Cali Smith


Cali Smith is a New Jersey based painter. She graduated F.I.T. with a degree in Illustration and Toy Design. Later, she joined the Art Student League in New York City where she studied painting.

Cali Smith’s work is the embodiment of the woman’s presence and how she commands cohabitation in men’s spaces. This is Cali’s contribution to the Riot Girl Movement; which combines a DIY aesthetic, activism, feminist political stances, and punk music.

The work in its colorful glee highlights derogatory vocabulary and standards often used to demean women and deflates their potency. These words and conventions are taken and stripped of their power by flipping the ideology and owning them as a badge of honor. To be a “slut” is to take your sexuality into your own hands, to be a “fat bitch” is to occupy space without apology, to have body hair is to not comply with current beauty standards. These words are taken and stripped of their shame, given a new meaning with–emboldened body positivity. Her mixed media paintings vary in size and are mostly on canvas as a nod to the punk scene in which canvas patches were often utilized as a form of expression.

Smith’s work is a collective of characters that focus on the struggle of women in everyday spaces and how to better own their world by embracing all the imposed social inadequacies. These stories in bright pigments that often showcase women of color, encourage many body-positive affirmations, and remind women to occupy space with pride.

Selected Works