Jaune Quick–to–See Smith is an internationally renowned artist with a seriously impressive bio:
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is one of the most acclaimed American Indian artists today. Reviewed in most art periodicals, Smith has had over 100 solo exhibits in the past 40 years and has done printmaking projects nationwide. She has lectured at more than 200 universities, museums and conferences internationally, most recently at 5 universities in China. She's completed several public art works and won dozens of prestigious awards from all over the world.
Ten years ago I was working in the art business, running the esteemed Segura Art Studios. I invited Jaune Quick-To-See Smith to come into the studio to create an original lithograph with us.
This was the best part of my job – being able to work with my art heroes.
Over the years, I’ve worked with so many of my art heroes but Jaune Quick-To-See Smith was special. Her work touched me deeply, her ideas insightful and wise.
Whenever a visiting artist was in town to work at the studio, it was customary for me to take them to dinner.
That evening, the conversation with Jaune Quick-To-See Smith was utterly fascinating. Her unique insights into American culture, her understanding of history, and her own experiences in the art world had me riveted. I didn’t want the evening to end.
So the next night, I invited her to my home to continue our conversation.
At that time, I was at the top of my game professionally. I was an international art dealer who’d placed work in nearly every major collection in the USA. I traveled often, had closets full of little black dresses for all the big openings I went to. I hobnobbed with celebrated artists and notable collectors.
People used to threaten to kill me so they could have my life!
But Jaune Quick-To-See Smith was quick to see that this glamorous life wasn’t a true reflection of my soul.
As I prepared the meal, she slowly circled my house peering at the art on my walls.
Out of all the pieces displayed, she’d point out the few photographs that I myself had taken. “Who did this?” she’d ask.
“I did.” She’d look at me through narrowed eyes and continue her tour.
As we sat down to eat, she fixed her direct gaze upon me from across the table, I was quick to see that she was serious.
“Your home reveals a lot about you,” she began. “There’s more to Crista than the job you now have.”
“What is it that you really, really want to do?” she asked me.
That was the very question that I’d been too afraid to ask myself. This was the vision I kept my eyes closed to.
Because privately, a part of me was dying.
I’d graduated from art school years before, but somehow life had swallowed me up and pointed me in a different direction.
I secretly yearned to be an artist again: to chase my own creativity.
“You need to,” she said. “Anyone can see that.”
It all spilled out; the secret desire to move to Europe, to start a new life as a writer and photographer, making art and helping other artists.
But it was just a silly dream, impossible! There was no way it could ever actually happen.
“I can see it,” said Jaune Quick-To-See Smith.
And when I dared to look into those wise eyes, I could see it too.
Several months later, all of my possessions were sold. Everything I owned now fit into the suitcases that I carried on that plane taking me to France.
I didn’t know what lay before me.
But this remarkable woman had been quick to see what lay inside me. And I held tight to that image.
That was nearly ten years ago.
And my friend Jaune Quick-To-See Smith has continued to hold that vision for me. She’s encouraged me as I’ve created my own path as an artist and I’ve built The Working Artist to help others.
I am so blessed to have a friend who’s not only talented and wise, but Quick-To-See.
So now I ask you, is the world blind to your talent? What parts of you are still hidden?
Isn’t it time that we all see?