For two months artist Paige Smith has brightened up boring old buildings across Los Angeles by replacing broken bricks with sparkling paper geodes. From the Arts District on the edge of downtown LA to Venice along the coast, Smith has tucked objects from her street art project in nondescript walls and pipes. Some are easy to see on corners; others are few inches above the ground and easy to miss. A few just mask the mortar between a few bricks.
Paige Smith prefers to express her point of view through 3D paper sculptures instead of traditional paint. Her finished works represent mineral formations like crystals, quartz, and especially geodes. But instead of finding these gems in nature, she creates them in some of the oldest neighborhoods in L.A.
“Design is a means to an end,” Smith says. “An effective design creates a bridge between an idea and a recipient. The key term is effective. The creative challenge lies in finding a design solution that doesn’t just hang there but is an active conduit for communication.”
Nowadays people’s attention spans are short, and therein lies the point of her art. Like geodes and other mineral formations that may be found on a hike in the mountains, her paper sculptures are meant to be unexpected treasures. Smith says she understands that many people will not notice her art when they walk along the crowded streets of Echo Park, the Arts District or Abbot Kinney Boulevard. In fact, several of these paper geodes have already been dismantled or thrown away, and one fell victim to the rain. Their fate is not that different from the objects we see in nature as we walk along a hiking trail – but the memory and photographs live on. Smith maintains an online map for those who wish to hunt for the existing ones.