Published on July 19th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


District Five student starts his own art and apparel business

Joshua Smith shows one of the art pieces he’s designed.The Lexington-Richland District Five student finished school a year early and now plans to focus solely on growing his art and apparel business, Soul Canvas. 

CHAPIN- Joshua Smith always had a passion for creating artwork. But the recent graduate says he never imagined how drastic a role art would take in his life until recently.

The Lexington-Richland District Five student finished school a year early and now plans to focus solely on growing his art and apparel business, Soul Canvas. He credits skills he honed through a graphic design program at the district’s Center for Advanced Technical Studies.

“At The Center, I was able to work with state-of-the-art screen printing equipment, iMacs and editing software. I loved getting hands-on experiences,” said Smith.

With Soul Canvas, Smith is able to combine his knowledge of the latest technological equipment and software with his art’s ancient and modern themes, geometric shapes and patterns, and unique style. Brynley Farr, graphic communications instructor at The Center, said Smith’s potential and strong drive were apparent very early on.

“I’ve had the opportunity and honor to come in as a professional to teach this class,” she said. “I’m trying to provide them with a unique perspective from a business owner and give them an insight to the challenges you may face.”

Opened in August 2012, the Center for Advanced Technical Studies provides a standalone facility for students to build technical skills, gain certifications and earn college credits. Attended by students from the district’s four high schools, The Center offers high-tech courses in a wide variety of areas from biomedical science and auto mechanics to alternative energy and graphic design. Other program offerings include mechatronics, law enforcement, wielding, agricultural science, culinary arts and veterinary science.

For Smith, who in high school started selling and promoting his art through social media, courses like those offered at The Center furthered his interest in graphic design and entrepreneurship.

“An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off of a cliff and builds an airplane before they hit the ground. In my case, that airplane was art,” said Smith, adding that The Center gave him the extra push and confidence to sell his custom made jewelry, t-shirts, dream catchers and drawings.

Smith hopes to soon begin working with different local 3-D printing companies to make some of his more complex geometric designs come to life. His long-term goals include converting an older model school bus to run off solar energy and vegetable oil, using it as an environmentally friendly living and workspace as he travels across the U.S. creating and selling his artwork and apparel. Both of these goals are tied to concepts introduced to students at The Center through programs.

“At The Center, students like Josh are able to pursue skills that they can take with them into future careers,” said Dr. Bob Couch, director of The Center. “Our programs provide a pathway for success whether a student is going directly into the workforce, continuing at a technical college or pursuing a four-year degree.”







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