Brendan L. Smith
About the Artist
Brendan L. Smith is a mixed-media artist who has shown his unconventional artwork in many galleries and alternative venues in the D.C. area. He also is the arts and humanities coordinator for the City of Takoma Park and an award-winning arts writer for various publications.
I began making art more than 20 years ago when my TV broke in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I wanted a creative outlet so I scavenged rusty metal scraps from sun-baked arroyos and created my own unconventional style of mixed-media art. As my work has progressed, my new series called The Places We Forgot features photographs of abandoned places that I have taken on road trips across the country. I transform these images with layers of melted beeswax, damar resin, and other materials. The series explores the malleability of memory and the underlying tension between the comforting fog of nostalgia and that lurking sense of melancholy or regret for roads untaken. The dreamlike images possess a strange, forlorn beauty amidst the broken glass, rotting wood, and rusted metal. Our physical spaces often are demolished or gentrified in the name of “progress,” but these abandoned places speak to our collective history and the resounding echoes of our past.