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Artist in the Spotlight: Introducing Student Fellow Angel Smith

Angel is a multimedia artist and an IDA fellow. She seeks to create Art that honors her ancestors (the past) as well as what kind of ancestor she would like to be (the future). And while all these are important in her practice, her Art is also deeply rooted in the Now, for her own sake, as a way to build a universe of truths that are often not talked about, as she creates from a lens of healing. Angel’s initial approach to artistic practice was through journaling because it was her only way of expressing frustrations with the world and her appreciation of the world. First a writer, then a musician and a poet, today she truly is a brilliant and wise multimedia artist. 

“Everything always starts with breath.”

Angel’s Art comes from a place where both emotions and spirituality reside. It was “Black Women Dreaming”, an IDA class taken last Spring, that helped Angel delve deeper into herself to find the tools she needed to keep producing when last year she felt disconnected from her work. She looked to breath. And that practice of taking really deep and lasting breaths enhanced her ability to see much more of the physical realm than she ever had before. She became better able as a result to bring into focus in the visible realm, various representations of Spirit. “For me, that’s what Spirit is, Spirit is all around us, Spirit is energy, a moving force we breath into ourselves and so breath has allowed me to connect to Spirit.” And bringing Spirit into herself has broadened the scope and reach of her work. Spirit invited her to go outside herself in order to come back into herself. Her multimedia work reflects this breathing motif, as well as how her unique identity has prevented her from fitting mainstream spheres of the world. “Form is something I like to transform” she says. Her natural inclination is to move beyond forms that limit artistic production. Angel’s work transcends categories and seeks to redefine perceptions of self, categories, and existence. 

“The way we move about in the world is so fast– we don’t breathe the way we need to be breathing.”



Honey and Spines

I am not average        nothin bout this hair is easy to manage
if you ask me what my plan is I’ll tell ya
how to define my needs
when I speak from truth there is no hesitation
no     maybe     when I say that today I’m gonna be okay
 im just moving through the grey    I know our sun is on her way to paradise 
all rhyme and reason you’d think I’m 
believing in spaceships    out of space within the body
treated this home like a hobby    practiced like I practice my chores
how lonely it is to be born         temporary
when my actual self is somewhere else
someone else         I placed my presence into a present to be bestowed upon me
who forged the ideology of without
put my complexion against a reflection of lighter skin
as if beauty can somehow begin with time
I’ve been all honey and 
spine since the Divine Feminine
meditate on my melanin     uncover    I wonder what wonder looks like
a glimpse to a neighbor sheds some light on our layers
honey stand tall    we’re the only light space needs

One of her current projects is Esoteric Collective, a production company that creates a unique space for the uncategorizable in a world that likes to put people and art into categories. Her collective manifesto reads as follows:

As a collective,  we will embody light to help eradicate darkness and fear, and illuminate a world of peace, unity, harmony, and love. We intend to do this for the greater expansion of divine consciousness, to empower folks, and permeate the masses with truth.

Check her website at www.esotericcollective.org

She gladly embraces her multiple artistic identities (a multidimensional being) and nourishes each facet as each project demands. “I’m a writer, I’m a filmmaker, I’m a producer. I do all of those things. I’m a poet who like to show what poetry looks like in film, in photography, modeling, or in a play. I believe that the body can be a house for poetry and be a site of expression”

Angel is also a member of the Spoken Word Collective on campus and actively practices spoken word as one of her many art forms.  She has competed competitively at CUPSI and was a part of the winning team from Stanford last year. 

Click on BLACK MATTER CUPSI PERFORMANCE to experience one of Angel’s spoken word performances.

As a student fellow at IDA, Angel is constantly working on transforming her art and herself.

 “Art can revolutionize and it has. It can transform minds. I am trying to elevate my own consciousness and the consciousness of others.”

Her work deeply reflects her convictions and it is through those convictions that TRANSFORM was born. TRANSFORM is a 15 minutes poetic production in 3 parts created as her IDA project. It explores the limitless beauty of black consciousness in a world that struggles to translate our complexities. “We are all copies of the same universe, but have drifted from one another, from ourselves, from truth.” TRANSFORM is open to the public so check our events page here for upcoming dates.


“I move in my body in whatever way that feels natural and respond to the themes and intentions that I want to hold on to.”

Of her process, she states that she enters her creative phase without setting high result-based expectations, with only intentions to guide her steps. She adds in the aftermath of work in REVIVAL, Millenial reMembering in the Afro Now, “Working with Amara has taught me that process is walking into the darkness. My art has completely been transformed. I’m currently walking into this space of not knowing.”

“I don’t know what my Art is going to look like in 10 years, I don’t know everything about the world, a world where I don’t necessarily see a lot of myself reflected in but it is my faith in my practice that has convinced me that I am going to be fine.”

Click HERE to listen to Angel’s latest work entitled Solar Plexus on Stanford Spoken Word.

We at IDA are so proud and honored to support Angel’s artistic practices. We hope you will as well.