INTERIOR MOTIVES: A section of the Waterloo-based gallery; Below, the artist strikes a pose.
For quite a few years now, artist and aspiring poet Latoya Smile has been quietly churning out paintings and photographs boasting a whimsical palette and a marked engagement with everything from nature to human relationships, which she was content to keep all to herself. Until now. Buoyed by the encouragement of her husband and two high-school-age daughters, Smile has transformed the downstairs portion of her tony Waterloo Avenue address into the Master's Peace art gallery and studio, an inviting and airy haven that currently showcases nearly 40 of her finest pieces.
Perhaps best of all, she's been (at last!) welcoming visitors into her home to view the exhibition. What immediately strikes you about the display is the vibrant array and diversity of styles -- not to mention the range of moods that characterizes Smile's work. "I believe every pieces should have significance. It should tell a story or inspire someone else," emphasizes the 35-year-old intuitive who did one semester at the Edna Manley College's visual art school. "I want my work to spark conversation."
That's not all. Ultimately, Smile says she wants to collaborate with other creative souls, particularly those who need a space to show their images to a wider public. "I know how hard it is to get your work recognized, so I am trying to get the word out, inviting other painters and photographers to submit their works for display here -- and get people to come and buy because that's also crucial."
Meantime, as far as Smile's own ever-expanding body of work goes, she's found a major enthusiast in husband of eight years Gio, a Canadian chef now permanently residing in Jamaica. "She's got her whole heart put into it," he tells TALLAWAH of his wife's commitment to her art. "From day one I told her to get a brush, get a canvas and start going." Clearly the wise advice has (and continues to) reap succulent fruit.
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