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Artist Chelsea Smith is using a 500-year-old technique to put her imprint on the Central Florida art scene. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI

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helsea Smith is a modern woman rooted in another time. When talking about her passion, her art, she drops references to the old masters, Celtic mythology, and antique printing presses. Chelsea, 24, is an artist who creates prints from copper plate etchings, a Renaissance-era printmaking medium used by her favorite classical artists, such as Rembrandt and Albrecht Dürer. Her artwork combines interests in animals, nature, mythology, and history. “I’ve always been fascinated by history,” the Casselberry resident says. “It’s a way for me to look at historical context and my inspirations, artists from the 1500s and 1600s. It’s fascinating to learn about history and the details of it and bring it back in a fresh new way in the 21st century.” What was once old is new again, as Chelsea is finding success in the 21st century with her 500-year-old technique. One of her mythological representations, “Cernunnos,” was chosen as the poster art for the 42nd annual Mount Dora Arts Festival in February. The print depicts an Irish elk with birds sitting on its large antlers. “It’s like a male version of Mother Nature,” she says. A selection committee chose “Cernunnos” from among the work of 400 artists at the 2016 festival. “It was a huge honor,” Chelsea says. That’s one in a string of accomplishments as Chelsea hustles to expand her reach in

the art world from her home studio. She travels to nationally rated art festivals throughout Florida, the Southeast and East Coast, while winning several awards, sells her etching prints at etsy.com, displays artwork at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure localARTicles Boutique, and looks forward to a showing this year at Orlando City Hall’s Terrace Gallery. Steve Bowersock, a Mount Dora snowbird and former board member for the Mount Dora Center for the Arts, saw Chelsea’s work at that 2016 festival. He now represents her in the large New England market, displaying several of her etchings at Bowersock Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the oldest continuous art colony in the country. Steve says he doesn’t often represent artists so young, but he was struck by Chelsea’s distinctive style. “It looks whimsical at first, but when you look at her body of work as a whole, she’s using symbols to create a deeper story,” he says. She has a “clear vision” in her work despite using an archaic medium, he adds. “She brings a young, contemporary flair to a medium that’s old school. It’s a powerful medium but not as popular.”

THERE ARE PICTURES OF ME, BEFORE I COULD WALK, AT 2 YEARS OLD DRAWING FOR HOURS AND HOURS. IT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING MY WHOLE LIFE. The Central Florida native actually is an old pro. She began with pencil art at age 12, sketching portraits of pets to raise money and awareness for pet rescue centers, but her career path appeared inevitable long before then. “There are pictures of me, before I could walk, at 2 years old drawing for hours and

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STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, May 2017  
STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, May 2017