Yohan Michael Smith

Yohan Michael Smith (b.1994) is a self taught artist based in Atlanta, GA, whose work can be described as Abstract Surrealism.

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“I just knew I wanted to be an artist. And I told myself, even if I have to be a starving artist, at least I’m not just starving. Now I know I’m an artist; but even when I’m poor, they acknowledge I’m still an artist.”

Yohan-Michael dedicated his life to his artwork upon graduating high school in 2012. The third youngest of seven children, Yohan was born in 1994 Chicago Illinois to vegan, Hebrew Israelite parents. Yohan is a true self taught artist. No art classes were offered in any of his grade schools; and Mr. Smith’s  parents were in a less than fortunate financial crisis during the pivotal years of his childhood.

Being raised in the impoverished community of Inglewood, Yohan turned to art at an early age as a means of escape from his current reality. As many young men, he was interested in anime films. One show in particular, Naruto, introduced the artist to chakras and the energies of the universe. Much of these elements of life and balance are reflected in Yohan-Michael‘s work. From there, the artist began toexpand his mind” often acquiring self beliefs that went against how he was raised not only from a religious standpoint, but by simply being an American citizen. As a young black man, Yohan –Michael began to question how the same system that was put in place to protect and serve American citizens could justify the way that he, as a black man was treated. This led him to question other beliefs he’d acquired in life simply because he’d been told to. The artist‘s mother was a pivotal force of inspiration during these years of self discovery, giving him insights and referring him to teachers such as Reverend Ike and Jim Rohan.

Yohan honed his skills during his high school years by taking public transportation to the Museum of Contemporary Art and sketching the art of those he looked up to. He spent countless hours at the CMCA, absorbing the works of modern masters. Upon graduating high school in 2012, the family relocated to Atlanta where the artist currently works and lives.


Yohan Michael‘s artwork is vibrant and in essence, “other worldly”, inviting the viewer into the worlds he keeps in the recesses of his mind. It could be said that the artist has an immense interest, possibly fixation, with outer space and the extraterrestrial. Flowers, clouds, stars and raindrops, the sun and wave-like patterns are repeated throughout many of his artworks. Yohan draws inspiration from his childhood and movies that challenge the everyday mantra of organized civilization. A large part of his artwork, and even lifestyle, emphasizes freedom of thought and self expression. Yohan mixes all of the colors for his paints himself usually choosing pigments that he would describe as “soft” or “creamy”. The viewer can see his style reflects those of his favorite artists such as Salvador Dali, Theodore Seuss Geisel and Kieth Haring.