Jeffrey Smith was born on April 9,1956 in Montebello, California. He studied
photography and commercial art at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Jeff
entered the Art Center College Of Design in 1977.
In 1979 Smith executed 12 Mexican Album covers with Philip Hays for art
director, Roger Black. That same year, Smith received an Award of Merit student
prize from the Society Of Illustrators in New York, and attended The
Illustrators Workshop in Tarrytown, N. Y. Smith, achieved full scholarship at
Art Center, earned a BFA degree and graduated in 1980 with honors.
Six months after graduating from Art Center, Smith moved from Los Angeles to
Croton on Hudson, N. Y. In his first year, Smith executed cover assignments for
New York and Time magazines, and illustrations for Redbook, Inside Sports, and
Book of the Month. In 1982, Smith apprenticed with James McMullan, as well as
poster artist Paul Davis.�After that, there was a steady stream of assignments.
In 1983, Smith created the A.I.G.A. poster for art director Roger Black. In
1985, Fred Woodward asked Jeff to create 6 full-page murder illustrations in two
consecutive issues of Texas Monthly magazine.
The assignment would be the first of many such assignments that would mark the
beginning of an emerging philosophy and style in Smith's portfolio. Other murder
/ re-creation assignments for Los Angeles Magazine, Rolling Stone, G.Q., The New
York Times Magazine, would follow.
Smith met Marshall Arisman in 1984. Arisman convinced Jeff to enter the Masters
program for illustration at the School Of Visual Arts. Already emerging as a
serious illustrator, Jeff was honored to accept Mr. Arisman's encouragement. The
faculty included Robert Weaver, Marshall Arisman, James McMullan and Steven
Heller. The program was called Visual Journalism. The faculty encouraged
students to draw on the street from first hand experience. While attending the
MFA program, Smith met visiting lecturer and art director Robert Priest. Priest
commissioned Smith to paint Mikhail Gorbachev for the cover of Newsweek
magazine. That same week, Smith's cover illustration for the Sophisticated
Traveler, New York Times magazine appeared on newsstands.
teaching with James McMullan in the undergraduate program in 1985.
Smith graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1986. In 1987, Smith received
a Silver medal from the Society of Illustrators. Smith did several feature
assignments for Sports Illustrated, and his work was featured in Communication
Arts, and How magazine.
Smith received Gold medals in 2004 and 2006. In 2005, Jeff executed 23
illustrations for "Comfort To The Enemy" by Elmore Leonard. The work was printed
in 14 consecutive issuess of the New York Times magazine, Special Edition: The
Funny Pages. In 2009, Smith created Cover Art and 22 full color, full page
illustrations for the pulp history book, "Shadow Knights, The Secret War Against
Hitler." In 2012, the Society of Illustrators New York presented, Shadow
Knights, The Art of Jeffrey Smith, a one man show in their Hall of Fame Gallery.
In 2010, Smith was given a Special invitation by Golf Digest
to attend the 2010 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Smith created 8 full
color illustrations and a process video for an article, "MemorableMoments," 8
portraits of 8 great golfers in 8 great locations on the course at Augusta. On
December 15th, 2015, Smith's work, along with several other illustrators hung in
the Senate Russell Rotunda Building in Washington, D.C. "Bravery and Sacrifice:
NYPD Heroes 9/11 and Beyond" was an art show created to help pass the James
Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and to memorialize and commemorate the
NYPD personnel response to the events of September 11, 2001. The show was
sponsored by the Society of Illustrators in NYC. In 2017, Smith created cover
art for The March issue of The Atlantic, How To Build an Autocracy. In 2018,
Smith's work was featured on the cover of New York Magazine for the sensational
book excerpt, Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff. Today, Smith is a full time
prfessor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He has
taught there since 1994.