A messy process: Micah Smith ’17

From stained shirts to ruined khakis, Micah Smith’s passion for art is visible in many ways besides his paintings.


Micah Smith ’17 holding one of his newer abstract pieces of art.

Micah Smith ’17 can be seen roaming the hallways of West, hands covered in paint, and mind off thinking of what his next creation will be. Smith’s interest for art kicked off in his early years in elementary school. He would find his favorite cartoons and comics, such as “Calvin and Hobbes” and “Garfield,” and do his best to replicate them on a separate sheet of paper for fun.  But Smith’s passion for art didn’t just stop at copying comics. This interest continued into high school, where Smith took drawing classes and met the person who has inspired him the most today: his art teacher, Christian Aanestad.  

“Once class started [Christian] would, after he taught his lesson, pull out his giant canvases, and set them up on the other side of the room, and he would just [start] painting. Watching him paint and work really inspired me, and I remember thinking, ‘Yeah, I want to do that someday.’” Smith said.

Aanestad continued to push Smith to try new forms of art, and step out of his comfort zone. “Smith is reflective, and constantly evaluating himself, which is one of his strengths… that really is a key, that you constantly are self evaluating, and looking at your work.” Said Aanestad.

Not anything super special but here’s a time lapse of me getting a start on my most recent piece!

A post shared by Art and Stuff (@micahs.art) on Mar 8, 2017 at 3:28pm PST

Smith continued to change his style from realistic art to the abstract style that he paints today. “I feel like I can express myself so much better through an abstract painting, than I can through a drawing of a still life” Smith said.

Classmate, Rachel Meyer ‘17 said “As of last year, he worked a lot in watercolor and pen and stuff, but now this year he does a lot of acrylic stuff which I personally like better. I think he has grown a lot as an artist by mixing up his media and trying new things.”

Smith creates emotion using sudden lines and scribbles to represent anger and flowing lines to embody peace. Smith’s collection of art will continue to grow as he pursues new styles. Keep in mind, this work takes time. On average the total time to complete a piece is from a couple hours, up to 15 hours.

“When I paint, I don’t just work on one painting at one time, sometimes I’ll start one, and if I really like the direction, it will all just come together really quickly.. But other times, I’ll start it, and I won’t like it, and I’ll set it to the side for a little bit, and I’ll come back to it a week or so later” Smith said.

“It has purpose and meaning for him…sometimes he will come in in the morning, and will be standing at the door when I get here, waiting to get in, so he can get a certain Idea, a thought he had down on a canvas” Aanestad said.

Smith credits Christian for a lot of his growth as an artist, in pushing him to try new forms of art, and not just continuing what is comfortable. Smith’s art career won’t end alongside his high school career. Even though Smith will be studying to land a career as an occupational therapist, he plans on continuing his artistic journey, and working on new forms of art as they come to him.