Calix Smith – A Prelude, To You, Not Giving A Sh*t at the Gombey Gallery

Professional Artist & ChewFam Calix Socrates Smith Jr. has a new art exhibition entitled “A Prelude, To You, Not Giving A Sh*t”, opening today, Friday June 24 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Gombey Gallery inside the Chewstick Culture Hub, 81 Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda.

He sat down with The Chewstick Foundation’s Hannah Collins for an interview.


“Why this title?”


“Because it’s a prelude to another exhibition.  In essence, this is my mixtape before the album.

“What I can say is, this is loosely fixated on intersectionality, how things intersect with one another – but there are also other pieces that may not seem to pertain to anything, because this is my mixtape. It’s just a whole lot of experimentation.”


“How did you pick this title?”


“I think Bermudians tend to think that they live single-issue lives so they align themselves with one specific thing.

So it’s kind of trying to get people to look at things, but also i want people to think critically.

People tend to come into galleries and ask me, “Calix, what’s this about?”

No – what do you think it’s about?

I think that’s something really important for me to do – to listen – but also getting people to realize that their perspectives and their ideals are important, but don’t supersede anyone else’s.“


“How did you get into art?”



Actually, the first interview I did with Wayasayin Podcast, the title was “Through a Lie”.

Basically, my dad was pretty good with a pencil and paper and I really liked his drawings, and he used to draw stuff for me. This was when I was a little kid in primary school. I took those pictures to school and told everybody I did them.  People were like, “draw me one, right now!” and I said, “No, I have to go home and do another one”. So people were like, “oh, you can’t do this”, so in order to prove them wrong and make myself right, I started drawing – all the time.  Then I got good enough at it – as far as I was concerned – to actually do it in front of people, and then my lie became truth.

It became fact.

I’ve just been going ever since.”


“What do you think about art in Bermuda, more generally?”


“I think that, since I’ve started calling myself a professional artist, I’ve seen exponential growth in certain ways.

So as far as public art, which is awesome, I think there is a new generation of contemporary artists that have, I think, embraced what is being done by our global peers and are kind of bringing it back to Bermuda, as it pertains to media – the materials that we use to express ourselves.

I’ve seen a lot of installations, a whole lot more non-traditional sculpture, it’s really cool.”

“I think conceptual art – in the sense of social commentary – is starting to kind of poke its head out of its shell now, which is really important, because I always felt like there weren’t many artists who did that or even cared about it.”

“Even Chewstick, with its Community Arts Programs, it’s pretty awesome, but I think I’m still critical, because I don’t necessarily believe that many artists use their influence to speak out.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it with your art – I think a creator’s voice is probably the most powerful. I genuinely don’t think politicians have s*** on us.

I think we’re a little more tangible for people in terms of access, understanding, so it makes it a little easier to voice your opinions, and for people to relate to you – sometimes.”


“What do you think about the idea that everyone is an artist? Do you think that’s true?”


“Oh, yeah, everyone is an artist.  It’s not an exclusive club, it’s an inclusive one that everyone belongs to.  If anything, you’re un-taught.  The first things you do, you learn visually as a child. Before you become self-aware, you’re digesting things visually – before you can even understand language. Yeah –  everyone’s an artist. Then it turns into, well what type of artist do you wanna be?”


“Who are you hoping comes to see your show?”


“It doesn’t matter who comes, it only matters if people come.

It would be nice to see people from different walks of life engage with one another.

I think that’s kind of the foundation of a lot of what I try to do.

I kind of hate thinking that the same type of people come to my exhibitions, because normally they are not tailored for that type of group either, because that group is already understanding and aware of the message.

I guess that’s kind of the misfortune of the gallery space, and people not necessarily thinking that they belong there – class, race, or whatever you want to call it – there are a lot of factors at play.

But I’ve been very fortunate to have people come from different walks of life and converge on whatever the f*** I’m doing and interact with one another. People from the trap… people that spend their days in cubicles. White, black, male, female, gay, straight, bisexual – none of that really matters, I just want to see diversity because that’s kind of what I look for in my relationships with people.”

“I can’t stand groupthink. I think it’s detrimental to society and culture when everybody aligns themselves with one thing and then they don’t even question it.

Dogma is BS – dogma is mug, it’s horrible because then you’re not even questioning anything.

You don’t even want to understand why someone is doing that over there because it doesn’t align with your thinking.

[My friend] Louis talked to me about the theory of reality tunnels, which i think is pretty dope – it’s kind of like, everyone has their own lens – their own tunnel – and in order for me to understand you and you to understand me, we have to put aside our lens and step outside of our tunnel and go inside somebody else’s.”

“It’s the only way. Then it also helps you understand better the world that you live in

How sh***y would it be if everybody thought the same thing and agreed with the same s***? It would be bland as f*** and I don’t like that within the confines of people I socialize with.

I’m very fortunate to know a very diverse group of people who come from very different walks of life, and they in turn shape my perspective on life. I learn through the human experience. I was a terrible student – terrible. I hate classrooms. I like to read, but I hate classrooms.”


“So what should people expect on Friday?”


“I think it goes back to – expect whatever you wanna expect. I think I would implore people to glean through my Facebook timeline, look at my artist page, if you have been invited to the Facebook event, there are specific things tailored to what this exhibition is actually about.

Come here not expecting anything, just come here to embrace some s***.  It would be really nice if people did that.”


“Last question – Fill in the blank – Art is ______.”


“Art is f***ing everything and nothing all at the same time”

“It’s whatever you make it, it can be nothing as well.

I think it’s important for people to understand that human existence is predicated on applying meaning to everything.  It’s kind of what has secured our dominance – We apply meaning to everything for the sake of understanding.  Language is important.


“I’m still coming back to the title – in your title, are you implying that people don’t care about some of the topics you’re painting about?”


“Yes and no – My titles sometimes have direct meaning and sometimes they mean nothing at all.

Like with my previous exhibition, Michael Dunkley, that title meant nothing at all. I’m trying to get that pot of coffee to percolate.  The more questions you ask yourself the better. I think that is specifically tailored to the local audience.”


“Would you say that you create art for yourself, for others, or both?”


“It goes back to a quote Dr. Edwin Smith shared with me – “If art is good, there are many things to be said about it and much that will remain unsayable.”

I think that’s why I create art now – to kind of get people to think.

The last element of progression if art in Bermuda is the audience itself.  The audience is really important.  The more understanding and open the audience, the better things become.  Bermuda is small. If you look at the clubs, they are segregated. People say “I don’t like jazz” or, “I’m a dancehall guy”.  It’s crucial for people to imbibe everything. It’s scary to live somewhere so small where people are so willing to be divided.”


A Prelude, To You, Not Giving A Sh*t opens Friday June 24 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Gombey Gallery inside the Chewstick Culture Hub, 81 Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda

The Chewstick Foundation is a leading non-profit cultural arts movement born out of Bermuda in 2003. Dedicated to breaking down social barriers, providing opportunities for storytellers of every medium and committed to being a part of the solution; we use creative programmes, events and initiatives to empower the individual and enrich the community.

Respect. Freedom. Love. Truth.

Comments are closed.