Lucien Smith is having a great year. The 25-year-old New York-based painter opened “Tigris,” his first show at Upper East Side gallery Skarstedt, in May. In February, one of his abstract “Rain Paintings,” made using a fire extinguisher, sold for £224,500 (about $353,000) at Sotheby’s, a record for the young artist. He even gave a TEDx talk at Columbia College in August. Not too shabby for someone who graduated from Cooper Union in 2011.
But now, Smith’s father, artist Terrence Sanders, wants to get in his side of the story, as it were. In a blog post published on his site on Saturday, Sanders responded to his son’s TEDx talk, in which Smith explains that he caught Sanders cheating on his mother, fashion designer Melissa Dizon Ramsey. Smith called this experience “traumatic,” adding that this created a fear of failing that has lasted for his entire career.
In the blog post, titled “The Truth Must Be Told,” Sanders admits to not being there for Smith (Sanders calls himself a “holiday Dad”), but then goes on to explain that Ramsay lent her son materialist tendencies, going so far to call him “gold digging bitch.” “My ex-wife, who shares his lust for superficiality and materialism, raised him. Lucien’s hustle is undoubtedly from me, but that’s all,” Sanders writes in the post.
As the TEDx talk goes on, Smith details the lows of his artistic career, ranging from romantic failures to smoking PCP. Ultimately, Smith cleaned up his act, and he ends the talk on a positive note. “Find what it is you want to do, deconstruct that… All other stuff is just, like, baggage,” Smith said in the talk.
Smith has no shortage of major accomplishments. Salon 94 owner Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn helped make him famous when she took a chance on him after seeing his work at his senior thesis show. He’s also worked for the Gagosian Gallery-represented artist Dan Colen.
Sanders’ version of his son’s story is very different. His post is here.