Frances Leigh Smith
“I am an artist and a cook, and every time I prepare an heirloom tomato salad, roast golden beets, or slice into a head of radicchio I find the patterns, colors and textures arresting. My work with food has compelled me to integrate it into my imagery; food inspires art and vice versa. A food writer reviewed a restaurant where I had been commissioned to create a 136 foot mural, and referred to my palette as a “crayon box of color,” I didn’t know if this was a slap or a kiss, but I happily accepted the commentary; that is exactly the way I approach my work: with an array of color, as it creates the exuberant imagery that I respond to and find joyful.”
Frances Leigh Smith developed an appreciation of food and art after completing a yearlong work program in Europe. Upon her return, Smith earned two Fine Arts degrees and a minor in lithography with a business focus from the University of Georgia. Smith spent twelve years in the hospitality industry in multiple managerial positions, and in 1994, co-founded Here to Serve Restaurants, which became a popular, successful, respected business. Here to Serve Restaurants included ten restaurants in the Atlanta area, where, for over twenty years, Smith oversaw restaurant site selection, architectural, interior, and exterior design, marketing and public relations, graphic design, logo creation, and menu design, and contributed personal artwork to the restaurants including paintings, prints, photographs and metalwork. Her graphic designs and artistic concepts were essential to the restaurants’ brand. Smith’s paintings have also been displayed at such restaurants as Farallon in San Francisco, and the Kuleto Estate Winery in Napa Valley, as well as a “museum box” series, published by the Marcel Schurman Publishing Company. Smith-Catherall has been featured in Jezebel, Atlanta, Food and Wine magazines, and on CNN and the Food Network.
Leigh has provided many organizations with donations of her art. See a snapshot of those donations here.