Jeff Smudde portrait
MFA 2023 Artists MFA 2023 Artists: Jeff Smudde
Jeff Smudde

UMass Dartmouth 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition

About Jeff Smudde

Jeff Smudde (b. 1997, Royal Oak, Michigan) is a visual artist from central Illinois using digital and analog photographic processes in the South Coast of Massachusetts. His art focuses on perceptions of place that take the form of photo books, series, and installations. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Illinois State University in 2019 and is a Master of Fine Arts candidate for 2023 at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a Distinguished Artist Fellowship. Under his self-publishing imprint Sad Bird Books, he has produced curated zines showing photographs from artists around the world in addition to zines of his own art.


This body of work is a visual exploration of the feeling of being perpetually in between places. My relationship to place has been stretched or shrunken, rendering the distance between myself and where I am infinite or negligible. Because of this, the journey and destination become one experience. I have traveled throughout the United States, making images in the Southwest, Midwest and Northeast. This creates an American narrative about this sensation of placelessness that ebbs and flows with time and movement through space. Through digital and analog photographic processes, I create landscape photographs that are informed by this perception. Up-close imagery gradually pulls away into photographs located at a distance from my subjects. The photographs are sequenced in book form to guide the viewer in this direction of movement, coming in close to then being lifted above the Earth. Through my work, I am asking the viewer as well as myself how we perceive place and the identities associated with it.