133: Intersections of Family Structures: The Artist/Father Episode with Alex Paik, Matthew Plett, and Theoplis Smith III

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
133: Intersections of Family Structures: The Artist/Father Episode with Alex Paik, Matthew Plett, and Theoplis Smith III

This may be the Artist/Mother Podcast, but I have a very unique surprise for you this week. Today I’m chatting with three fabulous Artist DADS. It was just Father’s Day in the U.S. this weekend, and as you know–with parenting–it’s all hands on deck. I’m so excited to be expanding the narrative for this special episode. Today, we’re talking with Alex Paik, Theoplis (“Theo”) Smith III, also known as Phresh Laundry, and Matthew (“Matt”) Plett. All of these artists are currently, or have recently been, stay-at-home-parents. Enormously relatable, these three dads chat with me about art, life, parenting, and pushing back on society’s expectations of what it means to father. 

Here’s a quick introduction of today’s guests: Alex Paik is a modular paper-based installation artist living in Los Angeles, California. His work explores, “the mutability and interconnectedness of forms and structures”. He’s the founder and coordinator of “Tiger Strikes Asteroid,” described on their website as a “501c3 non-profit network of independently programmed, artist-run exhibition spaces with locations in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Greenville, SC.” You’ll love hearing Alex’s view on how music, computer science, and his vast skillsets influence his art even today. He’s a jack of so many trades. It’s completely obvious when you see his work. Our second guest, Theopolis Smith III, is a multidisciplinary artist originally from Saint Louis, Missouri and now in Fort Wayne, Indiana, whose murals and portrait work are vibrant, emotional, and heavily influenced by culture. He describes himself as a “visual DJ”. Everything he creates incorporates his unique, stylized touch. There’s literally nothing this guy can’t do, but he’s always looking for the next thing to try. You get the feeling, while listening to him, that his art is as much his career as his lifeforce. Matthew Plett is our third guest, who describes himself with a variety of titles, including “Muralist/Freelance/Artist/Designer/Letterer/Illustrator” (I took that straight from his Instagram, folks). His larger than life murals embody warmth and personality, and they have a sort of, “joie de vivre” you can’t just pull from nothing. It comes straight from him. 

These Artist/Dads bring so much to the conversation about parenthood and art. And, so…okay, these may not be the typical podcast guests for the Artist/Mother Podcast, and I’m not prepared to bring an Artist/Dad Podcast into the fray. That said? The narrative is very familiar. The themes of our conversation moved from vulnerability to intersectionality to racism and sexism to invisible labor. And of course, we talked about creating art. This episode is a true, “DON’T MISS THIS”. It will make you feel seen and validated. This episode is all about the intersection of family structure and art, and how it changes once kids come into the world. 

Biggest Art CrushArlan Huang “All you guys!” 
Also: Stephen Powers + Jordan Casteel
Hebru Brantley
Favorite Place to Travel or a Dream TripTravel: TaipeiDream Trip: Galápagos IslandsTravel: Colorado Dream Trip: Angkor Wat in CambodiaTravel: Jamaica Consistent Trip: Vegas 
Favorite/Inspirational Film or BookMediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo
Glitch Feminismby Legacy Russell
Station Eleven (HBO) 
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron 
Movie: John Wick
The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Idea by John David Mann and Bob Burg
Favorite MealNoodle SoupInstant Ramen Steamed Buns with Duck / Good Steak / Risotto / Creamed Spinach
Shout OutMy wife My wife, family, and kids. The whole city of Fort WayneMy wife and my children and the city of Fort Wayne

To see more of Alex Paik, Matt Plett, and Theo Smith’s work please visit their websites (linked here: ALEX, MATT, THEO) and follow them on IG: @alexpaik + #tigerstrikesasteroid / @datmattmatt / @thatlaundry

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Alex Paik

Right Triangle (Curve) / gouache, colored pencil, paper, nails / dimensions variable / 2022 / installed in studio, January 2022
Detail: Partial Hexagon (X) / gouache, colored pencil, paper, nails / dimensions variable / 2021 / installed in studio, October 2021

Matt Plett

“Don’t Give Up” mural, Fort Wayne, IN, 2017
“Endure”, Acrylic on wood, 2017

Theoplis Smith III (a.k.a. “Phresh Laundry”)

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