Alumni Spotlight: Christine Lee Smith, MFA, ‘20, Visual Art

Christine Lee Smith is a First Place Winner in 2016 for her work ‘Interpretation of Green’; a Finalist for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize in 2019; and has recently received an Honorable Mention for the competitive Julia Margaret Cameron Award in 2021, in two categories ‘Professional Portrait’ and ‘Professional Women Seen by Women’!

How has your Christian-based college education impacted your career?

My time at APU helped me understand my faith as related to my art in a new way. That time processing and re-examining what I believe has led to a deeper clarity in my journey with Jesus, and has also allowed me to enter some uniquely well-suited opportunities after graduation.

Describe a time where you felt you had found your professional calling.

Finding my vocation has been like recurring waves hitting the shoreline. Over and over God keeps re-inviting me to this artistic practice: first as a child when I found my first camera; as a young adult starting my photography business; then again entering the MFA at APU; and many other times in between and since.

Why did you choose to study your particular major?

I felt an invitation to further explore my artistic vocation after working as a commercial photographer for over 10 years. It was the next right step for me to dive deep into my own studio practice through the MFA.

Describe your career and relate how APU helped you succeed.

APU helped me transition in my vocation from exclusively a commercial photography into developing a fully formed artistic practice. Faculty mentors were particularly helpful as I discerned next steps and examined what it is I'm making and why and for whom. I feel confident leaving the program to continue this unfolding discovery of my studio practice, and participating in the arts industry as a professional.

What was the most meaningful experience you had at APU?

It's hard to name a single "most" meaningful experience for me at APU. For all the ups and downs of a journey like this, the thing I return to is the connections with my cohort and faculty members I now call friends. That, and making banana peel conceptual art with cohort member Christianna Soumakis and MFA Director Nery Lemus on the final day of a long weekend residency.

If you could give a word of advice to future and current students, what would it be?

Don't wait. If you feel curiously invited to enter this program, go for it today. | IG: @christineleesmithphoto

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