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Born in 1970 in Philadelphia, Pa., Cedric Smith found art through an unusual pathway. Talented with pencil and paper from his youth, he drew a lot during his first job in a barber shop. That is where he met artist William Tolliver, a regular customer. Following their conversations, Tolliver invited Smith to his studio, where Smith saw the life and career of a working artist. He decided to follow that path. Especially poignant is neither he nor Tolliver had formal art education.

Now working in Macon, Smith is a researcher and reader, with much of his work exploring the omission of African-American men in the graphic history of America, such as in advertising. ? Where are the positive and powerful images in our past advertisements, images that this artist would have seen when he was a small neighborhood boy growing up? Many of his works envision what that advertising would have looked like.

In 2021, Smith’s exhibition at the Albany Museum of Art, titled Horse Power, explored the omission of Black man from the nation’s horse culture, from horseracing to working as soldiers and cowboys. From Cotton to Roses is a painting from that exhibition.