Growing up in Los Angeles and exploring Downtown and all around Los Angeles helped shape who I am as an artist. The LA art and music scene has been a very huge inspiration
— Pamela Smith Hudson

Interview by Amanda Quinn Olivar, West Coast Editor

Pamela Smith Hudson is a painter, printmaker and teaching artist based in Los Angeles. Mrs. Smith Hudson is a UCLA graduate who studied art, art history, museum studies, and dance. She has 15 years of experience working in the art material industry as an art educator and consultant for some of the most innovative art material manufacturers across the globe. Ms. Smith Hudson is also currently part of the teaching staff at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

What was the aha moment that led you to art... and did Los Angeles play a part in your career decision?

My aha moment was the LACMA exhibit, The Spiritual in Art Abstract Painting 1890-1985. This exhibit was a very important show for me. I looked at it and I felt, this is what I want to do. I want to paint. So was going to Documenta when I was in Germany. It’s a very special show and happened to be going on when I was there and it exposed me to so much more inspiring contemporary art. Los Angeles has been and continues to be a big part of my career as an artist and educator. Growing up in Los Angeles and exploring Downtown and all around Los Angeles helped shape who I am as an artist. The LA art and music scene has been a very huge inspiration for me. I hung out in jazz and punk clubs and lots of record and book stores. The music scene in LA has always been vital. I love everything from punk to Monk to funk. Mike Watt from the Minutemen said it well in the documentary of the band: everyone was all together, musicians, writers poets, artists. It was just a bed of creativity back then.

How has living in LA informed your approach and aesthetic?  

This is my hometown, from the music to the beaches, and the food and indie book and record stores. I’m missing all the indie bookstores and record shops, but recently found a new indie bookstore not far from where I live. I feel like things are starting to come back around. I’m lucky to live in the same city as my mentor, Laddie John Dill. He’s an iconic Venice artist and he has helped me tremendously.

My creative process is intuitive and spontaneous. Nature is a big inspiration. I use earth tones and also graphite to show organic abstractions that can reflect rhythm and movement as well as stillness. The techniques I use help me achieve a sense of magnification and topography--printmaking, encaustic painting, and mixed media drawing.

Pamela Smith Hudson
Hold Your Seat, 2018
Mixed media on canvas
101.6 x 182.9 cm
40 x 72 in
Photo: © Pamela Smith Hudson
Courtesy of Over the influence

When and how did you first feel embraced by our LA art community?

I’ve always felt connected to LA arts communities through the programs that I teach at LACMA and Otis Art and Design College. When my show, Charting the Terrain with Eric Mack opened at the California African American Museum (CAAM) in March 2018, it felt like a game-changer. The show is actually about the Los Angeles landscape! It catapulted me more into the art community. Vida Brown, the curator of the CAAM show, has been a huge influence and has helped me to connect even more with the art community .

The exhibition speaks about the vitality of our art community. Which pioneering LA artist influenced you the most? And whose work do you find intriguing right now?  

Ed Moses! He’s an LA icon and I miss seeing him around town at art openings and art supplies stores. He knew how to paint it out and work it out. He left his mark on Los Angeles and beyond. And how great that he was still working at 90-something.

There are so many artists I admire and find inspiration from... Senga Nengudi, Marin Hassinger Shinique Smith, Whitney Bedford, Uta Barth, April Bey, and Joanne Greenbaum.

What is your favorite art accident?

Yes Paste not drying fast enough, creating a cool mess.

How They Ran
Over The Influence
August 12 - September 5, 2018