STUDIO SESSIONS - Bisco Smith Photos by Michael Vidoli
(photos by Vidoli)

BISCO SMITH (b.1980) is a contemporary visual artist with roots in music, graffiti, and street art, currently residing and working in Queens, New York. Bisco works in a variety of formats, including canvas and large outdoor murals, and is known for his “visual freestyle”—characterized as a blend of graffiti deconstruction, gestural abstraction, and lyric-based stylewriting. Made predominantly with a black and white color palette, Bisco Smith's art visually captures the rhythms of music and the energy of the moment through its abstracted text. 

The principles of automatic writing and freestyle rapping—improvisation, stream of consciousness, and being in the moment—are integral to Bisco Smith’s process. Bisco begins each painting by selecting an instrumental song or beat and tuning into the music. When the inspiration hits, he takes to the canvas with dynamic, rhythmic brushstrokes, writing out freestyle lyrics that express the consciousness and energy of that moment. In addition to textural abstractions, a positive undertone and/or social commentary is a common theme in his work. Bisco often uses tools he learned from painting walls on the street and brings them into a studio environment. Such tools include household paint, roller brushes, aerosol paint, and wheat paste. 

The connection between music and visual art is central to Bisco Smith’s work. Growing up near New York City, Bisco was heavily influenced by Hip Hop culture in the 90’s. Spanning two decades, Bisco wrote graffiti under the moniker, Bisc1 and simultaneously began DJing and emceeing, creating mixtapes, releasing records, and touring, as both Bisc1 and Bisco Smith. In addition to music and graffiti, design and composition are characteristic of his artistic style. In 2002, Bisco Smith graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a BFA in Communications Design. Following graduation, Bisco owned and operated, IV Creative, a design studio that regularly collaborated with record labels, artists, and brands.

In 2011, while living in Los Angeles, Bisco experienced a shift in his creative output. What started as a brainstorming session for a design project, ended up as a revelatory moment in his process. With paper on the wall and music playing in the background, he began writing freestyle lyrics instead of design notes. Years spent writing on walls and making music all came together in a transformative moment that would lead the way into a full-time studio practice. As design transitioned into art, Bisco helped launch WNDO, an art space in Venice Beach that regularly hosts artist residencies and gallery exhibitions. Today, with the WNDO in Los Angeles and his studio in New York, Bisco continues to make work and paint walls on both coasts.

Bisco believes in giving energy back and often works with organizations that serve the youth through the arts. His efforts have included providing art based workshops for youth through Arts by the People, leading a coexistence mural project in Jerusalem, and helping create Urban Art Beat, an after school, music-based nonprofit in New York City. 

Bisco Smith has exhibited art, performed music, painted murals, and partnered with creative brands and live events worldwide. His work is regularly exhibited in major markets and is collected by both national and international collectors. Bisco Smith's aim is to create work that captivates, offers subtle social commentary, questions, inspires, and adds positive energy to the world.

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EXHIBITIONS

UPCOMING

Above Second - Hong Kong - April 17'
Treason Gallery - Seattle, WA - May 17'

2016

Manifest - Okay Space - Brooklyn, NY - Nov 11
Pigment Pusha - Nine Dot Gallery - Worcester, MA - Sept 16'
Crate Digger - Gabba Gallery - Los Angeles, CA - August 16'
Street Value - Treason Gallery - Seattle, WA - August 16'

Process - Cave Gallery - Venice, CA - July 16*
Venice Artwalk and Auction - Venice, CA - May 16'
From the West - 212 Arts - New York, NY - April 16’
Julien’s Street Art and Contemporary Auction - Los Angeles, CA - April 16’
Buzz Art Auction - Miami, FL - March 16'
UNICEF Next Gen Art Party - Los Angeles, CA - Feb 16'

2015

Worlds Collide w/ Ralph Ziman - Cave Gallery - Venice, CA - Dec 15’
Art Basel pop up - Port of Angels - Miami, FL - Dec 15’
Create Fixate - Los Angeles, CA - Nov 15’
Buzz Art Auction - Chicago, IL - Nov 15’
Paper - Treason Gallery - Seattle, WA - Nov 15’
Angelino Artistry LA fashion week - Los Angeles, CA - Oct 15’
Bombay Saphire Artisan Series - Los Angeles, CA - Oct 15’
Buzz Art Auction - New York, NY - Oct 15’
Beyond Eden w/ Cave Gallery - Los Angeles, CA - Oct 15’
WNDO Space - Venice, CA - July 15' - Create The Future*
Low Brow Artique - Brooklyn, NY. July 15' - 100 Percent*
The Governors Ball - New York, NY - June 15'
Soundwall Collaboration - New York, NY - May 15' - 12*
Williams McCall Gallery - Miami, FL - March 15 - Expanse 2.0
Wyn 317 Gallery - Miami, FL - Feb 15’ - In With The New
Lou La Vie Gallery - Miami, FL - Jan 15’

2014

Art Basel Pop Up - Miami, FL. December 14' - Paradise Lost
Williams McCall Gallery - Miami Beach, FL - Nov 14’ - Season Opening
Wynwood Art Auction - Miami, FL - Nov 14'
Miami International Auto Show - Nov 14' - Cars Meet Art
1Xrun - Online - Oct 14’ - Kingdom*
WNDO Space - Venice, CA - Sept 14' - Systematic
Little Skips - Brooklyn, NY - July 14' - CANvas
Gallery Nine5 - New York, NY - June 14' - Group Ink
Rise Up Gallery - Miami, FL - June 14' - Stand Up / Stand Out
Williams McCall Gallery - Miami Beach FL - May 14’ - Expanse
Harvey’s Counter Gallery - Hudson, NY - March 14’ - Hudson Rails*
Santa Monica Museum - Santa Monica CA - March 14’ - Face 2 Face
Succulent Gallery - Brooklyn, NY - March 14’ - Succulent
1Xrun - Online - February 14’ - Castles In the Sky*

2001 - 2013

YMI Gallery - Miami, FL. December 13' - Your Mothers Idols
Rise Up Gallery - Miami, FL. November 13' - PUSH | Studies in Elevation*
Low Brow Artique - Brooklyn, NY. August 13' - World Upside Down*
Low Brow Artique - Brooklyn, NY. December 12' - The 4mula
Haven Arts Gallery - South Bronx, NY. January 09' - The Destructive 4orce
2DB5K Gallery - Baltimore, MD. May 08' - Foundations of Style Writing
Sunshine Art Gallery - New York, NY. March 05'
Rush Arts Gallery - New York, NY. July 03' - The Destructive 4orce
Pirogue gallery - Brooklyn; NY. May 03' - 18 Altoids mural project
Queens Museum - Queens, NY. August 01' - Old Skool, New Skool, True Skool

*solo exhibits