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CHRISTIE SMITH: ARTISTIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP INSPIRING CREATIVITY DURING COVID-19

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Meet Christie Smith, a former LPGA Gold Professional whose creativity has shown artists and entrepreneurs the importance of adaptability during COVID-19 in order to thrive as a creative. 

Eight months after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this past March, societies the world over are still attempting to paint a picture of what our “new normal” will look like in the weeks, months, and years to come. One artist and art gallery owner, Christie Smith, has already begun to show us what the “new normal” may look like for her fellow artists. 

Seven years ago, Smith pivoted from a 25-year-long career as a professional golfer to pursue a passion for art. Not long later, she opened the Unleased Art Gallery in Half Moon Bay, CA, where she showcased her stunning and unique abstract expressionist pieces and prints. When she was forced to close her gallery’s doors in March, and with her gallery’s lease expiring three months later in June, Smith was forced to double-down on her creativity; both in her art itself, and how to sell it. Leveraging online engagement to connect directly with customers through social media, Smith began offering virtual gallery viewings as she relocated the gallery itself further south down California’s coast to Laguna Beach. Soon, she had sold more art virtually than when her gallery was open to the public.

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“My artwork is an inner expression of who I am that connects me to others,” said Smith, “I feel the need to create for the sole purpose of connection…to myself and to others.”

During a viral outbreak that saw virtually every country in the world close borders and enter lockdown, that connection to oneself – and others – is paramount. Smith’s latest connection, entitled “Satisfaction,” is a collaboration with photographer David Stratford. A California native himself, Stratford snapped over 10,000 photos at rock concerts all over his home state between 1973-1976. The collection shows enhanced images from Stratford’s collection which Smith then overlays with colored resin and metal flakes, creating stunning and truly unique pieces of artwork each time.

“Creativity is thriving,” Smith affirms. Despite the impact COVID-19 has had on many creative industries, as well as the myriad uncertainties that still remain, Smith offers her fellow artists a beacon of hope. “Human beings are resilient. We can adjust to our environment…everyone has slowed down. They stopped to realize what was more important. Many people have searched out for art….more artists are looking to collaborate…people have in whole become more creative about everything they are doing.”

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