Taking on New Role as ‘Mentor,’ Artist Lucien Smith Transforms His L.A. Studio Into a Project Space and Food Bank

Most artists don’t have enough studio space—others, it seems, have too much. The artist Lucien Smith is converting his Los Angeles studio, a former commercial laundry business, into a project space, artist residency, and food bank for the local community.

Earlier this year, Smith was faced with a quandary. The 28-year-old artist—whose paintings made with paint-filled fire extinguishers rocketed him to art-market stardom in 2014—had somewhat retreated from the art world, opting to focus instead on filmmaking and creative direction for his mother’s womenswear label, Vivien Ramsay. He was spending most of his time on the East Coast and only working periodically in his 20,000-square-foot studio in South Central Los Angeles.

To give other artists the chance to take advantage of the two large warehouses, Smith decided to turn them into a project space called Appointment Only. A presentation by the first artist-in-residence, the 24-year-old New York-based artist Alexander Muret, closed last week. “I am primarily more interested in younger artists not showing already. It is nice to be able to give a hand and be a mentor in any way I can,” Smith says.

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Chris Alexakisart