Artist Jessie Smith is a surrealist illustrator based in Missoula Montana. She delights in creating intricate surreal illustrations often featuring opulent animals and Faberge eggs as the subjects. Finding inspiration in the natural world and the human condition, Jessie aims to produce works that make you want to take a closer look, examining the fine details as well as the deeper social interpretations of the piece. Her artwork is often referred to as emotional and profound. Her story as an artist is anything but traditional and it’s this aspect that makes her work so inspiring. Jessie grew up loving art and holding onto the idea that she would grow up to become an artist. All through high school she took art class electives and planned on going to college for art. Her plans derailed when she became a young single mother a week before she graduated high school. It was because of these coinciding life events that she felt limited in her options for higher education and decided to pursue a tattoo apprenticeship.
After dedicating three years to learning fine art techniques involved in tattooing as well as the basics of tattooing, she decided it wasn’t the career for her and left to pursue her true passion; fine art. Since leaving she has participated in numerous solo and group art exhibitions including her first solo gallery show in 2016 titled "Ode to Art" paying homage to the artists before who paved the way, the artists’ creation process, and the emotions artists experience trying to be successful. In 2019 Jessie participated in Open A.I.R’s residency program, inspiring a new series of work exalting Montana's wildlife in a surrealist fashion. This new series of work is in part inspired from Jessie’s artist residency at the Montana Natural History Center, as well as her life growing up as a multigenerational Montanan. Jessie Smith has her current works available to purchase through her website www.artistjessiesmith.com and has print replications available at the ZACC in Missoula, MT as well as the HandMADE Montana Shop in Polson, MT.