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The Joyous Creations of andE Art
by Cody Moore, photography by Kayla Broadway

A self-taught artist from Lepanto, Allison Smith has been pursuing her art career professionally for the past four years. Smith’s art business, andE Art, works to create soft, yet bold pieces that celebrate life, imagination and the free spirit.

Smith, a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, moved to Jonesboro with her husband in 2001 to pursue a career with her pharmacy degree. She currently works full time as the director of pharmacy at Mid-South Health Systems in Jonesboro and is a mother to two.

Though she has always admired the arts, Smith didn’t begin to paint until her close friends suggested that she do so as a creative outlet.

“I remember specifically praying one morning not to allow growing older to cause me to get stuck, but to help me find more purpose,” said Smith. “A few weeks later, I was invited to a paint party at a friend’s house then read a book that same week about how God gives us all gifts to use, making our lives abundant. That’s when I was inspired to use my paintbrush to share what’s on my heart.”

Soon after the paint party, Smith began to paint regularly and take her art passion more seriously. She recalls being hesitant about creating and selling her work, as she was also busy working her full-time pharmacy job.

“I hesitated with making my art an actual business,” said Smith. “Honestly, it was the business part that I was afraid of. … Also, it’s pretty hard to bare your soul on a canvas for everyone to see.”

With some words of encouragement from her family and friends, Smith ultimately decided to make art a part-time job alongside her other occupation. She needed to come up with a business name that would represent her art while also catching people’s attention. Smith decided on the name andE Art, and the rest is history.

“andE is a fun little twist on my given first name after my great grandmother, Edna,” said Smith. “It’s a little abstract, but I think it fits my artwork perfectly.”

Smith describes herself as both an abstract expressionist and contemporary folk artist; her goal is to create a story with each of her pieces, whether she’s painting an animal, a human figure or simply making gestural marks of color.

“I intend to show a real connection to something familiar with loose abstraction,” she said. “I want the art I make to evoke joy and remind the viewer of the free spirit of a happy imagination.”

Like other abstract expressionist artists such as Joan Mitchell, Willem De Kooning and Henri Matisse, Smith is also inspired by an array of human emotions and wants to transfer those emotions onto a canvas.

“I’m inspired by joyous movement and human emotion, and, of course, anything colorful,” said Smith. “I love natural photos of people doing things that they love; that’s why you see a lot of dancing and waving arms in my folk pieces.”

Using a unique blend of earthy tones with pops of color differentiates Smith’s pieces from many other artists within the Jonesboro community. The artist mentions that she enjoys participating in local shows with other artists because it gives her the chance to stay updated with Jonesboro’s ever-changing art scene.

“There are so many talented artists in the Jonesboro community,” said Smith. “We, as artists, love the opportunity to showcase our work, and many people in town are working through their own businesses to encourage the arts in Jonesboro. We are so grateful.”

Other than participating in several local art shows over the past four years, Smith’s pieces have also been showcased in places such as the Corner Gallery in Norfolk, Va., and Art and Things in Seaside, Fla. She currently has work exhibiting at Haus Werk in Little Rock, Bingham and Broad in Memphis and Art House in Downtown Jonesboro.

More recently, Smith was honored as the Signature Artist at NEA Baptist’s 2019 Art Slam event benefitting the NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation.

“I would love to have a solo show in a big gallery someday, with the work that I created to be something that someone needed to see,” said Smith. “I guess that’s every artist’s dream.”

Though Smith never thought she would be working as an artist, she is grateful for the opportunity that God presented her four years ago.

“First of all, I’m still learning and always will be,” said Smith. “I love the friendships I have attained with other creatives, as well as the relationships with my art customers. Most importantly, with anything that we’re given, if we glorify our Maker first, the inspiration will always be there.”

As for the future of andE Art, Smith doesn’t have plans on slowing down any time soon.

“I’m planning on painting until I die; anything else that may come along is a blessing,” said Smith. “If I can make a lot of smiles and offer some inspiration, that will be so satisfying. I hope to get to travel some, be inspired and share my art with as many people as I can.”

To keep up with Allison Smith, view the latest andE Art pieces or to purchase a piece, find @ande.art on Instagram or visit andeallisonart.com.