Windows to the Soul

By Tom Erik Smith

I was lucky enough to have been born and to grow up in Zimbabwe during the late 80’s and 90s. A bubble in time just after the liberation war where the country gained its independence, and just before the political violence and economic destruction that followed in the 2000s. A time when arts and culture really thrived. This and the fact that I come from an artistic family meant that that side of me was nurtured from a young age. 

My Father was an avid photographer. He even had a makeshift darkroom at home which probably piqued my interest in the medium, and ultimately led me to studying photography and art. 

For most of my 20s I pursued a career in photography. Inspired by street and concert photographers, I always preferred to stay away from studio work. I loved the spontaneity I got from photographing subjects that I had little or no control over.

Ultimately though I moved away from photography, and briefly worked in stop-motion animation before discovering my love for digital art/painting. Since then I have never looked back. 

I love the freedom I get from digital art. It allows me to paint on giant canvases no matter where I am, not to mention that there is no need to wait for paint layers to dry. After playing around with several styles and techniques, and once I felt that I was getting good enough, I began the process of discovering my style. A thread to tie my work together. 

My work up until then had felt very random and disconnected, but I noticed that in many of my paintings the subjects had closed or half closed eyes. I think I liked painting them this way because I felt it created some mystery. A quiet introspection hidden from the viewer. It was then that I had my eureka moment which these two quotes can probably best describe: 

“The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul”

“…the source of all light is in the eye. If there were no eyes in this world, the sun would not be light… YOU evoke light out of the universe… You, by being this organism, call into being this whole universe of light and color…” ~ Alan Watts.

What if we could look through those windows, what would we see?… and what if we could see all that light and energy projected outward from the eyes?

Having grown up in Zimbabwe, and now living in Norway (thanks to having a Norwegain mother), I consider myself extremely lucky to have lived in two of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. As a result, nature has played a huge role in my life.

One of the things I miss the most now that I live in a big city, is looking up at a sky filled with stars. I’ve always been fascinated with the unexplained nature of our universe and the human experience. That feeling of being nothing but a speck of dust in the vastness of space, yet somehow also feeling connected and one with it all. 

I feel that through my art I want to try and explore that intangible thing that makes us who we are. That which connects us to the universe, and to each other.

Over the years I have found that digital art can provide many freedoms, but one of its pitfalls is that it’s not always accepted or understood in the traditional art/gallery scene. There are some artists who have cracked the code, but for many it can be difficult to try and market or package their work for the fine art world.

So discovering CryptoArt, and specifically SuperRare has been a revelation for me. It contains all the missing puzzle pieces I have been looking for. Being able to effectively establish provenance, and sell 1 of 1 originals of digital work on a platform with an already established and growing community of collectors and artists has been amazing. What has made it an even better experience has been the warm welcome and amount of support that I received from the community from day one. A lot of the time the traditional art market can feel intimidating and/or unwelcoming to outsiders.

I feel like I have arrived fashionably late to a movement that is not only just getting started, but is poised to erupt in the near future, as more collectors and artists from all mediums discover and enter this space.

The future looks bright.

Author profile
Tom Erik Smith

Tom Erik Smith is a Zimbabwean artist based in Norway.

His detailed figurative work combines magical realism and surrealism revealing an outward expression of the subject's internal reality -- an otherwise invisible and dreamlike world.

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