. Only now, overseas, can I feel a certain freedom to work, to really focus. Something more is at stake here than in America, and I realize that it’s a certain social and historical context. An appreciation of time, maybe.

American art and culture has been near completely consumed by popular entertainment and the psyche of commodification. The motivation to create a film not for cultural worth but rather the advertising value of ‘going viral’ is a distinctly modern trait. The abstract, but ultimately consumerist, inspiration for much of the creative output online is something more haunting than being disingenuous. There is a resonance of falsehood in everything American.

Destroyed film of approved protests during times of turmoil, I guess it’s all I’ve got for now.

Posted to Personal at 21:59 on 24 April 2018

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Of Course, Portland

I follow basketball pretty closely but rarely write about it. Probably because if I was to invest heavily at an emotional level on a team enough to publish thoughts and ideas about them only to endure a piss-poor first-round sweep in the playoffs, I’d end up wanting to pull a Ron Swanson.

Posted to Personal at 08:02 on 22 April 2018

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Bike Culture

On a random journey around Amsterdam seeking some inspiration, I found myself drawn to a small park. (I’m not even sure if it’s officially a park—on Google it’s simply called Plaza de la bodoka.)

I’ve returned to the park most days since I’ve been here to work on this painting and there are more than a few reasons I enjoy it. There’s an eclectic mix of people, a small but great corner view of some interesting houseboats … but most of all, for as close as it is to some major city streets, not a single car can be heard.

I don’t know if there’s a park or really place I’ve been to in America where it’s a public and well-trafficked space and not heard a single car. It’s these little things that really add up to the broader argument about cultural differences between America and the rest of the world. All that noise, and for what? Fewer amazing parks?

Posted to Social at 13:29 on 21 April 2018

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I’ve got ten days to do this.

Posted to Personal at 07:43 on 20 April 2018

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A Dry Wit

What I don’t get about America—what I really want to know is—are people really that stupid?

Franz was an older gentleman, born in Amsterdam but living in Norway for 39 years and perfectly represented the strong, quiet stereotypes of the Norwegians. He was one of four other people in the room, all of whom turned their heads toward me after he finished his question, as if to say, “Okay, you’re on, make your case.”

Over the next five minutes I talked about my various ideas regarding media proliferation, capitalist influence and Ronald Reagan as to how America’s social fabric has deconstructed and what brought about the timeline that ended up with the Trump administration. I mentioned how the very type of conversation we were having is relatively unheard of in America because individualist competition comes into play even in politically aligned dialogues. That the fundamental understanding of what being a citizen is in a democracy is not really taught as a point of pride and influence, but rather submission. That definition of identity is assumed through purchasing and what is possible for one to purchase, rather than being a part of a community.

It was a stirring political dialogue that ended with the others in the room—an Aussie, a Brit, Franz and his son—all talking about how they perceived America and its recent fall from the rails of normalcy. Their observations and assumptions weren’t wrong, if perhaps just a little confused as to the How could you let this happen? question of American society. I spoke a bit more about how much commercial influence has governed the evolution of what community is defined as, instead of people leading the way. The room seemed to approve of me, which is a test I’m familiar with. Being an American abroad right now is not an advantage, it’s a trial.

At the end of the night, Franz took up and said, I’d best be going, shook my hand on the way out and I asked him not to give up on all of us. He just turned to me, smiled and said, “Make America great again, please.”

Posted to Social at 06:30 on 16 April 2018

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Welcome to Distorted Perspective. A brief introduction—

—Colin Smith. Born 1982. Some punk rock kid turned multidisciplinary artist & graphic designer-type. An Alaskan in Oregon by way of New England, Georgia, Texas and California looking for hope in the wind. Working 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,


Distorted Perspective was registered in 1999; it has taken many forms since. Work from the project galleries is 2009-2017. 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.


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