I am an artist exploring ephemerality and fleeting absurdities of life. I am interested in the proverbial box and defend the poor image. I am interested in what is normal, permanent, and known—and their less adored partners: the abnormal, impermanent, and not known.
In Fall 2020, Smith completed the Art Studio MFA at the University of California, Davis with a thesis focused on fire. In Fall 2018, Smith completed the BA in Art Studio as well as History of Art and Visual Culture (with honors) from the University of California, Santa Cruz with large-scale interactive events and sculpture installations. Smith received numerous grants, awards, and recognitions for proposals, exhibitions, and volunteerism at both universities. Early in their career as a bead artist they taught internationally and wrote three books on the topic as Rachel Nelson-Smith. Preceding this they were a professional jazz music singer of note. Later, as an academic artist Smith created and executed the Theoretical Art Science Fellowship with astrophysicist Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz recognized in 2022 by the Biden White House and Joel Primack at the UCSC Lick Observatory Instrument Lab. Smith integrated ephemerality, community-building, and joy into sunset-timed events where up to 300 participants make massive soap bubbles. Smith’s work has been shown in San Francisco’s Root Division and de Young Museum, as well as Fiera Abilimente in Vicenza, Italy, Fashion Institute of Technology, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Lux Center for the Arts, and Senator Scott Weiner’s office among others. Smith’s bronze bust of American conservationist Rachel Carson is in the permanent collection of Rachel Carson College on the UCSC campus.