Darryl Babatunde Smith

Darryl Babatunde Smith

Darryl is a classicist and polygot who brings his patience and virtue of slowness into art. His "classical" style is one tool for studying how the tiniest details of the human body conveys the person's reality and history. That's why, Darryl says, he is able to find resonances between his own life and imageries from Ancient Greece that existed many millenia ago: his favorites include Dionysian myth, violence, and wine.
You'll like Darryl if: your eyes linger on one fingertip, one tip of the chin on classical sculptures.
"My works are a part of the thread of antiquity that still spins to this day. They critique the present with a classical perspective instead of imposing a contemporary lens onto an already rich and diverse literary and visual history. Ancient Greek myths are very important to me because they are the classical lens through which I perceive the world. My works, then, become surfaces onto which I write and translate thoughts on representation, identity, and life. My “translations” are written using the human body as a visual language developed by the Ancient Greeks. Drawing in silverpoint and painting in egg tempera are delicate and meditative acts similar to writing poetry. These Renaissance art techniques have a profound impact on my process because they allow me to exist in tandem with timeless Greco-Roman imagination. In my current work, I use these Renaissance techniques to depict myself in various narratives found in Ancient Greek literature. The narratives, though seemingly ancient and fictional, discuss the human mind and human nature in ways that are still true now. I put myself in poses inspired by Ancient Greek red-figure and black-figure vase paintings because even through the use of a limited palette, these vase paintings were capable of representing a diverse group of people. And I see myself in them."
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