Growing up within a creative family, from an early age, my life has revolved around the visual arts and various aspects of creative culture. An endless fascination with the arts and design has always been a driving force, as each new venture draws me to exciting people and places, sometimes along a serpentine path.

In the mid to late ’90s, I crammed in as many transfers as I could into 4½ years, attending Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh for the first two, switching over to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) for my third, spending the fourth year abroad at Temple Rome in Italy, and finishing up with a final semester at SAIC to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts there in 2000.

Returning to Pittsburgh in 2001, I got my start at the Center for the Arts, managing exhibits such as the Artist of the Year and the Pittsburgh Biennial. This led to a curating position in support of Katherine Talcott at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, where the opportunity arose to put on a series of colorful shows and host some of my favorite artists, many of whom stayed with me and my housemates at our residence at the time—a four-story, Civil War-era Brownstone at 516 Lockhart Street by the Andy Warhol Museum.

In 2005, I moved to Atlanta, where I’d grown up, to team up with my uncle, painter Robert Lucy, to create an extensive online archive of his artwork. While taking some courses at Savannah College of Art and Design in 2006, I met the dynamic duo, Julia Grigorian and Kirby McClure of Radical Friend. We became fast friends and started making animated films and music videos together before all moving to New York City in 2007.

Once in New York, I took a job at Phillips de Pury auction house as an art handler. In 2008, after a fortuitous chance meeting in Mr. de Pury’s office, I experienced a surreal turn of events when I was suddenly drafted to become a specialist of Contemporary and Street Art, helping to organize the seasonal Saturday @ Phillips auctions in Manhattan and London. I had to pinch myself as each auction took flight and slick catalogues were produced, full of rare and unique examples from all over the world—paintings, prints, photography, graffiti art, designer objects, Swiss watches, and Japanese toys.

One thing led to another, and after a year or more entrenched in an elaborate multimedia project called The Book of Sarthreleased by polymath Sarth Calhoun (of Lucibel Crater and Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio), I moved to the southeast of the US in 2011, working as an archivist and pattern designer for Valdese Weavers outside Hickory, North Carolina.

Since April 2013, I’ve been enjoying life in the Blue Ridge Mountains, designing rugs, upholstery and wallcoverings as Alexander Wyly.

~Alex Wyly Smith