Los Angeles: A Common Name, the Los Angeles street artist and graphic designer, Paige Smith, adds a touch of the magical to city streets, beautifying forgotten cracks and crevices with her crystaline geodes. Through her participatory art project, Urban Geodes, her works brings a smile to busy urbanites and have appeared across the USA, Europe, Middle East and Australasia.
The artist creates the ‘Urban Geodes’ with either hand cut and folded paper or individually cast resin that are configured seamlessly to fit into spaces that inspire her. Paige says the resulting installations are like hidden gems sprinkled across the world that invite us to actually look, to be playful and discover and to participate in a glorious and global treasure hunt. She adds that her work is infused with a magical realism that encourages us to pause, to discover, to be present and to find beauty in the mundane.
With the growing phenomenon that is A Common Name’s Urban Geode project, the world’s street may never be mundane again. Made Journal caught up with Paige Smith to talk about her mesmerising street art.
Please tell us about yourself and how you came to design & art?
My background is design and over the years I gradually came to art. I’ve always been a creative person, from the start drawing or making crafts or building Rube Goldberg machines. I decided to work in design because I always felt comfortable organising and directing other people’s ideas and concepts. Over time I realised I was antsy to create my own world and started making my own art.
Urban Geodes is a stunning. Could you please explain a little about the project and how it came about?
Thank you! Picking up on my last answer, at the time I started working on my own creations I was very inspired by the street art in my neighbourhood and wanted to participate. I started thinking about the broken buildings I was seeing around and how no-one seemed to pay attention to the cracks and crevices. There was opportunity to me, to create something from the overlooked places and make them magical, if even only for myself. I thought the idea of creating crystals was beautiful – a perfect metaphor for how they form in nature.
It’s also a community art project?
Yes, I’ve sent out my work to other parts of the world so that people can create the Urban Geodes in their own city. I’m excited to see what creativity comes from this simple idea and to connect with the world personally in that way. I also always want to know their stories – how they find the spot they’ve chosen, what made them choose it, how they interacted with it and the people they may have come across. I’ve made connections with people in Jordan, Turkey and Australia; places I can’t easily get to or meet people in. It’s been a fun project so far, I’m letting it lead me, so we’ll see how it grows.
You’re based in LA. What’s it like working in the city as an artist & designer at present.
LA is a thriving creative scene, there are a lot of people moving there right now. I moved here almost six years ago and fell in love instantly. I feel like it has a great pulse. People are in LA to make it and you can see their drive in the quality and excitement of the work. It feels contagious, and for me, completely sparked a lot of what I do now.
Finally, what’d inspiring you at present?
I’ve always been a huge reader and I’ve been reading a tonne again lately. I speak about my work as a stolen literary term – magical realism. That’s what I’ve been eating up as of late.
All photography via the multi-brand concept, S*uce.
Made Journal met A Common Name/Paige Smith when she visited Dubai with the Design Shop by S*uce to participate in a city-wide installation collaboration as part of Dubai Design Week.