Tim Smith Projects

The Guilty Creative

Who is this chap? You must be wondering, otherwise you wouldn't have clicked on that little icon in the top right. Well, I'm a person who strives to create things that help people.

I started out my journey studying fine art. But despite being exceptionally talented (and modest) the work never seemed to be for my own benefit. You see, there's an inherent guilt that comes with a creative talent: if you don't use it, you're wasting a precious gift that others could only dream of possessing.

And so, I made "art".

But it was never for the joy of feeling charcoal between my fingers, or the raw expression of my deepest inner-most self. Nor was there a desire to explore the hidden beauty in the everyday and mundane by means of smeared paint across a canvas. I made art simply for others to appreciate. For me, creating beautiful images wasn't about the process; it was about the end product. The gratification of the work that resulted. Decoration, not self-expression. And it's really difficult to make art for an audience when you don't know who they are. It essentially results in making art for no-one at all.

Which is really sad.

After graduating with my first BFA from The University of New Hampshire, I realized I had essentially reduced myself to two career choices: make art or teach art. Not particularly interested in either, I instead headed to the Rhode Island School of Design to study the commercial art of graphic design. An anomaly among sensible folk, I proudly possess not one but two BFAs; in fine art and graphic design.

At RISD, I found an outlet for all that "creativity" in projects that had a clear purpose. I learnt how to identify an audience and create work that delivered a message appropriate to their needs.

I found my niche.

Now (many years later), I've worked on a lot of different things. And what I have found along the way, is that each unique design project offers its own perspective on what it means to create things for a specific audience. I've worked with big names and little teams; on marketing, packaging, software and branding; for technocrats and back-to-school shoppers; for a billion email users and half a dozen clinical patients. Some projects I've loved and others I simply have to laugh about. But what I have come to realize, is that it's all art. And it all has a purpose.

As soon as you put pencil to paper, or start a fresh artboard, or choose a colour, something new and exciting is about to happen! So my creative purpose has become clear: Simply make things that are meaningful, useful and beautiful for the audience it intends to serve. And the process that gets me there, is pure, unadulterated, art.

Say hello

Well, that was quite the monologue, wasn't it? If, after all that, you'd still like to contact me about something, you can find me on LinkedIn. Or, if that's not quite your thing, feel free to send me an email directly.

Much love.

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