• David Aaron Smith

Artist Life

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

David Aaron Smith is an artist who's dedicated a large portion of his early career to building a multi-acre livable sculpture, called Villa Anita DV, within Southern California's Junk Dada tradition. Other Junk Dada sites speckled throughout the Mojave and Sonoran Desert are similar, but Villa Anita is more dense, giving it the feeling that you're roving through the artist's lost thoughts.

Eschewing the small gallery path to success, Aaron's major career boons have come through making Villa Anita DV an art destination where people leave with large purchases of artwork. He calls it the "reverse-Donald Judd" in reference to how Minimalist artist Donald Judd left New York as an art-world darling to create, in Marfa, TX, a thriving art-based community out of a desert village that was all-but dried up. Aaron's working in the opposite direction, and his work seems to be on opposite ends of the spectrum from Judd; let's call it maximalism.

A view of Smith's livable installation at Villa Anita DV, entitled:"Shipwreck."

But, it's more than just that, Aaron's work is hard to pin to one style. His body of work is held together by free association concepts that employ almost every movement in art history. When walking around the museum he created you get the sense that you're looking at the work of 20 different artists, and this is before you factor in that he also built space you're walking around in. When asked about this, Aaron answers, "I'm an artist, not a painter, or a sculptor, but an artist. My dream is to be able to do city-wide installations. That takes being able to render concepts in your head and produce them in the physical world. I'm getting good practice here."

Aaron's new residency/solo show coming up at Gardenville Station on Oct. 4th-6th will be a new stage for him to show his conception-to-real-world brilliance. The show has all the elements to raise the bar not only for Smith's career, but for the perception of San Francisco as an art city.

He seems ready. The question is: will San Francisco be ready?

To view any of David Aaron Smith's previous work, go to

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