Born in Ohio and arriving in New York in 1953, Smith transformed the detritus of post-war downtown New York into a tableaux vivant of exotic glamour and polysexual fantasy. In 1957 he opened the Hyperbole Photography Studio in which he photographed customers/models in compositions that were equal parts Rococo and Hollywood. Working on a shoe-string budget, Smith created an orgy of fantasy that transcended the all-too-pat bounds of camp and revolutionized American film. Upon seeing Flaming Creatures, Jonas Mekas dubbed it the “most luxurious outpouring of imagination, of imagery, of poetry, of movie artistry.”
A key figure in the cultural history of Downtown New York film, performance, and art, Jack Smith began producing work in the late 1950s and became one of the most accomplished and influential artists throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Smith’s method of weaving his life as a performance varied across media and glorified his exploits and adventures through the urban landscape wherein he developed an exuberant and visually stunning vision of the world from the glittering debris of the city, transforming downtown New York into a stage for his forays into photography and film.
(Biography from Lightcone)