Chuck Smart


 Chuck Smart

Associate Dean Turns Northwest Artist

by Bill Mickelson
Sept. 19, 2007
North Kitsap Herald

Chuck Smart is a man with some stories to tell.

His 66 years of life have led him from the Cleveland, Ohio home of a musician father and an arts-minded mother through the crossroads of Europe onto Brazil and Cuba, back to Ohio for a stint as the associate dean of students at Antioch College and finally to the Pacific Northwest where he found his artistic respite and consequently his life’s meaning.

“Finally my wife says, ‘Stop talking about it and just do it,’” the artist said of his motivation. “Now that’s what I do. Every day I wake up in the morning and I make art. And I am so, so, so happy. It’s like I finally figured out what I’m going to do when I grow up, and at my age, it’s about time.”

One can see snippets of Smart’s life’s ambition this month at the Old Town Custom Framing and Gallery shop as it presents his show “All the Things You’d Be By Now if Sigmund Freud’s Wife was Your Mother.” It will be on display through Sept. 30, while a digital gallery of Smart’s work is online at

Smart’s art is rooted in photography, highlighted by creative digital work. His images transform simple photographs to framed pieces of fine art in a way some critics might not consider that artistic.

“People think if you work on computer that you’re just pushing buttons ... but it’s a lot more than that,” Smart said. “A lot of my stuff is photo-based, but I consider it more fine art. I try to take them out of their pure photographic form and make it more like a painting.” To do so he uses Adobe Photoshop on a Mac platform. But when he began he wasn’t even computer literate. He actually traded one of his collage pieces for a copy of the Photoshop software before he even had a computer.

“And then I got a Mac and just locked myself in the basement,” Smart said. “After about a month, I made my first image.”

Now the studio which he and M. Anne Sweet share on Fourth Street in Bremerton is full of portraits and modeled pictures and a new avenue where Smart is headed of late — abstraction. This show should be a cross-section.

“I’ve always been an artist and musician type,” he said.

He actually is a musician, a percussionist, and a bit of a gypsy as well. During the 1960s, Smart expatriated to Europe, buying a one-way plane ticket to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Spontaneously, sometime thereafter he decided that he was going to drive all the way to India, crossing a dozen different countries without a map, just collecting music and experiencing a myriad of cultures along the way. That sense of adventure has paved the way for the many stories even more intense than that which Smart could tell.

“He brings his international sensitivities and experiences to the work he creates ... his work is unlike anything currently in Kitsap,” the Old Town Gallery said in its press release.

Smart frequently begins with a photograph and works on it with the tools and palette available to him in Photoshop, creating a painting which he then prints out on a giant-sized ink jet color printer, using high-quality archival papers and inks, and puts out to the world.

“You’re always trying to sell your work, but what I’ve learned is creating a body of work is more important than selling a piece,” he said, noting his quest is to create a legacy through his works which will survive when he dies. “It’s there, I’m gone, no one can criticize me or ask me about it, it’s just there’s the work ... proof that I was on this Earth.”


Copyright © Chuck Smart. All Rights Reserved.