Jamaican opens art gallery in Queens, New York

“I really love the visual effects of life, as it provides for me a sort of inner satisfaction and fascination that most other things don’t.”

Geo Smith at work in his Queens studio (Observer)Like many Jamaican migrants, Audley “Geo” Smith struggled to adjust to the fast pace of American life. His first experience of winter didn’t make things easier either, as it contributed to early frustrations and contemplations of returning to the perpetual warmth of his sun-bathed homeland.

What he missed most in those early days, was the chance to continue his career as a painter. I really missed the paint brush and the canvass,” he said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

But he was never one to give up on the things he felt passionate about. After all, art — especially painting and photography — was more than a passion, “It was what I went to school for; it is my life,” he said.

Despite the struggles to adapt, he eventually found time to paint using the confines of his home. It was, of course, different from the days when he operated Geo’s Gallery on Adelaide Street in Jamaica’s old capital of Spanish Town, but it kept alive his dream of one day operating his own gallery again.

Last month, that dream became a reality when he opened Geo’s Art Gallery and photo studio in the heart of St Albans, once home to celebrities like the late James Brown. The Craig Head, Manchester-born Smith, who has been painting since age six, is a graduate of the Edna Manley College for the Visual Arts.

“I really love the visual effects of life, as it provides for me a sort of inner satisfaction and fascination that most other things don’t,” he reflected.

Smith said his visits to Great Britain and France allowed him to approach and broaden his outlook about the art form. “The Georgian era architecture and art I saw there had an inspiring and telling effect,” he shared.

During his career, Smith has earned several gold, silver and bronze medals in art competitions. He is a member and past president of the Alliance of Queens Artists and member of the south-east Queens Camera Club.

Apart from his own works, paintings by other artists and items such as custom frames are also mounted at his gallery.

(Pictured: Geo Smith at work in his Queens studio)

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