News Bites: Drawing Alum Named Best of Show at Black Swamp Arts Festival

Posted October 17, 2016 in News Bites, Alumni, Drawing

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University alumnus Isaac Smith (’15, BFA Drawing) was recently named Best of Show at the 2016 Black Swamp Arts Festival in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Smith, whose booth showcased a number of drawings done in graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, and pen and ink, was selected out of over 150 exhibiting artists from across the country through a juried process. The award is just the latest in a growing list of awards and honors Smith has racked up since he first began exhibiting his work in 2009, which includes a recent honorable mention nod in the 2016 Valdosta National Juried Exhibition in Valdosta, Ga. and a 1st place finish in the Drawing category in the 21st Arts in Harmony Annual International Show in Elk River, Minn. 

work by alumnus Isaac SmithWork by Isaac Smith - (above): "Self-Portrait" and (below): "Florentine Violinist" (images courtesy of the artist) work by alumnus Isaac Smith

“I’m very honored to have been given the Best of Show award at this well-established and highly-regarded art fair; it was a very pleasant surprise,” says Smith, who’s a Bowling Green native. “Given that the show is in my home town, it was nice to be received so well and get a decent amount of media attention for it.”

Smith believes his drawing work is so well received at art fairs because he feels the medium is a bit more accessible to the general public.

“Drawing is a pretty straightforward process so viewers can at least have a basic grasp of what they're looking at and how it came to be,” he says. “At the same time, I think people are surprised by the level of detail and technicality I aim to achieve in my drawings because many people view drawing as a starting point for ideas that you would flesh out in another medium. For me, drawings are my starting and ending point. I aim to take them as far as I possibly can and I think people enjoy seeing that.”

work by alumnus Isaac SmithWork by Isaac Smith - (above): "The Red Ring of Death" and (below): "Phoenix" (images courtesy of the artist) 

work by alumnus Isaac Smith

Since graduating from KCAD, Smith has taken the past year to focus on making as much art as he can and exhibiting his work wherever possible. He takes a special interest in art fairs, as they allow him to interact directly with viewers, opening up opportunities for exposure, on-site sales, and future commission work.

“Art fairs allow viewers to ask any questions they may have, offer comments, and to see the artist behind the work,” says Smith. “And I think that makes a big difference in my success with trying to get my artwork out there and with business opportunities as well.”

Moving forward, Smith plans to enter graduate school in the next year, and hopes to eventually teach at the college level.


See more of Isaac Smith’s work at

Learn more about KCAD’s Drawing program at